In 1894, the scientist Abednego Danner injected his pregnant wife with an experimental serum. Their son Hugo was born on Christmas Day of that year with super-human strength, speed, and nigh-invulnerability. Hugo lived with his parents throughout his teen years and left at age eighteen to attend college and travel the world. In the years that followed, Hugo's special powers led him through a number of adventures, but his unique stature among mortal men forever brought him grief. Eventually, Hugo staged his own death in the Yucatan Peninsula and went into hiding.
Hugo was inspired by the idea to create a "new race" of super-humans, a new society that would be spared from the fears and hatreds of normal humans. He took his father's notebooks and traveled to Brazil. While staying at a frontier town, Hugo first came to knowledge of Maple White Land, a isolated plateau inhabited by prehistoric life. Initially, Hugo traveled there in search of rough diamonds, in order to finance his scheme to create his super-humans. However, Hugo ran across the Accala people, who had lived on the plateau for generations, and he changed his mind and decided that the Accala would be the progenitors of his new race, which he dubbed the "Sons of Dawn."
After impressing the Accala with his super-human feats, Hugo was treated as a god by the natives. He then created his version of his father's formula in which he injected it into a number of pregnant Accala women, which they gave birth to children who proved to be almost everything Hugo had hope. The experience of having his children also made Hugo to think about his high school sweetheart, Anna Blake, and he returned to his Colorado home to enjoy a one-night affair with Blake, who became pregnant. When Danner disappeared for good, Blake married a young businessman named John Munro, who never realized the child she bore was not his own. Their son Arn began exhibiting superhuman powers of strength and invulnerability at age ten. Remembering Hugo's troubles, Anna made her son promise to keep his abilities a secret until he turned eighteen.
Years later, when Arn Munro became a member of the All-Star Squadron through its Young All-Stars subgroup, he received a mysterious diary written by Hugo Danner. He learned about his father's troubled life as one of the 20th century's first metahumans. This led the young hero on a quest to learn of his father's fate. After having read his father's diary, Munro turned to the government's secret Project M, demanding to know the location of the "Dinosaur Island" mentioned in his father's diary. There he met Georgia Challenger, who led him instead to Maple White Land and was surprised to found Hugo Danner and his Sons of Dawn. A few months prior to Arn's arrival, Danner and the Sons of Dawn had fought off an expedition of Nazi German soldiers that arrived upon the plateau searching for Abednego Danner's formula. Despite being chased away, the Nazis were able to steal the formula which allowed them to create the villain Übermensch.
The presence of Munro and Challenger caused an upset among the Sons of Dawn, who desired to explore the outside world and conquer humanity, causing them to leave Maple White Land and attack the city of Rioguay. Danner was not surprised by their actions as he actually intended for that to happen, since he believed that human civilization deserved to be destroyed. However, this would result in Danner's own undoing as the Sons of Dawn, while superhumanly strong, were not immune to outside diseases such as the common cold due to their isolationist upbringing and fell easily to the combined might of the All-Star Squadron. Realizing that there was no hope of saving the Sons of Dawn, who would've eventually succumb to their sickness, and deeply saddened by the loss of what he considered as his true family, Danner committed suicide in order to be with his offspring in death and to finally be away from a world that had no place for him.
- This character is an adaptation of Hugo Danner, a character from the novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie published in 1930. More information can be found in the Wikipedia.org article Gladiator (novel).
- Gladiator is widely assumed to have been an inspiration for Superman.
- 6 Appearances of Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- 1 Images featuring Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- Internet Archive: Philip Wylie's Gladiator
- Public Domain Super Heroes
- Hugo Danner at International Heroes