Part 1- The Dawning of the Super Man
While yes it would be easy to talk about the structure of The Hero’s Journey using a rudimentary approach, what kind of storyteller would I be if we focused on the same mundane approach to edifying Joseph Cambell’s ideals of a narrative pattern, so here goes nothing. Growing up in the 80’s I was exposed to in my opinion the greatest generation of heroes put on mass display and in order to understand fully what the hero’s journey is I’d like to take a trip down memory lane to get a glimpse into some iconic heroes we can get reacquainted with before beginning our dissection of the journey itself. So sit back, grab some popcorn, put on your Hugh Hefner Esque bathrobe and your bubbles pipe, and let us take a trip down memory lane, and for those of you born after the ’90s, we will call this a history lesson.
Sure comic books, movies, and cartoons were around for a while but I don’t know if there was a better time to be alive to truly experience the modern advent of the Hero than in the 1980s and ’90s. Sure there are a few pre 80’s standouts that should be mentioned and honored and I am pretty biased so if you don’t see your favorite indie cult classic heroes listed take this as your disclaimer. So let us take a trip down memory lane or at least dive into the proverbial history books of pop culture and let us look at some of the most influential moments that helped mold the modern age of storytelling and heroes.
It would be blasphemy of hero lore if I didn’t start where it all began with the advent of the modern-day superheroes — the late 1930s. We saw the introduction of superheroes in comic books and fresh off the brink of the great depression, the movie industry saw a surge of the everyday man facing off against epic journeys and events.
- The Phantom is considered the first US superhero and one that would become the model afterward for future heroes.
- Superman, the “Man of Steel” donned the red cape for the first time in Action Comics #1
- Batman “The Caped Crusader” Swung into action when he made his debut in Detective Comics #27