Superman

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Superman (fictitious character), a superhero, present in comics bearing his name from D.C. Comics.

History

Superman was invented by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and originally appeared in Action Comics in 1938. Superman has been more or less consistently popular throughout the 20th century.

About the hero

Clark Kent is the the secret "civilian" identity of Superman. Born as Kal-el on the planet Krypton, while still a baby he was put into a spaceship alone by his father, Jor-El, and escaped moments before his home-planet exploded. His spaceship finally landed on Earth. He was adopted by a family in Smallville, and was raised there until, as an adult, he moved to Metropolis. As Kent he works as a reporter at the Daily Planet, a major newspaper in Metropolis. A co-reporter is Lois Lane, who also is the target of Kent's/Superman's romantic affections. A central part of the storyline is Lane's affection for the strapping superhero and rebuttals of all advances from the meeker Clark Kent.

Superman possesses a number of extraordinary powers, rendering him -- in terms contemporary to the 1950s -- "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound". Other powers include X-ray vision, heat vision, near-invulnerability to damage, and the power of flight. The origin of Superman's powers is the solar radiation of Earth's sun, which differs from the radiation of the star around which Superman's native planet, Krypton, orbits. The yellow sun of earth grants him powers he would not have under Krypotn's red sun. The remains of the shattered planet spread throughout the universe as a green crystalline or metallic substance known as kryptonite, which is harmful to Superman and robs him of his powers when it is in close proximity to him. A variant form of kryptonite is "red kryptonite", which does not usually damage him directly but has highly unpredictable effects on his psyche and powers (for example, red kryptonite exposure once transformed Superman's head into that of a giant ant). There have been a number of other lesser-known variants of kryptonite, introduced sporadically over the years whenever a particular plotline required them and then forgotten, but in a recent revision of the DC shared story universe they have been retconned out of existance.

Stories

Famous characters in Superman include Lois Lane, the criminal mastermind Lex Luthor, the Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen, and a host of various supervillains.

Cultural influences

The Superman character has made the transition to television and movies, both on multiple occasions. Among the actors who have played the role are George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, and Dean Cain. Superman is a staple of American pop culture.

Both Superman's name and the premise of his character owe a large debt to the concept of the Übermensch, developed by the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

During the 1980s, the rapper Wonder Mike was styled as being the romantic rival of Superman for the affections of the Lois Lane.

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