A superhero possesses extraordinary or superhuman powers and is dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes—ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas—have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media. The word itself dates to at least 1917. "SUPER HEROES" is a trademark co-owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Superheroes are authentically American, spawning from The Great Depression era.
By most definitions, characters do not strictly require actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, although terms such as costumed crime fighters are sometimes used to refer to those such as Batman and Green Arrow without such powers who share other common superhero traits. Such characters were generally referred to as "mystery men" in the so-called Golden Age of Comic Books to distinguish them from characters with super-powers.
Normally, superheroes use their powers to counter day-to-day crime while also combating threats against humanity by supervillains, their criminal counterparts. Often, one of these supervillians will be the superhero's archenemy. As well, some longrunning superheroes, such as Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, each have a rogues gallery of enemies. As well, superheroes sometimes will combat such irregular threats as aliens, magical entities, and godlike or demonic creatures.