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Historical Domain Superperson

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Washington, Washington
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Historical Domain Characters tend to get thrown around in fiction, even if it's not a Period Piece. This may have something to do with the fact their stories (or at least the basics) are interesting and thus would lead to them either having a role (of any relevance) in the story or just as a one-off gag.

However, they tend to be subject to getting a Historical Hero Upgrade or Historical Villain Upgrade in general, usually from a form of Artistic License – History. Sometimes you throw in a Historical Badass Upgrade to that one king who was best known for diplomacy and make him lead his armies to battle or make Abraham Lincoln a vampire hunter.

But what if that's not enough for the Rule of Cool? Then give them superpowers. Essentially, this trope is about historical figures (or those heavily based on them) but with supernatural abilities that can be anything (or maybe loosely based on what they're best known for or stereotypes around their nationality). These superpowered historical figures don't even need to be part of a Historical Fantasy to qualify, they can even exist in the modern-day! (When modern-day figures are the ones with powers, it’s Celebrity Power.)

A Sub-Trope of Historical Badass Upgrade and Beethoven Was an Alien Spy. A Super-Trope to Demon King Nobunaga and Julius Beethoven da Vinci. Could also lead to Weird Historical War and Historical Domain Crossover (where historical figures team up to fight).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: The Doctor's past incarnations included Albert Einstein, Jesus Christ, and Grigori Rasputin.
  • Crimson has The Knights Templar as some of the villains. Here, they were reorganized into an independent supernatural hunting force that commits Van Helsing Hate Crimes. They have a group of Elite Mooks called The Order of the Dragon (the most skilled and formidable Templars) who harvested Angel blood to gain supernatural strength and durability.
  • In the 2004 The Dead Boy Detectives miniseries, Gilles de Rais was not only a child murderer obsessed with the occult like he was in the historical record, here his magicks actually worked, and he'd drain the lives of children around him. It's explained that this was downplayed in the in-universe history to not freak people out.
    Marquez: It was more palatable that the murderer was merely a madman, and not a black magician and heretic.
  • Grigori Rasputin in Hellboy is a sorcerer that worships the ancestral Ogdru-Jahad and wants to start the Apocalypse. In the original comics, he has a Healing Factor and Mind Control powers and has come back as a ghost at least twice, while in the 2004 movie adaptation he has Resurrective Immortality and comes back to life with a fragment of his god inside.
  • In Invincible, the Immortal, a Flying Brick with Resurrective Immortality, was Abraham Lincoln. He was also Christopher Columbus, though the animated adaptation implicitly removed that rap sheet.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Elizabeth I of England, Nero, Caligula, Aleister Crowley, and several others are transformed into hideous undead creatures in Hell. Meanwhile, Dracula's wife is the infamous Blood Countess, Elizabeth Báthory, a vampire with Blood Magic.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. (2010) has many famous figures in history being parts of the organisation of which S.H.I.E.L.D. is the most modern part, and fighting other such famous figures. Among others, Isaac Newton is an immortal and immoral super-scientist and former stand-in Sorcerer Supreme, Michaelangelo is the Forever Man who is everywhere across time at once, and Nikola Tesla is an electricity-wielding cyborg called 'The Night Machine'.
  • One bizarre issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose revealed that George Washington had a suit of wooden Powered Armor and that every President since then has been expected to don Powered Armor to defend the country in times of trouble.
  • West Coast Avengers: A version of the Lethal Legion consists of these, as they were resurrected by the demon Satannish. The members are:
    • Lizzie Borden ("Axe of Violence"): Gained red skin and a two-sided ax replacing her right arm, she also can throw other two-sided axes.
    • Josef Stalin ("Coldsteel"): Became a hulking 8 ft. steel giant with super strength.
    • Lucrezia Borgia ("Cyana"): Gained light blue skin and the ability to poison others via a kiss or her razor-sharp nails.
    • Heinrich Himmler ("Zyklon"): Gained the ability to fly and can belch out poisonous gasses from his mask and gauntlets.
  • In X-Statix, Henrietta Hunter was originally supposed to be Diana, Princess of Wales, who had been inexplicably restored to life and given superpowers, but Marvel editorial vetoed it.

    Fan Works 
  • Birth of Evil has Elizabeth Báthory raising Rose the Hat. She steals steam from women with the Shining as a way of achieving immortality and eternal beauty. She teaches Rose her ways, making the latter a True Knot.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • As in Harry Potter canon, Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel are immortal alchemists and made all the more so by Nick Fury offering them the Infinity Formula.
    • As it turns out, Julie d'Aubigny was one of the many identities of in-universe time-travelling ageless Memetic Badass the Lady Knight. When she turns up, she uses Julie Maupin as a pseudonym on the grounds that it was one of her favourite lives.
  • Codex Equus:
    • Elvis Presley is hailed as a musical icon who changed the face of music forever, yet also derided as a joke who let himself get fat and destroyed his own legacy. Blue Suede Heartstrings (now King Caerulus Melodia Equestria-Corporatum) is essentially the Codexverse's Ponified version of Elvis who, as a result of changes in circumstances and choices, became a 'prodigy' Alicorn god of Music, Humility, Performance, and Love instead. Eventually, through certain choices made on his part, Blue Suede grows as a stallion and eventually re-Ascends as a reincarnation 'clone' of Mana Equus, one of the Thirteen Empyreans, turning him into an Alicorn god of Musical Magic, Self-Respect, Performance, Love, and Mana.
    • The Trimortidae contains multiple examples as several members are based on various real-life people who died, whether way back in the past or in recent years. All of them are incredibly ancient and powerful Death deities due to Ascending to godhood post-mortem.
      • James Dean is a young actor who codified the Greaser Delinquents trope, and managed to retain popularity long after his tragic death. Here, as Bronze Gear, he later became the Alicorn god of Death, Defiance, Freedom, and Technology post-mortem after helping the Trimortidae during the 'Applewood Rescue'.
      • Bossa Nova Hearstrings, Blue Suede's older identical twin brother, is based on Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis Presley's stillborn older twin brother. Here, he becomes first an Angel of Death working under his adoptive father, Gavisus Manes, then later an Alicorn god of Death after overcoming his resentment and obsession over his early death and what could've been. Later, during the "Dark Ages Crisis", he would re-Ascend as a divine reincarnation 'clone' of Mana Equus, the Empyrean Magician, turning him into the Alicorn god of Death, Musical Magic, Empathy, Understanding, and Mana.
  • The first half of A History of Magic consists of women from history who became magical girls with all of the trials and horrors that came with it such as Cleopatra VII, Joan of Arc, Sacagewea, Anne Frank, Pocahontas, Lady Jane Grey, and Mary I of England.
  • All the Historical Domain Superpeople in the Hamilton fanfiction, it feels more like a memory, are Seers. Everyone whose Seer status is confirmed, widely accepted, or widely debated In-Universe are famous Real Life mythological or historical figures, and it's implied the Real Life mythological figures thought In-Universe to be Seers are also thought to be real historical people who lived and died In-Universe, making them qualify for this trope In-Universe. Two characters qualify for sure: its protagonist, Aaron Burr, who has the power to see how people die when he has skin-to-skin contact with them; and Joan of Arc. Both are internationally confirmed and recognized as Seers. No other Seers are directly confirmed, but In-Universe, Cassandra, John the Baptistnote , Constantine, and Apollo’s various Pythias (more well-known as the Oracles of Delphi)note  are commonly accepted as Seers, and John Calvin's Seer status is widely disputed. There are also "a bunch of quacks that no one is quite sure whether or not they were seers", including Nostradamus.
  • In the Bleach fanfic Remember the King, Elvis Presley is not only dead, but he's also the ruling King of Soul Society, making him both the Big Good and the most powerful man in the setting. He easily parries an attack by Aizen, mesmerizes Harribel into betraying Aizen with his immense spiritual pressure, and delivers an utter Curb-Stomp Battle to the rest of the Espada that Aizen's attempted bid to take the throne was over before it even started.
  • Scoob and Shag: The teenaged clone of JFK from Clone High appears in the comic with his Ballyhoo, Satellite, a telekinetic ability that can manipulate gravity.
  • Until the End of Time: Adolf Hitler is revealed to be a Saiyan powerful enough to hold his own in a fight with Goku.
  • Another Hamilton fanfiction, With a Key and a Kite, gives many of the Historical Domain Characters from Hamilton superpowers. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are projection empaths, with Hamilton able to Emotion Bomb people, George Washington and Marquis de La Fayette are Seers. Alexander's wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, heals quickly and is immune to infections and diseases and is either unnaturally long-lived or an Elderly Immortal, it's left ambiguous, her sister Angelica Schuyler Church is a mindreader, Alexander's daughter Angelica is an empath, Aaron Burr's power is that no powers work on him, John Laurens' parents both have powers, and about a quarter of the entire European population and half of the population of the 13 colonies have superpowers.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the 2007 episode The Shakespeare Code, a cabal of alien witches plan to use William Shakespeare to cast a spell that will help them take over the Earth, because their powers are based on language and Shakespeare is such a talent that he can use their abilities better than even they can...and ultimately, once their scheme is exposed, he even uses it to defeat them instead.
    • In the 2022 special The Power of the Doctor, Gregori Rasputinnote  was really The Master. It's ambiguous whether he pulled a Kill and Replace on the real Rasputin or if he was always the real Rasputin, but either way, he uses his powers of hypnosis to manipulate Tsar Nicholas and his advanced technology to orchestrate a complex scheme across time and space to kidnap The Doctor from the future and wreak havoc on the universe.
  • Moon Knight (2022) has godly avatars, humans who speak for the Egyptian gods and are imbued with mysterious powers as a result. The fourth episode reveals that the final avatar of the goddess Ammit was none other than Alexander the Great.
  • Sanctuary (2007): Nikola Tesla became the first modern vampire. He loses the vampirism and gains electromagnetic powers, and then later regains his vampirism.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In the episode "Requiem for Methuselah" the Enterprise crew meets an old human named Flint who is both immortal and possessed of superhuman strength. Flint was originally born around 3800 BC and lived as many notable historical figures during his long lifetime including King Solomon, Alexander the Great, Johannes Brahms, Leonardo da Vinci, and Lazarus. He kept his immortality secret by letting each persona eventually "die" and establishing a new identity elsewhere.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): Laszlo, with his vampire gifts of flying, glamoring, and turning into a bat, reveals to Nadja and Nandor as they think they're dying that he was Jack the Ripper.

    Music 

    Theatre 
  • Michael Jackson: ONE presents a very magical version of the titular musician and the misfit protagonists are searching for his clothes, which are also magical. Enforced due to Michael Jackson's estate serving as a co-producer of the show.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed has the Sages, a type of Half-Human Hybrid who are essentially a reincarnation of the Isu, the Precursors of the setting, created by Lost Technology and genetic engineering (it's very complicated). While the Sages don't have any combat-related powers, they can use Precursor/Isu technology, which is generally locked and thus cannot be used by regular people. Some of these Sages are also real-life historical figures as well such as Jacques de Molay and Harald Fairhair.
  • Empire Earth: Strategist heroes (historical characters who often get a Historical Badass Upgrade as well) get a Battle Cry ability that greatly reduces enemy armor and have a single-target healing ability. Including the likes of William the Conqueror, Isabella of Castille, Elizabeth I, Napoléon Bonaparte, and Charlemagne.
  • 10tons's Tesla vs. Lovecraft have both famous individuals get this treatment. H.P. Lovecraft has called upon the power of the Great Old Ones to summon monsters throughout Great Britain, but they're no match for Tesla who uses Super Science to augment himself and manufacture weapons that are more appropriate to Star Trek than the Victorian Era.
  • In Wasteland 3, Ronald Reagan appears in the post-apocalyptic wasteland reborn as a Humongous Mecha with Eye Beams who is worshiped as a living god by a cult known as "The Gippers" (named after Reagan's nickname from the movie Knute Rockne, All American ). Though ultimately subverted: it's a highly corrupted AI copy of Reagan's mind that Mother Nancy Reliance exploits to maintain control over the cult, and Morningstar, who knew the real Reagan, points out that the man was a devout Christian and would have hated being worshiped.
  • The World Heroes series is about historical characters (as well some contemporary ones like judoka Ryoko Tani and football player Johnny Maximum ) fighting against a great menace invoked by a time machine traveler, having all these famous characters their own powers, some of them being elemental. The only non-famous characters are a cyborg created by the Nazis and the scientist who created the time machine and reprogrammed the cyborg to help him in his mission.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • The premise of Super Science Friends is that historical scientists form their own team of Science Heroes led by Winston Churchill, do time travel and fight Nazis. The members consist of:
    • Sigmund Freud: The team's telepath who has the ability to control people's sexual thoughts.
    • Nikola Tesla (pictured above fighting Thomas Edison): Fittingly has electrical powers.
    • Marie Curie: Her ring gives her various radiation powers such as shields, disintegration, and x-ray vision.
    • Tapputi (The world's first chemist): Her tonics and perfumes create seductive illusions to fool men.
    • Albert Einstein: A teenage clone of the original who has Super-Speed as a result of understanding that time is relative.
    • Charles Darwin: Has the ability to shapeshift into any living (or extinct) animal.

    Webcomics 
  • In Spinnerette Benjamin Franklin was accidentally transported to the present day by a time traveler attempting to kill Hitler, where he discovered that since one of his later inventions will make time travel possible the universe won't let him be seriously harmed, he takes advantage of it to fight crime.

    Western Animation 

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