Superman’s 75th Anniversary

Superman’s 75th Anniversary

Brent Bader, Columnist

He is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and now we know that he is able to stand the test of time. It has been 75 years since Superman first flew onto the scene in April 1938 and in those years Superman has transcended the comic book medium and become one of the most recognizable pop culture icons.

Superman was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Schuster who at the time were high school students in Cleveland, Ohio. Superman was originally conceived as a comic strip villain, but they had difficulty selling the idea to newspapers at the time and eventually recreated the character as a colorful vigilante.  Superman was the first superhero story to break through obscurity and quickly found fame in the issues of Action Comics.

“Up, Up, and Away” perfectly describes the sales of Action Comics after a few issues including Superman and it’s no surprise that an icon inspiring hope soared during one of the more hopeless eras in our country’s history. The Great Depression had swept the nation during the 1930s and Superman was an inspiration for many, as his early stories found him scolding corrupt businessmen and bringing them to justice.

As time went on Superman found new enemies in alien invaders and evil scientists while making friends with Amazonian princesses and men who dressed in bat suits.  He was played on television by the likes of George Reeves in Adventures of Superman and Tom Welling in Smallville and jumped to the big screen in 1978 with Christopher Reeve and continues this year in Man of Steel with Henry Cavill.  While every version brought their own take to the classic hero, he always kept his uncompromising belief in truth and justice and it’s due to that key component that he has stood strong for these past 75 years.

His pure and righteous character is the archetype of what most people strive to become in their daily lives.  His timeless persona is one that will never grow old as a role model like Superman is always relevant in the world.  Superman as a character can be seen as hope personified and it’s incredible to imagine that this entire legacy was created in the mind of a high-school student who looked to the skies and imagined a man who could fly.