Real Name: Unknown
Identity/Class: Normal human (seemingly)
Affiliations: other superheroes from "Superhuman Legion" such as Mr. Victory and King Power; an unnamed friend who runs a hardware shop for superheroes
Enemies: Vordo (only mentioned); Gulga (seen, it is a monster)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Unnamed city
First Appearance: Simbolo (Troglo Comics Ltd. and Factory, 1998)
Powers/Abilities: some kind of force field, superhuman strength (maybe)
History: Simbolo is a little known hero who prefers to work alone; in fact when he joins the Superhuman Legion all the attention is focused on King Power and Mr. Victory, who have been working as superheroes for fifty years. He is asked to form a new superhero team (the Four Stars Team) by training some young guys, but the results are awful: the boys are, in turn: Steroidvictory (a guy that looks and acts just like Mr. Victory), King Power II (a fan of King Power with a homemade costume), and an idiot who tries to do Mr. Victory's parody.
Simbolo loses a battle against the monstrous Gulga, and later asks the talent scout (that is, superhero-scout) of the Superhuman Legion for a new job. The man tells him his powers are too weird and that he is unknown to the people, and so asks him to work with other existing heroes: it's the only way to become a well known hero.
In the end, a window cleaner is falling off a skyscraper and Simbolo saves him with his force field, even if nobody has seen him doing that and he will gain nothing from this job. Simbolo is happy with this and decides that it is better to accomplish simple tasks by yourself rather than save the world because you are forced to.
Comments: The hero of an independent comic created by writer Diego Cajelli and artist Luca Bertelé. Simbolo has only had one appearance.
"Simbolo" means "symbol" in Italian, and in fact his adventure is meant to be symbolic. Simbolo's story (as far as I can understand, since this is not explained by the authors) is a metaphor of the comic artist's activity and of the market of comics.
All the characters in this story are references to phenomena from the world of comics:
the Superhuman Legion are of course the most notorious comics heroes, the issues that have a lifespan of decades and continue to repeat themselves because the people likes them that way;
Steroidvictory (who, in the story, is said to become Mr. Victory's stunt double) represents all those artists who can draw very well but are specialized in re-making the style of previous, well-known comic artists and so are asked to work instead of them for the new issues. These artists never get to publish their own characters. Or maybe he is just a critic to new characters that look too much like old ones;
King Power II represents the no-budget self-productions and fanzines that disappear after a little while;
the parody is, of course, any parody of already existing characters (Simbolo's authors don't seem to like them very much);
Sunrising, another hero that appears very briefly, represents Japanese manga heroes. In fact, about him Simbolo says that some heroes are trying to imitate his powers because they work well, and other heroes (= artists or publishers) hate him. Simbolo likes him but says that the city needs new superheroes born in the city itself;
The superhero talent scout represent the publishers who decide if a comic is worth being produced or not;
The city and the people are the people who buy comics;
Simbolo's friend may be the people who tried to become comic artists and failed, and later opened a comics shop;
the window cleaner may represent people who spot fresh, innovating comics in the bunch of mainstream issues and continues to follow and support them;
at last, Simbolo is the author themselves, who keep on to produce new comics without following the laws of marketing, but doing just what they like.
Simbolo says that he didn't want to become a hero to imitate others, but that he was born a hero, with superpowers, and didn't remember how he could get them. This means that the authors didn't want to become comic artists because some other told them, but because they really loved comics since they were children (I think).
The name "Simbolo" may also be a reference to the symbol on Simbolo's costume, a sort of black 'O' on his torso and belt. When he uses his force field power, this oval symbol appears. I don't know if creating a hero so visually anonymous is another metaphor.
Profile by Federico "Boyakki" Tiraboschi.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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