Superman Comic Books
Superman Profile[Vital Statistics| Origin| Superpowers| Sources of Information]
[Last updated September 20, 2010]
|Name:||Clark Joseph Kent [Earth Name]
Kal-El [Kryptonian Name]
|Age:||39 (see below)|
|Height:||6 feet, 3 inches|
|Occupation:||Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, columnist and (one-time) Foreign Correspondent for the Daily Planet newspaper; adventurer as the superhero Superman, writer of four novels
|Known Relatives:||Jor-El [Kryptonian father, deceased]
Lara [Kryptonian mother, deceased]
Jonathan Kent [adoptive father]
Martha Kent [adoptive mother]
Lois Lane [wife]
|Marital Status:||Married to Lois Lane
|Group Affiliation:||Justice League of America
Legion of Super Heroes
|Base of Operations:||The city of Metropolis, U.S.A.|
|Current Address:||1938 Sullivan Place, Metropolis
[Clark's Previous Address: Apartment 3-D, 344 Clinton Street, Metropolis]
[Lois' Previous Address: 55 Broome Street, Metropolis]
|Birthday:||Traditionally February 29.
In Action Comics #655 (July 1990) a Smallville newspaper clipping shows Jonathan and Martha Kent had a child "on or about February 28th".
|Action Comics #1 (June 1938), The Man of Steel #1 [Post-"Crisis" series] (July 1986), Superman: Birthright #1 (July 2003), Superman: Secret Origin #1 (November 2009)|
Superman created by Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist).
Origin[Note: This origin is based on "The Man of Steel" miniseries version from 1986].
Conceived on the doomed planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El had his unborn son Kal-El, still within his birthing matrix, placed on a hyperlight drive rocket. Then with his wife Lara, Jor-El watched the ship's launch as a simmering nuclear chain reaction tore the planet apart. Jor-El targeted his son's rocket to reach the planet Earth through hyperspace, where Jor-El hoped his son would find a good life.
The tiny rocket was found by a Kansas farming couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent. They found the infant within the rocket and, being childless, Martha persuaded Jonathan that they should adopt him. Named Clark Kent, the child grew up in Smallville, Kansas never knowing how his parents found him.
The Kents began realizing Clark's special abilities at age 8 when he was unhurt after being trampled by a bull. Clark demonstrated more abilities as he grew, even being able to fly at age 17.
The following year, after using his abilities to excel in a football game, Jonathan Kent revealed the remains of the rocket and how his adoptive parents had found him. Clark now understood his special powers came with responsibilities.
That night, Clark revealed his secret to his closest friend, Lana Lang. He also told her he would be leaving Smallville the following day. Thus at age 18, Clark Kent began to travel around the world to learn about his powers, become better educated, and secretly help people. Places he went to include India, the High Sierras, China, Bangkok, and Sudan.
After about four years Clark enrolled in the University of Metropolis and majored in journalism. Seven years after leaving Smallville, Clark witnessed an experimental NASA space plane about to crash. He saved the plane and there first met Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. It was Lois' newspaper account of the rescue that gave Clark the superhero name of Superman.
Although Clark managed to hide his identity during that incident, he realized he must adopt a superhero identity if he was to continue a public career of superheroics. With his parents' help Clark developed a superhero costume with a distinctive chest emblem. He also practiced mannerisms and began wearing glasses to distinguish Clark Kent's appearance from that of Superman.
Returning to Metropolis, Clark began his superhero career as Superman, and his journalism career at the Daily Planet by getting the first exclusive interview with Superman.
Superman's appearance began a new age of heroes, with other heroes like Batman (Bruce Wayne) in Gotham, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) in Coast City, and Flash (Barry Allen) in Central City appearing.
At age 28, Clark learned about his Kryptonian heritage from an electro-psionic recording created by Jor-El and stored in Clark's birthing matrix (i.e. rocketship). Learning of Krypton's fate, Clark was further determined to protect his adopted home planet, Earth.
Superman's PowersClark Kent's Kryptonian body acts as a solar battery absorbing solar energy which can then be used as various remarkable powers. If Earth had a red sun like Krypton's, Clark would not have these powers. Using his powers causes Clark to use up his stored yellow sun energy. He can lose his powers if he expends a lot of energy quickly (e.g. during his battle with the monster Doomsday) or if he spends too much time away from a yellow sun while in outer space. When low on solar energy, Clark can 'recharge' if exposed to a source of yellow sun energy. The rate at which he 'recharges' can vary. When he has absorbed excess solar energy, his power levels have been above normal until the excess power is burned up.
Superman's superpowers include:
- Strength - although varying depending on his energy levels, Clark is among the strongest superheroes on Earth, capable of lifting a plane.
- Flight - able to defy gravity, possibly through sheer force of will.
- Invulnerability - years of exposure to yellow solar energy have caused Clark's Kryptonian body to become almost indestructible. His natural bio-electric aura also has limited force field properties protecting items near his skin e.g. his costume. His cape is not protected by his aura.
Clark can survive in outer space as long as he has a breathing apparatus, and doesn't lose too much solar energy. Without an air supply, Superman can last between an hour and ninety minutes in space or underwater, after taking a deep breath. Using his powers of flight and super-speed Clark can travel inter-planetary distances by himself. Interstellar distances require assistance e.g. a spaceship, teleportation belt.
- Super-speed - capable of superhuman speed, Clark can fly from Metropolis to have dinner with Lois Lane in Paris, France, or in a few minutes fly to the Moon.
- Super-breath - Clark's invulnerability and strength exist internally too, affecting his skeleton and internal organs. After inhaling deeply he can expel the air in a gale-force wind. Superman is also able to chill his breath in order to freeze a target (this latter ability has also been called "freeze breath" and "arctic breath").
- Super-hearing - Capable of blocking out and discerning a single known voice within a city.
- Vision - Clark can detect electromagnetic energy in more than the normal visible spectrum:
- X-Ray vision - lead appears opaque
- IR vision
- Heat Vision - additionally, Clark can release solar energy in the form of Heat Vision as a weapon.
Created by internal pressures that caused Krypton's explosion, kryptonite is the ore form of kryptonium. It looks like a green glowing rock. It is very hazardous to Superman. If exposed to kryptonite, Clark will experience pain and rapidly lose his powers. If exposed for much more than an hour he would die. If suffering kryptonite poisoning, Clark can recover if he gets away from the kryptonite.
When Clark's birthing matrix left Krypton, a fragment of kryptonite became embedded in the tail section. Villain Lex Luthor obtained this fragment and used part of it for a ringstone, to protect himself from Superman. After being exposed to it for a year, Luthor found the radiation destroyed his hand, and was killing his body through cancer, necessitating he obtain a prosthetic hand, and later a new cloned body.
Note: Another villain, Mr. Mxyzptlk, a Fifth Dimensional being who can use super-science that resembles 'magic' once created red kryptonite to temporarily remove Clark's powers. Without Mr. Mxyzptlk's powers, though, this 'red kryptonite' would be harmless to anyone, and is in no way connected to genuine green kryptonite. When Superman captured three criminals in a "pocket universe" he used gold kryptonite from that universe. Batman also created his own variant of red kryptonite which rendered Kryptonian skin transparent and caused Superman to overload with yellow sun radiation.
- The Man of Steel #1-6 (July-Sept. 1986) by John Byrne
In 1986, DC Comics hired John Byrne to restart Superman's adventures. Byrne took elements of the Superman legend in past comics, the Fleischer cartoons, George Reeves' television Clark Kent, and Christopher Reeve's movie portrayal of Superman, and created a new version of Superman's origin and powers that is now the basis of Superman's comicbook adventures. Published as a six part series in 1986, the series is available in a reprint trade paperback. Although largely Byrne's work, the new Superman also used ideas by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway. Wolfman and Ordway would work on The Adventures of Superman, while Byrne worked on Superman and Action Comics. Andrew Helfer was their editor, quickly joined by Mike Carlin.
- Superman & Batman Magazine #6 (1994)
- Superman - The Man of Steel Sourcebook (1992) by Roger Stern
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #1 (Summer 1995)
- Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide by Robert Overstreet
- Wizard: The Guide To Comics #57 (1996) has a profile of Superman and gives his age as "around 30".
- Superman - The Man of Tomorrow #8 (Spring 1997)