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Your First Trade Show Booth Display: Eight Success Tips
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## Im Batman Looking for as many Robins as Possable ##

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Hi One & All whatís going on @ your part of this beautiful planet

I have just received this with Today's Knowledge newsletter & being a grand-dad I just had to share with you.

How the Superheroes Got Their Power That's Mr. Incredible to you, bud

There are superheroes in theatres again. Oh sure, this time they're cartoons--and retired and living in the 'burbs because of too many personal injury suits. But Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone, and the kids are still part of Hollywood's continuing superhero boom. How did all this superhero stuff begin anyway?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The superheroes know, and for generations they've been donning masks, capes, and skin-tight costumes to bring their unique form of vigilante justice to the streets.
Today, the super-powered people live big in Hollywood, which has misfit mutants and radioactive spiders planned for years to come. Here's a quick look at how superheroes acquired such theatre-packing power.

1936 - America sees its first costumed hero in the Phantom, who deals out two-fisted justice to evildoers throughout the world. Almost from the beginning, the Phantom would be pushed to the margins by masked heroes with sexier powers, but he fights on to this day in the comics.

1938 - The first true superhero makes his appearance when Superman, an extraterrestrial refugee from the planet Krypton, debuts in Action Comics. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation comes complete with an alter ego named Clark Kent, whose mild-mannered persona encourages millions of readers to fantasize they too hide a hero within.

1939 - Eager readers of Detective Comics catch the first glimpse of a new hero called Batman. Millionaire Bruce Wayne, orphaned by a murderous criminal, counters Superman's clean-cut image with a grim and angry exterior. It proves crucial to his survival, as readers grown too cynical for Superman embrace the Dark Knight. Robin shows up in 1940.

1941 - With the winds of war rising, comic-book creators unveil the first 100 percent American superhero: Captain America. Other superheroes soon fight Nazis, too, but Captain America was the first successful character designed specifically to kick butt in the name of apple pie.

1941 - Wonder Woman makes her debut in All Star Comics and sets new standards for comic-book fetishism. Raised in an all-female society, this heroine masters her adversaries by tying them up with her golden lasso. Bondage cuts both ways, though. If Wonder Woman ever meets a man strong enough to tie her up with her lasso, she will lose her powers.

1952 - Superman hits the small screen, with barrel-chested George Reeves playing the Man of Steel for six seasons. Sadly, Reeves was not as invincible as the character he played. His death in 1959, from a single gunshot to the head, was ruled a suicide, but many still suspect foul play.

1962-63 - Marvel develops a series of comics based on reluctant superheroes, who acquire powers by accident and face public scorn. First comes "The Incredible Hulk," about scientist Bruce Banner, who, because of exposure to radiation, transforms into a violent green monster whenever he gets angry. Next up: "Spider-Man," in which nerdy high school student Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and gains super powers, but finds himself chronically short on cash and hounded by the press nonetheless. Finally: the "X-Men," super mutants despised by normal humans.

1964 - Daredevil joins the Marvel line-up as a blind-yet-buff vigilante attorney in New York's Hell's Kitchen. Years later, he gets a girlfriend named Elektra, a ninja-trained woman with the power to squeeze into red leather outfits so revealing they would make a stripper blush.

1966 - Adam West brings Batman to television, for three seasons. The series is evidently embarrassed by its subject matter and tries to make up in campy humour for what it lacks in dramatic conviction.
1976 - Wonder Woman comes to the small screen in the person of former Miss USA Lynda Carter. The following season sees the premiere of "The Incredible Hulk," starring Bill Bixby and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk.

1978 - Warner Brothers releases Superman: The Movie, starring Christopher Reeve. Box-office numbers are spectacular, but an America still jaded by Vietnam and Watergate greets Superman's ethic--to fight for truth, justice, and the American way--as quaint.

1989 - Batman arrives on the silver screen and couldn't be more different from the idealistic Man of Steel. Director Tim Burton envisions Batman as violent, inarticulate, and psychologically troubled.

2000 - The X-Men hit the theatres for the first time. The movie was delayed for years because of concerns about cost. Director Bryan Singer bypasses the problem by means of a radical innovation, focusing on character rather than special effects.

2002 - Marvel's heroic nerd swings onto the silver screen in Spider-Man. Director Sam Raimi focuses more on the trials and tribulations of Peter Parker than on the Webslinger himself. The 2004 sequel goes even further, with Spidey spending much of the movie unmasked.

2003 - Daredevil and the Hulk leap to the big screen. Hulk is directed by Ang Lee, best known as the director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. No word on whether Lee experienced difficulty moving from Dragon's mystical Taoist philosophy to the ethic of Bruce Banner's alter-ego: "Hulk smash!"

Mark Diller
November 5, 2004

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