It could be argued he was the first real superhero, the one who paved the way for all the rest… and now he’s reached a landmark age.
It’s hard to imagine that it was a whole 75 years ago when two kids from New York dreamed up the man they always wished they were. A man who didn’t take anything from anybody, a man who stood up for what’s right, a man who wouldn’t let a foe get him down, whether that foe was Hitler or Lex Luthor. When Shuster and Siegel dreamed up this character little did they know that not only would they be inventing the biggest icon in all of comics, but also that would be revolutionizing the genre as a whole. That perfect being, that symbol of hope was Superman.
Before Superman made his debut 75 years ago horror, romance, pulp and western dominated the comic genre. After experiencing plenty of bullying as youngsters Shuster and Siegel changed all that with one simple idea, let’s create the perfect champion, the man we all wish we could be. And with that, Superman was born. Over the next 75 years Superman would go on to not only innovate the comic industry by giving birth to the superhero, and thus the Golden Age of comics, but every medium as well. Superman was the first to successfully transfer to the big screen thanks to Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve.
He was the first hero to transfer over to TV as well with George Reeve playing the titular character. His likeness adorns every piece of merchandising you could dream of, from shoes and shirts to lunchboxes and backpacks.
I’ll be honest here; I am not Superman’s biggest fan. I prefer the moody brooding of Batman personally. What I cannot deny though is the impact that Superman has had on the industry and if not for Supes, comics as we know them today would not exist.
If not for his success at the box office would a movie like the Avengers even exist? Love him or hate him, Superman is the genesis for everything that I know and love today. Even if you don’t read Superman, without him all of us comic book nerds might all be lost.
So what do you get for the icon that has everything? The icon that can do everything? Our appreciation. Thank you Shuster, thank you Siegel, thank you DC Comics, and thank you Superman for laying the groundwork for the comic, TV and movie industry that we all love and cherish. Captain America may have been the world’s first avenger, but Superman will always be the world’s first hero.