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  • Michael Rickard II

The Metropolis Marvel Turns 80!

Better call Triple A!

This April, the Man of Steel turns 80-years-old (actually only 20 since comic lore has his birthday as falling on Leap Day) as DC Comics marks the 80th anniversary of Superman’s first appearance. It may seem like only yesterday that the last son of Krypton left his dying planet for a new world, but it was actually 1938 when Superman debuted in Action Comics #1, changing the comic book world as we know it and creating a new character known as the superhero.

Superman has become such an integral part of American culture, beginning with his adventures in four colors, and quickly branching out into every available medium. The public couldn’t get enough of this amazing character and before long, Superman not only appeared in Action Comics, but his own magazine. The comics weren’t enough either and soon, he had his own newspaper comic strip, his own radio show, and a movie serial. While Superman wasn’t the first character to be heavily marketed, there didn’t seem to be much he couldn’t do—or sell.

Superman was so popular even his friends received their own comic books.

The Superman mythos has always been about more than the comic books to me. There are so many aspects of the character that have him more than a pop culture sensation, but a vital piece of American culture. Over the next several months I’ll be looking at everything from Superman’s origin to his many incarnations on radio, film, television, and even Broadway. Naturally, I’ll explore Superman’s many comic books including ancillary tales like Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen and Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane (and yes, I’ll be looking at the notorious tale, “I am Curious, Black” in which Lois Lane transforms into an African-American). I’ll look at his radio show, his Broadway play, the Superman toys, his appearances in other media (such as I Love Lucy) and anything else under the (yellow) sun. Hopefully, there’ll be no aspect of the Superman saga too obscure (or too mainstream) to cover. If you have any suggestions, let me know and I’ll try to get to them, the more arcane, the better.

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