Super (Regency) Heroes

When I was a kid, I loved superheroes. My brother and I would go to my mom and have her pin towels around our necks, and then we’d fly around the backyard and fight bad guys.

At first, we thought all superheroes could fly, and that the cape was the device which made this possible. (Yes, I can hear Edna from “The Incredibles” scoffing at me!)

When we were old enough to actually read comic books, we learned that there were many kinds of superheroes, with many kinds of powers.

Some of these, if you think about it, couldn’t have been all that useful. Okay, so “Triplicate Girl” could split into three versions of herself — but so what? Sure, she, could date three guys at once, but how could she save the world?

And some heroes weren’t even “super”, but had talents and gadgets — like Batman, and Green Arrow, and Black Canary.

On the other hand, some heroes were so powerful — Superman, Captain Marvel, The Green Lantern, Wonder Woman — that I imagine it was hard for the writers not to have them win on page 2.

And so, you say — what does all this have to do with the Regency?

Does it ever seem to you like there are Regency superheroes? The dandy who never attracts lint, the rake who always knows how to please a lady (any lady), the gorgon who has memorized the family trees of everyone in Europe?

So — if you were creating a Regency superhero (or, even better, a whole group of superheroes with different powers, like the X-Men and their foes), who would you create? What would their powers be?

And what would their costumes and names be?

All responses welcome!

Cara
Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER
starring Super Atalanta and her sidekick Tom

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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25 Responses to Super (Regency) Heroes

  1. Cara, the online post office (.gov site) is currently selling stamps on comics super heroes. I got my set a couple weeks ago.

    Phantom (Ghost Who Walks) and Flash Gordon were my favorites, with Phantom on top of the heap.

  2. Cara King says:

    Ooh, Keira, those stamps are nice. Gonna have to get me some!

    Do you mean Phantom and Flash Gordon were your favorite characters? I never read Phantom… I confess when I was a kid I was more a reader of DC than Marvel!

    Cara

  3. I confess I do not understand this “super-hero” business. And should it not be “super-human”? I know it has been far too long since my school-days, but is not “super” Latin, and “hero” Greek? If so, does that not make “super-hero” the literary equivalent of wearing evening dress with riding boots?

    Bertie the Beau, confused again

  4. seton says:

    I am soooo glad you pointed out how useless Triplicate Girl’s superpower was. She was one of the original members of the League of Superheroes or whatever it was called which meant that she was invented in the 60s when sexism was rampant (not that sexism doesnt exist in comic books today. Stupid fanboys.)

  5. Judy T says:

    My dear, Bertie, aren’t you the clever one to notice that and point it out so humerously. (I’ll never be able to think of a superhero without also thinking of evening wear and riding boots). The thing about Americans is that we tend to borrow from everyone and mix and match as we please.

    My “superheroes” were the Black Stallion and Gandalf. For a Regency superhero: A man who is capable in all sports, dresses perfectly, dances beautifully, makes everyone comfortable but the villian, knows exactly what to say and what to do in every situation. For a name, I think it would definitely have to be a Lord but couldn’t be something like Pennington or Filbert; I can’t help myself, it would be something like Wolfe or Hawke (with an e to make it different, of course). Unfortunately, I think all that might be a bit boring after all. It’s the flaws and being caught off guard and vulnerable that add depth and interest to a character.

  6. I have one!! The Diamond…she dazzles the enemy with her perfection.

  7. Cara King says:

    Bertie, dear,

    when one considers that “Bertie” is an English name, and “Beau” is a French word, one might think you would be perfectly comfortable mixing languages!

    But riding boots or not, do try to come up with a Regency superhero for us! I’m sure you knew some. πŸ™‚

    Seton — I totally agree! And I think far too many superheroines had powers that were either passive, or at least not very aggressive. Triplicate Girl could split into three, Shrinking Violet could shrink, the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl could turn invisible, Kitty Pryde can go through things (as could Phantom Girl), etc… And Black Canary’s whistle was not terribly kick-ass! (I guess that’s why I read Wonder Woman.) πŸ™‚

    I’ve heard a similar complaint about my favorite new TV show, “Heroes.” Most of those with powers are male, and the female ones seem more likely to have powers that are not under their control… Then again, there are exceptions, and things are still developing! And it’s a great show nonetheless. (And as I’ve proven here before, Peter Petrelli’s hair has super powers of its own.)

    Cara
    who should spend more time writing

  8. Cara King says:

    Judy — I don’t suppose your hero could go by the name “Superlord”? No? Nah, didn’t think so. πŸ™‚

    I love “The Diamond,” Diane! And I’m sure she’d be one of those Regency spy heroines, too — luring secrets out of nefarious men. πŸ™‚

    And then there’s “HorseMan” — a hero with the amazing power to ride any horse at 30 miles an hour all day and all night, without the horse ever getting tired, hungry, thirsty, or annoyed enough to bite him. πŸ™‚ (I’ve seen him in a bunch of books, and not just Regencies! Actually, I’ve seen him a lot in fantasy novels.)

    Ooh, and then there’s “SuperAlgernon” (named for Oscar Wilde, of course) — a young dandy who’s always dressed in the best, and dines like a king, and is invited everywhere, but has such a small income that it would make you gasp. (Actually, this type existed, so perhaps it’s not a super power!)

    Ooh, and “RegencyCatLady” — who has twenty cats that everyone else hates (for their smell, their nasty dispositions, etc) but whom she never noticed any fault in. (Okay, yeah, I guess that’s reality too!) Her sister, of course, is “RegencyPugLady.” πŸ™‚

    Ooh, yeah, and “The Gamester” (a.k.a. “the Knave of Diamonds”), who has such an amazing talent for gambling that mathematical odds all fall in his favor, and he always wins even games that rely entirely on luck, such as faro and E.O.! (I’ve seen *him* far too many times in Regencies, too! Unfortunately, the author doesn’t always realize his powers are supernatural.)

    Cara
    who’s going to write soon, honest

  9. Ooh! Phantom wears a purple body suit that delineates every muscle. He also wears a black mask over his eyes and lives in a cave deep in the pygmy jungles. He uses his fists to win fights leaving the mark on a skull on his victims’ faces via a signet ring and rides off on a white horse. We never get to see his face. And his romance with a city girl is absolutely sigh-worthy.

  10. Here are some links to information about this Phantom character, first published in 1936 and still published now.

    International Hero

    Wikipedia

  11. Cara King says:

    Thanks for the info on Phantom, Keira! Wow, hard to believe I’d never heard of him — he’s had a long history! (But I guess we all have holes in our knowledge! Well, no more!)

    Cara

  12. Ooh, and “RegencyCatLady” — who has twenty cats that everyone else hates (for their smell, their nasty dispositions, etc) but whom she never noticed any fault in. (Okay, yeah, I guess that’s reality too!) Her sister, of course, is “RegencyPugLady.” πŸ™‚

    Amanda! I think you and I have been dissed!
    I’ll have you know, Cara, that I only have 4 cats!!!

    Diane

  13. Very well, perhaps I did know some Super Heroes from the age of Bertie.

    There was the great-aunt of my sister’s husband. She could bore one to death — and yet one still lived, and had to sit there, listening to her prose on about botany. I suppose one might entitle her “Super Great Aunt.” Or perhaps “The Bathetic Botany Bore.”

    And then there was this one fellow, old Frederick Buttonworth-Beauchamp. Thought he was in the forefront of fashion, but really looked more like his horse. And not the forefront part of his horse, if you see my point.

    I could call him “The Villainous Double-B.” Or “The Great and Terrible Ugly Person.” Or perhaps “The tedious and aesthetically unpleasing would-be dandy who didn’t know his handkerchief from his neckcloth, to the detriment of both.”

    Is that more what you were looking for, Milady King?

    Bertram St James, Exquisite

  14. Cara King says:

    Amanda! I think you and I have been dissed!
    I’ll have you know, Cara, that I only have 4 cats!!!

    Well, unless you and Amanda have cats who are like the cats I described, I doubt you are our superheroine!

    Actually, I once did know a lady who was a little like RegencyPugLady. She had a little yappy dog, and it would bite you, for no reason. (It never seemed angry. It just bit for fun, I suspect.) And it *hurt*. But this lady never disciplined the dog. (I, however, was forbidden to retaliate. Humph.) πŸ™‚

    Cara

  15. Todd says:

    Judy T:

    The perfect source for your Regency Superhero is one of my absolutely favorite books: The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione. It’s a dialogue, set over four nights, in which a group of Renaissance Italians create the perfect courtier.

    Philip Pullman invented a Victorian superhero called “Spring-Heels Jack.” I guess Zorro would be not too long after the Regency (though in California rather than England). And there is always The Scarlet Pimpernel.

    My Regency Superhero: The Beau. His neckcloth is immune to humidity; he can walk across London in the rain without staining his trouser cuffs, and reduce villains to stammering incoherence with one flourish of his quizzing glass.

    Todd-who-when-he-removes-his-glasses-becomes-completely-unrecognizable-or-at-least-cannot-recognize-anyone-else

  16. And not the forefront part of his horse, if you see my point. I could call him “The Villainous Double-B.”

    Bertie, you’re evil (but very very funny).

    Note to self: Contrive to stay in Bertie’s good books. Forever.

    BTW, is anyone have trouble with logging in and posting/commenting here since Blogger was acquired by Google? My account was involuntarily moved over to a Google beta version, and since then I’ve constantly been having problems commenting here and on a couple other blogspots, not everywhere though.

  17. Elena Greene says:

    OK, how about…

    The Quizzing Glass Kid, whose gaze can stun any (ill-dressed) villain?

    Hessian Man, whose boots blind everyone within a 50 foot radius?

  18. Elena Greene says:

    Or The Wallflower, who uses her ability to blend into the scenery to infiltrate the Regency underworld?

    Oops, made up another invisible heroine. Sorry. But isn’t it a cool ability?

  19. LOL, Elena!

    Is Diane right??? Have we been dissed??? OK, I guess I could be called RegencyPugLady AND RegencyCatLady, since I have 2 cats and, er, 2 dogs. But I swear my pets are not smelly and don’t bite! If I was a Regency miss, I would be an eccentric who took her dogs with her everywhere and dressed them up in little gowns and bows. πŸ™‚

  20. The dandy superheroes of White’s, who, from their control base in the bow window, can lift a woman’s skirts as much as six inches from the ground to view her ankles.

    Janet

  21. Cara King says:

    BTW, is anyone have trouble with logging in and posting/commenting here since Blogger was acquired by Google?

    Just in the past few days, Keira — since blogger forced us to convert to “new blogger” — I’ve been having some trouble. Sometimes the ID word doesn’t appear — and far too often, I could swear I typed it in right, and yet it doesn’t think so.

    Have you been having other problems?

    Cara

  22. Lois says:

    Oh me, my first obsession in life was Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter). Then came He-Man and She-ra, also superheroes, if not from the comics. I still love Superman, and seen a fair amount of spinoffs, but not interested in others. LOL πŸ™‚

    A Regency Superhero. . . uh. . . hmm. . . well. . . yep, you guys took my answers already. πŸ™‚

    Although I’m sure if the term was around, Beau Brummel thought he was a superhero! LOL πŸ™‚

    And the only trouble I have with the google account is not every blogger or blogspot (I think that’s the other google blog) has moved to the new version, I can’t always sign in cleanly. Here I can have a comment and not loose it when I sign in, though if I have a gmail account open I might have to try it a couple times to switch it to the blog google account. But blogs who haven’t switched over yet I do loose the comment so I have to copy before logging in.

    As for the word verification, I think the darn thing just times out if you spend a lot of time on the comments page. Annoying, happens when I have bravenet guestbook pages open for longer than a couple minutes. Pains. πŸ™‚

    Lois

  23. Kay Webb Harrison says:

    In defense of the Fantastic Four’s Invisible “Woman” — she could also project a force field, which could protect herself & others.
    Kay

  24. Cara said…
    Have you been having other problems?

    Like Lois, I lose comments, even though I don’t have a G-mail account. Like you, even if I have typed the verification word carefully, it doesn’t think so. Same goes for my password. Sometimes, the comment disappears. RR site is slower to load, especially the comments section sometimes takes forever, or simply times out. It’s been an everyday hassle.

    Not that I’m going anywhere. RR is the home of my friends, and one I’ll continue to visit every day, no matter the mud puddles along the way. But sometimes, I do wish for a fast phaeton.

  25. Cara King says:

    Not that I’m going anywhere. RR is the home of my friends, and one I’ll continue to visit every day, no matter the mud puddles along the way.

    Thanks, Keira! That’s much appreciated.

    As for losing comments — I don’t know if this works for every browser, but I find if I hit “back”, I can go back to a post or an email that has since been lost… (I also copy them sometimes so they don’t get lost! I do hate retyping things.)

    Cara

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