Superman was among the first superheroes who defined the ideals based on traditional puritan morals that served as the basis for the foundations of the United States. He stood for everything that was good in the world and fought crime in order to preserve the benchmarks of the best humanity has to offer. Superman quickly permeated the psyche of culture on all levels. From the pages of comics to the imagery of high art, Superman is a critical part of the saga of human development.
Superman first appeared in a short story within the magazine entitled “Science Fiction: The Advanced Guard of Civilization,” a self-published work created by Jerry Seigel and Joel Schuster. Within the third issue, “The Reign of Superman” took its place. The story centered around a supervillain whose bald appearance and mental superpowers were menacing. This evil character is actually Superman before he underwent a transformation into a hero in 1933. The character and ideals that we admire in Superman today were not established until 1940 when editor Whitney Ellsworth composed a conduct code by which all self-respecting heroes must abide. Among the axioms is the edict against killing.
The fluctuations in Superman's moral fiber caused difficulties for writers attempting to create a coherent time line for his existence. This problem was ultimately solved by establishing the notion of two parallel dimensions in which earth existed in two separate incarnations. This story allowed for the existence of a Silver Age Superman in one dimension and a Golden Age Superman in another.
The stability in the hero's character did not solidify the various takes on his appearance given to us by multiple artists, however. Throughout Superman's history, the “S” logo on his chest has shown 25 different variations. Among the artists shaping this icon in its 75 year history are Joel Schuster, Gary Frank, and Glenn Swan. As the appeal of Superman began to grow, the character took on nearly all forms of media.
There have been six different movies based on Superman, beginning in 1978 and continuing through to the present. “Superman Returns,” released in 2006, grossed $391 million dollars alone. Man of Steel is promising to be one of this summer's biggest blockbuster hits with solid numbers opening night.
In addition to movies and comics, there have been radio programs and various television serials based on the adventures and origins of Superman. This hero continuously protects humanity from the forces of evil, fighting off some of the greatest villains ever known. The evil forces that Superman has kept at bay include Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Parasite, Brainiac, and General Zod.