Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short [DC Entertainment posted this video on YouTube.com in 2013]
Blessed with X-ray vision, herculean strength and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Superman has been a pop culture icon since April 1938, when he first appeared in Action Comics #1. A daily newspaper comic strip came next, debuting on January 16, 1939, with a retelling of the character’s origin on the doomed planet Krypton. Since then, Superman has appeared in innumerable comic books, TV shows, movies, radio serials, video games, novels and even a Broadway musical.
Superman was first created in 1933 by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the writer and artist respectively. His first appearance was in Action Comics #1, and that was the beginning of a long and illustrious career for the Man of Steel. In his unmistakable blue suit with red cape, and the stylized red S on his chest, the figure of Superman has become one of the most recognizable in the world.
Superman Day is also a great day to remember what the Man of Steel actually stood for. The Red, White, and Blue of his uniform stood for what made America great, which at that time was a desire for Justice, to help those in need, and a powerful spirit. So you could spend your day working at Soup Kitchens, Blood Drives, or a volunteer organization that serves your community. The opportunities to be a little bit “Super” are limitless, just get out there and help your fellow man!
Superman was originally a villain: The concept of Superman first came to its creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster way back when they were still attending high school in 1933. In their original story entitled “The Reign of the Superman,” Superman’s real name was Bill Dunn. As a homeless man, Dunn desperately agreed to an offer made by a chemist by the name Ernest Smalley to act as his test specimen in an experiment.
Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to Superman for $130: Siegel and Shuster earned fairly high salaries writing and illustrating Superman comics. But they received no royalties, having signed away all rights to their character for $130. “Our company has very little to gain in a monetary sense from the syndication of this material,” DC Comics’ publisher disingenuously told Siegel in 1938 in response to one of his many requests for more cash. “Also bear in mind … that we can at any time replace you.” Siegel and Shuster were then fired in 1947 after filing a lawsuit against DC.
Superman has a thing for L.L.: Superman may be nearly invulnerable but even the Man of Steel is not immune to love and romance. In fact, both Superman and his alter-ego Clark Kent have had several love interests throughout the comic’s history. What is his ideal woman, you might ask? Apparently any woman who has the initial L.L… Lois Lane, perhaps the most known lover of the Last Son of Krypton is rivaled by Lana Lang, Clark Kent’s high school sweetheart
Superman preceded Batman by a few months: In the spring of 1939 Superman #1 hit the stands, the first comic book ever devoted to a single character. Soon after, DC’s other ubiquitous superhero, Batman, made his debut in Detective Comics #27. Their earliest joint appearance came during a 1945 episode of “The Adventures of Superman,” a radio serial. In the comic book universe, meanwhile, they didn’t meet until 1952, when, in Superman #76, they coincidentally find themselves rooming together on the same cruise.
The U.S. government censored Superman during World War II: During World War II, with the top-secret Manhattan Project in full swing, any mention of nuclear weapons in the popular press drew the government’s ire. DC found this out when it developed a comic book in which Superman’s archenemy, Lex Luthor, launches an attack with what he calls an “atomic bomb.” Though Luthor’s “atomic bomb” in no way resembled an actual atomic bomb, the U.S. War Department demanded that publication be delayed.
The actors playing Superman often suffer grave misfortunes: The so-called Superman curse got its start with George Reeves, an actor who played Superman on a 1950s TV show. Reeves never quite took to the role, reportedly once telling a co-star: “Well, babe, this is it; the bottom of the barrel.” Typecast as Superman, he had trouble finding other work. Then, in June 1959, he was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tragedy also struck Christopher Reeve, the star of four Superman movies, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a May 1995 horse-riding accident. In the first of those films, Lee Quigley depicted Superman as a baby. He died in 1991 at age 14 after huffing solvents from a can. Other Superman actors, despite remaining in good health, have seen their careers slide downward upon taking off the blue tights and red cape.
His Death made a great impact in Comics: Yes, your eyes does not deceive you, Superman, probably one of the mightiest superhero in Earth had actually died. More than once in fact. And although his “death” was not permanent, it surely did a great impact to the world of Comics. The Man of Steel’s most iconic death was written in 1992 under the “Death of Superman” story arc. In this story, Superman went head to head with the immensely powerful and nearly indestructible Doomsday. Both engaged in an epic duel that ended with both of them dropping bloody and dead in the streets of Metropolis.
Comic book Superman briefly sported a mullet: In a January 1993 issue of Superman, the Man of Steel dies in a battle with the monstrous villain Doomsday. Unsurprisingly, he comes back to life a few months later—with his hair long in the back and short in the front. This much-ridiculed mullet did not disappear until his 1996 marriage to Lois Lane.
An Illinois town embraced Superman to bring in tourists: Superman lives and works in the fictional city of Metropolis, which, by chance, is the name of a small town in southern Illinois. In 1972, with the support of both DC Comics and the state House of Representatives, Metropolis, Illinois, began calling itself the hometown of Superman. In honor of Clark Kent’s employer, the Daily Planet, the newspaper there even changed its name to the Metropolis Planet.