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Truth, Justice, and the American Way:
The Saga of Superman

Today I learned: that the creators of Superman invented him first as a villain who looked like Lex Luthor.

80 Years Ago: Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and Joe Shuster (1914-1992), two Jewish teenagers, high school friends from Cleveland, came up with the idea…of a “villain” named “The Superman.”

1933: Siegel, with illustrations by Shuster, authors “The Reign of Superman” for a “fan” magazine they created, “Science Fiction: The Vanguard of Future Civilization.” Supe appears in vol. 1, No. 3. Siegel’s first Superman was an evil mastermind with advanced mental powers.

For FIVE YEARS: 1933-1938, Siegel and Shuster couldn’t find a comic book publisher to take a chance on their creation. They reinvent Superman as a hero.

$130: Price received by Siegel and Shuster in 1938, when they sold their rights for Superman to what would become DC Comics. That’s about $2,080 by today’s standards.

Untold Multi-Billions: Amount of dollars made by DC off the Superman franchise. Shuster and Siegel, are nearly destitute when they die, in 1992 and 1996, respectively.

Superman on Radio:

February 1940 to February 1942: A syndicated transcribed (recorded in advance), 15-minute children’s serial. Initially broadcast three times a week (up until May 1941), then five times a week (from August 1941).

August 1942 to February 1949: A live, 15-minute children’s serial that aired Monday through Friday over the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS).

February 1949 to June 1949: A 30-minute children’s series that aired over the MBS three times a week.

October 1949 to January 1950: A 30-minute series, targeted to adults, which aired on Saturday evenings on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

June 1950 to March 1951: A 30-minute children’s series that aired twice a week over the ABC.

Bud Collyer, the radio voice of Superman, was the first actor to portray Superman in any medium.

Actors who played Superman:

Kirk Alyn (Superman serials)

George Reeves (TV’s first Superman)

David Wilson (played Superman in a 1975 ABC TV musical entitled It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman)

Christopher Reeve

Ron Ely (on the Superboy TV show)

Dean Cain (Lois and Clark)

Tom Welling (Smallville)

Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)

Actresses who Played Lois Lane in the movies and on TV

Noel Neill, the movie serial Lois

Phyllis Coates (TV, co-starred with George Reeves)

Margot Kidder (Co-starred with Christopher Reeve)

Teri Hatcher (Co-starred with Dean Cain)

Erica Durance (Co-starred with Tom Welling)

Kate Bosworth (Co-starred with Brandon Routh)

Amy Adams (Co-stars with Henry Cavill)

Superman in the Movies

Fleischer Superman Cartoons (1941-1943):
Superman Serials (1948/1950):
“Superman” (1948) and ”
Atom Man vs. Superman” (1950
Superman”Movies (1978-2013):
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Superman Returns (2006)
Man of Steel (2013)

Superman on TV

The Adventures of Superman (1952-58)

Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman (19923-1997)

Supergirl, the Movie (1984)

Smallville (2001-2011)

Superboy (1988-1992)

Top 5 Superman artists:

Joe Shuster (the original artist)
Alex Ross
Max Fleischer (the much acclaimed Superman cartoons of the 1940s)
Gary Frank
Curt Swan

The Dastardly Powers of Kryptonite (and its mutations):

Kryptonite is the name given to shards of matter cast off from the planet Krypton after its destruction. Exposure can wield a variety of effects depending upon its color and present form.

Green Kryptonite: Green Kryptonite is the most common form. Exposure to green kryptonite radiation will greatly weaken a Kryptonian, robbing them of their powers and ultimately, death.

Red Kryptonite: Red Kryptonite was once Green Kryptonite that passed through a mysterious red-hued cloud en route to Earth. Red Kryptonite inflicts random effects on Kryptonians, Superman has suffered the following effects upon exposure to various pieces of Red Kryptonite:

Transformed into a dragon
Be evil
Transformed into a non-powered giant
Transformed into a dwarf
Transformed into an ant-headed humanoid
Transformed into a lunatic
Rendered amnesiac
Rendered temporarily blind to anything colored green
Excessive hair growth
Loss of power
Gained telepathy
Losing his invulnerability along the left side of his body
Generated an evil doppelganger (also used in the movie Superman III)
Unable to speak or write anything but Kryptonese
Growth of extra limbs
Loss of balance and manual dexterity
Mental transference
Rapid aging
Personality alteration

Gold Kryptonite: one of the more rare variations of Kryptonite found in the DC Universe, and typically exists in the form of a meteor floating through space. Gold Kryptonite has an effective range of two feet, and permanently removes a Kryptonian’s super-powers.[1]

White Kryptonite: Harmful to plant-life.

Yellow Kryptonite: Yellow Kryptonite was part of a hoax masterminded by Lex Luthor.

Black Kryptonite: First seen on TV’s Smallville, the only time it was ever used (to date) on Clark was in the season four episode Crusade, when he was reprogrammed as Kal-El.

Silver Kryptonite: An artificial form of Kryptonite created by the villain, Brainiac. For Kryptonians, exposure to silver kryptonite yields effects similar to that of Cannabis on a human being. Those affected by it experience a loss of inhibition, altered perceptions, Strips or rather suppresses Superman’s powers, at least for a time. First appeared on the Smallville TV show.

Pink Kryptonite: InvSupergirl (vol. 4) #79, when Linda Danvers takes the original Kara Zor-El’s place, there is a comical scene where Superman is apparently exposed to Pink Kryptonite, with the implication that it temporarily turned him gay.

Kryptonite-X or Kryptisium: Instead of being lethal, it restored Superman’s powers in one comic book episode. Unfortunately, it also apparently clung to him and caused him to absorb solar energy at a rapidly accelerated rate, eventually causing his powers to go out of control and his body to build more mass.

And More:

Slow Kryptonite
Kryptonite Plus
Jewel Kryptonite
Bizarro Red Kryptonite
Blood Kryptonite
Purple Spotted Kryptonite
Fake Kryptonite
Red/Green Kryptonite
Synthetic Kryptonite

Superman Trivia

Joseph: Clark Kent’s middle name

Phantom Zone: Name of the dimensional plane where Kryptonian criminals were exiled for their crimes

Doomsday: Super-villain who killed the Man of Steel in Superman #75

Lana Lang: Superman’s former sweetheart, who became the super-heroine known as Insect Queen

Kal-El: Superman’s Kryptonian name


Useful Trivia
Fun Trivia
Superboy Theater
Superman Homepage