The story of Superman is the story of Truth, Justice, and The American Way. He is a being of hope and enlightenment. He will always be an American Icon.
If you know nothing about Superman, know this: He was taken from his home in a rocket that flew away from his exploding planet. Later, on Earth he was raised by a loving couple unable to have a child of their own. When he came of age he becomes a reporter and as Superman he became a force of nature. In his early career as Superman he was a champion to the common man, doing everything from saving kittens out of trees and roughing up wife beaters to saving the world from time to time. This is the power of Superman.
Inspiration, it is the single most powerful thing that he has to offer us. With a tragic and humble origin he simply makes us want to be better people. His uses his power to help those in need and accepts nothing in return. He is responsible and kind to all and will never rest until justice is done.
Many people think that Superman is too powerful and that he is a flawless character. In some ways he is but that caring and kindness can be a flaw as well. He hopes to see the good in all people and in doing so he can be left open and vulnerable. But at the same time this weakness is a great strength for sometimes he finds the good in the worst people.
Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the year 1932 but was rejected many times by many publishers. But, almost 6 years later in 1938, National Allied Publications now know as DC Comics took them in. Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1 but before then he was a different person all together. When Jerry and Joe first created Superman he was not the bright blue and red clad superhero we all know today. He was a bald telepathic villain who wanted world domination.
Sometimes people think of Superman as a god or an angel, in some cases this is not far from the truth. Superman’s birth name “Kal-El” resembles words in Hebrew meaning “Vessel of God”. The suffix “el” meaning “God” is found in the names of a few angels such as Gabriel and Ariel.
When you think of Superman and is powers the first one to come to mind is most likely flight. But when he made his first appearance in Action Comics number one he could only “Leap tall buildings in a single bound”. He was also not as invulnerable as you might think as you might have been able to break his skin with a powerful artillery shell. And his Super Strength could only lift large vehicles and large ships. But by the time of the Silver-age of comics Superman could do almost anything. His strength was increased so much he was able to move planets. He could fly and travel at speeds faster than light. He would use this power to travel through time. And the list just goes on and on.
Along with his powers changing over the years his well known “S” symbol has also changed, whether or not they where in the comics or on film. There have also been variations of the logo. Superman wore a black and red version after what is known as the Imperiex War.
Originally the S-shield had only meant Superman but another interpretation was that it stood for his family crest in the Superman movie. Currently it is the Kryptonian symbol for “Hope” and in the Kryptonian alphabet a version of it simply translates to the letter “S”. Also if you hold the symbol upside down it no longer means “Hope” but “Resurrection”.
So, remember as you’re walking down the street and you see someone wearing the trademark “S” we all know worn by Superman, remember that it means “Hope” and as we all know “Hope springs…” Well, you get the point.