The classic superhero archetype has existed since the beginning of the 20th century, and one of the first characters that incarnated this archetype was El Zorro, the most famous latinamerican superhero. With the current boom of taking popular heroes and turning them into box office hits, we started thinking about the many latinamerican heroes that could become a major movie hit, at least in Latinamerica. After searching for a while, we discovered that there are tons of heroes made by Latin authors that have nothing to envy to the Captain America or Superman, so on this article we have put together a small roundup featuring the 10 most important superheroes in Latin America according to our opinion, so if you think that there should be another one on the list, don’t forget to leave us a comment.
In order for a character to be consider as a superhero, it must possess super human skills or be able to reach them (e.g. Batman), these kind of heroes were previously known as “mystery men” but know it seems like they are considered as equals with the ones coming from other planets or nuclear accident survivors. The next aspect on identifying a superhero is that he uses his abilities to fight the crime and protect the defenseless, finally, superheroes usually need to protect their identities and hence they often carry a double life (Superman / Clark Kent) and also wear a special costume that makes them identifiable by everyone.
Our top ten
Now let’s take a look at what we consider to be the ten most important superheroes in Latinamerica, we based our decision in their popularity, originality and permanency. We found tons of superheroes from all countries in Latinamerica, though it seems that the most important comic schools were founded in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, which is the reason why most of these characters belong to one of these countries.
El Gato Negro
Created by Richard Dominguez and published by Azteca Productions, El Gato Negro (The Black Cat) was first published in October 1993. According to the history, Agustín Guerrero was the first person to hold the title of El Gato Negro back in the 1950′s, using this name as a way of succeeding in the lucha libre (wrestling) scene, though his original purpose quickly changed when he decided to fight the criminal scene in South Texas. Years later, Agustin abandoned his life as El Gato Negro until his grandson revived the character three decades later.
Created during the 1990′s by Mexican cartoonist Edgar Delgado, Ultrapato tales the story of two pairs of gloves creates centuries ago by an alien race that can grant great power to their wearers. One of this pairs is found by a duck named Carlos Bay in the city of Villa Ave, then he becomes Ultrapato, a superhero that defends the city from the criminals and supervillians, including the powerful Ultragallo.
Ultrapato is regarded as one of the most important comics in Mexico due the fact that the creators were forced to afford the publications themselves and sold them in comic book stores or special events. The first Ultrapato edition is now considered a true relic among many latinamerican fans.
One of the newest characters from the list, Mirageman is a Chilean superhero created by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza. Unlike most superheroes, Mirageman was originally released as a movie and since then it has became one of the most popular action heroes in Chile. Miregaman tells the adventures of Maco Gutiérrez, a martial arts fan that works as a bouncer in a nightclub named Passapoga. Maco’s life is lonely and boring because all his family was murdered by a criminal gang and since then he has been suffering severe psychological consequences and remains interned in a hospital, leaving martial arts as the only thing to do for avoiding his reality.
One day Maco decides to take justice by his hands and takes down a group of robbers that were breaking inside a house, he also rescues a woman that was about to be rapped, who turns out to be a famous news hostess named Carol Valdivieso, since that day Maco decides to become Mirageman and the story begins.
Published by la Editorial RaCaNa since 1976. Aguila Solitaria was the only survivor of an unidentified native american tribe murdered by a guy named Morgan, a dangerous treasure hunter that killed Aguila’s father when he refused to provide him any information regarding the treasure. Since that day, Aguila grew up in the mountains until he was captured by “The Game”, an enormous eagle who adopted him and taught him all the arts and ways of the eagles, one day Aguila took the feathers of dead eagles and built his famous wings. Aguila left the mountain and became a hero that protects people from white man and some mysterious enemies, managing to avenge his father’s death after facing Morgan.
El indio Patoruzú (The Patoruzú Indian) is one of the most important and influential characters in the Argentinian history. Created in 1928 by Dante Quintero, the character was born as a secondary personage in “El Cacique Patoruzú”, a story where Spanish conquerors were seen as mighty giants provided with an unique strength. El indio obtained his own history some time ahead and it became one of the biggest graphic humor milestones in Argentina. Quintero drew hundreds of stories for almost 40 years and the reprints were numerous. Since the 1940′s, El indio Patoruzú became an icon in the Argentinian pop culture.
Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was a Mexican Luchador (professional wrestler) known as El Santo (The Saint). El Santo was not only a wrestler but also an actor and folk icon. He became one of the most famous and iconic Mexican luchadores along with Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras (Thousand Masks) and has been referred as Mexico’s greatest sport legend. His professional wrestling career went throughout five decades in which he appeared in several comic books and movies. Guzman’s legacy was followed by his son who is known as El Hijo del Santo (Son of Santo).
Without a doubt, Kaliman is the highest selling comic book in Mexico and Latinamerica, its first edition was published on November 1965 and since then it was sold every week with no stop for 26 years. The story tales the adventures of Kaliman, an orphan adopted by prince Abul Pasha, a member of one of the Kalimantan Valley’s kingdoms, a dinasty of men dedicated to preserve justice around the world. Kaliman took an oath to goddess Kali to fight for justice, he must return to India every seven years to renew this vow.
Kaliman does not use any weapons except for a blowpipe with tranquilizer darts and a ceremonial dagger that he never uses during a fight. He’s a martial arts master as well as great arts and science connoisseur. He also has huge mental powers and self-healing abilities. Later on he then meets his friend Solin and together they start traveling around the world and facing countless enemies and challenges.
My personal number one, El Eternauta (The Eternaut) is a science fiction comic created by Argentinian comic writer Héctor German Oesterheld and the artwork of Francisco Solano López, its first edition was published in Hora Cero Semanal from 1957 to 1959. The series tales the story of Juan Salvo, an Argentinian guy that has to face an extraterrestrial invasion where almost all people gets killed. He manages to reach the alien’s base and activates a time machine device that transports him to another era, since then, Salvo travels throughout different periods and planets trying to save his planet from annihilation.
After Oesterheld kidnapping and disappearance during the dictatorship period, El Eternauta continued in different versions by a plethora of writers and artists. Now both Oesterheld and El Eternauta are regarded as two of the most important icons in Argentina and Latinamerica.
El Chapulín Colorado
El Chapulín Colorado (The Scarlet Grasshopper), is an original Mexican TV show created by the famous comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños, also known as “Chespirito”. The character’s name comes from a North American insect similar to a grasshopper, El Chapulín Colorado is a goofy, little and skinny guy that wears a red suit with yellow shoes, yellow underpants and a couple of feelers hanging on top of his head. The Chapulin’s symbol is a yellow heart with a CH. The Chapulin’s adventures were initially transmitted during the late 1970′s and they’re still played on TV in many latinamerican countries.
Probably the most popular Hispanic hero around the world, El Zorro (The Fox) is considered a symbol throughout Latinamerica and is also regarded as one of the first heroes in modern culture. El Zorro was created by American journalist Johnston McCulley during the early XX century and its first publishing occurs in 1919 on the All-Story Weekly Magazine, the story was translated to 26 languages and distributed around the world. El Zorro tells the story of Don Diego de la Vega, a Spanish yeoman that lives in the ville of Alta California during the Spanish domination, Don Diego dresses up as El Zorro to fight the injustices committed by the authorities and defend the oppressed, his costume is a black suite along with a mask, a hat and a cape, he always travels on his faithful horse Tornado and carries a sword and a whip as weapons. Many characters including Batman were inspired by this popular Latin hero.
Now we have reached the end of this countdown, however we want to include a couple of heroes to the list, one was one of the most popular heroes in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay a few decades ago, while the other has become a famous character in Colombian television.
Created by Argentinian artist García Ferre, Hijitus reached the TV during the 1960′s. This show was a real classic in Argentina, competing with the most popular American shows and Astroboy. The show tells the adventures of a poor kid that wears a “galera” hat and when he passes through it he becomes a superhero. Hijitus lived inside a tube on the suburbs of the city of Trulala along with his faithful dog Pichichus.
Profesor Super O
El Profesor Super O (The Super O Professor) is a Colombian animated series that tells the adventures of El Profesor Super O, a hero that helps people to avoid committing idiomatic mistakes. The story follows the same guidelines of most international heroes but adapted to Colombia’s Pacific Coast. When he was just a child, Charles Ocoró suffered an accident that changed his life, he was hanging around with his grandfather and suddenly 2 tons of shrimps fell over them, his grandfather Secundino, a professor originative from the planet “Mojarra con Plátano” (Crappie with Plantain) died on the accident, however before he passed away, he transferred all his energy to Charles.
So that’s it for this article, a small roundup featuring the most famous latinamerican superheroes. They might not be as rich as Bruce Wayne or have a fancy Solitude Fortress but we all love them, we hope that more people follows the school and we can see more awesome superheroes made by Latin artists. If you want to learn how to make an awesome superhero illustration, then you may want to check our case study on Colombian illustrator Simon Wilches. Don’t forget to leave us your comment and well, if you liked this article please share it with your friends, thanks for visiting Mishës and we’ll see you in our next post.