With the recent news of Superman once again hitting the small screen in The CW’s Supergirl, what better way to pick up writing then to write about the Man of Steel!
Let’s take a look at five unexpected facts about Superman!
1. Kryptonite was invented for THAT reason?
First introduced in June 1943, Kryptonite was brought to light in The Adventures of Superman radio show. While most people may think it was introduced in the comics, it was actually introduced in the radio show as a way of letting Clayton Culler (the man who played Superman) go on vacation! It was quite simple; they would put Superman in a Kryptonite trap for various episodes and have a stand in perform the groaning.
To note, in Superman #61 (Nov. 1949) Kryptonite was introduced to the comics and it was red! It wasn’t changed to green until Action Comics #161 (Aug. 1951). Red Kryptonite was re-introduced with its own side effects in Adventure Comics #252 (Sept. 1958).
In today’s day and age, Kryptonite is everywhere. Almost over-used but my favorite use would be Metallo!
**To Note: K-Metal was invented in 1940 by Jerry Siegel himself. He wrote a story called “The K-Metal from Krypton” which featured essentially a prototype of Kyrptonite, a mineral from Krypton that drained Superman of his strength. As this story went unpublished and it wasn’t referred to as “Kryptonite”, the title refers to the term “Kryptonite” being invented.**
2. Superman was a villain?!
In January of 1933, a short story was written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Joe Shuster (the creators of Superman as we know him today). Superman in this story was a telepathic villain and his name was hyphenated as “Super-man” simply because it was broken by the pages! In the magazine where it was published, it was spelled as “Superman”.
3. Darth Vader Trained Superman
Back when Christopher Reeve was cast as Superman for Superman: The Movie (1978), he had to bulk up for the role so he trained with none other than-David Prowse! For those who don’t know, David Prowse played Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977).
4. His creators sold him for $130
In 1938, the creators of Superman (Siegel and Shuster) sold superman to Detective Comics for $130 and a contract to continue developing the character. While both men waged legal battles with DC Comics for the rest of their lives, they never saw true royalties from the character, simply credit for creating the character.
If you adjust how much they were paid for today’s inflation, they made about $2100 dollars, nothing compared to how much the character has made!
5. THAT is what the Superman shield means?
For decades, the comics stated that the shield was created by Clark and his adopted parents. It was “S” for Superman which was based on his new alias that they had come up with.
It wasn’t until Superman (1978) where the idea of the shield being a Kryptonian glyph that served as a family seal for the House of El.
In TV adaptations, it was also picked up as such. It wasn’t until 2003 when the comic books followed suit. Written by Mark Waid, Superman: Birthright modernized the origins of Superman as we know them today. Mark Waid was the first to introduce that not only was the shield a glyph for the House of El, but was also an ancient symbol that meant Hope.
Additionally, Clark never came up with “Superman” as his name. Mark Waid changed it. Clark choose they shield when he went public as he felt it’s legacy was fitting. It was actually Lois Lane who called him Superman because of the alleged “S” on his shield.
As mainstream as Superman has been, his history is vast and there is plenty of surprising facts that most people don’t know! For that reason…
If you know of any other facts that may be surprising, please feel free to share in the conversation below!