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  • In modern popular fiction, a superhero is a type of hero character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and dedicated to protecting the public. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine. Fiction centered on such characters, especially in American comic books since the 1930s, is known as superhero fiction. By most definitions, characters do not require actual supernatural or superhuman powers or phenomena to be deemed superheroes, although terms such as costumed crime fighters or masked vigilantes are sometimes used to refer to those such as Batman and Green Arrow without such powers who share other superhero traits. Such characters were generally referred to as "mystery men" in the Golden Age of Comic Books to distinguish them from characters with superpowers. Some 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 supervillains will be the superhero's archenemy. Some long-running superheroes, such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Iron Man, have a rogues gallery of enemies.

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