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Superman: The Original Superhero

Superman is the best known of all the superheroes for one simple reason—he was the first of the superheroes. His debut appearance was in the June 1938 issue of Action Comics (later known as DC Comics). Superman became the prototype for each and every superhero that was to follow after him.

Joe Shuster (a comic book artist) and Jerry Siegel (a Sci-Fi writer) created Superman intending to get him published as a comic strip character. Originally, Superman was created as a bald-headed, telepathic villain. This character did not catch on with readers. After much thought, and a year later, Superman was restyled as a handsome superhero. Even then, several syndicates turned the pair down over the course of six years before Superman’s comic book debut. The year after that, Superman got his own comic strip and over the years, his exposure grew. Since then, Superman has appeared in TV shows, in films and cartoons. There’s also been a multitude of trademarked Superman products made throughout the years.

Superman’s back story (and every superhero by definition must have one) is that he came from the planet Krypton as an infant. His father, hoping to save his son from the dying planet, sent him off in a spaceship. The baby’s craft landed in a field owned by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent. The couple kept the child, named him “Clark” and raised him as their own. As he matured, Clark’s superpowers developed and revealed themselves and his parents were forced to tell him of his true origins. Among his powers were super strength, x-ray vision, heat vision, super-human speed, the ability to fly and the ability to generate a protective force field.

Following the appearance of Superman, many new superheroes followed and eventually became the preferred subject for comic book readers. Superman’s appearance evolved over the years and sidekicks have been added. His history changed as well, and in 1992 Superman was killed in “The Death of Superman”, only to return the following year in “Reign of the Supermen”.

Superman truly does live on, not only as the original comic book superhero, but also as an American icon, symbolizing strength, courage and justice. If you’re looking for something special for the Superman in your life—a father, your husband, brother or recent graduate—search “Superman” at for gift giving ideas.

Last updated: Jun 09, 2010
Filed under: American Icons Tagged with: DC Comics, Superhero, Superman