When Literature Meets Comics. Who Makes the Superhero Cut?

27 Jun

There are many comic book heroes out there and many more that have not been published yet that people are coming up with in their homes. The interesting thing to consider is that before comic book heroes there were classic literary heroes. Heroes such as Robin Hood, Peter Pan, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and King Arthur. In fact The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series combined comics and literature.

Comic Geeks Unite did a poll asking which literary character fellow comic geeks thought would qualify as a superhero. CGU said that they purposely didn’t include and of the characters from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen so as to focus on a fresh literary character. 

The choices were: Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, and Alice (from Alice in Wonderland). 

Granted only 15 people participated in the poll, but their choice was clear. The winner was Sherlock Holmes. The finally tally was: 
Robin Hood 4 votes
Peter Pan   2 votes
Alice         0 votes
Sherlock Holmes 9 votes.

It’s not much of stretch really to associate literature with comic books. Stan Lee says that The Incredible Hulk was inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Superman was initially inspired by Nietzsche’s essay on the Superman. Then of course Batman’s amazing detective skills were inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

So what makes Mr. Holmes qualified to be a superhero? Let’s take a look at his qualifications:
  •  Amazing intelligence
    •  He notices the most minute detail
    •  Knowledge on almost every subject imaginable
    • Understands how people think better than anyone
  •  Physical prowess
    •  He was once on the armature fighter circuit
    • Can go toe to toe with any muscle of the underworld
    • Quick on his feet
  •  Doesn’t stops till he gets the villain
  •  An expert in the field of forensics before there really was a field of forensics
  •  Always thinking outside the box

Ok, so at first glance at this list it’s pretty much Batman without the cape and cowl. Although doesn’t that further prove that Sherlock Holmes is a viable comic book hero? He is certainly one of the most, if not the most, popular fictional sleuth. The standard by which all other sleuths are compared.

Another qualifying point for Mr. Holmes is that he has an arch nemesis. Who could ask for, or forget, such a formidable foe as Dr. Moriarty. Someone who matches Holmes’ amazing mind, but is saturated in evil. The only person able to keep one step ahead of Holmes, but overlooks that one detail which is ultimately his undoing.

Of course Sherlock Holmes isn’t perfect. There is that drug addiction problem. Although Tony Stark was an alcoholic. So no hero is absolutely perfect. Although you have to laugh at the irony that Robert Downy Jr. has played both characters. Funny isn’t it?

Given the numerous adventures and stunning resume we here at Comics Addicts dub Sherlock Holmes an honorary comic book hero. He is an example of what a hero should be; again minus the drug addiction. While most people would see this comic Knighting as an insult and a step down in literature we here at Comic Addicts see it as an honor. Sherlock Holmes embodies all of the qualities that makes anyone fantasize about fighting crime and he does it without spandex. Welcome to the fold our fine gentleman private eye! Your example is utterly inspiring and Bruce Wayne would agree.


One Response to “When Literature Meets Comics. Who Makes the Superhero Cut?”

  1. Calyptra September 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    An interesting take. I'd like to know more about this!

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