HeroZine S U PERM AN
70 rman : Yea Leg rs a end !
THE “S”STORY CREATORS Jerry Siegel Joe Shuster
SUPERMAN PROFILE An overview of the most important hero of all time
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Table of Contents ON COVER
HeroZine EXTRA BONUS!
Superman Profile. Get to know all the information there is about your favorite superhero.
Kryptonian Alphabet. The ultimate kryptonian
The “S” Story. Find out the real story behind the Superman symbol, the legendary “S”.
alphabet only available on HeroZine magazine. Learn to write in your favorite hero language!
Superman FAQ. The most frequently asked questions about the hero of all time answered by his own creators. Creators. Learn who creater Superman and all the process involved in the creation of the most important superhero of all time.
ARTICLE OF THE MONTH Superman: 70 Years a Legend!. The history of Superman; comics, movies and more. All in this article, its a MUST READ!
SUPERMAN SPECIAL Abount the Superman comics. All you ever wanted to know about the superman comics, here in the superman special edition of
Lois Lane. Because all Superheroes must have their girl, we bring you an overview of Lois Lane. The Unbelivable Man of Steel. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize to the best article of the year. Superman Today vs. Superman 10 Years Ago. A brief comparison between the hero of today and the hero 10 years ago.
EDITO R I A L
Armando Barros Director of HeroZine magazine.
This number is very special for me because I grew up watching Superman movies and reading every comic book I found. Superman is one of Americaâ€™s favorite superheroes and this number of HeroZine will be dedicated to him and to his creators. There will be many interesting articles that will make you want to keep reading the whole magazine from the first to the las page. I really hope you like this number and enjoy all the information we bring you about Superman. On future numbers we will be having specials on each superhero so that everyone knows every piece of information there is about their favorite superhero. Thanks for reading,
Armando Barros Mattos
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SUPERMAN PROFILE VITAL STATISTICS Name Clark Joseph Kent [Earth Name] Kal-El [Kryptonian Name]
Age Height Weight Eyes Hair Occupation
39 6 feet, 3 inches 225 punds Blue Black Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, columnist and (one-time) Foreign Correspondent for the Daily Planet newspaper; adventurer as the superhero Superman, writer of four novels
Known Relatives Jor-El [Kryptonian father, deceased] Lara [Kryptonian mother, deceased] Jonathan Kent [adoptive father] Martha Kent [adoptive mother] Lois Lane [wife]
Marital Status Married to Lois Lane Group Affiliation Justice League of America Legion of Super Heroes
Base of Operations Current Address Birthday First Comic Book Appearance
The city of Metropolis, U.S.A. 1938 Sullivan Place, Metropolis Traditionally February 29 Action Comics #1 (June 1938), The Man of Steel #1 [Post-â€?Crisisâ€? series] (July 1986), Superman: Birthright #1 (July 2003), Superman: Secret Origin #1 (November 2009)
ORIGIN Conceived on the doomed planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El had his unborn son Kal-El, still within his birthing
matrix, placed on a hyperlight drive rocket. Then with his wife Lara, Jor-El watched the ship's
launch as a simmering nuclear chain reaction tore the planet apart. Jor-El targeted his son's rocket to reach the planet Earth through hyperspace, where JorEl hoped his son would find a good life.
The tiny rocket was found by a Kansas farming couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent. They found the infant within the rocket and, being childless, Martha persuaded Jonathan that they should adopt him. Named Clark Kent, the child grew up in Smallville, Kansas never knowing how his parents found him. The Kents began realizing Clark's special abilities at age 8 when he was unhurt after being trampled by a bull. Clark demonstrated more abilities as he grew, even being able to fly at age 17. The following year, after using his abilities to excel in a football game, Jonathan Kent revealed the remains of the rocket and how his adoptive parents had found him. Clark now understood his special powers came with responsibilities. That night, Clark revealed his secret to his closest friend, Lana Lang. He also told her he would be leaving Smallville the following day. Thus at age 18, Clark Kent began to travel around the world to learn about his powers, become better educated, and secretly help people. Places he went to include India, the High Sierras, China, Bangkok, and Sudan. After about four years Clark enrolled in the University of Metropolis and majored in journalism. Seven years after leaving Smallville, Clark witnessed an experimental NASA space
plane about to crash. He saved the plane and there first met Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. It was Lois' newspaper account of the rescue that gave Clark the superhero name of Superman. Although Clark managed to hide his identity during that incident, he realized he must adopt a superhero identity if he was to continue a public career of superheroics. With his parents' help Clark developed a superhero costume with a distinctive chest emblem. He also practiced mannerisms and began wearing glasses to distinguish Clark Kent's appearance from that of Superman. Returning to Metropolis, Clark began his superhero career as Superman, and his journalism career at the Daily Planet by getting the first exclusive interview with Superman. Superman's appearance began a new age of heroes, with other heroes like Batman (Bruce Wayne) in Gotham, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) in Coast City, and Flash (Barry Allen) in Central City appearing. At age 28, Clark learned about his Kryptonian heritage from an electro-psionic recording created by Jor-El and stored in Clark's birthing matrix (i.e. rocketship). Learning of Krypton's fate, Clark was further determined to protect his adopted home planet, Earth
HIS POWERS Clark Kent's Kryptonian body acts as a solar battery absorbing solar energy which can then be used as various remarkable powers. If Earth had a red sun like Krypton's, Clark would not have these powers. Using his powers causes Clark to use up his stored yellow sun energy. He can lose his powers if he expends a lot of energy quickly (e.g. during his battle with the monster Doomsday) or if he spends too much time away from a yellow sun while in outer space. When low on solar energy, Clark can 'recharge' if exposed to a source of yellow sun energy. The rate at which he 'recharges' can vary. When he has absorbed excess solar energy, his power levels have been above normal until the excess power is burned up.
Superman's superpowers include: Strength - although varying depending on his energy levels, Clark is among the strongest superheroes on Earth, capable of lifting a plane. Flight - able to defy gravity, possibly through sheer force of will. Invulnerability - years of exposure to yellow solar energy have caused Clark's Kryptonian body to become almost indestructible. His natural bio-electric aura also has limited force field properties protecting items near his skin e.g. his costume. His cape is not protected by his aura. Clark can survive in outer space as long as he has a breathing apparatus, and doesn't lose too much solar energy. Without an air supply, Superman can last between an hour and ninety minutes in space or underwater, after taking a deep breath. Using his powers of flight and superspeed Clark can travel inter-
planetary distances by himself. Interstellar distances require assistance e.g. a spaceship, teleportation belt. Super-speed - capable of superhuman speed, Clark can fly from Metropolis to have dinner with Lois Lane in Paris, France, or in a few minutes fly to the Moon.
Super-breath - Clark's invulnerability and strength exist internally too, affecting his skeleton and internal organs. After inhaling deeply he can expel the air in a gale-force wind. Superman is also able to chill his breath in order to freeze a target (this latter ability has also been called "freeze breath" and "arctic breath").
Super-hearing - Capable of blocking out and discerning a single known voice within a city. Vision - Clark can detect electromagnetic energy in more than the normal visible spectrum:
•X-Ray vision •IR vision •Microscopic •Telescopic
Heat Vision - additionally, Clark can release solar energy in the form of Heat Vision as a weapon. Besides the using up of his solar energy, Clark has two other weaknesses:
Created by internal pressures that caused Krypton's explosion, kryptonite is the ore form of kryptonium. It looks like a green glowing rock. It is very hazardous to Superman. If exposed to kryptonite, Clark will experience pain and rapidly lose his powers. If exposed for much more than an hour he would die. If suffering kryptonite poisoning, Clark can recover if he gets away from the kryptonite. When Clark's birthing matrix left Krypton, a fragment of kryptonite became embedded in the tail section. Villain Lex Luthor obtained this fragment and used part of it for a ringstone, to protect himself from Superman. After being exposed to it for a year, Luthor found the radiation destroyed his hand, and was killing his body through cancer, necessitating he obtain a prosthetic hand, and later a new cloned body.
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CREATORS JERRY SIEGEL Jerry Siegel, who as a teen-ager in the Depression co-created Superman and started a craze for comic book superheroes that has never abated, has died at age 81, the publishers of Superman comics said Tuesday. A spokeswoman for DC Comics said Siegel died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of heart failure. Joseph Shuster, the Canadian immigrant who drew the comic strip which Siegel wrote, died in 1992 at age 78, also in Los Angeles. The two childhood friends, both science fiction fanatics, had just graduated from Glenville High School in Cleveland in 1934 when they created "The Man of Steel," a gentleman more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and faster than a speeding bullet. It took them four years to sell the idea to National Allied Periodicals, which also bought the rights to the characters Siegel and Shuster created for less than $200. The two men earned a fairly lucrative salary drawing and writing the comic books until 1947 when they sued for more money and were fired. They never wrote or drew the Superman comic books again and were re-
ported near poverty in the early 1970s when the first of major new series of Superman films came out. After a protest by comic book artists around the country, Warner, which owned DC Comics, put the two men on a pension which rose into the six
figures over the years. While Siegel's and Shuster's fortunes rose and fell, Superman, an immigrant from the planet Krypton, achieved the American dream. He became a star in virtually every form of media from comic books to films to television, spawning many imitators from Captain Marvel to Wonder Woman, Batman and Spiderman.
smith, who himself would later go to Hollywood where he became a producer of generally low budget thrillers & hot-rod genre films. The case was settled in the New York State Supreme Court in 1948 with the creative team receiving the comparatively small settlement of $120,000. That sum was less than the pair would have made supplying stories to DC during the two years that the court case continued.
Mike Carlin, the current editor of Superman comics, said Siegel was always very supportive. "When we killed Superman off in 1992, he was very supportive. He said it was a good way to shake things up," Carlin said. "He understood, he was a writer. All the writers at DC Comics were very happy because 'Daddy' approved." Superman was later brought back to life through the one-time only use of a Kryptonian healing chamber -- but only after tens of thousands of fans registered their protests. Siegel is survived by his wife Joanne, a model for the original Lois Lane, a daughter, a son, and two grandsons.
JOE SHUSTER Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, Canada on July 10, 1914. At the age of nine, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he would later meet Jerome Siegel. In 1932/33 the pair edited & published their own fan magazine covering the new fantasy fiction of the day. The fanzine, aptly titled "Science Fiction" lasted six issues. It was during the time they published Science Fiction that they were exposed to Phillip Wylie's pseudo-science fiction novel "Gladiator", which was destined to be the seminal influence for the Siegel & Shuster creation which itself would become one of the most important fantasy characters of all time. That character, "Superman", would even later be the model for scores of other super powered comic heroes, giving birth to the "Golden Age of Comics" in the late 1930's. Having first introduced the super character as a villain in their fanzine in a story entitled "the Reign of the Superman", the duo eventually molded him into a comic strip which they had unsuccessfully marketed as early as 1936, during which time they each earned a living by writing (Siegel) and drawing (Shuster) comic stories for DC-National. Henri Duval, Spy, Radio Squad, Slam Bradley, Federal Men and the more popular Dr. Occult kept them at DC until finally DC editor Sheldon Mayer took a chance & had Superman published as the lead feature in DC's inaugural issue of the now famous "Action Comics". (One story has Max (M.C.) Gaines sending the feature over to Mayer). Superman was an instant hit and less than one year later was promoted to his own book - a first for any super hero! Unfortunately for the two creators, a common practice at the time of Superman's first appearance was for the publisher to retain all rights to the character. Thusly, they had no financial or copyright interest in Superman, even though they did receive good pay for supplying DC with stories and art throughout the early forties. The Saturday Evening Post reported that the pair had a combined 1940 income of over $75,000!
It was also after this settlement that the Siegel & Shuster byline, which had appeared on every story since 1938, was summarily dropped. As such, other than in a historical or creative context, their names had not appeared in conjunction with Superman, until the 1980's when DC reinstated the byline. Shuster would leave the comics field during the late forties, and Siegel's presence was very limited at best until finally he also left comics. Many have commented that Shuster's artwork was done in a crude, narrative style (which comic artist Jim Steranko likened to editorial cartooning) which was reminiscent of Milton Caniff 's art. Indeed, under his own inks, Shuster was very polished and illustrative, and his style itself became a model for many artists in the comic book industry during the thirties until the art of Lou Fine, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby and the influence of Hal Foster, Caniff & Alex Raymond revolutionized the medium. Siegel & Shuster would again sue DC in 1978 for royalties from the Superman character, and through the help of comics artists Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson, as well as public outcry from the comics hobby, they received a settlement from DC for $35,000 each per year for the remainder of their lives. Still a paltry settlement when taking into account the hundreds of millions of dollars that DC made off the character in comics, from movies & radio, toys & other merchandising. Even while DC sued other publishers, like Fawcett & Fox for plagiarizing their flagship hero, they themselves were copying him in their own books (Starman in Adventure Comics being the most obvious). Siegel & Shuster did not profit from these in-house swipes either. Joe Shuster, nearly blind & very bitter about his treatment from DC died in 1992 just short of his seventy-eighth birthday. Though forgotten by the publisher that should have eulogized him as their savior, he will never be forgotten by the millions of fans worldwide who have read his legendary creation.
But this compensation still did not please them, and in 1946 after having tried for years to get DC to let them in on the millions of dollars they were making, they finally decided to sue the comics publishing giant. They were represented by a New York attorney by the name of Albert Zug-
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The Story Logo Timeline 1938- The original Superman created by Jerry 1940- Comic artist Wayne Boring’s Superman 1941-1943- The Max Fleischer cartoon studio version of Superman 1948-1950- Kirk Alyn’s Superman first live action theatrical version 1956-1957- George Reeves Superman first live action 1960-1970- Comic artist Curt Swan’s
uperman's "S" emblem, the stylized red S on a yellow diamond-shaped shield with the red border, is likely one of the most recognized icons in both our world and the fictional Earth-DC. But who created it? Who came up with that eye-catching design? Well sure, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster created the "S", the spit-curl, and even the red undies. But how do the comics, movies, and TV shows explain the origin of the "S" emblem - is it an extra-
terrestrial symbol or just something Pa Kent dreamt up while harvesting a field of poppies? As with most things concerning an eternally young 70-year old character, the answer is that it depends who you ask. For instance, ask Bryan Singer, the director of 2006's "Superman Returns" and he'll tell you what he recently told Wizard Magazine in its Spring 2005 Mega Movie issue - that the Superman suit "he (Supey) wears is a remnant of that world (Krypton)..." Singer apparently bases that opinion on 1978's "Superman: The Movie" in which the costume is Kryptonian fabric and the "S" emblem is a fam-
ily crest worn by Superman's biological father, Jor-El. Singer's film will fit within a "vague history" of the 1978 movie's plot. While the comic book explanation for the "S" differed from the movie's explanation for most of the 67 years of Superman's adventures, Mark Waid's recent revamp of Superman's origin in "Superman: Birthright" tied the "S" to Krypton, effectively unifying the different media interpretations for the "S". The earliest comic references seem to indicate that Clark designed the "S" logo along with the costume itself. In "More
designed or drew but chose - "to stand for Superboy, and later Superman - [but] it will also mean Saving lives, Stopping crime, and giving Super-aid wherever it's needed." It can be assumed that Superboy's use of the word "chose" can be attributed to an error in word choice, rather than an attempt to claim someone else designed the "S". Even if you didn't read comic books, by 1952, anyone with a TV could have told you that Ma Kent made Clark's costume and therefore presumably designed the "S" emblem. In "Superman on Earth" (Sept. 19, 1952) - the
the emblem, it is coincidence that ultimately earns him the name-he-travels-under. In December 1978, "Superman: The Movie" provided a new explanation for the "S" emblem. It wasn't an "S" at all, but a Kryptonian symbol that served as a family crest for the -El family. Apparently, the "S" stood for "El" and it was Lois who connected the symbol on his chest with the letter "S" and the name Superman. In the anniversary issue, "Action Comics #500", it's explained that Pa Kent designed the stylized
perman Annual #10" (1984), the logo is again something Pa Kent dreamed up. However, Jonathan Kent apparently formed a psychic connection with the legendary "Sword of Superman". The sword formed during creation's Big Bang with an "S" logo emblazoned in its handle; this "Sword of Superman" floats around space for centuries until it finally comes into contact with Superman. When Superman grasps the sword, it begins to make him an all-powerful, all-knowing super deity. Superman rejects the sword's power so he can remain Earth's greatest hero. In 1987, John Byrne revamped Superman's origin and completely restarted the character from scratch in the six issue "Man of Steel" miniseries. Though Byrne incorporated many of the first film's conceits, including the idea of Krypton as a cold, sterile planet, he maintained that Clark himself designed the "S" logo. While Ma Kent sewed the costume out of ordinary Earth fabric, which derived near invulnerability through its close proximity to Superman's aura (and explaining how Big Blue goes through so many capes), Clark designed the "S" emblem, which his mother incorporated into the final suit.
Fun Comics #101," the narrative explained that Clark "secretly fashion[ed] a colorful red-and-blue costume - and thus born - Superboy." Though the "S" emblem isn't mentioned explicitly, it can be assumed that its design was part of the "secret fashion[ing]" that Clark did in making that first Superboy costume. Superboy muddies the waters a bit when he declares that he "chose" the "S" emblem - not
introductory episode of "The Adventures of Superman" Clark's adoptive mother takes Clark to the Smallville bus depot after Pa Kent's death so he can move to Metropolis and start being super full time. Ma Kent (known in this episode for some reason as Sara Kent) asks if Clark remembered to bring the costume she made for him out of the blankets he was wrapped in w man rescued by Superman refers to him as "this . . . super man" so, if Ma Kent designed
"S". By this point, it was established continuity that Ma sewed the super suit, so giving Pa the artistic skills to create the "S" icon probably seemed like a logical way to keep both of Clark's Earth parents involved in creating Superman's look. Perhaps spurred by the film's crafting of an extraterrestrial origin for the "S" emblem, a mid80's pre-Crisis Superman tale changed the comic origins of the "S" logo one more time. In "Su-
Some questions should have simple answers. The question of where Superman acquired that unique "S" emblem should be such a question. But that's the fun of a character with such a long history - someone's always revisiting questions related to the hero's origin. Attempts to put a fresh spin on Superman naturally look to the most iconic attributes of the hero and what's more iconic than the icon?
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The Big One
Who is Superman? Superman is probably the best-known superhero in the world. Superman comic books have been around since 1938, though his appearances in movies and television have probably done more to make him famous. Superman has various superhuman abilities that he uses to uphold good. He captures criminals, rescues people in danger, strives for justice, and has a strong sense of morals. In short, Superman fights for Truth and Justice. Superman wears a special costume while fighting crime, but he also has a life outside of being a superhero. As Clark Kent, he grew up in the town of Smallville, Kansas, and attended Metropolis University. Clark is a Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper reporter for the DAILY PLANET, and he strives to keep his Superman identity secret. Clark Kent is well-known for his DAILY PLANET articles, and he has published several books. Superman escaped from the doomed planet Krypton as the baby Kal-El in a rocketship built by his father Jor-El.
The Daily Planet
What is the DAILY PLANET? The DAILY PLANET is a major newspaper in the city of Metropolis. The original DAILY PLANET was founded in 1775. It seems to be of quality comparable to the real-world NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, or LONDON TIMES. Since Clark Kent works at the paper, the PLANET and its reporters are major players in many plots and subplots. The building itself is famous for the large globe (planet) atop it. Perry White is the managing editor. Reporters include Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Cat Grant, Steve Lombard, and Ron Troupe.
How do find old superman comic books? Many comic-book dealers will sell old comics. Comic book conventions feature many new and used comics for sale. Furthermore, many current comics will include advertisements for dealers who sell old comics by mail order. Finally, DC reprints some collections of Superman stories in trade paperback editions available at comic book stores. Do not try to contact the publisher for old issues of comics. In addition to current titles (see Q2), comics from the past that featured Superman include THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, DC COMICS PRESENTS, WORLD’S FINEST, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL, and SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW.
How much money are old Superman comics worth? The crude answer is that they are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them. In general, the value depends on the importance of the story, the number of copies printed, the physical quality of the book, and whether it is the first printing or a reprint. For example, the comic in which Superman died (SUPERMAN #75; Jan.93) is valuable because fans consider the story important and the demand exceeded the supply. Second and third printings of that book are worth much less, and a poor-condition copy would not be worth as much. The OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE is often accepted as the best guide to comic prices, while several fan magazines print clearly inflated prices. Another good cource for discovering comic book prices is the Comics Price Guide website located at www.ComicsPriceGuide.com.
Who is Jimmy Olsen? James Bartholomew Olsen is a red-haired, freckle-faced, young friend of the DAILY PLANET staff. He started work at the PLANET as a gopher and has worked to earn respect from the staff. Jimmy endures the hardships of becoming an adult yet often bumbles. Due to his occasional association with Superman and the signal watch he once made, Jimmy has earned the nickname of “Superman’s Pal.”
Who created Superman? When did Superman first appear? Superman was created by Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist). In the 1930s, the two teenagers from Cleveland failed to convince comics publishers and newspapers to print their stories until Superman finally made his first appearance in ACTION COMICS #1 (cover date June 1938).
What happened in the Death of Superman? What is Doomsday? In 1992, Superman endured an extensive battle with a monster called Doomsday. The Creature destroyed numerous towns and much of Metropolis before Superman was able to stop it. At the end of the battle (SUPERMAN #75, Jan.93), Superman and Doomsday apparently killed each other with their final blows.
How did Superman return to life? Due to a coincidental chain of circumstances, Superman was able to return from his apparent death. On the physical level, his dying body still contained some residual energy, and it absorbed more energy from the Sun and the experiments performed on it. The Eradicator stole Superman’s body from its tomb and took it to the Fortress of Solitude, where it used the body to convert solar energy to energy it could use. Meanwhile, Superman’s spirit was trapped between life and death, and various demons struggled for possession of it. With the assistance of Pa Kent’s spirit, Superman decided to return to Earth (ADVENTURES #500, May 93). Superman’s essence returned to his physical body, but he lay dormant in the Fortress of Solitude for many days until he was able to escape the energy-siphoning device. A much-weakened Superman traveled to Coast City to battle alien invaders. At the end of the battle, the Eradicator gave most of its energy to Superman and restored him to full strength.
According to interviews with DC staff, they decided to create a new enemy to defeat Superman rather than have one of his old enemies accomplish the heinous deed. Two compiled books reprint the comics that make up the story of the Death of Superman. THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN includes the battle with Doomsday. The Funeral for a Friend series is reprinted in WORLD WITHOUT A SUPERMAN. These trade paperbacks are published by DC Comics and are available at comic-book stores. Furthermore, the hardback novel THE DEATH AND LIFE OF SUPERMAN by Roger Stern retells the entire story from the battle with Doomsday to the end of the Reign of the Supermen. After his return to life, Superman had a rematch with Doomsday in the SUPERMAN/DOOMSDAY: HUNTER/PREY mini-series (1994). The story revealed that Doomsday was an artificially engineering being created millennia ago on the planet Krypton. The two also battled in SUPERMAN: THE DOOMSDAY WARS (1999), a mini-series in which Brainiac took control of Doomsday’s body. Superman has since come across Doomsday again (during the OUR WORLD’S AT WAR storyline of 2001) and defeated him each time.
A r t ic le o f the Month
70 Years a Legend! Ten years ago I wrote an article for this website titled "Superman: The Appeal of a 60 Year Legend". So much has changed since 1998. There have been both tragedy, pain, and sorrow including joy, laughter, and cheer. I have encountered those things during that time. At one point, I nearly had forgotten who I am and it took two difficult years to remind me of my value and a lot of growth. During that time, I didn't read Superman much at all. Recently, I have been rereading the article I wrote ten years ago and realized that my words are strong and that I should rely on them for strength, which has also been a help for me. As for Superman; I am glad that current writers such as Grant Morrision, Geoff Johns, and Kurt Busiek are taking Superman very seriously and respecting the character's history, while still making him contemporary. Back in 1998, I was concerned about the state of the comic book industry due to both the decline of comic books (because some people had bought them for the wrong reasons) and when Carl Icahn nearly brought Marvel Comics to the ground back then. It's good that the industry is recovering and Icahn no longer owns Marvel. I am still concerned about the industry because I am a fan first
and foremost. This is a medium that crosses all races, genders, and generations. Comic books have helped me learn about the world around me and have an interest in reading books, which I still have to this day, when I need to get away from watching TV and the internet. It would be nice if Siegel and Shuster were still alive, despite how they have been treated and the financial legalities concerning their creation. I would shake their hand and hug them to thank them for creating Superman. Why? I didn't have any positive male role models as a kid and Superman helped me through those difficult times growing up. And to let them know that what they have endured was sad, they aren't forgotten and that Superman lives through them. Superman has shown me how to be not only a good person, but a better one too. Our focus has been on so called "role models" who don't live up to the standards they set and have compromised them for greedy and selfish reasons. Superman may not be a real person, but he is timeless. Superman has endured for the past 70 years and has evolved. He has kept the essence of who he is the same. That is a lesson for all of us as well... don't be afraid of change, but don't change who you really are.
I want to wish Superman a happy birthday and for everyone to look up in the sky... it's a bird, it's a plane... No, it's S u p e r m a n !
About the SUPERMAN Comics
Superman began publication in 1939 and continued up to #423. In 1987 Superman was retitled Adventures of Superman, with a new Superman #1 (2nd series) being published as part of the John Byrne revamping of Superman. Between 1987-2006 Adventures of Superman was published monthly [First Issue: #424 January 1987. Final Issue: #649 February 2006]. With the cancellation of Adventures of Superman in February 2006, Superman returned to its original numbering (started in 1939), going from #226 to #650 in March 2006. Issue #714 was the final issue of this numbering before the relaunch of the DC Universe in late 2011. Between 1991-2003 Superman: The Man of Steel was published monthly [First Issue: #1 July 1991. Final Issue: #134 March 2003]. Between 1995-1999 another Superman comic, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow was published quarterly [First Issue: #1 Summer 1995. Final Issue: #15 Fall/Autumn 1999], allowing for a new Superman comic to appear each week. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow filled in the "skip weeks" (5th week in a month), but was regularly pushed aside for a skip-week special event and was therefore cancelled. Starting in August 2003, DC Comics began publishing a monthly comic book, Superman/Batman, which chronicled the adventures of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight together in the one book. It concluded with issue #87 in August 2011. In January 2007, DC Comics began publishing a monthly title called Superman Confidential, which told stories from key moments in the history of Superman. It was cancelled in 2008 after 14 issues.
DC Comics regularly publishes special comics in an attempt to ensure Superman fans have something to read every week of the year. Of course being such a popular character, Superman often also appears in one-shots, and mini-series, and other DC superheroes' comics. After a July 1996 mini-series Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare, in October 1996, Superman became a member of the new version of the Justice League in the series JLA: Justice League of America. The JLA comic was published monthly and ran for 11 years, concluding with issue #125 (April 2006). A secondary JLA comic book monthly series called JLA: Classified also follows the adventures of the Justice League (First Issue: #1 January 2005). The Justice League was reformed and began a series of new adventures in the Justice League of America monthly comic book, with issue #0 starting in September 2006. Superman was not always an active member of the JLA (although Supergirl took his place). Justice League of America concluded with issue #60 in August 2011, with a new Justice League #1 published as part of the company-wide relaunch. After the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline following Superman's "death" at the hands of Doomsday, two new Superman-related books were introduced for the characters Superboy and Steel. However both were eventually cancelled. Steel ran for 52 issues, ending in May 1998. Superboy ran for 100 issues, ending in May 2002. In July 1996, a second monthly Superboy title started called Superboy & The Ravers, but it was cancelled in 1998. Superboy then appeared in Young Justice before it too was cancelled. A new monthly Superboy title began again in November 2010 and ran for 11 issues before being relaunched with a new #1 in late 2011. Superboy currently also appears in the Teen Titans monthly comic. Superboy is also part of the Young Justice comic book series (based on the animated series of the same name currently airing on Cartoon Network) which was first published in February 2011. A Supergirl comic series was published monthly beginning in September 1996, but it too was cancelled in May 2003 after 80 issues. A new Supergirl monthly series started again (this time with Superman's actual Kryptonian cousin, Kara Zor-El) in October 2005 and ran for 67 issues before Supergirl was relaunched with a new #1 in late 2011. Supergirl also appeared in the Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes monthly comic book series from issues #16-36 (March 2006 to January 2008), and the Justice League of America comic book series from issue #45-60 (May 2010 to August 2011). In February 1997, DC launched Adventures in the DC Universe, a comic book that followed in the same style writing and artwork as the Superman Adventures and the Batman and Robin Adventures comic books, this comic sometimes featured Superman, however it was cancelled in 1998. In November 2001, DC Comics launched Justice League Adventures, a comic book to tie-in with the "Justice League" animated series airing on the Cartoon Network. In August 2004 (after 34 issues) this comic title was cancelled and a new comic book series Justice League Unlimited was launched to coincide with the name change given to the animated series on the Cartoon Network. This title too was cancelled after 46 issues. Being a member of the Justice League, Superman features prominently in this title. This comic, like the other "Animated" style books, is not part of the same continuity used in the other Superman or JLA comics. With the popular Krypto The Superdog animated series running on Cartoon Network, DC Comics published a 6-issue tie-in comic book by the same name, which ran from November 2006 to April 2007. DC Comics also published a Super Friends comic book aimed at younger readers, which ran for 29 issues from February 2008 to September 2010.
Lois Lane Lois In Action Lois Lane is undoubtedly the most famous of the Superman supporting cast. Lois was introduced at the same time as Superman -- in Action Comics #1 -- as a feisty, strongwilled reporter who writes "sob stories" for the paper. She can't stand her co-worker Clark Kent because, as she tells him, "you're a spineless, unbearable coward!"
man and to prove that Clark was Superman (both usually by way of trickery). Lois was a petty and shallow person for most of these stories. The personalities of most comic book characters in the Golden Age and Silver Age were story-driven. Since many of the stories had the same points told and re-told in different tales, those characteristics were reinforced over and over.
ate, intelligent, well-rounded person. As with most characterizations in the Silver Age, her portrayal wasn't always consistent and reverted to stereotype according to the whims of writers and editors, but from time to time, the original Lois shone from within.
It wasn't until the later issues of her own comic, Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane, that the writers began to develop her as a passion-
The most referenced part of this storyline comes in the second issue, Superman #297, when Clark Kent decides to try life as a mortal
Lois' look, as well as her character, was based on Joanne Carter - an artist's model used by Joe Shuster. Joanne is described in Les Daniels' entertaining book, Superman: The Complete History, as having spunk, enthusiasm, determination, courage, independence and ambition. As most fans know, Joanne also became the wife of Jerry Siegel when they met again ten years later. Lois' character and personality changed during the following years -- for the worse. She was a character (and often a caricature) driven by compulsions to wed Super-
In a classic and influential run in the original Superman series (#296-299 from 1976), writers Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates take the Lois/Clark relationship to a serious, and regrettably temporary, new level. An alien spy treats Clark Kent's clothes with a formula which deprives him of his powers while dressed in his regulation blue suit. It's a great story with wonderful Curt Swan pencils (inked by Bob Oksner) that has our hero try life for a week as Clark, then a week as Superman, until concluding with a battle against his nine deadliest enemies.
for one week. No longer having to pretend to be meek and mild, Clark trounces his antagonist, Steve Lombard and tells off his boss, Morgan Edge. The new Clark impresses Lois who shows up at his apartment door with a bag of groceries to cook him dinner. A delicious meal of beef bourguignon is followed up by some late night couch kissing, which then cuts to the next morning with Lois singing out loud with a huge smile on her face. While nothing more is implied in the comic, fan speculation ran rampant on the extent of Lois and Clark's rendezvous such that even today, "beef bourguignon" is Lois and Clark's playful password to each other.
Woman of Steel When John Byrne re-started the Superman continuity he drew much of his inspiration from the original tales by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The current incarnation of Lois Lane owes much to their Lois, and Joanne Siegel. The character is updated, so that she isn't just a 'girl reporter' stuck doing 'sob stories', but she retains the spark and spirit seen in the very first Superman stories. We meet Lois in the first issue of the Man Of Steel miniseries when Clark rescues the spaceplane, Constitution. Her first words to him: "Hold it right there, buster!!!" Clark finds himself unable to leave -- "She's ... I don't know ... not as beautiful as a movie star, but she has ... a quality. Something I've never seen in any other woman. Almost a fire in those big, dark eyes. For just a moment it seemed as if something passed between us. A spark." The meeting is brief, as Clark flees the mob that surrounds them. The miniseries quickly establishes Lois' character as resourceful, ambitious,
uncompromising, highly principled, and attractively feminine. In one issue, she fakes an accident so that Superman will save her and allow her to get an exclusive interview. In a later issue, when Luthor brags about the expensive dress he bought for her as a present, she tells Luthor off and strips out of her dress to storm out, covered only by Clark's jacket. Byrne provided more background on Lois in The World Of Metropolis miniseries. Lois is the focus of the second issue, which starts with her daring rescue of her sister Lucy's dog. Lois talks about her relationship with her father, Sam Lane -- "He never could get used to the idea of his firstborn being a girl. He wanted a son so badly he tried everything he could to turn me into one." When Lucy asks if Lois will ever forgive him, she replies, "He'll have to forgive himself first."
Lois and Clark The Man Of Steel miniseries sets up Lois' relationship with Clark Kent. After all her work to get the exclusive interview with Superman, she finds out that she has been scooped by the Planet's newest reporter. In issue #4 she reminds the "swine" that it has been "seventeen months, two weeks, four days and an odd number of hours" since he scooped her. In issue #5 she reveals that for "five years I've been dreaming of being kissed by Superman." Lois' attitude to Clark is softening by the time the regular series begins. In Superman #1, she says, "Don't be cute Kent. You're hard enough to resist without those puppy-dog looks," but adds, "Denial builds character and I'm gonna be denying you for a loooong time." Clark, determined to win her as himself (not as Superman), takes heart when she calls him a weasel because, "I consider that up a step up from swine." One of the frustrations of watching Lois' relationship with Clark is that it often falls into the background as a sub-plot -- with most of the issue being taken up by the 'fight of the week' syndrome. Lois dates Jose Delgado (Gangbuster), among others, while Clark spends time with Cat Grant and flirts with Wonder Woman. For examples of these stories, the trade paperback collection, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, has a collection of entertaining and important stories tied together by the subplot focus on Lois and her relationship with Superman and Clark. Slowly, Lois and Clark acknowledge their feelings toward each other and begin a more serious relationship. In Adventures of Superman #466 (the issue that introduced Hank Henshaw - later the Cyborg Superman - and his Fantastic Four type origin), Clark decides the time has come to get serious about his feelings toward Lois. He tells her, "Maybe you want this relationship to proceed at its own pace, Lois. But I think life is too short to sit and wait. Sometimes you have to push life - take chances. And if you fail - at least you can say you tried." When Lois asks, "Chances? Like what?", Clark lets her know with a long, deep, passionate kiss.
The Unbelivable man of
Lately, in the ever-knowing media, many commentaries are written about the Man of Steel. Sure, he's an easy person to write about without screwing him up. The cool powers, the redand-blue costume with the big red "S". What's to mess up? Plenty, sadly.
Many critics call Superman unbelievable. They're not talking about his ability to bend steel in his bare hands, or he's faster than a speeding bullet. No, they can accept that. Why, they can even accept the fact that he was rocketed to Earth from a dying planet. What they can't accept is that this pop icon is optimistic, a boy scout who goes out of his way to help people. Apparently, this sunny attitude is considered too "old fashion".
Sure, people like Batman because maybe they can relate to him a bit more. As a young child, he witnessed the murder of his parents before his small eyes and has vowed a war against crime ever since. Spider-Man is another "believable" character. He's a regular guy who has trouble paying his bills or he's late for his job because he's fighting Doctor Octopus. He has problems just like any one else, except he is driven by the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" - that sense of putting his personal life aside and doing a greater good.
Now, according to the critics, Batman and Spider-Man are more "acceptable" because they must go through hardships. Superman, on the other hand, doesn't. At least, not to the extent of those other noble heroes. Yes, he has had his fair share of misfortunes, but he has always walked away from them a better man, still holding his face to the sun and never changing his beliefs for a better tomorrow. And because of this, critics say Superman is not believable because of his old fashion values. Unbelievable? Old fashion? Being in the newspaper business for a number of years now, I've seen my share of "Supermen" and "Superwomen". No one really notices these individuals, expect maybe Christmas time, when the media does the traditional "group-helps-the-homeless" stories. It is these individuals who put their energies and resources to helping the unfortunate all year l ong .
These are the same people who put in countless hours to host a fund-raiser to collect money for a needy cause. And while they pour an enormous amount of their time and energy to helping total strangers, these people are still full of good cheer, despite the hard work they are doing. And that's not even mentioning other heroes, such as volunteer firefighters or emergency medical technicians. These people risk life and limb to save countless lives every day, putting
themselves in danger not to be rewarded, but because it's the right thing to do. And if, in an unfortunate event, they can't save a life of a homeowner, or one of their own, do you know what they do the very next Friday night at the firehouse? They're laughing it up with their friends. Why? Not because they are cold-hearted monsters, but they know life goes on. Yes, they will grieve for their missing comrade or that little girl who won't see her next birthday, but they know life has other positive things to offer. They refuse to succumb to the hardships of life, and have it gnaw away at them until nothing is left but an empty husk of a human being. These brave men and women look forward to a better, hopeful tomorrow, just like Superman.
If Superman-critics want to say he's not believable because of his "good-guy" attitude and unselfish acts of kindness, then they better start criticizing the countless volunteers for doing the same thing around the world. While having bullets bounce off his chest or having x-ray vision are impressive abilities, it is Clark Kent's unwavering optimism that should be looked on with great awe and admiration. Superman walks around and says, "Look, I know the world is in bad shape, but it's not always going to be like this and if we work together, things will get better". That speaks more volumes of the man than his ability to fly in the air. The Man of Steel is a realistic optimist and the fact that he's criticized for it shows just how much a Superman is needed in times where kindness, values, and a positive attitude are unrecognizable or unaccepted.
Superman TODAY vs.
Superman 10 YEARS AGo Characters Characters, for the most part, remain the same. We have some additions to the cast, including The Tribunal, Kenny Braverman, Manchester Black, The Futuresmiths, Imperiex, and the new Brainiac, but largely, the status quo remains, as none of these characters seem to be recurring, and the characters that ARE recurring, at least some of the time, are similar to those in the early nineties. VERDICT: Tie.
You might be surprised about what I have to say for this one. I'm a big fan of Bog, a huge fan of Grummet, Jurgens, Guice, Simonson, everyone of that era. I am.
Superman ten years ago had very distinct and defined powers. I have to give Eddie Berganza kudos for always having snap answers to fan questions in the "Ask Eddie Fan Forum", for instance, how effective a certain power is, how much Superman can do or lift, etcetera, but the problem is, his answers in our forum illustrate, in concordance with the comic, a lack of continuity of powers. For instance, in one comic, a Casey comic, Superman can melt the world away from being frozen, a truly God-like power, and in another, he can fly into the sun. In the Superman of ten years ago, Superman had a very defined and strict set of powers, largely so that he wouldn't become, as the creators put it, TOO powerful, and thus hard to write. Personally, I tend to think the problem is not that Superman is hard to write, but rather that the writer's haven't yet earned a full grasp of the concept that we tend not to read for Superman, but rather, for Lex Luthor, and how Superman reacts to him. Regardless, ten years ago, the powers were more defined, and certainly made Superman weaker, and thus more human, at least to me.
Superman ten years ago was more coherent and managed, but sometimes, the dialogue was just cheesy. When I was thirteen it was okay, but reading through it now, I cringe. Granted, there are cringe moments today, but there were more back then... just general melodrama as opposed to the more examining dialogue today.
All respect to the masters in the early nineties, but as I think you might agree, as time, technology, and new innovations offer more to the potential artist, I see the artists today taking advantage of it, and much as Citizen Kane is a classic for what it is, by today's standards, if you put Fight Club next to Kane, Fight Club will win, even if Kane was more innovative in its time. A sad fact of progress and evaluation. VERDICT: Superman now.
Costume The costume stayed the same, though Superman flirted with long hair back in the early nineties, which, though most people hated, I really liked. I even grew my hair long for it. (God, that's sad. That's really, really sad.) But true. VERDICT: Superman ten years ago.
VERDICT: Superman ten years ago.
VERDICT: Superman now.
Lois Lois in the early nineties was a strong woman and a participant in the Superman mythos in a strong way. Now she's, well, plug your ears kids, a b#$#$. What a b number sign, dollar sign, number sign, dollar sign means is that she's really rude, impulsive, unloving, cruel, and out of character all the time. VERDICT: Superman ten years ago.
The Kryptonian Alphabet