Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Well, you know how it ends, don’t you? It’s a sentence so iconic, there are probably kids shouting it in Swahili as you read this.
The most recognized superhero in pop culture, Superman has been elevated to mythic folkhero status. Rocketed to Earth from the dying planet Krypton, baby Kal-El was found by a farming couple who named the boy Clark Kent and raised him as their own. Discovering his enormous powers, they instilled in him strong moral values—and inspired him to become a hero.
Superman has super-everything—strength, speed, flight, invulnerability as well as his renowned X-ray and heat vision. The most powerful being on the planet, his amazing abilities are also a melancholy reminder of how different he is from the people he’s dedicated to protect.
A universal icon, Superman means different things to the many diverse people he inspires: He’s an alien; an immigrant from a faraway land just looking to help; a country boy fighting the never-ending battle for truth and justice. And recent comics have truly spotlighted his role as the people’s hero: Following a neophyte Man of Steel still learning his powers’ limits, Superman fights the evil corporate tycoons and corrupt one-percenters that have overwhelmed the establishment.
Kal-El, Clark Joseph Kent
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