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edX ID:

Superhero Dossier

Important! Before You Begin


You should name your dossier. We recommend the
following format:

Lastname_Firstname_SuperheroDossi
er
If you havent done so already, go back to Page 1, and
enter your name and edX Username in the spaces
provided.
A few notes before you get started
BE CREATIVE! Smithsonian wants to see your original
ideas as well as a high quality of research.
Include interesting and perhaps little known facts
about the subject
Think outside the box about the social issues and
historical events that youre writing about
Challenge yourself to research lesser known or
more unusual people or events
You are encouraged to include images in your dossier
that you find on the Internet. However, make sure to list
all your sources in the References spaces at the end of
each section of the dossier.
If you want to create an original image of your
subject, youre welcome to! Just make a note that
the image is your creation.
Throughout the Dossier, youll be asked to write reports
and biographies. These should be between 500 and
800 words. No need to write a novel about the topic!

Superhero Dossier
Just make sure you touch on the important information
requested in each section of the Dossier.
Thats it! Turn the page now to begin creating your own
original Superhero Dossier!

Superhero Dossier

Now Its Your Turn!


We know that the comic book world has many more
creators, superheroes, and supervillains than we could
possibly fit in a six-week course. We also know that
comic books have had a cultural impact that is ever
changing and unique to each comic lover. Thats why we
want to give you a chance to add to the course by
teaching us about the creators, characters, and history
that are important to you.
In this companion to The Rise of Superheroes &
Their Impact on Pop Culture, we will lead you through
the process of compiling an original dossier of major
creators, characters, and influences throughout the
history of comics. Well start with an analysis of how
existing culture has impacted comic books. Then, well
move into researching specific creators and characters.
Finally, well circle back and look at how comic books
have impacted modern culture.
Its up to you to select what you want to write about for
each section of this Dossier. As we move through the
weeks of the course, you are welcome to choose people
and characters from the time period currently being
covered in the course that week. Alternatively, you may
choose from any comic genre and any time period or
location that interests you. Its entirely up to you.
We hope you enjoy this opportunity to play professor
and will share your work with your fellow students. You
may share your work on the discussion forum in edX, in
any of the courses companion Facebook groups, and on
our web forum where you can post the project and get

Superhero Dossier
constant and updated feedback from your fellow
superhero students.
We would also love to hear from you! If you have ideas
you think will make this activity better, let us via email
at smithsonianxcourses@gmail.com.

Dossier Contents
Important! Before You Begin

Now Its Your Turn!

Dossier Contents

Mythological Influence

Creator Biography

??

Superhero Biography

??

Supervillain Biography
Cultural Impact

??
??

Superhero Dossier

Mythological Influence
Instructions
Throughout the history of comic books, creators have
looked to mythology for inspiration. This week, Prof.
Uslan gave a few examples of characters who clearly
had their origins in Greek and Roman mythology (The
Flash, Aquaman). Now wed like to hear from you.
Pick one of your favorite superheroes or villains. Look
at the ancient myths and see if you can figure out
which god or goddess the character is based on. We
encourage you to look for influences both within
traditional Western mythology as well as in
mythology from other non-Western cultures.
Here are some sites to help you get started on your
research. Once youve decided upon your superhero
or villain and that characters mythological
inspiration, turn to the next page to start filling out
the key information about that relationship.
Godchecker
Wikipedia's List of World Mythologies

Superhero Dossier

Vital Statistics
Name of
God or
Goddess
Country of
Origin
Gender
Description
of
Appearance
Strengths
Weaknesses

Origin Story

Superhero Dossier

Pictures
What does the god or goddess look like? Find 1-2
images and add them to the spaces provided below.
Remember to include your sources on the References
page!
Images

To add your own image, select Insert > Photo > Picture from File and
select the image you downloaded from the Internet onto your local
drive. You may delete the placeholder image when youve added at
least one of your own.

Teachings
Traditionally, gods and goddesses have been used to
explain certain global phenomena or human
behaviors the creation of the universe, the
existence of the seasons, the power of wisdom, or
the danger of vanity. What purpose does the god or
goddess youve selected serve in his or her
mythological tradition? What lessons can we learn

Superhero Dossier
from this god or goddess about the world or
ourselves?:
Teaching 1
Teaching 2
Teaching 3
Do any images exist that are visual representations
of these teachings? Use this space to include images
(paintings, drawings, etc.) of your god or goddess at
work.
Images

To add your own image, select Insert > Photo > Picture from File and
select the image you downloaded from the Internet onto your local
drive. You may delete the placeholder image when youve added at
least one of your own.

Influences
Now its time to dig deeper into exactly how your
chosen god or goddess has influenced your selected
superhero or villain. What similarities exist between
the characters? What do we learn from each that
makes him or her so important?

Superhero Dossier
Characteri God/Goddess
stic
Appearance
Strengths
Weaknesses
Origin Story
Teachings

Superhero/Villain

Required Sections
Its time to put everything youve gathered so far
together and write your report on your findings.
While you may add any new content you feel is
necessary to fully explain your ideas, your report
should include, at minimum, the following four
elements:
1.Introduction
Use what you identified in the Vital Statistics
section to draft a brief introduction to your god
or goddess. It should include a summary of their
country of origin, physical appearance, powers,
and creation story.
2.Teachings
What lessons do we learn from the god or
goddess that youve chosen? In this section,
write 1-2 paragraphs that explain more in depth
why this god or goddess is so important and
exactly what element of the world or of mankind
her or she explains.
3.Influences

Superhero Dossier
How did the god or goddess directly influence
the superhero or villain that you selected? Here,
write 1-2 paragraphs giving more detail about
the similarities between the characters including
their appearance, strengths, weaknesses, origin
stories, and teachings. You may add on a brief
conclusion to the end of this paragraph or write
a separate paragraph if youd like.
4.Images
As you write each of the three sections above,
wed like you to incorporate at least 2 images to
visually support your explanation. You should
include the sources from where you found your
images a simple URL from the website will
suffice.

Template
The template below is the simplest one we expect
you to create. However, you may feel free to add
additional sections if you wish.
Introduction
(Add text here)

Teachings

Superhero Dossier
(Add text here)

Influence
(Add text here)

Write your Report!


Okay you should now have all the tools you need to
write your report. You may use the table template
from the previous page, your own custom template,
or simply write it as you would a traditional essay.
Good luck! We cant wait to see what you come up
with!

My Mythological Influence Report

Superhero Dossier

References
Use this space to list the references where you found
the information in your report. You can just copy and
paste the URLs where you found the information like
you see in the example below.
Reference 1: www.google.com
Reference 2: www.yahoo.com
Reference 3: www.si.edu
Please list as many references as you used youre
not limited to only 3 like in the example!

My References
Reference 1:
Reference 2:
Reference 3:

Scratch Paper
Any notes or other things youd like to capture about
the god, goddess, superhero, or villain? Interesting
thoughts or ideas about topics to cover in your
report? Something particular about the character you
want to make sure you remember? The Scratch Paper
section is yours to do whatever you want, and is not
required for you to complete.