Look! Up in the sky! Its a bird! Its a plane! Its a superhero celebrating his birthday!
You might not know it to look at him, but Superman just turned 75 years old.The iconic superhero made his first appearance in Action Comics
#1, an anthology comic that was published on April 18, 1938. Nearly eight decades later, youd be hard-pressed to find someone that doesnt know at least part of the Superman legend.
Born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, he was rocketed to Earth by his parents to spare him from the imminent destruction of the planet. He landed in Smallville, Kansas, where he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raised him as their own son, Clark. As he grew up, he discovered he had powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men he could leap tall buildings in a single bound, outrun locomotives, shoot lasers from his eyes, and fly! which he put toward saving the world as Superman (that is, when he wasnt covering the news as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent).
But perhaps less known are Supermans earthly origins.
For example, did you know he was created in that far off, exotic land known as Cleveland? Supermans creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were teenagers living in a Cleveland suburb when they hit upon the idea for the character. After being rejected by one publisher after another, they finally received interest from National Allied Publications now called DC Comics who included Superman in the first issue of its new anthology comic. Superman even made the cover, which helped spark the intense reader interest in the character. The rest, as they say, is history.
As the years have flown by, Superman has undergone numerous incarnations and, for a while, it looked like Siegel and Shuster were destined to be overshadowed by their most famous creation. But in the late 1970?s, a group of comic artists, writers, and editors banded together to rescue them from irrelevance. Since then, numerous other creators, as well as fans, have kept their memory and contributions alive.
Supermans 75th birthday is as good a moment as any to celebrate the Big Blue Boyscout as well as the men who gave him life. Cleveland did just that last month when they proclaimed April 18, 2013, Superman Day in the city. Kid Reporter Mahathi Venkatesh attended the event and spoke with Siegel and Shusters relatives, the mayor of Cleveland, and members of the Siegel and Shuster Society about the citys role in the creation of Superman and the legacies of the men who dreamed him up.Check her story out on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website. Its a great read, and a cool look at Supermans secret origins!
Supermans popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years, but the character remains as iconic as ever. The iconic Superman logo can be found on everything from t-shirts to hats to shoes, he appears in at least three monthly comic books, and is perhaps the most identifiable comic book character on the planet. And with a new movie, Man of Steel
, hitting theaters this summer, Supermanshows no signs of being ready to hang up the cape.
Photo: Cover of
Action Comics #1 (courtesy DC Comics)