Unless of course explained or determined to the contrary, I assume that buried under any plateful of mythological other lays a morsel of any really meaty meatball. Unfortunately, our modern superheroes have been discovered to the contrary – they are all meatball-less pure mythological pasta. Superman (and Supergirl too), Batman (and Robin), Tarzan, Wonder Woman, Organic Lantern, The Flash, The Phantom, Buffy, Van Helsing, James Bond, and multi-dozens more are meatball-less. miamisuperhero.com yelp reviews
Modern day superheroes, those with talents out of the common, might also include individuals with exceptional mental and/or observational talents as opposed to pure superpowers, brawn or athletic skills – cases might include Sherlock Gaps, Perry Mason, Miss Anne Maple or Hercule Poirot; perhaps people that have a fast gun like Paladin (TV’s “Have Gun – Can Travel”). Alas, they as well are meatball-less imaginary pasta.
The superheroes of yesteryear when mythology apparently ruled didn’t have real superpowers unless they were deities of course. Also then the deity’s power paled compared to our modern superheroes – a lttle bit of lighting bolt chucking here; a lttle bit of shape-shifting there (though that’s a pretty neat superpower). Actually almost all of the gods needed chariots to get around, or horses or they had to hoof it themselves. There were a few exceptions like Hermes (Mercury to the Romans) who had special high end winged sandals and a winged helmet.
Eliminating that category – the ‘gods’ – the remaining superheroes of ancient times failed to have real superpowers (X-ray vision, faster-than-a-speeding-bullet velocities) or super-ultra high-tech gizmos like jetpacks and vehicles like the Batmobile or bands like Green Lantern’s to assist them. Yet , they did have powers, usually nerves-of-steel and/or massive durability. Were they as imaginary, as meatball-less as our modern day superheroes?
For this point I ought to simplify what I really suggest by superheroes. It’s not really having special superpower abilities, or possessing great aside from the ordinary, though that’s part of it. It’s more that superheroes, past or present are heroes by profession, even if sometimes reluctantly. Or perhaps, superheroes are superheroes at least as a subject of private pride or sense of duty and therefore it’s a serious hobby. Superman doesn’t save the world just once; he will it again and again. Jessica Fletcher (TV’s “Murder, She Wrote”) won’t solve one whodunit, but one murder mystery after another after another. Noble doesn’t outdraw one forbit, but routinely, episode after episode. Perhaps the idea of superheroes can be summed as those with the “Right Stuff”.
Right now surely logic dictates that the non-deity superheroes of ancient times share one common trait with the superheroes of ‘today’, ‘today’ defined as say back again through the days of our grandparents and great grandparents to include the superheroes of their times – that commonality is they, then as well as now, are imaginary. Very well, I’m not so sure.
I’ll restrict myself here mainly to the old Greek (and therefore Roman) superhero clan, plus a few others that land outside that immediate pigeonhole. I’ll do that since 1) it’s those that are most familiar to us and 2) it saves this essay from developing into a book-length tome.
Here’s our ensemble of ancient non-deity superheroes (though some are demigods). Note that irritating in the ancient texts that chronicles the exploits of these figures that clearly states they are fictional or fictional make-believe agencies. There isn’t a such disclaimer. Is actually the same as there is no disclaimer that the Holy bible is a work of fiction though Biblical testimonies are way more radical than anything the antique Greeks dreamt up in their philosophy.