Beginners Guide: Superman

For episode 10, we thought we would do something different. We asked everyone to vote between some well known characters they think they know well. Joined by the amazing Steve Conway, it’s safe to say everyone has something they can learn about Superman.
Here’s a small sample of the origins and some of the stranger sides to the Man of Steel.

An Egg From Outer Space

Far away on a planet named Krypton, a brilliant scientist from a technologically advanced species foresees the imminent destruction of his planet. With little time to act, Jor-El and his wife Lara bundle their child into a small spaceship. The ship is so small, there is no room for either of them. As the planet explodes beneath them, they watch the ship disappear into space, taking Kal-El to safety.

Back down to Earth, Jonathan and Martha Kent were working their farm outside the small town of Smallville, Kansas. A kind, loving couple, they were unable to have the family of their own they had long wished for. Destiny, it would seem, had a present in store for them.
Driving into town one day, they passed the crash site of a mysterious space rocket. Stopping nearby, they found the space baby near to the wreckage. Seeing an answer to their prayers, they quickly hatched a plan. They drop the baby off anonymously at the orphanage, knowing they could return a few days later to adopt him.
Taking the family name Kent, they christened the boy with Martha’s maiden name; Clark.

A Boy Like No Other

Very quickly, Clark’s new parents begun to discover just how special he was;
There was his Super strength, easily lifting tree stumps out of the ground with his bare hands.
He was invulnerable, barely noticing when an angry bull ran into him.
He had the use of super breath, saving the barn when fire threatened to burn it down.
The list grew as time went on; they discovered his Super speed, X-ray vision and Super grip. They also realised his need for a super suit, normal clothes not being up to the wear and tear of such antics.
Luckily, they had kept the babies blankets from the crash site. Putting them through multiple tests, they discovered the material was nearly as invulnerable as Clark.
With the help of Clark’s X-Ray vision at full intensity to cut the threads, Martha was able to make some clothes that could withstand anything the young boy could get up to.

As he grew older, with the help of his parents, Clark began to learn how to control his powers. Using more pieces from the wreckage of the ship, they crafted glasses to control his super vision, and Clark was able to lead a somewhat normal life.
As he learns more about himself and the world he came from, he begins to realise that with his power comes opportunities and responsibilities.
Martha adapted a uniform using the super material and Clark began fighting crime in Smallville as Superboy.

Superman

Shortly after he graduated from high school, both his parents became seriously ill. Clark traveled far and wide, but could not find a cure for the mysterious disease that ailed them. Martha passed away within a week and Jonathan shortly after. On his deathbed, Jonathan made Clark promise he would use his powers for good, not just for Smallville, but for the world.
Realising he had couldn’t live up to his promise from Smallville, he enrolled in journalism at Metropolis University. He laid low for 4 years, studying hard and refining a Clark Kent ‘persona’; timid, clumsy and bumbling, the complete opposite to his alter ego.

After his graduation from university, he re-started his crime fighting career. Trying to secure a job at the Daily Planet, he began to write stories about a ‘Superman’ in the city. They had mixed reception from the public and a certain amount of skepticism.
This all changed one day, when a jet plane screamed out of control towards a metropolis skyscraper. Donning his suit and flying up to bring it to safety, we see the immortal words ‘Look! Up in the sky… It’s Superman!’.
From that point, Metropolis truly learned of its protector.

A Long, Sometimes Strange History

Superman was created all the way back in 1938, since then he has built up a long history of varied stories and details. There’s the time he was able to fire mini Supermen from his fingers. How about his super ventriloquism, projecting his voice across vast rooms. And how can we forget the cellophane Super S he can use to catch criminals.
He has also been joined over the years by many allies and ‘sidekicks’, including his cousin, Supergirl; his good friend, Jimmy Olsen; Krypto the Superdog; His son Superboy and who can forget Beppo the Super Monkey. He also has a long time friend and confident in Batman and of course often works within the Justice League.
No matter what type of comic you are in to, there has no doubt been a Superman story for you over the years.

If you’d like to know more then once again I highly recommend you listen to our full episode, where we discuss all this and more. From the sublime to the ridiculous, from Super farts to the death of Superman and everything in between.

Steve’s Suggested Reading List:
Man Of Steel
Superman For All Seasons
All Star Superman
Kingdom Come
Panic In The Sky
For The Man Who Has Everything
Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow
Superman #125

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