We are currently living in the age of the superhero movie, a financially-friendly genre that is at present flying its way around cinema screens on what is noticeably becoming a regular basis. With the earth-shattering advances in special effects over the past couple of decades, it’s becoming increasingly easy for super-powered vigilantes to make the transition from the pages of a comic book to being projected on the silver screen, which has resulted in a recent explosion of cinematic offerings from the superhero genre. Just this year we’ve already feasted on Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” and Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class,” and last Friday (June 17) we were presented with Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern,” which shall be followed by Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” released July 22 in the US. It seems you can’t look at your local cinema listings without seeing someone in a cape or a mask or with their skin a funny colour (no racism intended). But what is the history of this genre? Where did it all begin? When did it really become popular? And what is with our current fascination with crime-fighters who have awesome, otherworldly powers?