The swashbuckling champion of justice who always dressed in black, wore a mask over his eyes to disguise himself was a distinguished California gentleman who was constantly on the run from the authorities. There was a bounty on his head, but he was too skilled and cunning for the bumbling authorities to catch, and he also delighted in publicly humiliating them and leaving his unique calling card, a “Z” slashed into every place where he brought justice to. He was the son of the richest landowner in California, and he learned how to handle a sword when he lived in Spain. He came back to California after an oppressive dictator had taken control of the territory. He lived quietly with his father in a huge hacienda, which contained a number of secret passages and tunnels, that lead to a secret cave where he kept his horse, in case he had to make a hasty getaway.
The masked avenger with a double identity pretended to be a coward, but his purpose was to protect citizens from corrupt politicians and be a defender of the meek. Zorro always seems to be able to barely escape from the clutches of the Spanish comandante, as good is meant to triumph over evil. Robin Hood came before him, performing great daring deeds by robing from the rich and giving to the poor, and seeking to right wrongs and fight injustice, but Zorro became a positive heroic image for Hispanics and early American immigrants in California and he laid the groundwork for later superheroes, such as Batman and Spider-Man. Zorro was the first truly homegrown California hero, but he was an enigma, being an aristocrat fighting for the people whose oppression made his wealth possible.
Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #111.