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Comic Book Heroes - Origins - Key Issues

Updated on December 16, 2015


Super speed. super strength, super sized, from mild mannered scientist to raging behemoth how did the superheroes get their super powers, how did they begin? What are the key issues concerning superhero origin?



Origin Issue: Daredevil #1

After being abandoned by his mother, young Matt Murdoch is raised by his father " Battling Jack " Murdoch, a boxer, in the Hells Kitchen area of New York. Having a strong sense of right and wrong Matt decides to study Law. One day an unfortunate accident befalls Matt as he pushes a man out of the way of an oncoming truck, radioactive material falls from the truck into Matts eyes. Matt is blinded. Matt Murdoch soon comes to realize that although he is now blind, all his other senses have increased dramatically. Under the tutelage of blind martial arts master Stick, Matt becomes an expert in the martial arts. When his father is killed by gangsters for refusing to throw a fight, Matt is enraged when the Justice system fails to bring the killers to justice and dressed in a costume made from his fathers boxing robe enacts revenge on the wrongdoers. By day Matt runs a law firm with his best pal from college Franklin " Foggy " Nelson but by night Matt prowls the streets of Hells Kitchen righting wrongs as the superhero Daredevil.

Incredible Hulk # 1 Notice the grey color of the Hulk.
Incredible Hulk # 1 Notice the grey color of the Hulk. | Source


Origin Issue : Incredible Hulk # 1

When Stan Lee came up with the initial idea for the Hulk he was inspired by two classic novels Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case Of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde.

During the detonation of an experimental Gamma Bomb, scientist Bruce Banner rushes out onto the test field to save teenager Rick Jones who has foolishly driven onto the test site. After saving Jones' life by pushing him into a trench, Banner is hit by the blast absorbing huge amounts of radiation. At first it looks like Banner is left unscathed by the blast but as day turns to night Banner transforms into a behemoth of a man who is described as a Hulk by an infirmary guard and is given that name ever since. In the early Hulk comics Banners metamorphosis was initiated by darkness but was soon changed to that it was stress or anger that would cause him to change.

Bruce Banner is constantly on the run from the authorities who see the Hulk as a danger to society, the shy introverted scientist lives his life in total panic and fear of turning into his alter ego.

In Incredible Hulk # 1 1962 Hulk is colored grey, the colorist on the issue had trouble keeping the grey color consistent throughout the comic so it was decided that from then on, the creature would be green in color which was easier to reproduce.

" Puny Humans " and " Hulk Smash " are two of the better known Hulk sayings.


Origin Issue: Amazing Fantasy # 15

Peter Parker is a teenage science whiz kid living with his Aunt and Uncle in New York. One day Peter visits a science exhibition where he is bitten on the hand by a spider that has been exposed to radiation. From the radiation that enters his bloodstream Peter acquires arachnid like abilities, he gains the ability to stick to walls and ceilings as well as super strength. With his science background he is able to build a wrist attached gadget that shoots sticky webs from his wrist. After making himself a costume Peter becomes Spider-man and initially is not interested in becoming a crime fighter and even becomes a star of a novelty TV show. Peter shows his indifference to crime when he allows a thief to get past him making no attempt to stop the thief, this act would catch up with him at a later date when his Uncle Ben is murdered by the same thief in a robbery. After the death of his Uncle, Peter learns the truth in Uncle Ben's words to him that " With Great Power Must Also Come Great Responsibility" and begins his life as a crime fighter.

Showcase # 22 from 1959 the first appearance of Hal Jordan.
Showcase # 22 from 1959 the first appearance of Hal Jordan. | Source

Green Lantern

Origin Issue : Showcase # 22

Throughout the years many characters have taken on the mantle of Earths Green Lantern, in the Golden Age Alan Scott, in more recent times Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner have all worn the power ring but the most well known Green Lantern is Hal Jordan the Green Lantern from the Silver Age of comics ( Late 50s / 1960s ).

The Green Lanterns receive their power from a power ring, using the wearers imagination the bearer can summon up any image they can create from the microscopic to enormous in size. The ring can also produce force fields, enable the wearer to fly, invisibility, indeed the rings power is only limited to the imagination of the wearer and has been called the most powerful weapon in the universe. The ring does have one weakness however an ineffectiveness against yellow objects.

The Green Lantern Corps is an inter stellar police organization overseen by the Guardians Of The Universe. Abin Sur a Green Lantern from the planet Ungara is one day in pursuit of a being known as Legion when his ship is hit and damaged by yellow sun radiation, Abin Sur is forced to crash land on Earth. Suffering terrible injuries Sur uses his power ring to search for a suitable successor. The ring first finds Clark Kent but since he was not a native of Earth he was not chosen, the ring then finds two candidates Test Pilot Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner, as Jordan is located nearer and Sur is close to death the ring brings him to Sur where he is given the ring. Hal Jordan would later go on to be a founder member of The Justice League Of America.

The oath of Earths Green Lantern is " In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight, Let Those Who Worship Evils Might, Beware My Power, Green Lanterns Light ".

Barry Allen is seen for the first in Showcase # 4 from 1956 with artwork by Carmine Infantino.
Barry Allen is seen for the first in Showcase # 4 from 1956 with artwork by Carmine Infantino. | Source

The Flash

Origin Issue - Showcase #4

There have been three characters that have earned the name of The Flash but like Green Lantern, it is the Silver Age version that is the best known. Police scientist Bartholomew Henry " Barry " Allen has a reputation for being slow and meticulous in his work, one night as Barry is getting ready to leave his laboratory a lightning bolt shatters a case of chemicals and spills the contents onto Barry. Barry is soon to discover that the chemicals have changed the biological make up of his body and he is now able to run at lightning speed and has inherited super quick reflexes. Deciding to use his powers to fight crime, Barry dons a red suit designed by the professor father of his girlfriend Iris West, the compressed suit is kept in a ring worn on Barry's finger and is ejected from the ring when required and sucked back into the ring my means of a special gas after use. Barry becomes a favorite super hero among his peers and a member of The Justice League. Other versions of The Flash have been Jay Garrick in the Golden Age of comics ( 1938 - 1950 ) and Wally West originally Kid Flash the nephew of Barry Allen.


Captain America

Origin Issues - Captain America Comics #1, Tales Of Suspense # 63, Captain America # 109.

Steve Rogers is a tall but scrawny fine arts student who attempts to join the US Armed Forces after being disturbed by the rise of the Third Reich across Europe. Rogers fails the induction military medical examination and is deemed to weak and frail to enlist. Impressed by Rogers determination Army General Chester Phillips asks Rogers if he would take part in the testing of a new super serum that had been created by scientist Dr Josef Reinstein ( this name was changed retroactively to Abraham Erskine ). The serum is a success and turns Rogers into a perfect specimen of humanity with peak strength, speed, agility as well as intelligence, in all ,a super soldier. Reinstein intended to create a whole army of Super - Soldiers to fight the Nazis but was murdered by a Nazi spy, the scientist had failed to leave any record of the ingredients of his serum , which left Steve Rogers as the only Super- Soldier on Earth. Rogers was soon to acquire a patriotic looking suit and a special shield made out of the virtually indestructible metal alloy Vibranium and would soon go into battle for the allies as Captain America.

Superhero Quiz

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    • nuffsaidstan profile image

      nuffsaidstan 4 years ago

      Hi Geekdom, thats what i was trying to achieve just quick info for people starting out with comics.

    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Great choice of characters to focus on. Nice quick summaries and great for people starting out.

    • nuffsaidstan profile image

      nuffsaidstan 4 years ago

      Cheers Nathanater

    • NathaNater profile image

      NathaNater 4 years ago

      These are some of my favorites. That is interesting about the changes made in the Hulk comic. I also had forgotten that the person who is Green Lantern changed over time.

      Fun and interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.


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