A superhero who needs no introduction, it's still worth noting that Superman isn't just a comic book icon, he's the comic book icon.
The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, and first appeared in Action Comics #1, a comic book published on April 18, 1938.
Debuting in the wake of the Great Depression and just before World War II, Superman set the stage for the DC Universe and all superhero comics to follow.
Superman many have more than one birthday
Over the decades, DC Comics has given the Man of Steel several different dates of birth. But the weirdest one is February 29, because it's supposed to explain why an 82-year-old character only looks like he's in his late twenties.
The writers and editors' of DC likely chose today as his birthdate in part as a joke because oddly enough, as you can see, Captain Marvel's birthday is somehow also on Leap Day.
Superman's had the sporadic birthday-themed story over the years. However, the most famous one's Alan Moore's 1985 story "For the Man Who Has Everything." Other stories include a 2009 story in DC's "Super Friends" title.
The thing is, in the comics, his birthday is far from a consistent thing. You have to keep in mind that as far as his two sets of parents are concerned, Superman would have two different birthdays. Whatever Kal-El's actual birthday would be on Krypton depends on how you want to interpret the intricacies of the Kryptonian calendar.
A Kryptonian "year" is known as a "zetyar," which is equivalent to roughly 500 Earth days. By the reckoning of the Kryptonian calendar, Kal-El was born on 38 Eorx 9998. The weirdness of the Kryptonian calendar might offer a possible explanation here, so maybe 38 Eorx 9998 fell on the equivalent of February 29th on Earth. Then again, it's best not to think too hard about this.
On the other hand, Clark Kent's birthday would have to be the day his foster parents found his rocket. Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank put Clark Kent's birthday on December 1st. Some comic book accounts place it in October, while others put it on June 18. June is significant since Action Comics #1 has a June, 1938 cover date. You can't put too much stock in that, though. Because of the weirdness of comic book cover dating practices (they were competitively dated months in advance), it probably actually hit newsstands in late February or early March of 1938. Also, there was no February 29th in 1938.
Anyway, if Superman was 29 (an age often cited for the character) when he first appeared in 1938, he'd be 111 years old today. Yet the Man of Steel has been written and drawn as a man in his physical prime for much of his publishing history.
Longtime DC editor Julius "Julie" Schwartz had taken to answering reader questions about Kal-El's birthday by saying that the character's birthday was on Leap Day. If he only had a birthday every four years, that would mean he'd age slower, right?
Superman's origin has been one of much changes 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.
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 put 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.
The crash site was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who had just learned that they could not have children. Seeing this alien orphan as their chance, they gathered him up and took him home, leaving a stillborn calf in his place in the hopes of throwing the government off their trail. They raised him as Clark Kent in Smallville, Kansas, teaching him their values. Eventually, Jonathan revealed Clark's true parentage to him, but left it to him to decide what it would mean. On the night of his prom, however, Clark's adopted parents were both killed in a car accident. After their funerals, Clark sold Kent Farm to a neighbor and moved to Metropolis to become a journalist.
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.
Upon moving to Metropolis, Clark took a job at the Daily Star, and prepared himself to act as a vigilante at the age of 22, by having several shirts printed with the S-Symbol that had come to Earth with him emblazoned on them. His attempt to rescue a young boy caused him to reveal himself before he expected to, and the city came to know of the superhuman man. Within six months, he had fully revealed himself, and was targeting corrupt businessman Glen Glenmorgan when General Sam Lane and Lex Luthor took an interest in him.
One of Superman's darkest times was when he faced the nigh-unstoppable villain Doomsday, in DC's "The Death of Superman." The battle lasted for days, but when the dust settled, both hero and villain were slain. Superman was dead. This comic book storyline influenced the 2016 movie "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice".
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 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. To many, though, he will always be that lovable boy from Smallville who became a mighty man of steel.
The original concept of Superman would have him be featured as a bald telepathic villain bent on world domination.
According to Joe Shuster, Superman is inspired by heroes such as Hercules and Flash Gordan.
When Superman first debuted, his only powers were being "Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound".
Despite the fact that Superman can fly millions of times faster than the speed of light, Superman still isn't faster than the Flash.
Superman has had several strange powers over the years. This includes: shapeshifting, shooting miniature versions of himself from his hands, super-hypnosis, and super-ventriloquism.
Most of Superman's powers has been explained as him harnessing solar radiation from Earth's yellow sun. This is why he wouldn't have any powers on Krypton as Krypton has a red sun.
Superman actually doesn't need to eat or breathe air as he can live off of solar energy alone.
You may wonder how his costume is able to remain fairly undamaged in most battles. This is due to his bio-electric aura that us just above his skin, protected his skin tight costume as well as helping his invulnerability.
In Action Comics #700, Superman actually renounces his American citizenship to fight America's foreign policy.
It has been explained that the reason Superman doesn't wear a mask- is to gain people's trust as it's easier to trust someone when you can see their face.
Superman actually owns a Kryptonian dog named Krypto: The Superdog. Interestingly enough, Krypto actually gained an animated series later on.
Superman was once bitten by Dracula but because his cells hold so much solar radiation Dracula exploded.
There has been six different Supergirls throughout Superman's history.
The Superman "S" symbol has been explained several times as being the El family crest or even a symbol of hope.
Batman has a piece of Kryptonite entrusted to him by Superman in case Superman ever goes rouge.
While the DCAU gave birth to the Batman villain Harley Quinn, it also gave birth to the Superman villain known as Livewire who is basically a gender-swap Electro.