Superman Comic Books
Frequently-Asked Questions about the Man of Steel
VERSION 4.1 (1986-2011)
INTRODUCTION: This FAQ gives comic book readers an introduction to Superman as he appeared in the comic books from 1986-2011. Though most people are familiar with the lead character and his friends at the DAILY PLANET, the current comic books include many characters and events with which new readers will be unfamiliar. This FAQ tries to keep new readers from wondering about the background information. All facts are about the post-Crisis universe (see Q12) and revamped Superman (see Q13) unless specified.
DATE: All information is accurate as of August 2011 when the Superman comic books were relaunched as part of DC's "New 52". Events from the "New 52" continuity are not included in this FAQ.
TERMINOLOGY: The term "Superman" implies the character rather than the comic book of the same name. "Comic" means comic book. ALL CAPS are used in lieu of italics to indicate a title; a "title" is a series of comics under the same published title (e.g., ACTION COMICS).
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Superman and all related characters are trademarks of DC Comics. Mention of these characters in this FAQ is without permission of DC Comics, but said use is not intended to challenge DC's trademark rights or copyrights. Readers who want to learn more about Superman are encouraged to purchase the comic books. The author strongly suggests that this FAQ be distributed free of charge. While this FAQ is not "official", DC has recognized its existence (see Q9).
AUTHORSHIP: This FAQ was originally compiled by David T. Chappell, and then maintained by Steve Younis. It is based primarily on their memory of Superman stories with the assistance of various Superman comics and books that they possess. This FAQ also incorporates suggestions by various readers. Comments, suggestions, and corrections may be sent via e-mail to Steve Younis.
AVAILABILITY: This FAQ is located at www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/comics.php?topic=comics-sfaq. Permission is granted to distribute the FAQ in its entirety and without modification as long as such is done without charge. For other use beyond that appropriate for using other resource material, please contact the author for prior permission. Steve requests that anyone posting the FAQ to another major computer network contact him.
CONTENTSTHE BIG ONE
Q1: Who is Superman?
Q2: What Superman comics are published regularly?
Q3: I only want to read one Superman title rather than all three monthlies. Which one should I choose?
Q4: On the cover of each comic there is a triangle with numbers in it. What do the numbers mean?
Q5: How do I subscribe to Superman comics?
Q6: How do I find old Superman comic books?
Q7: How much money are old Superman comics worth?
THE LETTERS PAGES
Q8: How do I contact the creators of Superman comics?
Q9: What is a Baldy?
Q10: Who created Superman? When did Superman first appear?
Q11: What are Superman's powers? How did he get his powers? How have his powers changed over the years?
Q12: What was the Crisis?
Q13: When and how was Superman revamped in the 1980s?
Q14: How did Superman change after the Crisis and revamp?
Q15: What happened in the Death of Superman? What is Doomsday?
Q16: How did Superman return to life?
Q17: What was the Reign of the Supermen?
Q18: In what other media has Superman appeared?
THE DAILY PLANET AND REPORTERS
Q19: What is the DAILY PLANET?
Q20: Who is Lois Lane?
Q21: Who is Jimmy Olsen?
Q22: Who is Perry White?
Q23: Who is Catherine Grant?
Q24: Who is Lex Luthor? Who is Lex Luthor II?
Q25: Who is Supergirl?
Q26: What is the Eradicator?
Q27: Who is Superboy?
Q28: Who is Steel (a.k.a. the Man of Steel)?
Q29: What is Project Cadmus?
Q30: Who is Professor Emil Hamilton?
Q31: What is Superman's origin?
Q32: What are Superman's nicknames?
Q33: What is the L. L. connection for Superman?
Q34: What is Kryptonite? Why is it dangerous?
Q35: How old is Superman?
Q36: Where does Superman live?
Q37: What and where is Metropolis?
Q38: What and where is Smallville?
Q39: What is the Fortress of Solitude? Where is it?
Q40: Since he doesn't wear a mask, why doesn't anyone realize that Clark Kent is Superman?
Q41: Who knows Superman's secret identity?
Q42: Are Clark Kent and Lois Lane really married?
Q43: Why did Superman change the yellow in his "S" shield to black for a while?
Q44: In 2004/2005 twelve issues of SUPERMAN were set a year ahead of ACTION COMICS and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. Can you explain how this worked?
COMPUTER NETWORK RESOURCES
Q45: What Internet newsgroups cover Superman topics?
Q46: Where can I find various Superman-related files on the Internet?
THE BIG ONE
A1: Superman is probably the best-known superhero in the world. Superman comic books have been around since 1938 (see Q10), though his appearances in movies and television (see Q18) have probably done more to make him famous.
Superman has various superhuman abilities (see Q11) that he uses to uphold good. He captures criminals, rescues people in danger, strives for justice, and has a strong sense of morals. In short, Superman fights for Truth and Justice.
Superman wears a special costume while fighting crime, but he also has a life outside of being a superhero. As Clark Kent, he grew up in the town of Smallville, Kansas (see Q38), and attended Metropolis University. Clark is a Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper reporter for the DAILY PLANET (see Q19), and he strives to keep his Superman identity secret. Clark Kent is well-known for his DAILY PLANET articles, and he has published several books.
Superman escaped from the doomed planet Krypton as the baby Kal-El in a rocketship built by his father Jor-El. (see Q31)
Superman is 6'3" tall and weighs 225 pounds. He has black hair and blue eyes. (WHO'S WHO #1, Aug 1990)
A2: SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS, and SUPERMAN/BATMAN were monthly comics published by DC Comics. SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS were relaunched in September 2011 with new number 1 issues. SUPERMAN ended with issue #714. ACTION COMICS ended with issue #904. SUPERMAN/BATMAN was cancelled as of issue #87. A Superman book entitled SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL was another regular monthly comic which ran from 1991-2003, but it was cancelled after 134 issues. THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN was a monthly comic introduced in 1987 [First Issue: #424 January 1987] and was cancelled in 2006 [Final Issue: #649 February 2006]. With the cancellation of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN in February 2006, the SUPERMAN title returned to its original numbering (started in 1939), going from #226 to #650 in March 2006. Yet another Superman book entitled SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW was published on a somewhat quarterly schedule from 1995-99, but it was cancelled after 15 issues.
There were several additional Superman family monthly series. Superboy (see Q27) had his own monthly title (which was cancelled with issue #100) and appeared in TEEN TITANS before dying during the "Infinite Crisis". He later returned to life and had a new monthly comic book series which lasted for 11 issues before being relaunched as part of the "New 52" universe. A version of Supergirl (see Q25) also starred in her own regular series which ran for 80 issues before being cancelled in 2003. A new SUPERGIRL monthly title began in 2005 and was ended with issue #67 before the "New 52" relaunch in 2011. John Henry Irons (see Q28) starred in the now-cancelled STEEL title in the mid-1990s, and he now often co-starred in the regular Superman comics. Other occasional limited series also featured Superman and his supporting cast. Since Superman was a member of the Justice League of America, he also appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA comics.
Other limited-run monthly titles included SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON and SUPERMAN: LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON.
Based on the success of the Batman and Superman animated television series, DC also publishes comics based upon these cartoons. These titles are aimed at a slightly younger audience and are independent of mainstream DC continuity. Superman starred in SUPERMAN ADVENTURES and JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES, and JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED before they were cancelled.
A3: Mostly each comic title contained a story unto itself, with a loose connection across the titles. One suggestion for choosing a title is to consider the writers and art teams.
A4: These are called "triangle numbers" or "shield numbers." The lower, boldfaced number indicated the order in which the stories flow. Because the story line sometimes flowed continuously from title to title each week, it is difficult to otherwise discern in which order the comics should be read. For example, issue numbers do not indicate whether ACTION COMICS #761 precedes SUPERMAN #153, but triangle numbers (4 vs. 5) show that it does. The top number is the year; originally triangle numbers started over at 1 each year, but later were reset at the beginning of each new story line.
A5: Many comic-book stores will hold incoming comics each week for customers in what they call a "subscription service" or "standing order". In addition, you can find a Comics Specialty Shop in your area by calling 1-888-COMIC-BOOK in the U.S. or you can subscribe direct from DC Comics via the following website: DCcomics.com.
A6: Many comic-book dealers will sell old comics. Comic book conventions feature many new and used comics for sale. Furthermore, many current comics will include advertisements for dealers who sell old comics by mail order. Finally, DC reprints some collections of Superman stories in trade paperback editions available at comic book stores. Do not try to contact the publisher for old issues of comics. In addition to current titles (see Q2), comics from the past that featured Superman include THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, DC COMICS PRESENTS, WORLD'S FINEST, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL, and SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW.
A7: The crude answer is that they are worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them. In general, the value depends on the importance of the story, the number of copies printed, the physical quality of the book, and whether it is the first printing or a reprint. For example, the comic in which Superman died (SUPERMAN #75; Jan.93) is valuable because fans consider the story important and the demand exceeded the supply. Second and third printings of that book are worth much less, and a poor-condition copy would not be worth as much. The OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE is often accepted as the best guide to comic prices, while several fan magazines print clearly inflated prices. Another good cource for discovering comic book prices is the Comics Price Guide website located at www.ComicsPriceGuide.com.
THE LETTERS PAGES
A8: The address for DC Comics is 1700 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. USA.
Due to the continued popularity of the Man of Steel, a personal reply is unlikely, but the team is likely to read your correspondence.
In addition, you can email the different departments at DC Comics via www.dccomics.com/dccomics/about/?action=contact.
A9: In the old letters page of each Superman comic, the editor sometimes bestowed a Baldy award to the best printed letter. An actual award was mailed to recipients, and in a few cases the editors have mentioned what the prize was (e.g., platinum-edition SUPERMAN #75). Even aside from the physical prize, receipt of a Baldy is a great honor to Superman fans.
Doug Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org) received a Baldy in 1990. He reports that the actual award is a personalized postcard signed by Lex Luthor. In 1994, editor Mike Carlin sent the original author of this FAQ (David Chappell) "an honorary Baldy for keeping such complete tabs on us!" David's award was also a personalized postcard.
DC has explained that, in the comic-book world, the Baldy is a special award established by Lex the First for journalistic achievement in Metropolis. The official name for the award is the Zenith Award for Excellence in Journalism, and Metropolis journalists provided the nickname (ACTION #693, Nov.93).
DC Comics no longer includes a letters page at the back of the current comic books, instead replacing it with a news page of up-coming comics information.
A10: Superman was created by Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist). In the 1930s, the two teenagers from Cleveland failed to convince comics publishers and newspapers to print their stories until Superman finally made his first appearance in ACTION COMICS #1 (cover date June 1938).
A11: In the first stories from the 1930s, Superman relied primarily on his superhuman strength. Over the years, he gained more powers and greater strength. After the Crisis (see Q12) and revamp (see Q13), Superman's powers were lessened to make him more mortal.
Superman's powers include unusual strength, flight, invulnerability, super hearing, and super-speed. As a result of his super strength, he also has a powerful breath. An electro-chemical aura that surrounds Superman's body protects him (and his costume) and seems to be part of his flight ability.
The Man of Tomorrow also has several forms of super-vision. With his x-ray vision, he can see through solid objects (with the exception of dense materials such as lead). Superman's heat vision has been explained as either telekinesis or the release of excess solar energy through his eyes. His telescopic and microscopic visions allow him to see farther and in greater detail than normal humans. With infrared vision, he can see heat sources.
Superman's ability to fly has been explained as a result of Earth's gravity being much less than that of his home world, but it seems to be at least partially psychokinetic in nature. Most of his other powers are due to Earth's yellow sun (Krypton had a red sun).
Superman was not born with his powers, but they developed as he grew. They began to show themselves during puberty, but he did not fully realize his powers until he became an adult.
At one point, Superman's powers greatly increased after his return from death (see Q16). His strength, speed, and vision powers were greater than before. He could also survive in space without oxygen for extended periods of time. Superman's powers increased because his exposure to Kryptonite passing through the Eradicator (see Q26) changed his metabolism (SUPERMAN #82, Oct.93). His strength grew to the point where it was nearly uncontrollable and he was a danger to everyone around him. Eventually, an encounter with the Parasite removed Superman's extra powers and reduced him to his normal levels (ADVENTURES #512, May 94). After the entire sequence, Superman's powers returned to their pre-Death levels with no net increase or decrease (ACTION #699, May 94).
After the sun's energy was temporarily blocked during the Final Night (late 1996), Superman's powers faded. He eventually regained his super-powers, but his "Power Struggle" (early 1997) was to a more important change. In the subsequent "shocking" story line, Superman's powers greatly changed to become more energy based. Superman essentially became an energy being with electromagnetic powers, and he donned a new suit able to contain his new form. Hints were given as to possible causes of this transformation, but details were never revealed. The transformation became even stranger when a device split Superman into two energy beings--Superman Red and Superman Blue--with different colors and even different aspects (mild vs. strong) of Clark's personality. Thankfully, Superman was returned to his classic powers and appearance after both Red and Blue expended their energy powers to save the Earth in the "Millennium Giants" story line (early 1998).
After the "Infinite Crisis" (see Q12) Superman lost his powers for about a year, and went about having a normal life as Clark Kent. Superman's powers eventually returned, and were somewhat enhanced, giving him a heightened intellect.
A12: The Crisis on Infinite Earths was a major event in DC stories. In 1985, the 50th anniversary of DC Comics was highlighted by a comic-book maxi-series, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, which included all of DC's heroes and also had cross-overs in most DC titles.
Prior to the Crisis, DC explained the existence of many heroes in different times by having multiple universes. On Earth-1, for example, all the major heroes were in their prime in modern times, whereas the Earth-2 heroes were in their prime during the 1940s. This explained how Superman stories from both WWII and today showed him at roughly the same age.
In the Crisis on Infinite Earths, an evil force (the Anti-Monitor) tried to destroy the multiverse, but a good force (the Monitor) combined a few surviving universes into one while the major heroes battled the Anti-Monitor. Afterwards, everyone in the universe forgot about the events of the Crisis and everything proceeded as though there had only ever been one Earth. In the modern story, the one and only Superman arrived on Earth a few decades ago, and other heroes (mystery men) existed during WWII. The entire Crisis story is much more detailed than presented here, and interested readers are encouraged to read other Internet Crisis discussions (see Q44) or read the comic books. The Crisis affected Superman in several ways (see Q14).
A sequel to the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was "Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time". It centered around an attempt to remake the universe into a multiverse. Superman joined other heroes to streamline the proper flow of time. Although the DC universe was again rebooted after the Crisis in Time, it did not affect Superman's past.
Another Crisis occured years later (2005/06) called "Infinite Crisis".
"Infinite Crisis" began with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman feuding, the JLA Watchtower destroyed, and the heroes of the world all facing a variety of menaces. Over this backdrop, Kal-L (the Earth-Two Superman), along with Earth-Two Lois Lane, Earth-Three Alexander Luthor, and Superboy-Prime escape from the pocket universe where they had been trapped at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Kal-L seeks out his cousin, Power Girl, also a survivor of Earth-Two. Believing Lois' health will improve on her native world, he hopes to replace the current Earth with Earth-Two, which he considers perfect.
Kal-L tries to enlist Batman's support, stating that the Post-Crisis Earth's inherent "bad" nature caused Batman's recent mistrust and hostility. Batman refuses. Afterward, he learns Superboy-Prime destroyed the JLA Watchtower.
Alexander reveals to Power Girl that he and Superboy-Prime had been leaving their "paradise" for some time, manipulating events to help create an inter-dimensional tuning fork. Using the Anti-Monitor's remains and captured heroes and villains specifically attuned to former universes (Power Girl among them), Alex restores Earth-Two, un-populated except for the Earth-Two heroes transported there.
Superboy-Prime attacks Conner Kent, this world's Superboy. Multiple super-teams intervene. Superboy-Prime kills several heroes before the Flashes and Kid Flash force him into the Speed Force, assisted by speedsters already within it. Jay Garrick, the only speedster left behind, says the Speed Force is now gone.
Seeking a perfect world, Alexander restores many alternate Earths. The Earth-Two Lois dies, and an aggrieved Kal-L and the younger Superman Kal-El fight until Wonder Woman separates them. Bart Allen (wearing Barry Allen's costume and aged to adulthood) emerges from the Speed Force, warning that he and the other speedsters were unable to hold Superboy-Prime, who returns wearing armor resembling the Anti-Monitor's that stores yellow sunlight to empower him.
Batman's strike force destroys the Brother Eye satellite. Alexander selects and merges alternate Earths, trying to create a "perfect" world, until Firestorm blocks his efforts. Conner, Nightwing, and Wonder Girl release the Tower's prisoners. Fighting each other, Conner and Superboy-Prime collide with the tower, destroying it. The multiple Earths recombine into a "New Earth" as Conner dies in Wonder Girl's arms.
When a horde of supervillains attack Metropolis, heroes fly off to the rescue. Superboy-Prime takes off to destroy Oa, planning to collapse the Universe. Superboy-Prime kills many Green Lanterns trying to stop him before Kal-L and Kal-El carry him toward Krypton's remains, now essentially a huge cloud of kryptonite. Flying through Krypton's red sun, Rao, destroys Superboy-Prime's armor and causes all three Kryptonians' powers to dissipate. Landing on the sentient planet (and GLC member) Mogo, they fight. After Kal-El finally knocks Superboy-Prime out, Kal-L dies in the arms of his cousin, Power Girl.
Back on Earth, Batman contemplates shooting Alex, but is discouraged by Wonder Woman. Alex escapes, only to be tortured and killed by the Joker, who is angry at being left out of the Society, while a gloating Lex Luthor looks on.
Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman later meet up in Gotham. Wonder Woman plans to find out who she is. Batman plans a similar journey of self-discovery, revisiting the training of his youth, this time with Dick Grayson and Tim Drake joining him. Superman retires from superheroics until his powers return.
The Green Lantern Corps imprison Superboy-Prime inside a red Sun-Eater. The series ends with him carving an S into his chest with his bare hands and declaring that he has been in worse places than his current prison and has always escaped...
A13: Following the Crisis (see Q12), DC decided to streamline Superman in 1986. They hired John Byrne to return Superman to his position as DC's paramount hero. Marv Wolfman and other comics experts joined the team. A special six-part mini-series, THE MAN OF STEEL, retold Superman's origin from the destruction of Krypton to his early years as the first modern superhero. THE MAN OF STEEL trade paperback reprints this recent classic series.
At that time, the SUPERMAN title was renamed to THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and a new SUPERMAN title was started. In addition, three mini-series helped redefine more about the characters in Superman comics: THE WORLD OF KRYPTON (1987), THE WORLD OF SMALLVILLE (1988), and THE WORLD OF METROPOLIS (1988).
The revamp was done for several reasons. DC wanted to make Superman seem more human (i.e., a real person rather than a two-dimensional character). His powers were lessened (see Q11) to keep him from being god-like. Other changes have made Superman the ONLY survivor of Krypton. While Superman is still the same character, the changes made during the revamp were substantial (see Q14). This FAQ includes only information about the revamped Superman.
"Zero Hour" did not retcon any of the "modern" Superman history.
A14: During the Crisis on Infinite Earths (see Q12), Supergirl saved Superman (of Earth-1) when he was battling the Anti-Monitor, and--at the cost of her own life--she destroyed a machine that the Anti-Monitor planned to use to destroy the Earths. Her death was the main effect that the Crisis directly had on the Superman saga.
The Byrne revamp (see Q13) of 1986 was actually responsible for most changes in Superman. Since the revamp was done soon after the Crisis, most people treat the Crisis as the dividing line and refer to "pre-Crisis" or "post-Crisis" events.
Several elements may differ from new readers' expectations because they changed after the Crisis and revamp. The original Supergirl (Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin) no longer exists, and the bottled city of Kandor is not from Krypton. Pre-Crisis stories had a young version of Superman--Superboy; in the post-Crisis stories, Superman developed his powers later in life (see Q11), and he never was Superboy. In the current continuity, Lex Luthor (see Q24) is a brilliant but corrupt businessman and scientist and no longer a convicted criminal. Ma and Pa Kent are alive in the post-Crisis universe, while they had died during Clark's teen years in the pre-Crisis version. Streaky, Beppo, and the other super-powered animals do not exist in the current stories. There are numerous other changes in elements such as super-villains, the supporting cast of characters, and the extent of Superman's powers (see Q11). All of these changes are retroactively permanent. Thus, in the current universe, Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) did not die battling the Anti-Monitor: she simply NEVER EXISTED.
Most Superman stories from the pre-Crisis years are no longer part of the continuity.
A15: In 1992, Superman endured an extensive battle with a monster called Doomsday. The Creature destroyed numerous towns and much of Metropolis before Superman was able to stop it. At the end of the battle (SUPERMAN #75, Jan.93), Superman and Doomsday apparently killed each other with their final blows.
According to interviews with DC staff, they decided to create a new enemy to defeat Superman rather than have one of his old enemies accomplish the heinous deed.
Two compiled books reprint the comics that make up the story of the Death of Superman. THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN includes the battle with Doomsday. The Funeral for a Friend series is reprinted in WORLD WITHOUT A SUPERMAN. These trade paperbacks are published by DC Comics and are available at comic-book stores. Furthermore, the hardback novel THE DEATH AND LIFE OF SUPERMAN by Roger Stern retells the entire story from the battle with Doomsday to the end of the Reign of the Supermen.
After his return to life, Superman had a rematch with Doomsday in the SUPERMAN/DOOMSDAY: HUNTER/PREY mini-series (1994). The story revealed that Doomsday was an artificially engineering being created millennia ago on the planet Krypton. The two also battled in SUPERMAN: THE DOOMSDAY WARS (1999), a mini-series in which Brainiac took control of Doomsday's body.
Superman has since come across Doomsday again (during the OUR WORLD'S AT WAR storyline of 2001) and defeated him each time.
A16: Due to a coincidental chain of circumstances, Superman was able to return from his apparent death. On the physical level, his dying body still contained some residual energy, and it absorbed more energy from the Sun and the experiments performed on it. The Eradicator (see Q26) stole Superman's body from its tomb and took it to the Fortress of Solitude (see Q39), where it used the body to convert solar energy to energy it could use. Meanwhile, Superman's spirit was trapped between life and death, and various demons struggled for possession of it. With the assistance of Pa Kent's spirit, Superman decided to return to Earth (ADVENTURES #500, May 93).
Superman's essence returned to his physical body, but he lay dormant in the Fortress of Solitude for many days until he was able to escape the energy-siphoning device. A much-weakened Superman traveled to Coast City to battle alien invaders. At the end of the battle, the Eradicator gave most of its energy to Superman and restored him to full strength.
A17: In the weeks following Superman's death, several heroes appeared claiming to be Superman. These include Superboy (see Q27), Steel (see Q28), the Eradicator (see Q26), and a Cyborg. With the exception of Steel, all claimed to be the original Superman (or, in the case of Superboy, his true heir).
After much media hype and a few encounters between the Supermen, it was uncertain which, if any, of them was the true Superman. Eventually, the Cyborg was revealed to be an insane, formerly-human life force in alliance with alien invaders. It wanted to get revenge on Superman, but upon learning that he had died, the Cyborg tried to conquer the Earth and destroy the other Supermen while pretending to be the real Superman. Superboy, Steel, the Eradicator, Supergirl, Green Lantern, and the true, now-revived Superman joined forces to defeat the Cyborg and the aliens. THE RETURN OF SUPERMAN trade paperback collects the entire Reign of the Supermen story line into one book.
[Historical Note: A 1932 science-fiction story by Jerry Siegel entitled "Reign of the Superman" led to his creation of the Superman comic-book character.]
A18: Although comic books are the first and foremost medium for Superman stories, the Man of Steel has appeared in several others over the years. Examples include a serialized radio program, movie serials, animated movie cartoons, television programs, novels, feature films, and a syndicated newspaper strip. Moreover, there are over 300s songs mentioning Superman. Details are too numerous to list here, and this FAQ deals primarily with the comic series. For the most part, the stories in these other media do not fit into the continuity of the regular comic books.
The ABC television series LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN aired during the 1990s and was set during Clark's early years as Superman and borrowed slightly from the comic stories from the early years (after Byrne's revamping). Thus, in the TV series, there is no Supergirl, Doomsday has not killed Superman, and other important events have not happened. The series emphasizes the relationship between the two title characters, and they did get married on the show in the fall of 1996, which was timed to happen at the same time as the marriage in the comics. The series ran for four seasons.
The story of young Clark Kent is told in the TV series SMALLVILLE, which began in 2001 and continues on television today. The TV series deviates from the comic book stories, telling its own version of Clark Kent's journey to become Superman.
THE DAILY PLANET AND REPORTERS
A19: The DAILY PLANET is a major newspaper in the city of Metropolis (see Q37). The original DAILY PLANET was founded in 1775. It seems to be of quality comparable to the real-world NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, or LONDON TIMES. Since Clark Kent works at the paper, the PLANET and its reporters are major players in many plots and subplots. The building itself is famous for the large globe (planet) atop it. Perry White (see Q22) is the managing editor. Reporters include Lois Lane (see Q20), Clark Kent (see Q1), Cat Grant, Steve Lombard, and Ron Troupe.
A20: Lois Joanne Lane is a well-known journalist for the DAILY PLANET (see Q19). Lois started working for the PLANET when she was sixteen years old, and she is now one of the paper's best reporters. Her investigative reporting often gets Lois into trouble, but it also gets her good stories. When she wrote the first article about a mysterious new superhero, she created the name "Superman." Despite a long-standing rivalry, Lois and Clark are now married (see Q42), and she knows his secret identity. When Lois married Clark, she decided to keep her maiden name. In Metropolis, Lois is known as "Superman's Girlfriend" due to her friendship with the Man of Steel. Lois's younger sister, Lucy Lane, is a minor recurring character.
A21: James Bartholomew Olsen is a red-haired, freckle-faced, young friend of the DAILY PLANET (see Q19) staff. He started work at the PLANET as a gopher and has worked to earn respect from the staff. Jimmy endures the hardships of becoming an adult yet often bumbles. Due to his occasional association with Superman and the signal watch he once made, Jimmy has earned the nickname of "Superman's Pal."
A22: Perry Jerome White is the managing editor of the DAILY PLANET (see Q19), and the newspaper staff respects him. Perry started at the paper as a copy boy at age ten and earned his way up. He served 18 months in southeast Asia (probably Vietnam), and on his return, he learned of Lex Luthor's (see Q24) plans to dump the paper. Although they grew up as friends, Perry and Lex thereafter became bitter enemies. Perry's love for the paper drove him to find someone to buy the PLANET, and the new owner insisted that he take the position of editor. Perry acknowledges the position of importance the PLANET holds in Metropolis, and he cares for the city and its people.
A23: Catherine Jane Grant (known as Cat) works for the DAILY PLANET (see Q19) as gossip columnist.
A24: Alexander "Lex" Luthor was one of the most powerful humans on Earth, but Lex derived his power from money and influence rather than super powers. At age thirteen, he arranged for his parents' death to gain the life-insurance money, and it was not long before he took over his first company. From there, he used his intellect to rise to ownership of many other companies and found LexCorp International. Despite his selfish motives, Lex maintained the facade of being a philanthropist, and most people in Metropolis loved him for the many gifts and jobs he provided for the city. His intelligence led him to such a prominent position, and it allowed it to make the most of his power. Lex Luthor was clearly the richest man in Metropolis, and his scheming made him the most powerful--before Superman arrived. Lex was jealous of Superman's power and became his enemy when he was unable to buy the Man of Steel. Superman saw through Lex's deceit, but after several encounters, Lex was able to keep Superman at bay when he had a ring fashioned from a chunk of kryptonite (see Q34) he obtained. Ironically, this same kryptonite eventually led to loss of his hand and induced cancer. Shortly before his inevitable death, Lex Luthor died in a plane crash.
After LexCorp--and thus all of Metropolis--floundered for a while in the aftermath of Lex Luthor's death, his son and heir was eventually found. Lex Luthor II had been raised in Australia, and his existence was kept secret to protect him. Luthor Junior came to Metropolis, took control of his father's corporation, and brought Metropolis out of its economic slump. He controlled LexCorp, and many citizens agreed that he was kinder and gentler than his father yet just as generous.
In truth, the original Lex Luthor lived on in a new body while pretending to be his own son. Luthor arranged to fake his own death--even fooling Superman--while he actually hired Dabney Donovan, an expert genetic engineer, to clone a new body for him and transplant his brain. Only a very small number of people knew the truth about Lex: two trusted assistants and Donovan, who has remained outside Luthor's control.
During the Battle for Metropolis story line, a clone-affecting disease incapacitated Lex Jr. and left him in a vegetative state. Lois Lane revealed the truth about his being a clone, and after Luthor's involvement in the Fall of Metropolis, the police were prepared to press charges against him should he be revived. For a while, Luthor was kept alive at S.T.A.R. Labs in Metropolis; however, Luthor had a backup plan by which his mind was restored to his body, and the recovery process began (MAN OF TOMORROW #1, Summer 1995). The demon Neron restored Luthor to his full health, and Luthor began plotting in secret. Luthor married the Contessa del Portenza (MAN OF TOMORROW #5, Summer 1996) and moved back to Metropolis. After assisting humanity in the Final Night, he was placed under house arrest. When Luthor had a new clone created and framed for his previous mistakes, the real Luthor was proclaimed innocent and gained his freedom. Luthor and the Contessa had a daughter (Lena), but Lex recently sacrificed his beloved baby to Brainiac 13 in return for control over the new, hi-tech Metropolis, but later had her returned to him.
Lex Luthor later became the President of the United States of America, having successfully campaigned for the position, but lost his presidency after Superman and Batman broadcast live to the nation a direct feed where Lex admitted to knowing about Darkseids's plans during the "Our Worlds At War" saga, lying about Superman and the approach of a kryptonite meteor. Presumed dead, Lex actually escaped to plan his revenge.
Lex Luthor was cleared of all charges laid against him during a court trial, and set about trying to use a dormant Kryptonian crystal craft lying deep within earth's crust as a weapon. After a year without powers, Superman finally returned and managed to defeat Lex's plans.
A25: There have been several Supergirls over the years.
A pocket universe with a duplicate Earth was attacked by three supervillains from that universe's Krypton. That universe, however, had no Superman nor other superheroes because its sole protector - Superboy (see Q27) - had died years ago. The Lex Luthor of that universe was a good-natured heroic genius, however, and he not only led the resistance forces but also developed a special weapon. Lex Luthor invented a substance called protomatter and used it to fashion an artificial life-form (known as Matrix or Supergirl) to fight the villains. Lex eventually sent Supergirl across dimensional boundaries to enlist the aid of Superman, and the two superheroes returned to her universe. The two heroes stopped the villains only after the evil Kryptonians had destroyed all other life in the pocket universe. Supergirl then returned with Superman to his Earth, and Clark left her with his foster parents. After some psychological problems, Matrix left Earth for a while but later returned. When she eventually met Lex Luthor II, she identified him with the Lex of her world, and she remained for him for some time as his super-powered helper and girlfriend. Only when Lex's continual scheming revealed his true nature did Supergirl grow to hate Luthor and leave him.
This Supergirl's powers were somewhat different from Superman's. Though strong, she was not as strong as Superman. She could levitate and fly. She also wielded powerful psychokinetic energies and could turn invisible. Finally, with her chameleon ability, she was able to mold her protomatter to change her appearance into that of any human.
At the beginning of the SUPERGIRL comic book series that ran from 1996 to 2003, Matrix merged her protoplasmic form with the body of the dying Linda Danvers. She maintained Linda's life as best she could and thus had a secret identity. Supergirl now found her powers limited; for example, she could only change between Linda's shape and her Supergirl form. She also gained other powers, such as firey wings which manifest themselves when needed. Circumstances revealed that Supergirl was one of three earth-born angels existing in the DC Universe.
The SUPERGIRL title was cancelled with issue #80 in 2003, with Linda Danvers deciding to retire from being Supergirl.
It should be noted that there have been other Supergirls since Matrix/Linda Danvers... A new Supergirl called Cir-El arrived in Metropolis claiming to be Superman and Lois' future daughter. Created by the Futuresmiths, Cir-El was ultimately revealed not to be Superman's daughter at all.
When a kryptonite meteor crashed to earth, Batman helped clear up all the Kryptonite debri and discovered a Kryptonian spacecraft at the bottom of the ocean. A naked woman boarded his Batboat and soon ended up on land where she became confused and scared... capturing her using Kryptonite, Batman took her back to the Batcave, where Superman discovered the young woman was his cousin Kara Zor-El! After a chaotic period of turmoil (involving Themiscyra, Darkseid, and many other obstacles), Kara finally took on the mantle of the one-true Supergirl.
A26: The Eradicator is a Kryptonian artifact that is about 200,000 years old. Superman gained possession of the device many light-years from Earth when an alien cleric gave it to him. When Superman returned to Earth, the Eradicator's artificial intelligence tried to mold Superman's mind and turn him into the perfect Kryptonian, which is far from human. Though Superman hurled the artifact into the Sun, it survived, assumed humanoid form as the Krypton Man, and tried to reshape the Earth to form a second Krypton. Superman barely survived this second battle with the Eradicator and dissipated its energies.
Following the Death of Superman (see Q15), the device's energies reformed into an immaterial body, which then tried to take Superman's deceased body. Though it could not take control of his body, the Eradicator was able to use Superman's body as an energy source. The Eradicator lost its memory, and thinking that it was Superman, it fought crime as a strong but unnecessarily brutal enforcer of the law. During the Reign of the Supermen (see Q17), he was known as the Last Son of Krypton. Eventually, the Eradicator was defeated by the Cyborg Superman (see Q17), Superman escaped from his imprisonment, and the Eradicator joined Superman in the final battle against the Cyborg.
Though horribly wounded in the final battle, the Eradicator survived. It seemed to be good-natured, as its old personality merged with Superman's. S.T.A.R. Labs examined its body, and the body seemed to be inhabited by the mind of xenobiologist Dr. David Connor (ACTION #693, Nov.93; SHOWCASE '95 #3, March 95). The Eradicator was a member of the Outsiders and was also seen with the Superman Rescue Squad. In the 1996 ERADICATOR mini-series, it was revealed that David Conner's mind never truly controlled the body, but the artifact's intelligence was present all along.
The Eradicator was also an important force in defeating the villainous efforts of Brainiac 13.
The Eradicator remained a strange and uneasy ally to the Man of Steel.
A27: Superboy, also known as the Metropolis Kid, appears to be an imperfect clone of Superman. After Superman's death, the Cadmus Project (see Q29) obtained a partial sample of his DNA, which they combined with other DNA to form a clone. The clone has an equivalent age of approximately 16 years and is incapable of aging further. He has various super-powers--some similar to Superman's and some unique powers as well. Though he dislikes the name Superboy, he begrudgingly accepted it upon the return of the original Superman. Superboy does not maintain any form of secret or civilian identity, but Superman adopted the Kid into his family and granted him the Kryptonian name Kon-El (SUPERBOY #59, Feb 99). While it originally seemed that Superboy was a Superman clone, the actual DNA donor was Cadmus director Paul Westfield. Ending his world tour, Superboy has now settled in Hawaii. The Boy of Steel had his own title now (SUPERBOY) and also starred in the short-lived SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS (see Q2). Professor Hamilton (see Q30) gave Superboy a pair of technological goggles that grant him the equivalent of Superman's various super-visions, but the Kid decided that they were more trouble than they were worth.
At first unofficially "adopted" by Superman and given the Kryptonian name "Kon-El", Superboy later went to live with Clark Kent's parents in Kansas, becoming known as their nephew, Conner Kent. More recently, it's been learned that the "genetic engineering" that produced Superboy included splicing a great deal of Superman's DNA into the human DNA Kon-El was made from, making "the kid" half Kryptonian, and Superman's actual offspring after all. It was revealed that the other half of his DNA came from Lex Luthor.
In addition, Superman once met a Superboy who was the younger equivalent of Superman in a Pocket Universe (see Q25). That Superboy, however, sacrificed his life to save the Earth at the conclusion of the story. Also, a similar Superboy appeared during Zero Hour (SUPERBOY #8) and in Superboy's Hypertime travels (SUPERBOY #61-62, Apr-May 1999).
For a while Superboy appeared in the comic book TEEN TITANS.
Superboy died during "Infinite Crisis" (see Q12), fighting Superboy-Prime but later returned to life. He lived with Martha Kent in Smallville as Conner Kent.
A28: John Henry Irons was an engineer who designed guns that were used as horrible weapons of war. Out of shame for the way his constructions were misused, he decided to give up his engineering job and become a construction worker. Superman saved his life while Henry was on a construction job, and when the worker thanked Superman, the hero just asked that he make his life count for something.
After Superman's death, John Henry Irons decided what to do with the extended lease on life that Superman gave him. He donned a metal costume he had built and set out to fight the crime that grew rampant in the aftermath of Superman's death. The news media called him the Man of Steel, and he helped bring down the criminals that used his guns.
When Superman returned, the true Superman began calling him Steel, and the two of them joined with other heroes to defeat Mongol and the Cyborg Superman (see Q17). Steel barely survived the battles, but he decided to continue his crime-fighting career. He returned to his family in Washington, D.C., where he tried to keep guns off the street. Later, Dr. Irons moved to Jersey City. For a while, Steel also had his own title (see Q2). He maintains his ties to the Superman family and was also a member of the JLA for a while.
Henry is a good man with strong morals, and Superman's friends claimed that, among the false Supermen, his personality seemed the most like the original.
John Henry Irons was forced to retire as Steel due to brain damage caused by a suit of armour called the Aegis given to him by Darkseid. John's niece Natasha took on the mantel of Steel.
Q29: What is Project Cadmus?
A29: The Cadmus Project is a semi-secret organization that studies genetic engineering. The three original founders were Doctors Reginald Augustine, Dabney Donovan, and Thomas Tompkins.
The primary research at Cadmus has resulted in various clones and new life forms. The current Guardian, for example, is a clone of Jim Harper's first body but contains his original mind. The modern Newsboy Legion are also clones: one of the founders, Tompkins, had been part of the original Newsboy Legion and known the Guardian. Other products of work at Cadmus include the D. N. Aliens, a group of genetically advanced beings. Many of the failed experiments and outcasts from Cadmus have made their way in secret to live in the caves under Metropolis where they call themselves Underworlders.
Some of the experiments at Cadmus have been ethically questionable. While some employees have high morals, others have low standards. Several of these controversial projects were led by Dr. Donovan, who faked his death and left the Project. Donovan went on to create Lex Luthor's second body (see Q24) and is still alive in hiding.
After Superman's death (see Q15), Project Cadmus stole the Man of Steel's body from the grave in an attempt to clone him. They were unable to get a good sample of his DNA, but did succeed in making Superboy (see Q27).
The Project is located in the hills outside of Metropolis. For years, its existence was kept secret from the general populace. Superboy publicly denounced Project Cadmus on television, however, and the Project tried to project a positive image. Team Luthor recently destroyed Cadmus--as best the public knows--but the Project survives in secret. (Project Cadmus was created by Jack Kirby.) [Historical Note: In Greek mythology, Cadmus was a Phoenician prince who planted dragon's teeth to grow soldiers.]
A30: Emil Hamilton is a brilliant scientist and inventor. Though he was once a criminal, he has reformed and now aids Superman when necessary. The Professor is friends with several PLANET reporters, including Lois and Jimmy. His residence and lab are in Hobs Bay, Metropolis. Professor Hamilton has performed more experiments on Superman than anyone else, and he has also studied Kryptonian technology (including the Eradicator--see Q26) and visited the Fortress of Solitude several times (see Q39). During the Fall of Metropolis, the Professor lost his left hand; he subsequently built himself several robotic prostheses to replace it. This prosthetic limb caused him to temporarily set himself against Superman when the arm was taken over by B13 technology.
Later, after working for STAR Labs, Hamilton set up an elaborate sting, making Superman and the SCU think that the new villain called "Ruin" was actually Pete Ross. Superman finally saw through the ruse, and discovered that Ruin was infact a deranged Emil Hamilton.
A31: The planet Krypton, inhabited by an emotionless race of advanced humanoids, was doomed to explode. A humane scientist named Jor-El sent his son Kal-El in a rocket ship to Earth with the knowledge that Kal-El would gain fabulous powers there. Martha and Jonathan Kent found the rocket on Earth and recovered the child. They took the baby as their own and named him Clark (after Martha's maiden name). Over the years, Clark's powers developed slowly (see Q11).
Clark's adoptive parents told him of his extraterrestrial origin and he took on the mantle of Superboy, performing heroic deeds around his home town of Smallville. He later moved to Metropolis as a grown man and became known as Superman.
A32: At various times, Superman is also known as the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, the Last Son of Krypton, and the Metropolis Marvel. Other, less dignified names by which he is called include the Kryptonian, Supes, and the Big Blue Cheese. During the Reign of the Supermen (see Q17), some of these nicknames were applied to individual false Supermen, but they all apply to the real Superman.
Q33: What is the L. L. connection for Superman?
A33: A remarkably large number of characters in the comics have the initials L. L. Most notable are Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Lori Lemaris. A rumor says that these names were chosen because Joe Shuster's (see Q10) first girlfriend had the initials L. L.
A34: Surviving fragments of Superman's home world of Krypton are known as kryptonite. In the last days of Krypton, a chain reaction with the planet's core caused a build-up of enormous pressures. These pressures fused the minerals inside Krypton into the new, radioactive, super-actinide element kryptonium. Furthermore, the pressure grew to be too much for the planet's mantle to contain, and Krypton exploded in a violent eruption. The resulting kryptonite is the ore of kryptonium, and it is best known for its green hue. Even if the planet Krypton had not exploded, the radiation from the kryptonite would have eventually killed all the inhabitants in what the Kryptonians called the Green Death.
Though the radiation from kryptonite is harmful to all life, it is especially harmful to Kryptonians (notably Superman). Kryptonite radiation rapidly fills Superman's cells and drives out the solar energy stored therein. Prolonged exposure to kryptonite would be fatal to Superman. There is no relationship between kryptonite and the chemical element krypton, though Superman's home world was probably named after the element.
The main source of kryptonite on Earth is a rock that was attached to the rocket ship that brought Superman to Earth. This one rock has been fashioned into at least two forms. Superman gave Batman a kryptonite ring (formerly belonging to Lex Luthor--see also Q24) in case someone ever needed to use it against the Man of Steel. Some kryptonite bullets were stored in a lead container in the Fortress of Solitude (see Q39).
In addition, the mischievous imp Mr. Mxyzptlk magically created some red kryptonite that robbed Superman of his powers. This red K has been seen only during the "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite" story line.
Batman also created a red kryptonite variety that makes Kryptonian's skin transparent, while not effecting humans. This caused Superman's powers to increase to the point where he couldn't control them due to the unfiltered rays of our yellow sun going straight into him. Ra's Al Ghul duplicated this in the "Tower of Babel" story line in the JLA comic book.
A whole spectrum of Kryptonite varieties were briefly seen at the beginning of the "Supergirl from Krypton" story line in the Superman/Batman comics when a Kryptonite meteor crashed to earth, most were collected and stored by the JLA and JSA, but were later stolen (most likely by Lex Luthor).
Lex Luthor incorporated a variety of these new colors into the gloves of his battle armor, in "Superman #2" (November 2005) Lex explains the affects and properties of these various types of Kryptonite:
- Green Kryptonite: Deadly to Kryptonians.
- Red Kryptonite: Causes erratic and unpredictable behavior in Kryptonians.
- Blue Kryptonite: Deadly to Bizarros.
- Black Kryptonite: Seem to split a Kryptonian into two beings, with the immoral side of their personality coming forth.
A35: The character has existed for over 65 years (see Q10). Clark was 25 when he became Superman, and the post-Crisis (see Q12, Q13, Q14) stories recount his adventures beginning at age 28 (SUPERMAN #1, Jan 87). Clark was 34 when Doomsday killed him (NEWSTIME, May 1993; ZERO HOUR #0, Sept 1994). Though flashbacks and stories of his early years may show a younger Clark/Superman, current stories show him at the age of between 37-42. Due to his alien heritage, it is unknown whether Superman will continue to age and grow old at the rate humans do, but his rate of maturity has till now matched that of humans.
A36: Though he was conceived on the planet Krypton, Superman has adopted Earth as his home. Superman lives in the city of Metropolis (see Q37) and does not normally dwell in the Fortress of Solitude (see Q39). For most of his adult life, Clark Kent lived in the Clinton Apartments 3-D at 344 Clinton Street. After Clark disappeared in Doomsday's attack, Superboy (see Q27) decided--through an apparent coincidence--that it would be neat to move into Clark's old apartment. When Superboy left Metropolis, the destruction caused by Doomsday had raised the rent enough to discourage Clark from moving back in. Clark temporarily moved in with Jimmy Olsen (see Q21) but then returned to 344 Clinton. After Clark's marriage to Lois (see Q42) the couple moved to a new, larger apartment at 1938 Sullivan Pl.
A37: Metropolis (a.k.a. the Big Apricot) is Superman's adopted city and the largest city in the DC Earth. Clark Kent lives in Metropolis, where he works for the DAILY PLANET newspaper (see Q19), and Superman patrols the city more than he does any other. Metropolis has seen its share of disasters, the most notable including the destruction caused by Doomsday and the more devastating Fall of Metropolis. The latter event left downtown in shambles until Zatanna magically restored the city soon after Zero Hour (ADVENTURES #522, Apr 95).
Superman is neither the only nor the first super-hero to be based in Metropolis. Booster Gold, Gangbuster, Supergirl (see Q25), Superboy (see Q27), Steel (see Q28), and the Eradicator (see Q26) used to call Metropolis home but have moved on to other cities. The Guardian, the Thorn, Rampage, and Sinbad still dwell there. Furthermore, the original headquarters of the JLA is in the hills just outside Metropolis.
In the real world, there is a city named Metropolis, Illinois, which has a Superman museum.--The Illinois city exists in the DC Universe as well,-but Superman's Metropolis is located on the Atlantic Coast of the United States near Gotham City. See also the RACFAQ at the Superman Homepage for a discussion of where various DC cities are in the real world.
A38: Clark Kent grew up in Smallville, a small town in Small County, Kansas, near the Lowell County border. Ma and Pa Kent's farm is near Smallville; their address is RFD 1, Box 72. Clark still has a few friends, notably Lana Lang and Pete Ross, from his childhood in Smallville.
A39: When the Eradicator (see Q26), first tried to create a new Krypton on Earth, Superman defeated it in a mental battle. In the aftermath, the Eradicator built a structure in Antarctica that contained various elements from Krypton's past (ADVENTURES #461, Dec.89). Superman uses the base as a peaceful retreat from the world, and he calls it the Fortress of Solitude. The Fortress contains advanced Kryptonian machinery, several robots, Kryptonian battle suits, and holograms and statues commemorating the deceased planet Krypton.
The Fortress was severely damaged at the end of the Reign of the Supermen. The Eradicator left it in shambles when he absorbed all of the Fortress' energy (ACTION #691, Sep.93), and Superman later cleaned up the remains and buried much of the debris under the Antarctic (ACTION #693, Nov.93). While there seemed to be nothing left of the original Fortress, some aspects remain in surprisingly good condition (ERADICATOR #1, Aug.96; S:TMOS #61, Oct.96).
The Fortress of Solitude was rebuilt and held within a tesseract using an inter-dimensional portal and mass amounts of raw material to recreate the Fortress as it has never been seen before, and is placed on a remote ledge in Andean ice fields.
The arctic Fortress was destroyed in a battle between Superman and Wonder Woman (SUPERMAN #211) and later Superman rebuilt himself a new Fortress of Solitude in the Amazon jungle (SUPERMAN #215, May 2005).
More recently Superman used a Kryptonian Sunstone crystal to build a new Fortress of Solitude in the arctic.
A40: The physical distinctions between the Superman and Clark Kent persona are a curl of hair, the glasses, and a deepening of his voice. Another major factor is that the lack of a mask keeps people from even suspecting that Superman has a secret identity. For example, Lex Luthor was once told the truth, but he dismissed the idea because he could not believe that someone so powerful would want another identity. Also in the modern stories, Lois Lane never suspected the dual identity.
Furthermore, there have been several occasions where Clark and Superman have been seen together. In the first case, "Superman" was really a robot (ADVENTURES #439). Soon after Superman's return from his self-exile in space, Jimmy snapped a photo of Superman and Clark (a confused Matrix) (SUPERMAN #34). Finally, after Superman's return from death, the Man of Steel publicly rescued Clark Kent (secretly Matrix) from an old Civil Defense Shelter (ACTION #692).
A41: Several people know Superman's real identity. His parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, clearly know the truth. In his senior year of high school, Clark Kent revealed his powers to his girlfriend, Lana Lang, just before he left Smallville. Amanda McCoy, a scientist in Luthor's employ, figured out about his secret identity (SUPERMAN #2, Feb.87), but no one believed her; however, Ms. McCoy is now dead and thus unable to share her knowledge. Supergirl also knows the truth, and Batman discovered the secret (ADVENTURES #440, May 88). Clark also told Wonder Woman about his secret identity (ACTION #600, May 88). Hal Jordan (Parallax) also knew the secret and was friends with Clark (ACTION #606). Clark's mermaid girlfriend, Lori Lemaris, telepathically uncovered his secret, and Clark revealed his identity to Lois Lane after they became engaged (ACTION #662, Feb.91) (see Q42). Superboy (see Q27) found out from the Superboy/C.K. of an alternate reality (SUPERBOY #61, Apr.99).
A number of semi-omniscient beings also know about Clark's dual identity. On the technology side, they include Mxyzptlk, Waverider, and the Linear Men. Supernatural entities with the knowledge include Dr. Occult, the Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, the Black Racer, and Kismet. The Monitor and Harbinger (Lyla) most likely knew. The Manhunters learned when they intercepted Lyla's transmission. Some of them even posed as Smallville citizens for years ("Millennium" crossover).
Superman also revealed his secret identity to John Henry Irons (aka Steel) and his fellow JLA members, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and Plastic Man (JLA #50). Aquaman also knows Superman's secret identity, having visited the Kent farm with Batman (JLA: Secret Files and Origins #2). J'onn J'onzz actually witnessed Kal-El's arrival on Earth and kept an eye on him ever since (Martian Manhunter #20).
An old Smallville friend-turned-foe named Kenny Braverman, known as the Conduit, worked out Clark's secret and used it to his personal benefit, but later died, taking the secret with him. It is likely that Dominus knows, as he hurled Superman through various realities which saw him act as Clark Kent. Taking Lois' knowledge and appearance, the Parasite knew Clark's secret and posed as Lois for a while, but he later perished. The Joker apparently knows, but in his craziness doesn't seem to care.
Lex Luthor discovered Superman's secret when he had evidence of the Kryptonian rocketship having landed in the Kent's farmland, but later had this memory erased from his mind by Manchester Black (who also knew) before Black committed suicide. Before his memory was erased however, Lex Luthor informed Pete Ross of his knowledge that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same.
A42: Yes. In the continuity between 1986-2011 they did get married. Though in the past there have been multiple make-believe stories about Lois marrying either Clark or Superman, they were actually engaged for several years (SUPERMAN #50, Dec.90). Some time after they became engaged, Clark revealed to Lois that he is Superman (see Q41). In ACTION #720 (Apr.96), Lois got fed up with Superman getting in the way of her life, and she broke off the engagement. The couple later reconciled and were married in the extravagant SUPERMAN: THE WEDDING ALBUM (Dec.96).
A43: At the end of the war with Imperiex ("Our Worlds At War" 2001), in which many thousands of people lost their lives, including Lois Lane's father, Wonder Woman's mother and (for a time) Aquaman, Superman decided to change the yellow in his "S" shield to black as a mark of respect to those who died. Around a year later he changed the colors back to the familiar yellow.
A44: SUPERMAN #204-215 contained a story line titled "For Tomorrow" which was set a year ahead of the stories in ACTION COMICS and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. The 12 issues of "For Tomorrow" took place over a short period of time, allowing ACTION and ADVENTURES to catch up over their corresponding 12 issues, so that all three comics were at the same point in time at the end of SUPERMAN #215, ACTION COMICS #825, and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #638 (May 2005).
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