(PCM) It was back in 1933 when two kids from Cleveland, Ohio named Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster developed a very small self-published fanzine title “Science Fiction”.
In issue #3 of their fanzine, they created a story about a super-powered telepath who was going to attempt to take over the world. At first the Superman was portrayed as a villainous character, however when their initial fanzine failed to produce sales, Siegel and Shuster shifted gears and began making comic strips in a book they called “Popular Comics.”
Fast forward another few years to 1938 when Siegel and Shuster evolved the first incantation of the Superman idea and decided it would be more marketable to shape him into a heroic character. They then shopped the character and idea to National Allied Publications and Detective Comics, which would later become DC Comics as we know it today!
Eventually the character of Superman would go on to become the most popular fictional character of all time.
Here are some Superman fun facts to further explain his characters history:
Superman debuted in Action Comics #1 (cover-dated June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, newspaper strips, television programs, films, and video games.
The character is also referred to by other nicknames such as the Big Blue Boy Scout, the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, and the Last Son of Krypton.
Superman’s original name on the planet Krypton was Kal-El. His middle name on planet Earth is Joseph.
Superman resides and operates in the fictional American city of Metropolis. As Clark Kent, he is a journalist for the Daily Planet, a Metropolis newspaper. Superman’s love interest is Lois Lane, and his archenemy is the supervillain Lex Luthor.
A close ally of Batman and Wonder Woman, he is typically depicted as a member of the Justice League.
In March 1938, Siegel and Shuster sold all rights to the character to Detective Comics, Inc. for $130, the equivalent of $2,300 when adjusted for inflation. By this time, Siegel and Shuster had resigned themselves that Superman would never be a success, and with this deal they would at least see their character finally published.
The character’s ownership has often been the subject of dispute, with Siegel and Shuster twice suing for the return of rights.
Several actors have played Superman in motion pictures and TV series including Bud Collyer, Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Tim Daly, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Henry Cavill, and Tyler Hoechlin.
In 1975, Siegel and a number of other comic book writers and artists launched a public campaign for better compensation and treatment of comic creators. Warner Brothers agreed to give Siegel and Shuster a yearly stipend, full medical benefits, and credit their names in all future Superman productions in exchange for never contesting ownership of Superman.
Shuster died in 1992. DC Comics offered Shuster’s heirs a stipend in exchange for never challenging ownership of Superman, which they accepted for some years.
Siegel died in 1996. His heirs attempted to take the rights to Superman using the termination provision of the Copyright Act of 1976. DC Comics negotiated an agreement wherein it would pay the Siegel heirs several million dollars and a yearly stipend of $500,000 in exchange for permanently granting DC the rights to Superman.
Copyright lawyer and movie producer Marc Toberoff then struck a deal with the heirs of both Siegel and Shuster to help them get the rights to Superman in exchange for signing the rights over to his production company, Pacific Pictures. Both groups accepted.
In 2008, the judge ruled in favor of the Siegels. DC Comics appealed the decision, and the appeals court ruled in favored of DC, arguing that the October 2001 letter was binding. In 2003, the Shuster heirs served a termination notice for Shuster’s grant of his half of the copyright to Superman. DC Comics sued the Shuster heirs in 2010, and the court ruled in DC’s favor on the grounds that the 1992 agreement with the Shuster heirs barred them from terminating the grant.
Superman is due to enter the public domain in 2033. However, this would only apply to the character as he is depicted in Action Comics #1 (1938).
Over the years Superman has had numerous enemies including the Puzzler, Neutron, his cousin Kru-El, Effron the Sorcerer, and the Galactic Golem.
The Superman symbol and name has become a part of American culture and can be seen throughout our culture including in songs, as nicknames, to describe people, common sayings, and more.
Superman’s powers include incredible strength, the ability to fly. X-ray vision, super speed, invulnerability to most attacks, super hearing, and super breath. He is nearly unstoppable. However, Superman does have one weakness, Kryptonite. When exposed to this radioactive element from his home planet, he becomes weak and helpless.
Superman was actually killed by the villain Doomsday in a 1993 comic. He was later brought back to life. This story was told in the more recent film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
These are just a few fun facts and trivia tidbits surrounding Superman, as character that has truly secured his place as a pop culture icon and a character who will still continue to mesmerize fans for years to come!