The Saga of Superman, Man of Steel!
From his beginnings as a villain to the modern day “Boy Scout,” Superman’s history is kinda complicated.
Superman is a character so entrenched in our American culture that it’s difficult to imagine him in his first incarnation as an evil villain. When Jerry Seigel introduced Superman to the world in 1932, he created a bald supervillan with extraordinary mental abilities. A year later, Seigel recreated the character, this time as a hero. The first heroic version of Superman came before editor Whitney Ellsworth established a strict code of conduct for superheroes, prohibiting them from killing anyone, and, as a result, this was a much more aggressive Superman than the one we know today.
All of these Superman changes presented issues for writers who wanted to continue the character’s legacy. To explain anomalies, they created two parallel dimensions: Earth-One and Earth-Two. Earth-One was where Silver Age Superman came of age. He was named Kal-El, son of Jor-El, and adopted by Johnathan and Martha Kent. He eventually enlisted in the Justice League. Golden Age Superman resided on Earth-Two. He was known as Kal-L, son of Jor-L, adopted by John and Mary Kent, and eventually joined the Justice Society.
As one can imagine, Superman has appeared as many different versions of himself during his 75 years in print. Indeed, there are five official versions of the superhero – from Earths One, Two, and Three, John Byrne’s “Man of Steel,” and DC’s Superman Prime. Many comic book artists have taken him on, some of the best of whom were Joel Schuster, Alex Ross, Max Fleischer, Gary Frank, and Glenn Swan. Perhaps as a result of being worked over by so many artists, Superman has worn 25 different versions of his famous “S” costume.
As one of the industry’s most in-demand superheroes, Superman has fought of his share of bad guys. Some of the best of these include Lex Luthor, Toyman, Metallo, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Parasite, General Zod, Doomsday, Brainiac, and Darkseid. He’s also encountered many different forms of kryptonite, the mysterious substance that inflicts various symptoms. Most famously, green kryptonite is used to strip Superman of his powers and could even prove lethal to the heroic character. Red kryptonite, on the other hand, merely inflicts random, temporary problems on Superman.
So who’s your favorite Superman, fellow geeks? Are you a fan of Cavill’s portrayal in “Man of Steel”? (I think he’d be my choice in a “Justice League” movie.) Perhaps you like classic Christopher Reeves. Whomever you like, be sure to let us know in the comments below!