It's interesting that the idea of the superhero isn't just a modern western thing. It obviously can be traced back to titans in Greek mythology, but also to completely unrelated myths in ancient China.
These ideas have been with us since forever.


I have always loved that superhero costumes got their inspiration from circus performer costumes, especially classic strongmen.

@RussSharek And from the Roman circus, and Greek olympic games. I've never been attracted by the fashion or the looks, more by the brain activity and rooftop climbing that allows for a better view than an underworld in caves and below the streets. That's what Batman is, a rooftop walking Sherlock. In that sense modern urban archetypes could only have emerged immediately after industrial society.


It could be argued that Sherlock is a Victorian alley walking Batman too.

@RussSharek There's that for sure. And Batman's creation is now more distant in time from us than it was from Arthur Conan Doyle's last Holmes adventure.

@h Monkey is like the TOTAL D&D munchkin. Overpowered in every possible way, cheated ALL the rules (literally: in his ORIGIN EPISODE he goes to Heaven, steals immortality pills from the gods, then is 'punished' by having to join the adventure), and then is such a nuisance the GM sighs and fits him with an in-game instadeath headband just so he won't kill the REAL party leader Xuanzang on sight.

Thinks he's the brains but he's so bad at puzzles the GM (Guanyin) has to give hints every adventure.

@natecull The Monkey TV character was borne out of a stone and the elements of weather and the storms. That's the Monkey intro, and also in the ancient scripts and tales that Monkey borrowed from.
I haven't read the old book the TV series was based on, it may be different, I don't know.

@h Yep, that's the same origin story for the original Sun Wukong from 'Journey to the West', published circa 1592.

I've read about half of it, in a very good English translation. Someday I will try to borrow the rest. It's a LONG read.

The author Buddhism, Taoism, existing folk legends of the historical Xuanxang (1000 years earlier) but Monkey is the most famous character.

There have been several TV versions, including a 1986 Chinese one still considered the best.

@natecull I probably only caught re-runs of the 1970s version, aired in the late 80s.


It's not really made it to English, which is a pity; the Monkey actor is pretty good and came from a family who played Monkey in Chinese opera.

The more famous in English one, 'Monkey' was a 1978 Japanese version.

The historical Xuanzang around which the Monkey legends evolved was a fascinating guy himself! 7th century explorer-librarian.

@natecull I posted some of these links earlier 🙂

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