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Mexican superheroes in film

According to an article by Juan Millán, the use of the word “superhero” began in 1917 in U.S. comics with patriotic overtones and gained further popularity with Iron Man, or Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938. The idea is simple: a man or woman with supernatural powers, or with a large enough budget to manufacture technologically advanced weapons, battles against villains who attack a city. The staging is of good versus evil.

Aquaman, Batman, Capital America, Catwoman, Hulk, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Superman, Thor … the reign of the supermen and superwomen has been enshrined in all its possible manifestations within contemporary popular culture.

Following are some of the Mexican superheroes that have been represented in Mexican cinema:

Blue Demon:

Personified by Alejandro Muñoz Moreno, the “Blue Demon” had his beginnings in 1948 within the ring of Mexican professional wrestling and established himself as one of the best professional wrestlers. He retired in 1989.

Blue Demon starred in 26 films: Demonio Azul (1965), Blue Demon contra el poder satánico (1966), Blue Demon contra los cerebros infernales (1968), diriected by Chano Urueta; Blue Demon y las invasoras (1969), El mundo de los muertos (1970), Misterio en las Bermudas (1979), directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares; Arañas infernales (1969), Los campeones justicieros (1971), Vuelven los campeones justicieros (1972), directed by Federico Curiel; Blue Demon y Zovek en la invasión de los muertos (1973), directed by René Cardona; El triunfo de los campeones justicieros (1974), La mansión de las 7 momias (1977), directed by Rafael Lanuza, among others.

In some other films, he shared scenes with Santo, who in the beginning was one of his main rivals but eventually became a great friend and co-star. In 2015, the documentary BLUE DEMON: El Origen de la Leyenda by Victor Mayorga was released digitally. Blue Demon Jr., his adopted son, continues his legacy.

Poster of {{El Demonio Azul}} (1965), by Chano Urueta and photography of Blue Demon.

Poster of El Demonio Azul (1965), by Chano Urueta and photography of Blue Demon.

Chanoc:

Chanoc is a rebellious young fisherman who lives in the port of Ixtac, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Tsekub, his godfather, tries to orient him and get him on track. Maley is Chanoc’s girlfriend, who wants to marry him, but he refuses. This is the story of the Mexican comic Chanoc, Aventuras de Mar y Selva by cartoonist Ángel Mora and writer Martín de Lucenay who died shortly after the first issues and was replaced by Pedro Zapiaín Fernández. The comic book was first published in 1959 by Publicaciones Herrerías. Curiously, writer Carlos Monsiváis appeared in several issues as the “Sage Monsi,” as did several Mexican soccer teams of the time.

Eight film adaptations were made: Chanoc (1967, directed by Rogelio A. González) starring Andrés García; Chanoc en las garras de las fieras (1970), Chanoc contra el tigre y el vampiro (1972), directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares and starring Gregorio Casal and Germán Valdés; Chanoc en la isla de los muertos (1977, directed by Rafael Pérez Grovas) starring Humberto Gurza; Chanoc y el hijo del Santo contra los vampiros asesinos (1981, directed by Rafael Pérez Grovas) and starring Nelson Velázquez, among others.

Comic of {{Chanoc, Aventuras de Mar y Selva}} and still of {{Chanoc}} (1967), by Rogelio A. González.

Comic of Chanoc, Aventuras de Mar y Selva and still of Chanoc (1967), by Rogelio A. González.

Kalimán:

Kalimán is the seventh man in the dynasty of the goddess Kali, heir to the kingdom of Kalimantan (fictional place) in India. Skilled in martial arts, with mental powers such as hypnosis, optography and astral travel, he is also proficient in the exact and social sciences. He fights against the forces of evil with his inseparable assistant Solín, a descendant of the pharaohs.

This character comes from the radio program Kalimán, el hombre increíble, by Rafael Cutberto Navarro Huerta and Modesto Ramón Vázquez González. The first broadcast was in 1963 and more than 30 series with thousands of half-hour episodes were made. Its success generated 1,351 consecutive adventure comic publications from 1965 to 1991. Several international adaptations were also made. Two films directed by Alberto Mariscal and starring Jeff Cooper were produced: Kalimán, el hombre increíble (1972) and Kalimán en el siniestro mundo de Humanón (1976).

Comic of {{Káliman, el hombre increíble}} and still of {{Kalimán, el hombre increíble}} (1972), by Alberto Mariscal.

Comic of Káliman, el hombre increíble and still of Kalimán, el hombre increíble (1972), by Alberto Mariscal.

The Ninja Mexicano:

This Mexican film was made in 1991 and directed by Jesús Fragoso Montoya. A group of ninjas assault a textile factory to steal a formula, developed by a scientist, which is the key to the production of a drug that is cheaper and more powerful than cocaine. The Ninja Mexicano, leader of the white ninjas and son of the inventor, is the only person who can stop them. This is the only superhero included in the list that originally comes from the cinema.

El Santo:

Considered a legend within Mexican professional wrestling and one of its best exponents, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, better known as “Santo, the Silver Masked Man,” began his career in the ring in 1934, but it was not until 1942 when he reached his peak in the ring… In 1952, the artist and editor José Guadalupe Cruz led him to the world of the comic strip with an eponymous comic book, which was very successful. By 1984, Santo had retired from the crowds when he suddenly died. The Son of Santo has continued the legacy of his father for more than 30 years.

Santo’s filmography consists of 52 films that range from science fiction and horror to soft porn. His films are internationally known and are part of a cult in Mexican popular culture. These include: Santo contra el cerebro del mal (1961, direct by Joselito Rodríguez); Santo contra los zombies (1962, directed by Benito Alazraki); Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro (1962, directed by Alfonso Corona Blake); Santo contra el cerebro diabólico (1963, directed by Federico Curiel); Santo versus la invasión de los marcianos (1967, directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna); Atacan las brujas (1968, directed by José Díaz Morales); Santo en El tesoro de Drácula (1969, directed by René Cardona); Las momias de Guanajuato (1972, directed by Federico Curiel); Santo vs. la hija de Frankestein (1972, directed by Miguel M. Delgado); Santo contra el doctor Muerte (1973, directed by Rafael Romero Marchent); La venganza de la llorona (1974, directed by Miguel M. Delgado); El puño de la muerte (1982, directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna), among others.

Poster of {{Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro}} (1962), by Alfonso Corona Blake and photography of Santo.

Poster of Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro (1962), by Alfonso Corona Blake and photography of Santo.

These are just some of the superheroes of Mexican cinema, but there are certainly others that could be added to the list. What are your favorites? Share you opinion on our Facebook page: moreliafilmfest