Note: This article was originally published on December 1st, 2012 on the blog The Lighthouse
Today, when we hear of Superheroes, we automatically think of American comic book characters from the 1940s and 1950s like Superman. Although stories of men in tights with super powers are from the late 1930s, stories of heroes with unusual powers who appear in propaganda stories can be traced back to eleventh century France. The Song of Roland (French: La Chanson de Roland), a “chanson de geste” (a kind of epic poem) and the first great work written in French, served as propaganda much like early issues of “Superman” and “Captain America” from the 1940s. The aim of these Superhero stories differed from that of The Song of Roland, but the symbols that the heroes and villains represent are quite similar.
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