“Oxford's first recording of "Superman" is in 1903, in G.B. Shaw's "Man & Superman," which looks to be a response or expansion on Nietzsche's writings. His phrase, "ubermensch," was often translated into "superman" even though it literally means "overman." http://forums.comicbookresources.comThe word "Super Hero", is a term utilized by several media outlets daily to describe someone heroic and was not invented by either DC or Marvel comics.
The term “Super Hero” originated from a western silent film in 1907 and later used in News paper strips to describe characters like Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Zorro, and Mandrake the Magician. Characters which are not owned by either firm. In fact, "Super Hero" was not a widely used term with characters synonymic to heroes in the forties. "Mystery Men", "Masked Men" and "Caped Crusader" were more popular terms of the day which described what we know today as "Super Heroes".
DC and Marvel Comics were not the first to ever make a Super Hero films. In fact, several other companies superseded Superman /Action Comics (1938) and Batman/ Detective Comics #38 (1939).
“JUDEX “(1914) a silent movie made in France during the first World War. Judex is a mysterious avenger identifying himself only as Judex - "Justice" - threatens successful banker Favraux (Louis Leubas) with ruin if he doesn't repent his crimes and give half his fortune to charity. Judex a fascinating superhero who dons more than one disguise to achieve his ends. He's really the source figure behind Batman, although most of his crimefighting uses methods associated with anarchists and terrorists.
The protector of the weak, he stays anonymous while providing Jaqueline with the quaint security of carrier pigeons: "Release one of these should you ever be in trouble, and I will come to your aid." Judex operates out of a veritable Bat Cave beneath a ruin, where he uses high tech gadgets to keep a prisoner without the prisoner ever seeing his captors. Like some superheroes, Judex at first appears to have superhuman powers, knowing things nobody can know and striking mysteriously without being detected. Like Batman, his "origin back-story" involves a complicated oath of vengeance to which he has dedicated his entire life, and set himself up as a ultra-legal vigilante.
In 1936, Universal released the first Flash Gordon serial, based on the science fiction comic strip, and in 1937, Republic issued Dick Tracy. Universal was one of the main companies in the serial business of that era; Republic and Columbia were others. While some Hollywood leading men and women appeared or got their start in serials—John Wayne did several before becoming a star—the majority of serial actors did a lot of serial work. The first superhero serial was The Green Hornet (Universal, November 1939). Based on a popular 1936–1953 radio drama created by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle.
Comic-strip and pulp characters also got their own serials in 1939: Mandrake the Magician (Columbia, 1939, twelve chapters) and The Shadow (Columbia, January 1940, fifteen chapters). But it was Fawcett Comics' red-and-gold-clad hero who became the first comic-book superhero to garner his own starring serial. Republic's twelve-chapter story, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, debuted in March 1941.
I couldn't find the 1914 silent film of "Judex", but you can watch the re-make. Watch the 1963 re-make of "Judex" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNkpciyxsEg&noredirect=1) its a talkie picture and you'll see references to "Zorro", "The Shadow", and "Batman". The French did it first in 1914. Also, the silent film "Les Vampires"
which came out one year before "Judex". It has the very first superhero styled outfits for its main character. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV8MGM-y4Uw).