Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
a small selection of Lee's work
enlarge Just a small selection of Stan Lee’s work. He was undisputedly the creator or co-creator of some of the most iconic comic book characters of all time

Marvel Comics

From Wonder Woman until guardsIt’s not easy to imagine what pop culture would look like today without the impact of superheroes. It’s also not easy to understand how a comic book about a flying alien, or a furious green monster, or a super soldier who single-handedly defeats an entire army has something dealing with the worlds of technology and science. But as we all know, looks can be deceiving.

While the influence of superheroes on modern culture is undeniable, the influence of modern culture on many superheroes remains vague to this day. Comic makers, who may often wish to maintain a bit of mystique, have been hesitant in the past to be explicit about their inspirations. But if you think about 80-plus years-and-counting of our favorite caped crusaders that change slightly over time, their real-world analogs become clearer and more apparent.

Science and science fiction

One of comics’ most iconic heroes is perhaps the perfect example of this as well. Since his first appearance in Action Strips #1 in 1938, Superman has adapted to the times. The “Man of Steel” We Saw in 2017 Justice League after all, didn’t go overnight. Superman’s long-term evolution is the result of many transformations and technological advancements over the decades.

In the beginning, its creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were big fans of science fiction and adventure magazines. As a result, some of the first apparent influences seen in Superman come from such stories, which often feature characters who possessed incredible abilities, such as superhuman strength, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Some of these early influences include John Carter of Mars, a character in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ sci-fi novels; Hugo Danner, the main character in the novel gladiator by Philip Wylie; actors Johnny Weissmuller, Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd and Clark Gable; and several early twentieth-century strongmen whom Shuster idolized as a child.

Given the profound influence religion had on society at the time, religion also seemed to appear on the long list of things that informed the birth and evolution of the first mainstream superhero. For example, both Siegel and Shuster were Jewish, and this led many comic book fans (including Rabbi Simcha Weinstein and British novelist Howard Jacobson) to the controversial conclusion that Superman’s main influence was Moses.

Siegel and Shuster never confirmed this claim, suggesting that the idea of ​​Superman falling from the sky to Earth simply seemed like the coolest idea possible at the time. Instead, the only sources of inspiration for Superman’s initial powers that Siegel and Shuster openly admitted were those of animal science and Newton’s law of universal gravitation. For example, they emphasized that because Earth is a much smaller planet than Krypton, the lighter gravity further increased Superman’s power. They also borrowed feats from the animal kingdom, drawing a parallel between Superman’s astonishing strength and that of an ant’s incredible ability to support hundreds of times its own weight. And the duo compared a grasshopper’s ability to jump great distances to Superman’s ability to jump from one place to another.

Wait, he just jumped first?

Wait, he just jumped first?

DC Comics

Tall buildings tied in one go via transport

Many newer fans of Superman may not know that he can’t fly all the time. He didn’t start flying until the early 1940’s – which happens to be shortly after Heinkel He 178 piloted by Erich Warsitzbecame the world’s first aircraft to fly purely on turbojet power on August 27, 1939.

Some may think this is mere coincidence and that the evolving technology behind fast flight had nothing to do with Superman’s new superpower. Some even suggest that jumping simply wasn’t appropriate anymore stylistically or even practically, as Superman’s stories began to migrate into the world of animation and radio in the early 1940s. This is partially WHERE. In the very first Fleischer Superman movie, The Mad ScientistSuperman jumps instead of flies. But the result was not very good aesthetically. In addition, the technical difficulties of making Superman “jump” around made editing a strenuous task for the producers of the films, as they did not have the appropriate editing equipment at the time.

Poor first movie aesthetics weren’t the only reason Superman quickly started flying, though. In fact, the dynamic advances in flight technology during the late 1930s and early 1940s and the rapid evolution of the turbojet gave Superman more than just the ability to fly – it also gave him a new home. In his debut, Superman is an unnamed baby who appears from an unnamed doomed planet. His father was a scientist who put his son in a spaceship to save him from ensuing destruction. One day this spaceship lands on Earth, and this is the only description DC Comics gives of Superman’s days on Krypton for nearly the next seven years.

But in the ’45s More fun comics #101With which we got to know Superboy, we learn more details about Superman’s technologically advanced planet and his birth name: Kal-El. We also learn that his previously undescribed spaceship didn’t just randomly land on Earth; Siegl and Shuster upgraded it into an experimental rocket that crashed violently to Earth before it was discovered in Smallville by Jonathan and Martha Kent. All this creative reconstruction of Superman’s background became possible thanks to the advances in flight of that time, especially the period from 1936 to 1943. During that time, aeronautical engineers solved most of the technical problems and launched the era of mass production of the Junkers Jumo 004 , the world’s first production turbojet engine in operational use and the first successful turbojet engine with axial compressor.

So as he flew forward on a jet engine, Superman not only became the first superhero to go viral, he also became the archetype by which the industry would define itself. The golden age of comics, which actually launched with Superman in 1938, produced several iconic superheroes and villains in the years that followed. As they continued to create heroes to follow Superman, DC Comics continued to use their original formula, using a combination of animal science, religion, and mythology to create superheroes such as Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Aquaman; even for notorious villains like Catwoman and the Penguin.

However, there was a clear exception to this rule – an exception called Batman. Unlike other superheroes of his day (and despite a very natural name), Batman all about technology. And his “fathers,” artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, made sure to emphasize this by not giving him any superpowers at all.

For the unfamiliar: unlike Superman, Batman is all man and from here on Earth. He is an ordinary man with a lot of money and a very specific goal: he is determined to avenge the terrible loss of his parents, who were murdered before his eyes. In this battle for truth and justice, Batman relies solely on technology and his combat skills. Unlike Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Batman were pretty clear about their influences from the very first moment they envisioned Batman.

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of a flying machine with bat wings – a technological marvel of its time – Batman makes up for all the superpowers he lacks with a wide variety of interesting gadgets, including a tool belt, batarangs and every high-tech device you can think of. Its entire presence and activity in comic books (and then on TV shows, in cartoons and movies), closely follows the advancement of twentieth-century technology. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration for someone to claim that no other fictional character in history has promoted fast cars, computers, cell phones, unrealistic-looking planes, and a host of other hi-tech devices like Batman has. frequent use of the latest technology. Perhaps unnamed big tech companies in the headlines are using this stuff for nefarious reasons, but Batman is doing it all in his quest to be one step ahead of his enemies and every dangerous criminal that threatens Gotham City.

Is it a tank or a Batmobile?  Maybe that's the point.
enlarge Is it a tank or a Batmobile? Maybe that’s the point.

Nathan Mattise

Military technology changes comics

When it comes to specific types of technology, Batman is also the first major superhero whose appearance is so heavily inspired by military technology. This is perhaps most evident in the way his costume has changed over the decades, from cloth suit to impenetrable combat gear in films like Christopher Nolan’s. dark knight trilogy.

Of course, fans of a Tony Stark’s probably won’t agree with that last Batman statement, which is why I made sure Batman was the first and not the nothing but, or the best, superhero made using military technology. That honor belongs to Iron Man, and rightly so, but Iron Man first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963, 24 years after Batman. This could mean that Stan Lee and Larry Lieber were as inspired by Batman as they were by technology itself when they created the most hi-tech superhero in history.

Lee has never openly admitted such a thing, instead citing a real personality, Howard Hughes, as Stark’s only influence. Nevertheless, Iron Man, like Batman, comes from a wealthy family. They both mourned the loss of their parents at a young age and inherited a huge fortune. Bruce Wayne owns Wayne Enterprises, while Tony Stark is the absolute boss of Stark Industries. Bruce Wayne has Alfred, while Tony Stark has Jarvis. They both like armored suits and gadgets and they both use science and technology against crime. Like Batman, Iron Man lacks superpowers. The only difference is that the time Bruce Wayne spent learning martial arts, Tony Stark devoted it to studying engineering and physics. He entered MIT at age 15 and received his master’s degree before he was 20. His extremely high IQ and highest level of education is his only ‘superpower’.

Even if the similarities with Batman were only coincidental, Lee and his colleagues could never deny the immense influence of modern technology on Iron Man’s development. (The famous metal superhero was actually a sort of “human satellite” not long after NASA launched Telstar, the first commercial satellite, in 1962.) An influence that became more apparent than ever before in the 2013s. Iron Man 3† Here we see Stark piloting several robotic Iron Man suits fighting for him, but without him in the suit, as we were used to seeing up to that point. In reality, he controls the first drone superhero in history by just using a joystick. Apparently, Marvel Comics and the film’s production team wanted to make it as clear and blatant as it gets about their technological inspiration behind that scene: drones.

By akfire1

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