Superman: 75 years of an American icon

Superman. The very name is known worldwide, bringing with it the image of the man in blue with a billowing red cape, a large “S” prominent on his chest. He fights for truth, justice, and the American way, although in recent years his role has been expanded to include of mankind on the planet Earth. Born on the planet Krypton as Kal-El, he was sent to Earth by his father, Jor-El, when his homeworld’s red sun went supernova. He crashed into a cornfield in Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raised him as their own son. As he grew older, he learned of his heritage and left the Kents’ farm, going out into the world and eventually arriving at the city of Metropolis, where he assumed the identity of mild mannered reporter Clark Kent for the Daily Planet. It’s there he meets the woman who would become the love of his life, Lois Lane, who for many years never knew of Clark’s alter ego. His father has tasked him with doing good, and he does so as arguably the greatest superhero of all time, taking on both human and alien menaces over the years. His enemies have included alien threats such as Brainiac and Doomsday, but none have plagued him more than his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.

Created by Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster when they were high school students in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1933, Superman first appeared in print in Action Comics #1 in June, 1938, published by DC Comics. He became the first comic book megastar, and many writers have penned his exploits over the years. Writers such as Jeph Loeb, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Brian Azzarello, and Dan Jurgens have all tackled the Man of Steel over the years, with some results better than others. Along with Batman and Wonder Woman, he formed the trinity of superheroes that would make up the major franchises for DC. Superman has been extended beyond the realm of comics, appearing in radio, television, and the movies. He’s become the staple of many a young boy’s childhood, and has grown into a cultural icon over the years.

This week, we’ll take a look at some of those movies, TV shows, and comics, all in anticipation of the release of Zack Snyder’s reboot Man of Steel, set for its American release on Friday, June 14. Henry Cavill takes over the title role, inheriting the mantle from actors Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh. From the previews, this looks to be one of the best interpretations of the hero to grace the silver screen. Look for our review of the movie towards the end of the week. What’s your favorite Superman moment? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy our week long tribute to the greatest superhero of all time.

Thomas Juretus

Born in 1963. Enjoy videogames, movies, comics- anything that tells a story. Have written three novels (The Zarchler Chronicles Book One: The Cassandra Crisis, Shalgroth The Zarchler Chronicles: Book Two, Madman's War The Zarchler Chronicles: Book Three) all published and available through PublishAmerica. Currently working on my fourth book, a sci-fi/murder mystery. Leet Gamers Asia
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