Monday, July 15, 2013


Gladiator is a 1930 novel. It is notable for seemly being a deconstruction of comic book superhero tropes despite the fact it had some of the earliest examples of these tropes.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Professor Abednego Danner experimented on a cat and tadpole thus giving them super strength. After he experiments on fetus on his unborn son, his son, Hugo, is born with super strength, bulletproof skin and super speed. Because he is told not abuse his power, Hugo is bullied and refused to fight back. He played with trees outside the rural area he lives in. Hugo became a football star, but had to quit school and football when accidentally killed another football player. He fought during World War 1 in the French Foreign Legion, but failed to affect the outcome of the war. After the war, he got a job a bank. When someone was trapped in tje vault, Hugo ripped off door (afted everyone else agreed to leave) to free man. However, this is met with suspicion and led the banker think Hugo was a safe cracker planning to rob the bank. As such, he was tortured for how he opened the vault. This proved ineffective and he escaped. Later, he failed to affect politics. Afterwards, he ran into an archaeologist, who (after hearing Hugo's story) offers multiple solutions to his problems. Standing on top a mountain, Danner asked god what to do and is killed by lightning.
Relationship to Superheroes
Because when the novel was made, Hugo Danner never attempts to become a superhero. However, there are some connection to superheroes. Hugo is described as having leaping ability proportionate to a grasshopper and strength proportionate to an ant. These metaphors were used to describe Superman. As mentioned before, this seems like a deconstruction of superhero tropes most notably how Hugo's powers cause nothing but problems despite his good intentions.

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