Clark Kent – Kal-El
Location: Metropolis, U.S.
First Appearance: Action Comics #1 (1938)
Created By: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Publisher: DC Comics
Team Affiliations: Justice League of America(JLA)
Currently Seen In: Superman, Action Comics, Superman - All Star, Superman/Batman, Justice League of America (JLA).
’s powers have changed greatly over the years. In the first incarnation of Superman by Siegel and Shuster, Superman had super strength, being able to lift a car over his head. He also had the ability to run extremely fast and to jump as much as an eighth of a mile into the air. Later writers though, have increased Superman’s powers, taken them away, re-raised them to near omnipotence and then back again.
The current incarnation of Superman sees him near his omnipotent (near god-like) powers. Superman has the power of flight, being able to fly into space and survive in a vacuum. His strength has also been increased, allowing him to lift entire mountains. He has a heat vision that allows him to shoot laser like beams. He also has x-ray and telescopic vision. Superman’s breath is so powerful that he can knock over vehicles and even freeze objects.
The origin of Superman’s powers has also been something that has been transformed over the years. The basic tenant is still there, that Superman came from Krypton to Earth to survive a calamity. At first, there was no mention of how Superman got his powers. Later it was decided that the people of Krypton all had powers like Superman, but that caused problems. It was finally written that Kryptonians live under a red star and when they are exposed to light from a yellow star, their powers emerge.
Interesting FactEvery episode of the "Seinfeld" television show had a picture, toy, or Superman reference.
’s origin has been one of much change over the last many decades. His origin has been changed many times to adjust for the changes in our own culture and to bring in other story elements from other comics. There has even been many different parallel Supermen that exist in alternate realities. The current origin of Superman is still being reworked with comic series like the 2006 series, “Infinite Crisis,” and the 1986 series, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Superman is the last of a dying race from the planet Krypton. His Krypton name is Kal-El. His father, Jor-El was a great scientist and saw the warning signs that their planet was doomed to destruction. A council heard his discoveries, but dismissed them and forbid Jor-El to speak of this to anyone. Realizing that his family was in danger, Jor-El started to construct a rocket that would take him, his son and wife Lara away from Krypton, but it was too late.
Jor-El had only constructed a small model of the rocket, when disaster struck, Lara decided to stay behind with Jor-El to give their baby a better chance of survival. Lara and Jor-El but their baby into the rocket and directed it to Earth, where it landed and was discovered by John and Martha Kent, near the town of Smallville.
As young Kal-El, called Clark by his Earth parents, grew up, he discovered his amazing powers of speed, strength, and invulnerability and eventually flight. It would be in Smallville with the Kents that Clark learned many of his life lessons and became the honest and good man that many know him to be today. After he graduated, he went to the Metropolis University and majored in Journalism, eventually getting a job with The Daily Planet as a reporter.
It would be at The Daily Planet that Clark would first don the Superman costume and save Metropolis time and again. He also met Lois Lane a fellow reporter and became romantically involved with her.
One of Superman’s darkest times was when he faced the nigh unstoppable villain Doomsday. The battle lasted for days, but when the dust settled, both hero and villain were slain. Superman was dead.
The backlash from his death resulted in four separate beings taking up the Superman mantle. There was a cyborg, a new Superboy, Steel, and an alien being with the memories of Superman. It would later come out that Superman was not dead, and resurfaced without his powers. He eventually gained them back and was reunited with Lois, whom he later married.
Superman has continued to fight evil and protect Earth from all challengers. Despite his many continuity changes, Superman is still as powerful and noble as ever. He is a modern day hero with over eighty years of continuity behind him. Too many though, he will always be that lovable boy from Smallville who became a mighty man of steel.