How Superheroes Went From Rock Paintings to Our Homes

From caves to cinemas, superheroes have been a part of our lives for a long time. Here, we tell the story of two comic powerhouses: DC and Marvel.

Rock paintings are the great grandparents to Marvel and DC superheroes. However, Iron Man implemented the fire, Superman disciplined the herds, Batwomen kept the cave clean.

Ancient rock paintings show primitive people hunting on animals
Ancient rock paintings show primitive people hunting on animals

Later superheroes transformed into Gods and Goddesses, similar to the stereotype we used to get from contemporary comics.

Back to the facts, in the 19th-century Swiss artist Rodolphe Töpffer, was eager to set his name in caricatures.

However, he was struggling with an eye disease, which deprived him of the dream. He had written a few stories before the vision declined. So satiric pictures with the text below became the prototype of the contemporary style we know.

Few stories he made spread quickly from Europe to the USA. Satirical graphics called the cartoons and published in the newspapers.

In the last part of the 20th Century, comics in colour had been published firstly. Joseph Pulitzer represented it in the The New York World. And who could predict the successful future for the short paintings’ stories? Moreover, who could predict it would fight for billions for years?


The Stories of Marvel and DC

Marvel is younger than DC by four years. DC Comics established as National Allied Publications.

Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson, a founder, together with the team, set the standard for all future comics and became the pioneers in the creation of the superhero genre.


Action Comics

Superman, Batman, Flash, The Green Lantern, Batwomen – all prominent DC brainchildren. In April 1938, DC presented the Action Comic book series about a man with the superpower.


This introduced readers to Superman, who has become the world’s major crime fighter. Initially, the only ability he had was distance jumping. So that Superman was an antagonist to a contemporary one. He could kill criminals and interfere in the household affairs of married couples.

Then Batman was created, who avenged his murdered parents. This aspect changes the role of the empty fights to the duty call, mixed with intelligence.

A year after Joker and Batwoman appeared, Batman got a partner – Robin. Unlike Superman, Batman was forbidden to kill enemies and use weapons. Later, the rule became the main principle and personal treat of this hero.

Martin Goodman, the father of Marvel Comics, launched his company, called Timely Comic. The first characters were the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner.

For the next stage, Timely Comic competed with DC by legendary Captain America.

After two decades, DC increased the demand for comics, collected all the heroes to the Justice League (JL). It was the reboot of the old Justice Society of America series.

JL engaged innovative heroes, who caught the attention with the absence of prehistory in separate series. The current story gathers the most popular DC heroes.

To follow the trade how Marvel Comics developed, we could get the position changes from physical scattering to emotional intelligence characters.



From iconic, almost perfect heroes, authors allowed them to show emotions and feelings in their daily routine. Moreover, the daily routine crushed into the heroic life. Thus, it felt with humanity and related closely to the readers.

Marvels’ characters could struggle with depression, feel frustrated and could be without mute social understanding. Ordinarily – they struggle with the lack of love.

DC expanded its comics and began producing numerous series about lesser-known characters. However, this idea was unsuccessful.

Publishing prices fell, the company lost rates, more commercials were accepted to keep the studio afloat. Marvel, in turn, began to raise sensitive social and political issues, making the heroes involving not only youth but the adults.

The rescuing decision for the DC studio was to reboot all the series again so that the younger generation could reunite themselves with characters. They also launched the technique to introduce the hero`s past life, biography, preferences and dislikes.

Much easier to compare the heroes with ourselves when we feel and reflect commonly. The comics will act in the right way then, teach and discipline according to the justice each hero is fighting for.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney


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