The History of Superman Comics


Superman is one of the most popular comic book superheroes published by Detective Comics (DC Comics), written by Jerry Siegel and designed by artist Joe Shuster, two high school students from Cleveland. His first appearance was in Action Comics #1, June 1938, followed by many television programs, films, radio serials, video games and newspapers. The Superman comics were released in 1939 under the name of Superman, the first self-titled comic book launched by National Periodical Publication. The name changed to The Adventures of Superman in 1987 but returned to the original title in 2006.

Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel were best friends and aspiring artists with a mission of making it to the newspaper comics and pulp magazines. They created many characters for the high school paper and some private projects. The first Superman appeared in 1933 in a self-created magazine named “The Reign of the Superman” and surprisingly, he was a bald telepathic villain on a mission for world domination. The two considered that the character would make a better superhero so they made another version. Publishers were not interested so a third Superman was born, the one that everybody knows. Siegel conceived the character in one inspiring night and Shuster have it life with his ink and pens.

The name Clark Kent, his alter ego, is inspired from movie stars Clark Gable and Kent Taylor. Its appearance is based on a combination of Shuster and Harold Lloyd. Lois Lane resembles Joanne Carter, Siegel’s future wife. Superman wears a red cape and a blue costume with a red and yellow distinctive “S” sign on his chest. “Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!’” is the catchphrase everybody knows. The Superman comics promote the hero as a fighter for “Truth, Justice and the American Way”, the last child of Krypton sent to Earth by his parents before their planet exploded.

But what is really the story of Superman? The character appeared in the comics by accident. Creators Siegel and Shuster couldn’t find a newspaper willing to publish it, but M.C. Gaines saw something in the strip and recommended it to publisher Harry Donenfeld. By 1939 Superman appeared in 2 comic books and a newspaper strip. In 1940 evil genius Lex Luthor appeared (Action Comics #23) and in the same year a popular radio station included Superman in a show. The legend continued to grow, with many Superman comics still available today. One of the most iconic fictional characters, superman is an immortal character: ˜”Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”