80 Years of Superman: A walk through the world of a superhero

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Réalité/fiction : Superman

Superman, from comic books to the big screen…

Superman is an original creation by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. He appeared for the first time in the issue 1 of Action Comics in June 1938, at the time published by Detective Comics, later renamed DC.

Cover of the 1938 Action Comics 1

Superman is actually an alien. Coming from the planet Krypton when he was a child, he is the last representative of his species. On his planet, the sun is red. On Earth, with the yellow sun, these Kryptonian cells are proving to be very powerful. He has many powers, which he will use for good. Super vision, icy breath, superhuman strength, prodigious speed and super hearing, Superman is a true Swiss Army knife.

Kansas, Superman’s adopted home

How do you explain that such a powerful being doesn’t try to rule all the others? For one thing, he doesn’t have a ring. Then he was taken in by a very special family, the Kents. Jonathan and Martha Kent are humble farmers from Kansas dreaming of a child. When Superman, whose Kryptonian name is Kal-El, arrives on Earth, the Kents are quick to adopt him and name him Clark.

What happens next is the little Kryptonian boy becomes a vital asset to our planet. Stalking the worst evil masters on Earth or in space, Superman is benevolent and well regarded. He’s a symbol of hope.

To blend in with those they protect, Clark Kent works as a reporter at the Daily Planet. This position allows him to slip away without anyone asking him anything, and thus save the planet incognito.

Here’s everything you need to know about the superhero, even if you could still write many lines about this fascinating character. Now let’s talk about television and film adaptations.

More than 9 films

Superman appeared in more than nine films and had many actors to play him, including the famous Christopher Reeve.

He assumed the role of the Kryptonian four times before returning the cloak. He is also infamous for becoming quadriplegic after a horse accident. An iconic actor, he is nonetheless the one many remember as the Man of Steel.

The Daily Planet in a real newspaper

Daily Planet in Superman / Daily News Building - Photo credit: Fantrippers
Daily Planet / Daily News Building – Photo credit: Fantrippers

Among the filming locations, the Daily Planet has often moved, but the version with Christopher Reeve is unparalleled. In the film, the Daily News building in New York City houses the headquarters of the Daily Planet. Built in 1929, this huge 42-storey Art Deco building served as a strategic centre for the Daily News until 1994. If its ten-storey base is so imposing, it was to accommodate the rotary. Push through the swinging doors and admire the entrance hall where a huge and beautiful rotating globe sits. When the building was opened to the public, it was one of the most important tourist attractions in the city! Its terrestrial map is regularly updated and the clocks on the back wall show the time of different cities in the world. On the left, a small exhibition traces the history of the monument. Two photos from the Superman shoot feature prominently.

Address: Daily News building, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, USA

The Children’s Home near Calgary

Kent Farm - Superman (1978)
Kent Farm – Superman (1978)

Also in New York is Lois Lane’s apartment, while in Canada, near Calgary, is the Kent farm, Clark’s childhood home, where he was able to test his powers without fear of being spotted by curious neighbours.

From now on, Henry Cavill plays the role of the Man of Steel, who can be seen confronting another comic book giant. His birthday isn’t yet, but it’s the famous Batman. He also confronts death and para-demons in Justice League. The second part of Man of Steel is still being filmed.

Address: Range Road 264, Blackie, Canada

Superman is also a television adaptation. Like the famous series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman with Dean Cain as the superhero, and Teri Hatcher as the tenacious Lois Lane. Unfortunately, many images are shot in the studio and do not allow us to follow in their footsteps.

Going to Smallville

Clova Theatre - Photo Wikimedia Commons by OlEnglish
Clova Theatre – Photo Wikimedia Commons by OlEnglish

Smallville’s a different story. The series traces Superman’s adolescence. The discovery of these powers, his doubts, his first confrontations, it’s all there! Tom Welling plays the young hero who is searching for himself, guided by his caring adoptive parents. Many scenes were shot in the studio, but some locations cannot be reproduced. For example, the movie theater where his band of friends often meet, the Talon, is located… In Canada. A long way from the famous Kansas. The same goes for his childhood farm, or the high school where he studies when he’s not fighting a threat.

Address: Clova Cinema, 5732 176th Street, Surry, Canada

The Luthor house.

Hatley Castle - Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay
Hatley Castle – Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

The Luthor mansion is very interesting. Often used in movies or in series, the famous Hatley Castle is used as well for Marvel like X-Men or for other DC heroes like in Arrow. Here, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) regularly hatches his plans to bring down Superman.

It’s hard to name or list everything. Superman appears in a number of works, and fanspots number in the hundreds. Don’t hesitate, help us follow in the footsteps of your favourite hero and share your memories of the world’s classiest red underpants superhero.

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By Damien Duarte

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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