Before the Human Torch or Namor, before Batman or Superman, before Dick Tracy, before their creators were even conceived, there was Beowulf. The oldest manuscript ever found in the English language, Beowulf paved the way for many, many heroes to come.
Beowulf is a story of a traveler that takes it upon himself to rid a village of monster that’s been reeking havoc nightly. This tasks proves more than difficult. After vanquishing the monster, things only get worse as the monster’s mother seeks vengeance.
Of course, there’s been movies, comics, video games, etc. but to be completely honest, they’ve all been subpar (at least, the ones I’ve experienced). Beowulf is an absolute goldmine. You see, the original manuscript was much longer, most of it was lost in a fire. What was left was one story. Comic companies could market it as the “lost legends”.
Well, technically, he’s just a guy. However! In his story, he displays power much above his mortal peers. Like many superheroes, he is as powerful as his writer needs him to be.
For me, there are two “powers” that Beowulf needs to keep within other stories. In his fight with Grendel’s Mother, he holds his breath for an amazingly long time. Now, I’m not saying he needs to be an amphibian, this could manifest as superior athletic ability, as displayed by Conan, Tarzan, or Batman. Also, HE GOT BIG SWORD. Within Grendel’s Mother’s cave he finds a large magical sword, called Hrunting, that he uses to (spoiler) kill Grendel’s Mother. Now, of course, he shouldn’t have this sword in stories that take place before the main story, but for those after, it should be included.
The time before the great battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s Mother will now be referred to as the Pre-Hrunting Age. This time includes the stories that take place before receiving Hrunting, the big, magic sword. Beowulf killed Grendel with his bare hands. This monster killed scores of warriors, no one was able to take him out. Beowulf, easy. At this time, he was already a hero to the Geats. Beowulf is an accomplished warrior. The Geats were a seafaring tribe that later became the Vikings. They were a warrior nation and Beowulf was the one above all.
Likely equipped with a sword, possibly a hammer or axe, the Pre-Hrunting Age, could follow the early days of Beowulf. Rising through ranks, we would read of the battles and exploration of Beowulf and the Geats.
Beowulf just killed Grendel’s Mother. Returning to his homeland, he would probably take a detour to “test out” Hrunting. Slaying mystical and/or supernatural beasts all along the way. I’m sure he’d take on entire armies by himself. Perhaps, he may even wander into the realm of the gods.
Make It Happen!
So obviously this is an absolute great property to have at your disposal. Goldmine. Why hasn’t this happened yet?