appeared in Action Comics #1, June 1938. By the time the
United States had entered World War II, Superman had
inspired a boom in the comic book industry and had
engendered the new genre of the "superheroes". In
1939, Superman's adventures were seen in newspaper
strips, although they were often reprints of what was
already appearing in the comics. Also, The Adventures of
Superman radio program was broadcast to the nation with
millions of listeners. And while Captain Marvel beat him
to live action cinema in The Adventures of Captain
Marvel (in a serial originally intended for Superman), a
series of lavishly budgeted animated cartoons produced
by Max Fleischer hit theaters.
Throughout the late
1940s and the duration of the 1950s, Superman was by far
the most popular character in comics.
In his earliest
adventures, Superman is depicted as being grim,
strong-willed, and not afraid to take the life of an
evildoer. These include examples of beating a robber to
death after the thief tries to shoot him. Like the
Batman of that era, he prompted a small controversy over
comic characters killing. While Batman was toned down in
terms of violence, Superman imposed a moral code that he
would never take a life of any adversary he faced.
During World War Two, Superman was used as a figure of
hope for readers in America and soldiers. This was
evident in many of the Superman Fleischer Studios
animated shorts of the era, in which Superman is helping
the Allies win the war and often shown at odds with
Japanese spies and German espionage agents.
The first Superboy
story appeared in More Fun Comics #101 (February 1945)
but the locale is still not clearly specified though it
appears to be a Metropolis neighborhood, and the Kents
still do not have names. Superboy is not established as
a Smallville resident until Superboy (Vol. 1) #2 (May
1949) and his parents' names, Jonathan and Martha Kent,
are not mentioned until Superboy (Vol. 1) #12 in January
1951, twelve years after his debut in Action Comics #1.
Other developments in the Superman mythos appear as a
result of appearances in other media, including radio
and newspaper strips. The Daily Star becomes the Daily
Planet — possibly because newspapers called The Daily
Star already existed — and Perry White replaces original
editor George Taylor in the first episode of the radio
serial; a young office boy named Jimmy Olsen joins the
cast soon afterward.
In 2011, DC Comics
announced that it would reboot the continuity of most of
its publications, and restart them with new #1 issues,
beginning in September of that year. Changes to
Superman's history include making him once again a
single man and the deaths of Jonathan and Martha, which
occurred years prior. Superman had been married to
Lois Lane for years now.