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Get access to the best in romance: See More New Releases. DC Comics Coloring Book. See all 9 images. In the distant future, when Earth is on the verge of exploding due to "giant cataclysms", the last surviving man sends his three-year-old son back in time to the year The time-machine appears on a road where it is discovered by motorists Sam and Molly Kent.
They leave the boy in an orphanage, but the staff struggle to control him because he has superhuman strength and impenetrable skin. The Kents adopt the boy and name him Clark, and teach him that he must use his fantastic natural gifts for the benefit of humanity. In November, Siegel sent Keaton an extension of his script: The extended script mentions that Clark wears a special "uniform" when assuming the identity of Superman, but it is not described.
In November, Keaton showed his strips to a newspaper syndicate, but they were rejected, and he abandoned the project. Siegel and Shuster reconciled and resumed developing Superman together. The character became an alien from the planet Krypton. Shuster designed the now-familiar costume: He had been slow to respond to their letters and hadn't paid them for their work in New Fun Comics 6.
They chose to keep marketing Superman to newspaper syndicates themselves. Wheeler-Nicholson's financial difficulties continued to mount. Wheeler-Nicholson fell into deep debt to Donenfeld and Liebowitz, and in early January , Donenfeld and Liebowitz petitioned Wheeler-Nicholson's company into bankruptcy and seized it. In early December , Siegel visited Liebowitz in New York, and Liebowtiz asked Siegel to produce some comics for an upcoming comic anthology magazine called Action Comics.
Gaines informed Siegel that McClure had rejected Superman, and asked if he could forward their Superman strips to Liebowitz so that Liebowitz could consider them for Action Comics. This was normal practice in the business, and Siegel and Shuster had given away the copyrights to their previous works as well. Superman was finally published on April 18, , in the first issue of Action Comics.
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Siegel and Shuster read pulp science-fiction and adventure magazines , and many stories featured characters with fantastical abilities such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and superhuman strength. John Carter is a human who is transported to Mars, where the lower gravity makes him stronger than the natives and allows him to leap great distances. Superman's stance and devil-may-care attitude was influenced by the characters of Douglas Fairbanks , who starred in adventure films such as The Mark of Zorro and Robin Hood. Siegel thought this would make for interesting dramatic contrast and good humor.
The archetypal Lloyd character was a gentle man who finds himself abused by bullies but later in the story snaps and fights back furiously. Kent is a journalist because Siegel often imagined himself becoming one after leaving school. The love triangle between Lois Lane , Clark, and Superman was inspired by Siegel's own awkwardness with girls.
The pair collected comic strips in their youth, with a favorite being Winsor McCay 's fantastical Little Nemo. As a boy, Shuster was interested in fitness culture  and a fan of strongmen such as Siegmund Breitbart and Joseph Greenstein. He collected fitness magazines and manuals and used their photographs as visual references for his art. The visual design of Superman came from multiple influences. The tight-fitting suit and shorts were inspired by the costumes of wrestlers, boxers, and strongmen. In early concept art, Shuster gave Superman laced sandals like those of strongmen and classical heroes, but these were eventually changed to red boots.
Many pulp action heroes such as swashbucklers wore capes. Superman's physical appearance was based on Johnny Weissmuller with touches derived from the comic-strip character Dick Tracy and from the work of cartoonist Roy Crane. The word "superman" was commonly used in the s and s to describe men of great ability, most often athletes and politicians.
Since , Superman stories have been regularly published in periodical comic books published by DC Comics. The first and oldest of these is Action Comics , which began in April The second oldest periodical is Superman , which began in June Action Comics and Superman have been published without interruption ignoring changes to the title and numbering scheme.
Superman has sold more comic books over his lifetime than any other American superhero character. Superman 75 Nov sold over 23 million copies,  making it the best-selling issue of a comic book of all time, thanks to a media sensation over the supposedly permanent death of the character in that issue. In March , Action Comics sold just 51, copies, although such low figures are normal for superhero comic books in general for comparison, Amazing Spider-Man sold only , copies. Whereas comic books in the s were read by children, since the s the average reader has been an adult.
This made comic books less accessible to children. Beginning in January , a Superman daily comic strip appeared in newspapers, syndicated through the McClure Syndicate. A color Sunday version was added that November. Jerry Siegel wrote most of the strips until he was conscripted in The Sunday strips had a narrative continuity separate from the daily strips, possibly because Siegel had to delegate the Sunday strips to ghostwriters. Initially, Siegel was allowed to write Superman more or less as he saw fit because nobody had anticipated the success and rapid expansion of the franchise.
Mort Weisinger was the editor on Superman comics from to , his tenure briefly interrupted by military service. Siegel and his fellow writers had developed the character with little thought of building a coherent mythology, but as the number of Superman titles and the pool of writers grew, Weisinger demanded a more disciplined approach. Elements such as Bizarro , Supergirl , the Phantom Zone , the Fortress of Solitude , alternate varieties of kryptonite , robot doppelgangers , and Krypto were introduced during this era. The complicated universe built under Weisinger was beguiling to devoted readers but alienating to casuals.
Weisinger retired in and Julius Schwartz took over. By his own admission, Weisinger had grown out of touch with newer readers. These changes would eventually be reversed by later writers. Schwartz allowed stories with serious drama such as " For the Man Who Has Everything " Superman Annual 11 , in which the villain Mongul torments Superman with an illusion of happy family life on a living Krypton.
His retirement coincided with DC Comics' decision to streamline the shared continuity called the DC Universe with the companywide-crossover storyline " Crisis on Infinite Earths ". Writer John Byrne rewrote the Superman mythos, again reducing Superman's powers, which writers had slowly re-strengthened, and revised many supporting characters, such as making Lex Luthor a billionaire industrialist rather than a mad scientist, and making Supergirl an artificial shapeshifting organism because DC wanted Superman to be the sole surviving Kryptonian.
Carlin was promoted to Executive Editor for the DC Universe books in , a position he held until Carlson took his place as editor of the Superman comics. In the earlier decades of Superman comics, artists were expected to conform to a certain "house style". After Shuster left National, Wayne Boring succeeded him as the principal artist on Superman comic books. The first adaptation of Superman beyond comic books was a radio show, The Adventures of Superman , which ran from to for 2, episodes, most of which were aimed at children.
The episodes were initially 15 minutes long, but after they were lengthened to 30 minutes. Most episodes were done live. Paramount Pictures released a series of Superman theatrical animated shorts between and Seventeen episodes in total were made, each 8—10 minutes long. The first nine episodes were produced by Fleischer Studios and the next eight were produced by Famous Studios. Bud Collyer provided the voice of Superman. The first live-action adaptation of Superman was a movie serial released in , targeted at children.
Kirk Alyn became the first actor to portray the hero onscreen. It was the most profitable movie serial in movie history. Superman , was released in For flying scenes, Superman was hand-drawn in animated form, composited onto live-action footage. The first big-budget movie was Superman in , starring Christopher Reeve and produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind.
It is the most successful Superman feature film to date in terms of box office revenue adjusted for inflation. Superman was the first big-budget superhero movie, and its success arguably paved the way for later superhero movies like Batman and Spider-Man In , Man of Steel was released by Warner Bros. Its sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , featured Superman alongside Batman and Wonder Woman , making it the first theatrical movie in which Superman appeared alongside other superheroes from the DC Universe. Cavill reprised his role in Justice League and is under contract to play Superman in one more film.
Adventures of Superman , which aired from to , was the first television series based on a superhero. It starred George Reeves as Superman. Whereas the radio serial was aimed at children, this television show was aimed at a general audience,   although children made up the majority of viewers. Robert Maxwell, who produced the radio serial , was the producer for the first season. For the second season, Maxwell was replaced with Whitney Ellsworth.
Ellsworth toned down the violence of the show to make it more suitable for children, though he still aimed for a general audience.
This show was extremely popular in Japan, where it achieved an audience share rating of Superboy aired from to It was produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the same men who had produced the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. The New Adventures of Superman aired from to This show was aimed at adults and focused on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane rather than Superman's heroics.
Smallville aired from to This show was targeted at young adult women. Although Clark engages in heroics in this show, he doesn't wear a costume, nor does he call himself Superboy. Rather, he relies on misdirection and his blinding speed to avoid being recognized. The first animated television series was The New Adventures of Superman , which aired from to and was targeted at children. The Animated Series aired from to After the show's cancellation, this version of Superman appeared in the sequel shows Justice League and Justice League Unlimited , which ran from to This was thus the most successful and longest-running animated version of Superman.
Superman has appeared in a series of direct-to-video animated movies produced by Warner Bros. Unlike the animated television shows, these movies are targeted at a mature audience. Many of these movies are adaptations of popular comic book stories. The first electronic game was simply titled Superman , and released in for the Atari The last game centered on Superman was Superman Returns adapted from the movie in Superman has, however, appeared in more recent games starring the Justice League, such as Injustice 2 This was normal practice in the comic magazine industry and they had done the same with their previous published works Slam Bradley, Doctor Occult, etc.
Siegel wrote most of the magazine and daily newspaper stories until he was conscripted into the army in , whereupon the task was passed to ghostwriters. Siegel was furious because DC Comics did this without having bought the character. In , Siegel and Shuster attempted to regain rights to Superman using the renewal option in the Copyright Act of , but the court ruled Siegel and Shuster had transferred the renewal rights to DC Comics in Siegel and Shuster appealed, but the appeals court upheld this decision.
DC Comics fired Siegel when he filed this second lawsuit. In , Siegel and a number of other comic book writers and artists launched a public campaign for better compensation and treatment of comic creators. Warner Brothers agreed to give Siegel and Shuster a yearly stipend, full medical benefits, and credit their names in all future Superman productions in exchange for never contesting ownership of Superman. Siegel and Shuster upheld this bargain. Shuster died in DC Comics offered Shuster's heirs a stipend in exchange for never challenging ownership of Superman, which they accepted for some years.
Siegel died in His heirs attempted to take the rights to Superman using the termination provision of the Copyright Act of Copyright lawyer and movie producer Marc Toberoff then struck a deal with the heirs of both Siegel and Shuster to help them get the rights to Superman in exchange for signing the rights over to his production company, Pacific Pictures. In , the judge ruled in favor of the Siegels. DC Comics appealed the decision, and the appeals court ruled in favored of DC, arguing that the October letter was binding.
In , the Shuster heirs served a termination notice for Shuster's grant of his half of the copyright to Superman. DC Comics sued the Shuster heirs in , and the court ruled in DC's favor on the grounds that the agreement with the Shuster heirs barred them from terminating the grant. Superman is due to enter the public domain in Versions of him with later developments, such as his power of "heat vision" introduced in , may persist under copyright until the works they were introduced in enter the public domain themselves.
Superman's success immediately spawned a wave of imitations. The most successful of these was Captain Marvel , first published by Fawcett Comics in December Captain Marvel had many similarities to Superman: Herculean strength, invulnerability, the ability to fly, a cape, a secret identity, and a job as a journalist. DC Comics filed a lawsuit against Fawcett Comics for copyright infringement.
The trial began in March after seven years of discovery. The judge ruled that Fawcett had indeed infringed on Superman. However, the judge also found that the copyright notices that appeared with the Superman newspaper strips did not meet the technical standards of the Copyright Act of and were therefore invalid.
Furthermore, since the newspaper strips carried stories adapted from Action Comics , the judge ruled that DC Comics had effectively abandoned the copyright to the Action Comics stories.
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The judge ruled that DC Comics had effectively abandoned the copyright to Superman and therefore waived its right to sue Fawcett for copyright infringement. DC Comics appealed this decision. The appeals court ruled that unintentional mistakes in the copyright notices of the newspaper strips did not invalidate the copyrights. Furthermore, Fawcett knew that DC Comics never intended to abandon the copyrights, and therefore Fawcett's infringement was not an innocent misunderstanding, and therefore Fawcett owed damages to DC Comics.
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This section details the most consistent elements of the Superman narrative in the myriad stories published since In Action Comics 1 , Superman is born on an alien world to a technologically advanced species that resembles humans. Shortly after he is born, his planet is destroyed in a natural cataclysm, but Superman's scientist father foresaw the calamity and saves his baby son by sending him to Earth in a small spaceship.
The ship, sadly, is too small to carry anyone else, so Superman's parents stay behind and die. The earliest newspaper strips name the planet "Krypton", the baby "Kal-L", and his biological parents "Jor-L" and "Lora";  their names were changed to "Jor-el", and "Lara" in a spinoff novel by George Lowther. The Kents name the boy Clark and raise him in a farming community. A episode of the radio serial places this unnamed community in Iowa. The Superman movie placed it in Kansas, as do most Superman stories since.
In Action Comics 1 and most stories before , Superman's powers begin developing in infancy. From to , DC Comics regularly published stories of Superman's childhood and adolescent adventures, when he called himself " Superboy ". In Man of Steel 1, Superman's powers emerged more slowly and he began his superhero career as an adult. The Kents teach Clark he must conceal his otherworldly origins and use his fantastic powers to do good. Clark creates the costumed identity of Superman so as to protect his personal privacy and the safety of his loved ones. As Clark Kent, he wears eyeglasses to disguise his face and wears his Superman costume underneath his clothes so that he can change at a moment's notice.
To complete this disguise, Clark avoids violent confrontation, preferring to slip away and change into Superman when danger arises, and he suffers occasional ridicule for his apparent cowardice. In Superboy 78 , Superboy makes his costume out of the indestructible blankets found in the ship he came to Earth in. In Man of Steel 1 , Martha Kent makes the costume from human-manufactured cloth, and it is rendered indestructible by an "aura" that Superman projects. The "S" on Superman's chest at first was simply an initial for "Superman". When writing the script for the movie , Tom Mankiewicz made it Superman's Kryptonian family crest.
In the comic story Superman: Birthright , the crest is described as an old Kryptonian symbol for hope. Clark works as a newspaper journalist. In the earliest stories, he worked for The Daily Star , but the second episode of the radio serial changed this to the Daily Planet.
In comics from the early s, Clark worked as a television journalist an attempt to modernize the character. However, for the movie , the producers chose to make Clark a newspaper journalist again because that was how most of the public thought of him.
The first story in which Superman dies was published in Superman , in which he is murdered by Lex Luthor by means of kryptonite. This story was "imaginary" and thus was ignored in subsequent books. In Superman April , Superman is killed by kryptonite radiation, but is revived in the same issue by one of his android doppelgangers. He was later revived by the Eradicator. In Superman 52 May Superman is killed by kryptonite poisoning, and this time he is not resurrected, but replaced by the Superman of an alternate timeline.
Superman maintains a secret hideout called the "Fortress of Solitude", which is located somewhere in the Arctic. Here, Superman keeps a collection of mementos and a laboratory for science experiments. In Action Comics , the Fortress of Solitude is a cave in a mountain, sealed with a very heavy door that is opened with a gigantic key too heavy for anyone but Superman to use.
In the movie, the Fortress of Solitude is a structure made out of ice. In the original Siegel and Shuster stories, Superman's personality is rough and aggressive. The character often attacks and terrorizes wife beaters , profiteers, lynch mobs , and gangsters in a rough manner and with a looser moral code than audiences today might be used to.
He tosses villainous characters in such a manner that fatalities would presumably occur, although these are seldom shown explicitly on the page. This came to an end in late when new editor Whitney Ellsworth instituted a code of conduct for his characters to follow, banning Superman from ever killing. Ellsworth's code, however, is not to be confused with " the Comics Code ", which was created in by the Comics Code Authority and ultimately abandoned by every major comic book publisher by the early 21st century. In his first appearances, Superman was considered a vigilante by the authorities, being fired upon by the National Guard as he razed a slum so that the government would create better housing conditions for the poor.
By , however, Superman was working side-by-side with the police. He adheres to an unwavering moral code instilled in him by his adoptive parents. Superman can be rather rigid in this trait, causing tensions in the superhero community. Having lost his home world of Krypton, Superman is very protective of Earth,  and especially of Clark Kent's family and friends. This same loss, combined with the pressure of using his powers responsibly, has caused Superman to feel lonely on Earth, despite having his friends and parents.
Previous encounters with people he thought to be fellow Kryptonians, Power Girl  who is, in fact from the Krypton of the Earth-Two universe and Mon-El ,  have led to disappointment. The arrival of Supergirl , who has been confirmed to be not only from Krypton, but also his cousin, has relieved this loneliness somewhat. In many ways, Clark is the most human of us all. And how fortunate we all are that it does not occur to him. The catalog of Superman's abilities and their strength has varied considerably over the vast body of Superman fiction released since Since Action Comics 1 , Superman has superhuman strength.
The cover of Action Comics 1 shows him effortlessly lifting a car over his head. Another classic Superman feat of strength is breaking steel chains. In some stories, he is strong enough to shift the orbits of planets  and crush coal into diamond with his hands.
Since Action Comics 1 , Superman has a highly durable body, invulnerable for most practical purposes. At the very least, bullets bounce harmlessly off his body. In some stories, such as Kingdom Come , not even a nuclear bomb can harm him. In some stories, Superman is said to project an aura that renders invulnerable any tight-fitting clothes he wears, and hence his costume is as durable as he is despite being made of common human-factured cloth.
This concept was first introduced in Man of Steel 1 In other stories, Superman's costume is made out of exotic materials that are as tough as he is. In Action Comics 1, Superman couldn't fly.
He travelled by running and leaping, which he could do to a prodiguous degree thanks to his strength. Superman gained the ability to fly in the second episode of the radio serial in He can break the sound barrier, and in some stories he can even fly faster than light to travel to distant galaxies. Superman can project and perceive X-rays via his eyes, which allows him to see through objects.
He first uses this power in Action Comics 11 Certain materials such as lead can block his X-ray vision. Superman can project beams of heat from his eyes which are hot enough to melt steel. He first used this power in Superman 59 by applying his X-ray vision at its highest intensity. In later stories, this ability is simply called "heat vision".
Superman can hear sounds that are too faint for a human to hear, and at frequencies outside the human hearing range. This ability is introduced in Action Comics 11 Action Comics 1 explained that Superman's strength was common to all Kryptonians because they were a species "millions of years advanced of our own".
Later stories explained they evolved superhuman strength simply because of Krypton's higher gravity. Archie, Disney, Harvey, cartoon characters, Funny animals s DC animation series DC Complete Stories Doc Savage - comic book, book covers, etc. Fantastic Four, Spiderman 6.
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