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Superman is often thought of as the first superhero. This point is debated by historians: Ogon Bat , the Phantom , Zorro , and Mandrake the Magician arguably fit the definition of the superhero yet predate Superman. Nevertheless, Superman popularized the archetype and established its conventions: a costume, a codename, extraordinary abilities, and an altruistic mission.
This flourishing is today referred to as America's Golden Age of Comic Books , which lasted from to about The Golden Age ended when American superhero book sales declined, leading to the cancellation of many characters; but Superman was one of the few superhero franchises that survived this decline, and his sustained popularity into the late s helped a second flourishing in the Silver Age of Comic Books , when characters such as Spider-Man , Iron Man , and The X-Men were created.
After World War 2, American superhero fiction entered Japanese culture. Astro Boy , first published in , was inspired by Mighty Mouse , which itself was a parody of Superman. These shows were popular with the Japanese and inspired Japan's own prolific genre of superheroes. The first Japanese superhero movie, Super Giant , was released in DC Comics trademarked the Superman chest logo in August The earliest paraphernalia appeared in a button proclaiming membership in the Supermen of America club.
The first toy was a wooden doll in made by the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. During World War 2, Superman was used to support the war effort. Action Comics and Superman carried messages urging readers to buy war bonds and participate in scrap drives. Superman has also featured as an inspiration for musicians, with songs by numerous artists from several generations celebrating the character. Donovan 's Billboard Hot topping single " Sunshine Superman " utilized the character in both the title and the lyric, declaring "Superman and Green Lantern ain't got nothing on me.
This cover is referenced by Grant Morrison in Animal Man , in which Superman meets the character, and the track comes on Animal Man 's Walkman immediately after. Superman is the prototypical superhero and consequently the most frequently parodied.
In , Bugs Bunny was featured in a short, Super-Rabbit , which sees the character gaining powers through eating fortified carrots. This short ends with Bugs stepping into a phone booth to change into a real "Superman" and emerging as a U. In Daffy Duck assumes the mantle of "Cluck Trent" in the short " Stupor Duck ", a role later reprised in various issues of the Looney Tunes comic book. The manga and anime series Dr. Slump featured the character Suppaman ; a short, fat, pompous man who changes into a thinly veiled Superman-like alter-ego by eating a sour-tasting umeboshi. Jerry Seinfeld , a noted Superman fan, filled his series Seinfeld with references to the character and in asked for Superman to co-star with him in a commercial for American Express.
Seagle's graphic novel Superman: It's a Bird exploring Seagle's feelings on his own mortality as he struggles to develop a story for a Superman tale. Superman was depicted as emaciated and breathing from an oxygen tank, demonstrating that no-one is beyond the reach of the disease, and it can destroy the lives of everyone. Superman has been interpreted and discussed in many forms in the years since his debut, with Umberto Eco noting that "he can be seen as the representative of all his similars". He regarded Superman's character in the early seventies as a comment on the modern world, which he saw as a place in which "only the man with superpowers can survive and prosper.
Grayling, writing in The Spectator , traces Superman's stances through the decades, from his s campaign against crime being relevant to a nation under the influence of Al Capone , through the s and World War II, a period in which Superman helped sell war bonds ,  and into the s, where Superman explored the new technological threats. Bush and the terrorist Osama bin Laden , America is in earnest need of a Saviour for everything from the minor inconveniences to the major horrors of world catastrophe. And here he is, the down-home clean-cut boy in the blue tights and red cape".
An influence on early Superman stories is the context of the Great Depression. Superman took on the role of social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing run-down tenements. Scott Bukatman has discussed Superman, and the superhero in general, noting the ways in which they humanize large urban areas through their use of the space, especially in Superman's ability to soar over the large skyscrapers of Metropolis.
He writes that the character "represented, in , a kind of Corbusierian ideal.
Superman has X-ray vision: walls become permeable, transparent. Through his benign, controlled authority, Superman renders the city open, modernist and democratic; he furthers a sense that Le Corbusier described in , namely, that 'Everything is known to us'. Jules Feiffer has argued that Superman's real innovation lay in the creation of the Clark Kent persona, noting that what "made Superman extraordinary was his point of origin: Clark Kent. Joe and I had certain inhibitions That's where the dual-identity concept came from" and Shuster supporting that as being "why so many people could relate to it".
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Ian Gordon suggests that the many incarnations of Superman across media use nostalgia to link the character to an ideology of the American Way. He defines this ideology as a means of associating individualism, consumerism, and democracy and as something that took shape around WWII and underpinned the war effort. Superman he notes was very much part of that effort. Superman is considered the prototypical superhero. He established the major conventions of the archetype: a selfless, prosocial mission; extraordinary, perhaps superhuman, abilities; a secret identity and codename; and a colorful costume that expresses his nature.
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Superman's immigrant status is a key aspect of his appeal. The extraterrestrial origin was seen by Regalado as challenging the notion that Anglo-Saxon ancestry was the source of all might. Through the use of a dual identity, Superman allowed immigrants to identify with both of their cultures. Clark Kent represents the assimilated individual, allowing Superman to express the immigrants' cultural heritage for the greater good.
He argues that Superman's early stories portray a threat: "the possibility that the exile would overwhelm the country. Some see Judaic themes in Superman. For example, Moses as a baby was sent away by his parents in a reed basket to escape death and adopted by a foreign culture. Gabriel , Ariel , who are airborne humanoid agents of good with superhuman powers. Superman stories have occasionally exhibited Christian themes as well.
Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz consciously made Superman an allegory for Christ in the movie starring Christopher Reeve : baby Kal-El's ship resembles the Star of Bethlehem , and Jor-El gives his son a messianic mission to lead humanity into a brighter future. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the superhero. For other uses, see Superman disambiguation. Fictional superhero. Superman in Superman: Secret Origin 6 October Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal.
See list. Jerry Siegel , writer. Joe Shuster , illustrator. See also: Publication history of Superman and Superman franchise. See also: List of Superman comics. Action Comics 1 , the comic that first featured Superman.
Original copies fetch the highest of prices for comic books at auction. See also: Superman comic strip. Main article: Superman franchise. Main article: List of Superman video games.
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Main article: Copyright lawsuits by Superman's creators. See also: National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications. More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! Up in the sky! Superman — defender of law and order, champion of equal rights, valiant, courageous fighter against the forces of hate and prejudice who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. See also: Superman character and cast and List of Superman supporting characters.
Main article: List of Superman enemies. Main article: Alternative versions of Superman. See also: Superman in popular music. Title card of Super-Rabbit. An early parody cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny as Superman. Comics portal Speculative fiction portal. Jerry Siegel always referred to this publisher as "Consolidated" in all interviews and memoirs.
Humor Publishing was possibly a subsidiary of Consolidated. On September 30, , these two companies merged to become National Comics Publications. In , the company changed its name to National Periodical Publications.
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Since , the publisher had placed a logo with the initials "DC" on all its magazine covers, and consequently "DC Comics" became an informal name for the publisher. Because the copyright to Action Comics 1 was in its renewal term on October 27, the date the Copyright Term Extension Act became effective , its copyright will expire 95 years after first publication. See Catalog of Copyright Entries.