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.
Before vanishing, however, Hugo returned home to Colorado once more and enjoyed a one-night affair with his high school sweetheart, Anna Blake, who became pregnant. When Hugo disappeared for good, Blake married a young businessman named John Munro, who never realized the child she bore was not his own. Their son, Arnold, 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 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, Arn 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 in South America. Surprisingly they found Arn’s father, Hugo Danner, who had spawned a new band of "offspring," the Sons of Dawn. Danner used his father's formula to bestow powers on the Accala Indians that lived on Maple White Land to give birth to the Sons of Dawn in order to create a race of superhumans that are spared from the fears and hatreds of normal humans. During the interim, Hugo and the Sons of Dawn fought off an expedition of Nazi German soldiers that arrive upon the plateau in possibly searching for Danner's formula. Despite of the losses, the Nazis were able to stole the formula to create the villain Übermensch.
The presence of Arn and Georgia Challenger cause an upset among the Sons of Dawn, who desired to explore the outside world and conquer humanity, and causing them to leave Maple White Land and attack the city of Rioguay. Hugo did not found their actions unexpected as he intended for that to happen in which he believed that human civilization deserve to be destroy. However, this became 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 easy to the combined might of the All-Star Squadron. Realizing that there is no hope of saving the Sons of Dawn, who will eventually succumb to their sickness, and deeply sadden by the loss of what he considered as his family Hugo committed suicide to be with his offspring in death and finally be away from a world that has no place for him.
Superhuman strength and speed, incredible leaping ability, limited invulnerability.
- Hugo Danner's character and history is based on Philip Wylie's 1930 science-fiction story Gladiator in which it was widely assumed to have been an inspiration for Superman.
- 6 Appearances of Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- 2 Images featuring Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Hugo Danner (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Hugo Danner (New Earth)