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He isn’t the good guy we all know.
Superman wasn’t always the blue costumed and red undie wearing superhero the world has come to know, oh no, his first appearance was as a bald telepathic villain, hell bent on taking over the world. Something he actually managed to achieve, believe it or not. See kids, perseverance does pay off.
First created in 1932 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, this version of Superman bore more than a striking resemblance to Lex Luther. It wasn’t until six years later in 1938 that he started to become the symbol of justice the world knows today. This was when the character was taken on by National Allied Publications, (now DC comics).
He couldn’t fly at first.
When most people think of Superman, the phrase ‘Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Superman!’ often pops into their head, as well as the infamous undies on the outside of his clothes, but nonetheless, Superman hasn’t always had the ability to be mistaken for a plane. In the beginning his powers were quite limited and instead of being able to fly he was able to jump the distance of 1/6th of a mile. It’s not quite flight but can you jump that far?
He is solar powered.
If not saving the world from villains and disasters on a daily basis isn’t enough, Superman is also eco-friendly. The fuel that powers him is none other than our sun. It’s not just any sun that powers him though, only the rays of a yellow sun. So back on Krypton where they orbited a red sun he and his race had no super powers at all.
Different coloured kryptonite has different affects on him.
We all know green kryptonite weakens Superman, but what of red kryptonite, blue kryptonite or even pink kryptonite? Every variant of kryptonite has a different affect with red having causing him to shape shift, become aggressive and lose powers. Strangest of all is pink kryptonite. Wait for it… it turns him gay!
He almost got shot, well the actor who played him almost did.
While attending an event actor George Reeves was confronted by a young boy who thought it fun to pull a gun out on his beloved hero. The young gunman (where were the parents?) took it upon himself to test Superman’s invulnerability. Using the super power of quick and clever thinking Reeves told the boy that if he were to shoot him the bullets would simply bounce off the Man of Steel injuring innocent bystanders around him instead. The boy must have been satisfied by this and calmly handed the gun over to Reeves.
Nicolas Cage almost portrayed him.
We can all rest easier knowing that the Tim Burton adaptation of Superman did not see the light of day. Not because Tim Burton isn’t good at what he does, but for the fact that the lead role was offered to Nicolas Cage. Although the film was never made it is said that Nicolas Cage received $20 million for the role. Nicolas Cage went on to name his son Kal-El.
In the radio show he took on the KKK.
Throughout the 1940s a radio version of the Superman stories was a huge hit. In the news at the time of the radio show the Klu Klux Klan were bopping around being stupid and so the producers of the show felt that this would be something Superman, being a hero for the little guy and everything, would not stand for. Over the episodes Superman took down the “Clan of The Burning Cross” but in reality he also dealt a crushing blow to the real Klu Klux Klan. Writer Stetson Kennedy had infiltrated the KKK and learned many of their secret code words and rituals which he featured in his radio program. Within weeks of the radio show recruitment for the KKK was down to zero.
The S doesn’t only stand for Superman.
The famous S that adorns the chest of Superman’s costume does not just stand for Superman, but as it is explained in the comic books, it is also a Kryptonian symbol for hope that when flipped over also stands for resurrection.
Muhammad Ali beat him in a fight.
That’s right, it turns out the Man of Steel isn’t so tough after all. In a 72 page comic released in 1978 Muhammad Ali and Superman go toe to toe to find out who is Earth’s champion. After deactivating his powers and a brutal pummeling Superman falls face first to the floor. Ali follows this by calling for the fight to be finished.
Unbelievably, Ali proceeds by fighting an invading alien race’s boxing champion. Ali looks to be losing when he gets a second wind in the fourth round and beats the alien sending it flying out of the ring.
He has died before.
Superman isn’t as invincible as the world thinks, he has in fact previously died. When fighting super villain Doomsday, Superman puts everything into beating the almost invincible foe. Finally he is able to beat Doomsday but at the ultimate sacrifice. He dies in the arms of his love Lois Lane.
Luckily, as the symbol on his chest’s meaning describes, it is not long before he is resurrected and once again keeping our planet safe.