Super heroes date to the early 1900's They include such folkloric heroes as Robin Hood and Zorro, who adventured in distinctive clothing.
The 1903 play The Scarlet Pimpernel and its spin-offs popularized the idea of a masked avenger and the superhero trope of a secret identity; shortly afterward, masked and costumed pulp-fiction characters such as Zorro (1919) and comic-strip heroes such as the Phantom (1936) began appearing, as did non-costumed characters with super strength, including Patoruzú (1928), the comic-strip character Popeye (1929) and novelist Philip Wylie's protagonist Hugo Danner (1930).
Both trends came together in superpowered, costumed heroes such as Ōgon Bat (1931), visualized in painted panels used by kamishibai oral storytellers in Japan,and the first comic-book superhero, Superman (1938)
Early superhero films were produced in the 1940s, during the Golden Age of Comic Books, but interest lagged during the Cold War era; the form resurfaced in the late 1970s, and after 2000 developed into a number of highly profitable franchises.
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