Superhero fiction is a genre of fiction featuring characters "of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest". It examines the adventures of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possesssuperhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains.
Under the umbrella of speculative fiction, superhero fiction can be combined into hybrid genres by introducing elements from other forms of fiction, such as science, horror, fantasy, alternate history, supernatural, adventure, western, romance, and crime fiction. This is accomplished by situating superhero narrative elements within the context of a wider, genre themed setting.
The superhero genre has launched the careers of many successful writers and artists, who have in turn influenced the development of the genre through their contributions. Many other artists, such as actors and musicians, have also had their own work influenced by stories of superheroes.
Since the 1938 debut of Superman, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief, standalone adventures, to serials written over several years — have dominated American comic books. In the decades that have followed, it has crossed international and social boundaries, influencing and interacting with other cultures, and has been translated from superhero comics into other forms of media, including film, animation, television, and video games.
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