Today Is Superman Day!
June 12 was officially declared ‘Superman Day’ by DC Comics to honor the first and greatest superhero!
Superman’s official ‘birthday’ is April 18, 1938, the day the first issue of Action Comics #1 was released. The character’s fictional birthday is celebrated on February 29 during leap years. Today, however, is Superman Day, reserved by DC Comics to recognize and celebrate the first superhero and his exploits in comics, radio, TV, movies, toys, and anything else you can imagine over the last 79 years.
Impress your friends and coworkers with these bits of Superman super – trivia!
Third Time’s The Charm
Superman’s creators, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, didn’t create Superman fully -formed right out of the gate. The guy who we’ve come to know over the last 79 years was the third version of the character the young men developed. The first version was called ‘The Super – Man,” and was a bald villain with mind – control powers.
Siegel and Shuster had a falling out, with Siegel working with artist Russel Keaton to create the second version: in the far future, Earth is dying. The last surviving man and woman send their son back in time to 1935, where he’s raised by Sam and Molly Kent. Named Clark, the boy develops bulletproof skin and super – strength. The newspapers at the time rejected this version and Keaton moved on.
Siegel and Shuster reconciled and created their third and final Superman, sent to Earth from the dying planet Krypton and raised by the Kents to become reporter Clark Kent and Superman.
Leaping Before Flying
In the first three years of his existence, Superman didn’t fly in his comic book adventures; instead, he leaped great distances, which is how the popular phrase ‘able to leap tall buildings with a single bound’ originated.
When the animators working on the first Superman cartoons decided to draw Superman flying instead of leaping to save time, the change happened in the comic books as well. Superman was now the first superhero who flew under his own power.
Big Sandals To FIll
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were devout Jews as well as big fans of science fiction and mythology. As Siegel and Shuster refined Superman, they drew on the story of Moses and Greek mythology for Superman’s origins.
Like Moses, Kal – El is a child in danger sent in a basket (spaceship) down a river (space) to a new home, where he’s adopted and raised by the natives. Clark’s powers were partly inspired by the Greek demi – god Hercules, who was known for his mighty strength and incredible feats. Superman even wore lace – up boots that recalled sandals in his first appearances.
Trunks, Not Underwear
Many people have mistakenly made fun of Superman’s uniform over the years, saying that he’s wearing his ‘underwear’ on the outside. Others say that Superman’s suit is inspired by the costumes of circus strongmen of the early part of the 20th century, which featured trunks.
Both parties are wrong, as trunks are quite different from underwear and Shuster’s design wasn’t at all like what circus strongmen wore. Most strongmen wore a sleeveless shirt with pants and trunks. Superman wore a full body suit of tights with trunks and a cape. Before Shuster’s design, there were no other characters in literature or movies that looked like Superman, whose uniform became the pattern for all superheroes who followed in the first few decades after Superman was introduced.
The First Superhero
Before Siegel and Shuster introduced Superman to the world, there were no characters quite like him. There were science fiction and pulp novel characters who had great strength, speed, and other abilities, but they didn’t wear a unique suit with a cape. Characters like The Shadow were powerless, dressed in everyday clothes, and used guns and fists to fight crime. Superman was the first brightly – colored and super – powered character in fiction, the very first ‘superhero,’ an idea and term that didn’t exist before he was introduced.