The 1903 play "The Scarlet Pimpernel" popularized the idea of a masked avenger, according to Frank Lovece of Newsday. The Scarlet Pimpernel works in the shadows with his identity hidden from both friend and foe. He stands for English stability and against chaos during the onset of the French Revolution.
Pulp fiction and comic-strips soon followed suit with costumed heroes such as Zorro and the Phantom. In 1930, the concept of superpowers were introduced by way of Hugo Danner's superhuman strength in the American science fiction novel "Gladiator." In 1938, these two archetypes of costumed hero and superpowers converged with the introduction of Superman.