The status of the superhero in modernist and contemporary culture is significant and evolving at a strikingly rapid rate, so much so that it cannot go without comment. Superheroes are one of the most helpful sources in helping to mount the argument of masculinity as masquerade, an underlying concern of this book. As Friedrich Weltzein argues, there are examples since antiquity of men asserting their manhood through adopting particular guises in order to perform their desired function. This can range from Odysseus returning home in the guise of a beggar to the definition of a berserker as 'the one in the bear skin'. Thus 'heroic or ideal masculinity appears not as a superior virility but as a superior ability in masking'. The superhero, whose identity is based on an alternate, civilian identity is central to this concept, as he has become the modern exemplar of the ancient warrior.