Who's Who in the Superman Comics
SupermanSwifter than a speeding projectile, and stronger than any known mortal, Superman stands as the supreme champion of truth, justice, and the American way! Originally rocketed away from Krypton in order to prevent the planet's destruction, baby Kal-El landed on the planet Earth, just outside of Smallville, U.S.A. The middle aged couple Jonathan and Martha Kent found the baby boy, and ultimately adopted him themselves. Ignorant of his origins, the couple named their new son Clark, and raised him as a mild-mannered and respectable citizen. From infancy, Clark Kent displayed powers and abilities no ordinary human could ever possess. By the time he was a teenager, Clark Kent used his extraordinary gifts to become Superboy. As one of the first super-heroes, Superboy exhibited super strength, super hearing, flight, x-ray vision, heat vision, and advanced intellect in his quest to maintain righteousness. Superboy, throughout the course of his career, would meet several individuals whom would play critical roles in his life: Lana Lang, the redhaired, nosy classmate of Clark Kent, who always believed Superboy and Clark Kent were the same person; The Legion of Super-Heroes, teenage crimefighters from the 30th Century who were inspired by Superman and his early years as Superboy; and Lex Luthor, who was introduced to Superboy as an ambitious young scientist, but via an accidental incident, becomes Superboy's lifelong enemy as the two reach adulthood.
Sadly, both Jonathan and Martha Kent passed; and young Clark Kent moved on from Smallville, and to the big city of Metropolis. Now a fullgrown adult, Superman proves to be the leading crusader for justice. He proves to be a leader of his compatriots, and as Clark Kent, becomes a prominent news reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. At the Daily Planet, Clark Kent is befriended by Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White. Then, Superman becomes a close, personal friend with fellow crimefighter Batman. The two titans of truth and justice form The World's Finest Team, and are the premiere tandem of The World's Greatest Super-Heroes.
Often called The Man of Steel, The Last Son of Krypton, or The Metropolis Marvel, Superman stands ready to defend his city, his nation, the planet, and the known cosmos from all evildoers. He is ever vigilant and stands ready to battle any and all super-villains, for he is Superman!
The Man of Steel has several superhumanoid powers beyond comprehension. They are both extraordinary physical and mental abilities, which have helped the man himself save the day on countless occasions against the massive forces of evil.
Super Strength - Superman possesses godlike physical prowess. He can lift a limitless amount of mass, quite possibly even small planetoids. His strenghth, like most of his physical abilities, is powered by the radiant golden sun of our solar system. His body is impervious to physical damage/penetration - unless the opposing factor is a fellow Kryptonian or similarly strong entity or weapon.
Vision - Superman has x-ray vision, which allows him to see through any solid material, except lead. He also has microscopic vision, enabling him to observe subatomic matter. His eyes can also emit heat vision - penetrating rays of energy which can melt the strongest of matters.
Flight - The Last Son of Krypton is capable of flying into outer space, and beyond.
Speed - The Man of Tomorrow can run, move, and fly at the speed of light.
Voice - Rarely employed, it is known that Superman can mimic the voices of individuals.
Lungs - Superman's super lungs allow him to retain oxygen, and breathe in oxygen-deprived climates. While exploring undersea or in outer space, Superman has traveled without the need of a breathing apparatus. He can also breathe out powerful, concentrated blasts of air; or freezing cold carbon dioxide.
It's an understatement to say Superman's physical powers are incredible. But beyond the physically impressive capabilities, Superman distinguishes himself with amazing intellect - a power often overlooked by both friends and enemies alike.
Deduction - It takes a certain intellect to be a skillful, prized reporter - and successfully seek out the truth. In his alter ego of Clark Kent, Superman has sniffed out more leading headlines than the average reporter. In his colorful, crimefighting alter ego, our hero's skills have helped him defeat the world's most sinister masterminds, including Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Vandal Savage, and Dr. Light. Perhaps only the likes of Batman and the Martian Manhunter are more impressive than Superman in crimefighting intellect.
Super Techie - The Man of Steel is the ultimate technofile! He has mastered several earth sciences, as well as those of the planet Krypton. Superman has constructed and maintained a staff of androids - Superman robots - which act/operate as sentinels around his Fortress of Solitude.
Mechanics and Engineering - Beyond his Superman robots, and understanding of Kryptonian technology, Superman has displayed expertise in the fields of engineering, mechanics, and physics. He singlehandedly constructed the Fortress of Solitude, his personal retreat which lies firmly ensconsed in the Arctic.
As a structure, the Fortress of Solitude is physically sound, with ventilation, power, and security systems that would rival the greatest known facilities and structures on the planet.
Additionally, Superman has devised powerful weapons systems and vehicles to aid him in his crusade for truth and justice. Superman has designed and crafted battle suits, and vehicles - including the Supermobile - when the need arose. The Supermobile, especially, was utilized when a depowered Man of Tomorrow had to defeat the deadly android Amazo, in battle over Metropolis.
Finally, Superman possesses capabilities that simply cannot be explained. He can personally travel through time and dimensions - without technological assistance. The Man of Steel repeatedly journeyed through time and dimensions alongside fellow heroes, and while visiting the otherdimensional Earth-Two.
The only weaknesses Superman carries are depowering exposure to rays of a red sun, and radiation poisoning from Kryptonite.
First Appearance: Action Comics and Superman comics circa 1950.
Who's Who in the Superman comics (1950s - 1980s)
IntroductionThe decade of the 1950s proved to be a bountiful and definitive period of time for the Man of Steel. Core elements of the Superman Legend would see the light of day, while those concepts and ideas which were introduced in the 1940s, would be expanded upon. This is the decade that would produce the definitive Superman who would be in print for more than 30 years, and pave the way for the Superman storyline all fans follow today.
Let's begin with Superman himself. Introduced in 1938, Superman would usher in a Golden Age of comic books, and become the first super-hero in existence. But during his early years, his powers took time to be completely defined by the writers and artists working on him. His look was also in a state of flux, as the original Superman, as illustrated by co-creator Joe Shuster, was clearly a man of average height and build - but a man of superhuman might. Artist Wayne Boring would come along afterwards, and be the first to depict Superman as a big, brawny Man of Steel.
Other elements were in a state of change as well: originally starting as a reporter for the Daily Star, Clark Kent would ultimately work for the Daily Planet. The city of Metropolis, the main setting for Superman's adventures, was also slowly developed. And of course, there are the villains! While the Ultra-Humanite and later Lex Luthor emerged as super-villains, the bulk of Superman's enemies were less than super, and many of them were more comical than cunning.
The 1950s changed Superman forever! America and the world were shaped and improved by modern technology. Ironically, the science fiction elements which pioneered Superman - yet were minimally used under the stewardship of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, now became the core essence of Superman's storyline. Interplanetary escapades, futuristic adventures, and cosmic characters finally had a role in the Superman saga. Beginning in this decade, fans were introduced to true super-villains, whose origins stemmed from the greatest aspects of science fiction. Whether it was the imperfect imitation of life known as Bizarro, or the ultimate green-skinned, alien invader Brainiac, fans were finally given true super-villains for which Superman could prove his might. And then there was Krypton! Long gone as a planet, its impact upon Superman was expanded in ways never expected, but greatly appreciated. Chunks of kryptonite proved poisonous for Superman, and provided Lex Luthor with a new weapon with which to conquer the Ultimate Champion of Justice! And even though Superman was the Last Son of Krypton, he wasn't the only man to outlive Krypton's destruction, as General Zod, Jax-Ur, Mala, Quex-El, and several other villains would prove, and serve as evil counterparts of the Man of Steel. And Superman was not alone, as a hero from Krypton: Krypto the Superdog and Supergirl would join the Man of Tomorrow in the fight for truth, justice, and the American way!
Another part of Superman's legend was Superboy. Introduced during the 1940s as a younger, mischievous version of Superman, the 1950s would reveal Superboy as a champion in the making, a truly youthful incarnation of the Superman we would know and love. Instead of protecting the big city of Metropolis, Superboy defended the little town of Smallville. And fans would come to know how instrumental Jonathan and Martha Kent were as foster parents, instilling key virtues to their adoptive son, who upon their passing, became the Superman of legend. The Legion of Super-Heroes, which was introduced in the pages of Superboy, would become a franchise itself, yet still a vital portion of the Superman saga.
By the time the 1970s came along, the world of Superman was greatly established. The biggest change to come was that Clark Kent, always a prominent reporter for the Daily Planet, was moved to television, where he became a news anchor for the Galaxy Broadcasting System. Media mogul Morgan Edge was introduced, and he was characterized as an overbearing blowhard, constantly barking out orders to his employees - including Clark Kent. The Superman comics proved to be ahead of the times, as Edge was the first of fiction's most prominent media barons, as his Galaxy Communications owned both the GBS national television network, and the Daily Planet newspaper. Morgan Edge would predate the mainstream popularity of Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, and other multimedia moguls - men who would play a big part in the American entertainment industry throughout the modern era of communications. S.T.A.R. Labs, another part of Superman's world, was introduced during this period. Existing as an independent research laboratory, dedicated to mastering science and technology, S.T.A.R. Labs served as a major set piece, where Superman would always go to, if ever, he needed exta help and advice from scientists.
The villains of the 1970s and 1980s would be just as determined to challenged Superman, as well. Many of them were cut from the same cloth as the super baddies of the 1950s and 1960s, but these guys were good enough to leave a lasting impression on readers. The Parasite, Terra Man, Mongul, the Atomic Skull, Lord Satanis and his estranged wife Syrene, and even classic DC Comics foils Solomon Grundy and Vandal Savage would prove to be persistent pest for Superman to swat at. Even Lex Luthor and Brainiac would enhance their appearances by the 1980s, with Luthor now wearing an advanced suit of armor, and Brainiac becoming the ultimate form of cyberlife.
And let's not forget Batman. Superman #76 (May-June 1952), debuted the world's finest team-up, as DC Comics' two greatest super-heroes finally united to fight crime. From there, the duo would routinely unite in World's Finest Comics, and become lifelong friends - sharing secret identities and passes to the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave. Together, Superman and Batman would battle classic menaces such as the Moonman and the Composite Superman. And between his team-ups with Batman and the formation of the Justice League of America, it was clear that Superman was the leading hero, as others looked onto him for helmsmanship and guidance. Superman was far more than the clean-up hitter for the Justice League of America, as 1970s and 1980s comics would illustrate. With his work in the JLA, Superman was exposed to more super criminals who would step up to the plate against the Man of Steel. Such villains as Amazo, Dr. Light, Kanjar-Ro, Hyathis, Brain Storm, and the Queen Bee would all spill over from the pages of Justice League of America, and into Superman and Action Comics, and become instant members of Superman's Rogues Gallery.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, this is the era which Superman Classic will cover. This period of time exposed generations of readers to prominent people, places, and things that mattered in the realm of Superman. Even today, as John Byrne served as the catalyst for 1986's relaunch of the Superman legend, the characters introduced - though slightly altered - have stayed with Superman's storyline. And as we move further into the 21st Century, writers and artists are reaching back into this era, to cull colorful storylines and characters now seen in Superman comics. With Superman Classic, the Superman Homepage wishes to immortalize the Man of Steel from a bygone era, whose popularity and fame inspired millions of readers, and served as the basis for several cartoons, live action television shows, and the reknowned Superman movies released between 1978 and 1987. We hope Superman Classic will recall fond memories for some, and introduce new fans to things that made Superman and his world so fun, so thrilling, and have had a lasting legacy on comic books to this day.
Many thanks to Derrick Lyle Coleman current writer and updater.
Please email me (Steve Younis) with any comments, corrections, omissions, praise :) or any questions you might have about Superman Classic.
The listings are displayed as follows:
- Surname, Firstname - Text describing the character, place, object, etc...
- Lana Lang
- Legion of Doom
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Legion of Super-Villains
- Lois Lane
- Lori Lemaris
- Luthor, Lex
- Luthor, Alexei (of Earth-2)
- STAR Labs
- Super Friends
- Superman (of Earth-2)
- Superman Family
- Superman's Foes