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Superman History

Creation and conception



Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, then students at Cleveland's Glenville High School, first conceived Superman as a bald telepathic villain bent on world domination. The character first appeared in "The Reign of the Superman", a short story from Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization #3, a fanzine published by Siegel in 1933.  Siegel re-envisioned the character later that year as a hero bearing no resemblance to his villainous namesake, with Shuster visually modeling Superman on Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and his bespectacled alter ego, Clark Kent, on a combination of Harold Lloyd and Shuster himself, with the name "Clark Kent" derived from movie stars Clark Gable and Kent Taylor. Lois Lane was modeled on Joanne Carter, who later became Siegel's wife. Comic strips such as Li'l Abner and Dick Tracy influenced its original artwork.[citation needed] Siegel and Shuster then began a six-year quest to find a publisher. Titling it The Superman, Siegel and Shuster offered it to Consolidated Book Publishing, who had published a 48-page black-and-white comic book entitled Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48. Although the duo received an encouraging letter, Consolidated never again published comic books. Shuster took this to heart and burned all pages of the story; the cover surviving only because Siegel rescued it from the fire. Siegel and Shuster each compared this character to Slam Bradley, an adventurer the pair had created for Detective Comics #1 (March 1937).



Siegel, believing that Superman would not progress with Shuster, contacted artists Tony Strobl, Mel Graff, and Russell Keaton as potential collaborators on the strip. Artwork produced by Keaton based on Siegel's treatment shows the concept evolving. Superman is now sent back in time as a baby by the last man on Earth, where he is found and raised by Sam and Molly Kent.[18] However, Keaton did not pursue the collaboration, and soon Siegel and Shuster were back working together on the character.

The pair re-envisioned the character, who became more of a hero in the mythic tradition, inspired by such characters as Samson and Hercules, who would right the wrongs of Siegel and Shuster's times, fighting for social justice and against tyranny. It was at this stage the costume was introduced, Siegel later recalling that they created a "kind of costume and let's give him a big S on his chest, and a cape, make him as colorful as we can and as distinctive as we can." The design was based in part on the costumes worn by characters in outer space settings published in pulp magazines, as well as comic strips such as Flash Gordon, and also partly suggested by the traditional circus strong-man outfit, which comprised a pair of shorts worn over a contrasting bodysuit.

 However, the cape has been noted as being markedly different from the Victorian tradition. Gary Engle described it as without "precedent in popular culture" in Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend.The circus performer's shorts-over-tights outfit was soon established as the basis for many future superhero outfits. This third version of the character was given extraordinary abilities, although this time of a physical nature as opposed to the mental abilities of the villainous Superman.

The locale and the hero's civilian names were inspired by the movies, Shuster said in 1983. "Jerry created all the names. We were great movie fans and were inspired a lot by the actors and actresses we saw. As for Clark Kent, he combined the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor. And Metropolis, the city in which Superman operated, came from the Fritz Lang film Metropolis, which we both loved".

Although they were by now selling material to comic-book publishers, notably Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publishing, the pair attempted to sell their feature as a comic strip. They offered it both to Max Gaines, who passed, and to United Feature Syndicate, which expressed interest initially but rejected the strip in a letter dated February 18, 1937. However, in what historian Les Daniels describes as "an incredibly convoluted turn of events", Gaines ended up selling the concept as the lead feature in Wheeler-Nicholson's new publication, Action Comics. Vin Sullivan, that comic's editor, wrote to Siegel and Shuster requesting that their comic-strip samples be reformatted for the comic-book page, requesting "eight panels a page". However Siegel and Shuster ignored this, utilizing their own experience and ideas to create page layouts, with Siegel also identifying the image used for the cover of Action Comics #1 (June 1938), Superman's first appearance.

Comics historians Gerard Jones and Brad Meltzer believe Siegel may have been inspired to create Superman because of the death of his father, Mitchell Siegel, an immigrant who owned a clothing store on Cleveland's near east side. He died during a robbery attempt in 1932, a year before Superman was created. Although Siegel never mentioned the death of his father in interviews, "It had to have an effect," argues Jones. "There's a connection there: the loss of a dad as a source for Superman." Meltzer states: "Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world's greatest hero."

Publication

Superman's first appearance was in Action Comics #1, published by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics, on April 18, 1938 (cover-dated June 1938). In 1939, a self-titled series was launched. The first issue mainly reprinted adventures published in Action Comics, but despite this the book achieved greater sales. The year 1939 also saw Superman appear in New York World's Fair Comics. Superman would eventually appear throughout a host of titles, including World's Finest Comics.Initially Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster provided the story and art for all the strips published. However, Shuster's eyesight began to deteriorate, and the increasing appearances of the character meant an increase in the workload. This led Shuster to establish a studio to assist in the production of the art, although he insisted on drawing the face of every Superman the studio produced. Outside the studio, Jack Burnley began supplying covers and stories in 1940, and in 1941 artist Fred Ray began contributing a stream of Superman covers, some of which, such as that of Superman #14 (February 1942), became iconic and much reproduced. Wayne Boring, initially employed in Shuster's studio, began working for DC in his own right in 1942 providing pages for both Superman and Action Comics. Al Plastino was hired initially to mimic Boring but was eventually allowed to create his own style and became one of the most prolific Superman artists during the Gold and Silver Ages of comics.

 In late 1939 a new editorial team assumed control of the character's adventures. Whitney Ellsworth, Mort Weisinger and Jack Schiff were brought in following Vin Sullivan's departure. This new editorial team brought in established science-fiction writers Edmond Hamilton, Manly Wade Wellman, and Alfred Bester to script. By 1943, Siegel was drafted into the U.S. Army and as a result his contributions diminished. Don Cameron and Alvin Schwartz joined the writing team, Schwartz teaming up with Boring to work on the Superman comic strip, which Siegel and Shuster launched in 1939.

In 1945, Superboy — the teen Superman in flashback stories — debuted in More Fun Comics #101. The character moved to Adventure Comics in 1946, and his own title, Superboy, in 1949. The 1950s saw the launching of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen (1954) and Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane (1958). By the 1970s, Superman was appearing in numerous DC Comics.

In 1986, DC Comics restructured its universe with other DC characters in the 12-issue miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, resulting in the publication of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow", a two-part story written by Alan Moore, with art by Curt Swan, George Pérez and Kurt Schaffenberger.[32] The story was published in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 and presented what Les Daniels notes as "the sense of loss the fans might have experienced if this had really been the last Superman tale."

Man of Steel 1 In 1986, DC relaunched Superman under writer and artist John Byrne, initially in a six-issue weekly series The Man of Steel (1986). A special "direct-sale-only" cover of #1 featured the iconic chest "S" symbol of Superman's costume. Superman vol. 2 debuted hat year, running through 2006. After it was canceled, The Adventures of Superman was retitled Superman, as Adventures had maintained the issue numbering of the first volume of Superman. Another series, Superman: The Man of Steel, had been launched in 1991, running until 2003, while the quarterly book Superman: The Man of Tomorrow ran from 1995 to 1999. Superman as appeared in numerous other titles throughout the early 21st century.

In 2011, DC Comics again relaunched the Superman comics, along with the rest of the company's series. Superman and Action Comics were canceled and restarted with #1 issues. Superman's costume was redesigned to look more like armor and the red shorts over his tights were removed. As of 2013, ongoing publications that feature Superman on a regular basis are Superman, Action Comics and Justice League. The character often appears as a guest star in other series and is usually a pivotal figure in DC crossover story arcs.

Superman character biography


Superman, given the serial nature of comic publishing and the length of the character's existence, has evolved as a character as his adventures have increased. The details of Superman's origin, relationships and abilities changed significantly during the course of the character's publication, from what is considered the Golden Age of Comic Books through the Modern Age. The powers and villains were developed through the 1940s, with Superman developing the ability to fly, and costumed villains introduced from 1941. The character was shown as learning of the existence of Krypton in 1949. The concept itself had originally been established to the reader in 1939 in the Superman comic strip.

The 1960s saw the introduction of a second Superman. DC had established a multiverse within the universe its characters shared. This allowed characters published in the 1940s to exist alongside updated counterparts published in the 1960s. This was explained to the reader through the notion that the two groups of characters inhabited parallel Earths. The second Superman was introduced to explain to the reader Superman's membership in both the 1940s superhero team the Justice Society of America and the 1960s superhero team the Justice League of America.

The 1980s saw radical revisions of the character. DC decided to remove the multiverse in a bid to simplify its comics line. This led to the rewriting of the back story of the characters DC published, Superman included. John Byrne rewrote Superman, removing many established conventions and characters from continuity, including Superboy and Supergirl. Byrne also re-established Superman's adoptive parents, The Kents, as characters. In the previous continuity, the characters had been written as having died early in Superman's life (about the time of Clark Kent's graduation from high school).

In 1992 Superman was killed by the villain Doomsday, although the character was soon resurrected the following year. Superman also marries Lois Lane in 1996. His origin is again revisited in 2004.  In 2006 Superman was stripped of his powers, although these are restored within a year.

After a confrontation with Brainiac that results in his father's death, Superman discovers the lost city of Kandor, which contains 10,000 Kryptonians. Their stay on Earth causes trouble, and the Kryptonians create their own planet, New Krypton. Eventually, New Krypton wages war against Earth. The two sides sustain major casualties and most of the Kryptonians are killed. Superman then starts a journey to reconnect with his adopted home world.

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comic books, including the Superman franchise, in order to make the characters more modern and accessible. In the new continuity, Clark is no longer married to Lois and his parents died when he was in high school. Superman wears a ceremonial battle armor which pays tribute to his Kryptonian heritage. The armor is similar to his classic outfit, with the difference of lacking the traditional red briefs.
death of Superman New 52 Action Comics