HAPPY 84TH ANNIVERSARY SUPERMAN: In 1938, June, on this day, the world witnessed a significant day in the history of comics lovers with the maiden appearance of Superman. The fictional superhero’s arrival in American Action Comics no.1 (cover-dated June) published by DC Comics was a momentous event. Did you know that Superman was an alien by birth, who was born on a far away fictional planet named Krypton?
As we fondly cherish the day which marked Superman’s debut in the world of comics, here are 10 things you may not know about him:
- The world’s ultimate superhero, the Man of Steel was conceived initially as a villain by the creators, Jerry Siegel (the writer) and Joe Shuster (illustrator). Jerry, a high school graduate in 1933, who used to write amateur science fiction, had self-published a story titled ‘The Reign of the Superman’.
- In it, the titular character Bill Dunn was a bald man who got fed an experimental drug by an evil scientist. This gives Bill immense super powers and he kills the mad scientist. The so-called ‘superman’ misuses his powers and acts as a villain until his superpowers wear off with the drug. Later on, the creators reworked the character into a good man of alien origin.
- Jerry’s magazine that ran the story was called ‘Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization’, which was again a self-published issue.
- Both the creators had received 130$ from DC Comics for the exclusive rights to Superman, their blockbuster creation. They got into several law suits over the years, to seek royalty.
- In 1940, Superman debuted on radio in the program named The Adventures of Superman. Voice artist Bud Collyer lent voice to the superhero’s character.
- Speaking of debuts, Superman made his silver-screen debut in 1941 in a series of 17 animated shorts from Fleischer Studios.
- Superman’s birth name was Kal-El. When his spaceship landed in Smallville, baby Superman was spotted by Jonathan and Martha Clark. They raised him and named him Clark Joseph Kent.
- During World War II, the U.S. War Department had censored Superman as it had the plot of an atomic bomb being launched by the villain Lex Luthor.
- With the support of both DC Comics and the state House of Representatives, Metropolis, Illinois, started projecting itself as the hometown of Superman, in 1972.
- There is a Superman festival organized in Illinois, every year in June. A 15-foot bronze Superman statue adorns the area outside the courthouse.