Secrets of Superman that you don’t know!
In fact, Superman maintained his justice under his red cape and bright red trunks. He became a symbol of strength and justice. He is the standards of what a superhero must be. It is easier to understand why Superman is one of the most famous superheroes in the world. “Superman” becomes a fixture in pop culture. Of course, he is much more than a fictional character.
Superman seemed to come along with many generations, there are things you may be wrong about him. The Man of Steel may be not as familiar as you think. Everyone knew the story of alien boys coming from Krypton. After he came to earth, a farmer couple adopted him and he began his journey to be Superman. In comics, TV shows and movies, you can get some basic information about Man of Steel. For example, you know he absorbs the power from the new Sun and gains his power. However, there are few facts that you should reconsider as they are not true. Let’s get ready to undercover the misconception about Superman.
He is the man that invented the superhero genre
In Action Comics #1, Superman became the most influence in the history of superhero. Superhero used to have another definition before Superman. After people knew about Superman, they saw the appearing many similar stories. You can tell in this list like Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and so much more. These heroes intended to create and maintain justice and freedom in their ways. And these superheroes took a turn to publish in a few short years. In some ways, we can see Superman as the first superhero of the new age. Siegel and Joe decided to invent nothing about whole cloth when they made a new character.
They created a huge impact due to many obvious sources. You can see the idea of the mild-mannered secret identity wasn’t completely new. The Scarlet Pimpernel written in 1905 by Baroness Orczy had this idea first. Moreover, you can check back to the novel Gladiator wrote in 1903 by Philip Wylie. It is a novel about a superhero indeed, Hugo Danner. But this man gained his power thanks to his father’s experiments. Of course, the experiment turned him into a superhero with some familiar abilities. They are bulletproof skin, the ability of a grasshopper and super strength. Yes, Superman also has these abilities.
In Action Comics #1, Superman first appeared before the public. And he showed us his ability which was similar to Hugo Danner. Moreover, his name as Clark Kent seemed to come from another 2 sources. Back to 2 of the most famous pulp characters in the 30s, we had Doc Savage and the Shadow. The interesting things here are the names of Doc Savage and the Shadow. In fact, they were Clark Savage and Kent Allard. Though this could be a coincidence, Superman was like Savage’s “Fortress of Solitude”.
However, this doesn’t indicate that Superman wasn’t special. In fact, his creators, Siegel and Shuster, admitted that other sources affected them. But they didn’t take these sources completely but they made them into theirs. They searched and put every of them felt and saw into a new character. And that was the reason why they were able to make Superman as a legend.
Superman was the first name in the Golden Age
Of course, Superman is a success in the Golden Age. But was it really the most famous one at that time? In the golden age, Superman seemed to appear everywhere. From the daily radio show to the daily newspaper strip and cartoons, we could catch the images of Man of Steel. His fame was coming up like a storm and it made people think it was the most famous. However, the truth may make you feel surprised. Because the most famous comic’s name was Captain Marvel! And it was not Captain Marvel that you recently saw on screen. Captain Marvel we are mentioning here is the hero in DC named Shazam.
Captain Marvel or Shazam was a creation of Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. They made this character in 1930 for Fawcett Publishing. And they wanted to make something new. However, Captain Marvel’s original attempt was to continue the success of Superman. In his first comic, Captain Marvel was able to toss a car like a toy. This aspect we can see he inherited from Superman. He was also a superhero that can stand the bullets and has many other abilities like super strength. However, his creators decided to make him different from Superman.
He was not the second Man of Steel with a strong will as well as mature mental. In fact, his true identity was Billy Batson who was just a kid dreaming about being a superhero. One of the aspects that made readers love this character was the idea behind it. Captain Marvel or Shazam was able to satisfy the young readers’ wishes. It is obvious that children want to become a superhero to save the world. Hence, this was a good and brilliant move of Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.
In the middle of 40s, the comics industry came to an argument. The Big Red Cheese and his sidekicks started to appear in different comics every month. This then began to become weird that Superman used one of his unofficial power. It was the power of Super-Lawsuit-Filing. Later DC was successful in the argument in court with Fawcett comics. In fact, this incident became a scandal in the comics industry. As a result, Captain Marvel had to stop in the 50s though DC would buy its outright later. But this put an end to the upgoing career of Captain Marvel. Superman continued it’s his golden age for years but not Captain Marvel.
Superman was a gold mine
The big hit of Superman should have helped his creators get a lot of money indeed. In the start, Superman was able to define its place in the fans’ heart. Thanks to him, National could earn a massive amount of money. It was easy to know why National thought he was its gold mine to dig. But the fact was much more than you could imagine. Siegel and Shuster tried 3 years in vain to sell their creation to the publishers. The publishers didn’t care much about “Superman” as they couldn’t foresee the future. The climax came up to Siegel and Shuster sold it for $130 or $2,000 nowadays. This was nothing to compare to the amount of money he brought back to National.
Then Siegel and Shuster tried to deal with their publishers about their contracts. They knew that they couldn’t do that alone. Which made them come to find Bob Kane who was the co-creator of Batman! But they couldn’t know this was their biggest mistake. Bob Kane played them by informing the publishers about their plan. Bod took advantage through this and renegotiated his contract. This became a big shock to Siegel and Shuster. Siegel was able to find reasons and motivations to stay with DC till the 60s. But Shuster couldn’t do that as this job wasn’t enough for him. Then he began to work in adult comics. However, his drawing made people feel suspicious about Superman-esque and Lois Lane-esque.
They had to suffer the poverty till the 70s though they were the creator of the greatest hero of all the time. Then comics creator Neal Adams tried to help them take back their recognition and money from DC. Besides, this also marked the beginning of Warner Bros.
The last son of Krypton
All the time, people considered that Superman was the last son of Krypton. Krypton was an advanced planet but it came to its doomsday for its hubris. In the final moments, his parents were able to save him and send him to another planet. As we all knew, they chose Earth to be the second home for their son. One thing they didn’t expect was their son could absorb the Sun power here and be Superman. For years, he thought he was the last survivor on the last day on Krypton. However, he was actually not alone in the universe. Because how could he be alone when there were about 8 or 9 last sons of Krypton out there.
Superman became the last Kryptonian for years and learned to accept humanity. But in the middle of 50s, he discovered other surviving Kryptonians. The first one was the super dog appearing in 1955. This was a puppy of Jor-El and he accidentally shot him into space in his rocket test. What a hilarious story about this alien dog. Then they introduced the city that was full of tiny Kryptonians in 1958. This was Kandor the shrunken city where Supergirl came from. The writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino were people creating Supergirl. It was in an effort to be a success like Captain Marvel. Later in 1961, we knew about the Phantom Zone thanks to Binder.
In the Phantom Zone, there were hundreds of prisoners including the general Zod. They might be the prisoners but they were still Kryptonians. Which still made them as Superman’s relatives. Another one was the super monkey named Beppo. It was just an experiment on the animal of Kryptonian in 1959.
Coming to the 80s, DC welcomed Supergirl as a dead teen and an angel from the sky. She will be the second famous Kryptonian in comics as well as cartoons. Besides, we also see the coming back of Jor-el. As somehow Superman would come back to life again.
Superman as Superboy
As the title showed us, this was still the story about Superman but when he was a boy. It should have been that simple. But being obvious and true according to a court are 2 different things.
It was in 1938, Jerry Siegel came up with the idea of Superboy. This comic appeared before Robin and Billy Batson. Which were popular to the young readers that time. However, his idea had to wait until 1945 as Mort Weisinger wanted to expand more super-brand. For years, Superboy tried to find a title for itself including Adventure Comics. In fact, Superboy was a different character comparing to Superman. He was Clark Kent but it was at an early age. The story also took place with a new supporting cast and location. Because it was about the young age of Superman then it happened in the Smallville instead.
Siegel and Shuster declared before the court that Superboy was a new character. It was not Superman but a separate one. It had its own stories, supporting cast as well as a superhero. However, DC tried to negotiate with the creators. DC wanted to control all the versions of Superman. Obviously, DC knew the ability of Superman in making fame and money. Later, DC managed to reverse the decision. It put an end to Superboy and change a villain’s name from “Superboy Prime” to “Superman Prime”.
Superman’s only weakness: the Kryptonite
Superman power came from his Kryptonian genre. He absorbed the power of the sun to be stronger. Hence, what came from Krypton could harm him like a normal human. His weakness was Kryptonite. It was a radian stone that affected the strength of Superman. Here was the origin of Kryptonite. One day, the Superman actor Bud Colyer wanted to have a vacation which left a vacant in Superman role. To help this situation out, then the radio writers created the word Kryptonite. It was a radioactive chunk that you can use to kill Man of Steel like a human.
After that, people started to use the term Kryptonite. It was about the only weakness of a great man. A man that seems to be unstoppable and has no weakness can die for a simple weakness. You can recall the legend of the god warrior Achilles. He was also a strong man and god in people eyes like Superman. And you all know about “Achilles heel” which led to his death.
However, Kryptonite is not the only thing that you can use to kill Superman. Like we mentioned above, Superman’s cell took the energy from the new sun in the Solar system. It was the source of his power which means he would be weak if he was under a red sun. A red sun is a term they use to indicate the old star. Therefore, trying to bring him under the red sun, you will be able to deal with Superman. Moreover, Superman’s power, in fact, came from physics theory like nuclear, sunray or something. Therefore, he was so vulnerable before magic. Which mean that you would be able to kill him with a magic sword or gun! But remember that you have to move faster than him. A man that moved faster than the Flash – the fasted man alive!
Superman doesn’t love only Lois Lane
In the Action Comics #1, Superman and Lois Lane were a nice and interesting couple in DC universe. They came with each other through every danger. And their love was a strong definition of love between a normal human with a superhero. Deciding to have a relationship with a hero, she had to prepare for the worst situation. But you may think it is impossible that Superman doesn’t love only Lois Lane.
After all, Superman has a life on earth for nearly 20 years which makes him have many occasions to meet a girl. Back to the time, he was still a Superboy, he fell in a relationship with Lyla Lerrol. Lyla Lerrol was a beautiful Kryptonian actress. He met her in an accident when he came to the past and trapped on his planet. Another girl came into his life was Lyrica Lloyd. This time he fell in love with an Earth girl who was also an actress. Besides, Supergirl also mated him with an alien hero called Luma Lynai. Lori Lemaris was another weird case. Lori was Clark’s girlfriend when he came to college. In fact, he decided to propose her though she was a mermaid.
The ‘S’ symbol on his chest means ‘hope’
As we all knew, the meaning of the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest has revealed as hope in our language. In Superman movies or Smallville series, Clark all explained why he had that symbol. He told that it was the symbol of his family, the El family. According to the meaning of the suit that he was wearing, he wanted to be hope to people. The pole that people could lean over to stand up! And the base that people could use to overcome danger and difficulties! That was also the reason he decided to use his power to save people. In fact, it was an ancient Kryptonian symbol.
However, some people believed that the truth behind this was much simple than this. The ‘S’ was just the first letter in Superman for sure. In another version of Superman in 80s, the origin of ‘S’ was more interesting. When he saved a plane before Lois Lane, she came up with the name “Superman”. Then they started to use it to call him and his parent Jon and Martha Kent build the suit for him. That was how the logo ‘S’ came out.
Superman and Clark Kent are the same people
To some people, they have some disconnect about the role of Clark Kent and Superman. Of course, people love the flying hero more than a journalist. But the truth about the identities of Superman when he walked on the ground didn’t stop there. After years living on Earth, Superman had many identities. It was in 1963 that he took another name and Jimmy Olsen with him to Kandor. Kandor was a shrunken city where they had to find and defeat Nightwing and Flamebird. This story intended to prove his ability to take over Batman’s position if he wanted to. But thing started to get out the track with his identities.
It was in the late 80s, Superman had to face with three genocidal Kryptonians. These guys came from another dimension and they were as strong as Superman. Hence, barely earth had heroes that could take them down. It had to be Superman and he did it. He killed all of them which made him face a mental breakdown. He obsessed with his guilt and became another person. A strange personality appeared inside him and turned him into Gangbuster. He didn’t actually become a villain but he was not the same Superman. Because of some incidents later, Superman chose another identity as a space gladiator.
As a gladiator, he worn a cape as a toga and also had the beard. In 2010, his identity as Clark Kent died which mean he couldn’t use it anymore. Therefore, he had to find a new one and he became Johnny Clark. Johnny Clark was a firefighter and Johnny was always wearing a hat to cover his identity as Superman.
His relationship with Batman was not a good one
The battle between 2 heroes that impacted a lot to Justice League! The battle was an epic one as a normal human standing against a superpowered alien. Moreover, it was like a battle of a hero giving hope in light and a hero decided to conduct his own justice. In Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, he brought out the fight of Batman and Superman again. This time, Batman was in his armored and Superman was weak as a nuclear explosion. Dark Knight Returns was a big hit as many fans are looking forward to seeing it. After all, this epic and meaningful fight was all worth seeing it again.
However, Superman and Batman were not always enemies to each other at the first time. In some version, they were best friends instead. Their team-up was one of the biggest and most thriller moment in the DC universe. In “Superfriends” storyline made by Tom King and Clay Mann’s 2018, they respected each other. But we have to admit we liked to see Batman using Kryptonite weapon or Superman destroying the Bat.