Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The 85th Anniversary of Superman

It was 85 years ago today, on April 18 1938, that Action Comics no. 1 (June 1938) hit newsstands. It was historic for featuring the first appearance of Superman. Superman was not the first superhero, but he would be the one to have the most impact. In the wake of Superman there would be several other superheroes introduced in comic books, including Batman, The Flash, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and more. As to Superman himself, the character was a veritable phenomenon in the late Thirties and Forties. There was a ton of merchandising, as well as adaptations to such media as radio, theatrical animated shorts, newspaper comic strips, and movie serials. In the Forties, there weren't many characters as big as Superman.

Here I should point out that Superman was not the only character important in the history of DC Comics to make his first appearance in Action Comics no. 1. The magician Zatara also debuted in the magazine. Zatara would prove successful, appearing in Action Comics throughout the Golden Age of Comics Books. It would be Zatara who would inspire what might have been the first legacy hero in the history of comics. His better known daughter, Zatanna, first appeared in Hawkman no. 4 (November 1964), in a storyline in which she was searching for her father. It was one of the few times in the Silver Age that a storyline ran through several different titles.

I have already written several posts on Superman over the years, including a history of the character for his 75th anniversary. Below are links to some of the posts I have made on the Man of Steel over the years.

"The Fleischer Superman Cartoons"

"Superman, the 1948 Serial"

"The 75th Anniversary of Superman"

"The Superman Phenomenon in the Late Thirties and Early Forties"

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