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Kal-L




Alias: Clark Kent
Superman
The Man of Steel


Place of birth: Kryptopolis, Krypton


Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black
Height: 6' 3''
Weight: 225 lbs
Race: Kryptonian


Occupation: Reporter at Daily Star
Marital Status: Widowed
Identity: Secret
Known relatives: Jor-L (father, deceased)
Lara-L (mother, deceased)
Jonathan Kent (foster father, deceased)
Martha Kent (foster mother, deceased)
Lois Lane (wife, deceased)
Zor-L (uncle)
Alura (aunt)
Kara Zor-L (cousin)
Group affiliation: Justice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Base of operations: Metropolis, USA


Skills & abilities: Flight, super strength, super speed, super sight, super hearing and invulnerability.


Continuity: pre-crisis Earth-2
Company: DC Comics
First app.: Comics: Action Comics #1 (1938)
Radio: The Baby from Krypton (February 12, 1940)
Cartoons: Superman/The Mad Scientist (September 26, 1941)
Movies: Superman Comes To Earth (January 5, 1948)
Creator(s): Joe Shuster
Jerry Siegel
Country of origin: USA/Canada USA Canada


Background notes: Most people have heard about Superman. Today he is considered the all-time greatest superhero and erroneously thought to be the first of his kind. While he is the largest super-hero icon today, his origin is actually quite humble and historically very interesting.

Superman was created in 1934 by the Canadian artist Joe Shuster and American writer Jerry Siegel. In his original form he was more like a pulp hero than the super-hero we know today. Like Doc Savage he had a Fortress of Solitude in the Artic, and like John Carter of Mars, he was from a planet with a higher gravity which gave him enhanced strength, speed and the ability to take giant leaps. He was also given some invulnerability, though it was limited to small arms fire. Due to some misunderstandings in translations, this has at times been mistaken for Nietzsche's concept of the Übermench, which was really an evolutionary step along the lines of Doc Savage; extraordinary people but still only humans. Superman was nothing like this. Like John Carter he was a super strong alien from the very beginning.

An early version of a Superman was created by Shuster and Siegel in 1933 for the January issue of the fanzine Science Fiction. Shuster and Siegel were classmates in high school in Cleveland, and together they published the fanzine. In the short story The Reign of the Superman, Superman was an ordinary human who was turned into a super-villain by a villainous scientist.

The following year, after seeing Detective Dan, it occurred to Siegel, that Superman would be a much better idea as a hero. In the summer of 1934, he came up with the majority of the Superman mythos. He wrote six weeks of strips and had Shuster do the art. In the story, the mild mannered reporter Clark Kent worked at the newspaper Daily Star in the city Metropolis. The paper and city were based on Shuster's home town Toronto and the paper The Toronto Daily Star. Superman's physique was modeled after Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Clark Kent was a combination of timorous, bespectacled Harold Lloyd and pale, mild-mannered Joe Shuster himself. The name Clark Kent was derived from movie stars Clark Gable and Kent Taylor (not Clark Savage Jr. as many has suggested/assumed). The design of Superman's suit was a joint effort and the way Superman looks today was established over time. Shuster designed the basics, and was the one to add the cape to give the character a sense of motion. Siegel suggested the S in a trangle that Superman wore in the beginning. The characteristic shield with the S worn by Superman today was gradually developed and started appearing in 1943, Action Comics #66 from the looks of it. The colors were selected by both creators, being the brightest colors they could think of.

In the following three years, the two creators tried to sell their creation with no luck. It wasn't until the publisher Harry Donenfeld at DC Comics (named Detective Comics Inc. at the time) saw the series it was sold. Donenfeld was looking for something new for his new series Action Comics, and he and his editor Vince Sullivan thought Superman would be perfect. Superman debuted in Action Comics #1 in June 1938.

The name Daily Star was changed to Daily Planet in 1941, as an editorial decision, but the paper stayed the same. Later, when DC Comics had established that the golden age heroes belonged to a separate continuity called Earth-2, the name was retconned back to Daily Star.


Related links/characters:
- DC Comics characters
- Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Kara Zor-L/Power Girl
- Lex Luthor/Alexei Luthor
- Lois Lane