Superman first appeared in a comic book called Action Comics #1 in 1938. He has been a symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way ever since. With almost 80 years of history, Superman has many interesting stories to share. We have uncovered some hidden information about Superman that every fan should know. The Man of Steel is one of the most beloved superheroes in the world, especially for fans of DC. So without further ado, let us discuss the top Superman facts that will both delight and unnerve you in equal measure.
A Million Dollars
Alexander Salkind made a strange offer. He offered Richard Donner a million dollars to make Superman. Now this was quite surprising. Donner compared it to someone offering him all the tea in China. But we are glad for this.
The First Movies were Long
Scripts usually follow a guideline where each page represents a minute of screen time. Typically, scripts are around 120-170 pages in length. However, the script Richard Donner got for Superman and a potential sequel was a massive 500 pages long! This would mean a runtime of 8.3 hours on average. Realizing the need for a major rewrite, Donner enlisted the help of his friend, Tom Mankiewicz, to reshape the story.
The Original Scripts are Nonsense
Donner mentioned a scene in which Superman searches for Lex Luthor by inspecting every bald man in Metropolis. During this quest, he unexpectedly encounters Kojak (Terry Savalas), who famously says, “Who loves ya, baby?”. Additionally, there was a concept for introducing a fourth Kryptonian character named “Jak-el,” who is a mischievous prankster. These aspects likely contributed to Donner’s decision to request a complete rewrite of the script. Also, this is an interesting piece of trivia.
Gene Hackman Did Not Want To Go Bald
During the production of the Superman movies, Gene Hackman was quite stubborn about not wanting to shave his head or mustache. Unlike Henry Cavill’s mustache in Justice League, which was digitally removed, Hackman refused to remove his facial hair. To work around this, it was decided that Lex Luthor would wear different wigs (which were actually just Hackman’s real hair styled differently) to explain why the iconic bald character had hair in most of the film. Also, when Hackman finally appeared with a bald head, he was actually wearing a special cap to create the bald look.
Not An American
Here’s a surprising fact about Superman (unless you’re a comic fan)! While he was raised in the United States, in 2011’s Action Comics #900, Superman decided to give up his American citizenship. He felt tired of people interpreting his actions as representing U.S. policy and instead wanted to be seen as a citizen of the universe. It’s interesting to imagine what his passport would look like!
The actor who played Superman’s father had some unusual ideas to minimize his work but still get the full check. Marlon Brando didn’t like working but wanted money. He suggested that Kryptonians should appear as green suitcases, then as bagels, and communicate through subtitled noises on-screen. However, it seems the makers did not accept Brando’s ideas.
Crisis on Infinite Earths drastically changed the DC canon and toned down the exaggerated powers of Superman from the silver age. In those comics, Superman had all sorts of super-versions of everyday skills for a short time and then they were forgotten. He could do things like super sewing, super sneezing, and even super horse riding. These abilities were quite strange, to say the least. Also, what the hell is super sneezing?
A Reporter on Principle
Superheroes often have regular jobs to support themselves, unless they are wealthy like billionaires. Peter Parker earns money by taking pictures of himself as Spider-Man, Matt Murdock works as a lawyer, and Barry Allen maintains his day job as a forensic scientist. As for Clark Kent, he became a reporter because it allows him to gather information about crime and gives him an excuse to be away when he’s needed as Superman.
A Host of Tricks
Superman has different ways to hide his true identity besides just wearing glasses. One way is the famous transformation done by Christopher Reeve, where Clark takes off his glasses and stands confidently to become Superman. He also wears baggy suits to make himself appear less fit and raises his voice slightly. It seems that being a super actor was not one of his abilities during the Silver Age.
In Action Comics #593, there is a notable strip where an alien named Sleez mind-controls Superman and Big Barda to engage in a certain activity. Sleez pretends to be a disreputable director and plans to use a sex tape to raise funds for an anti-Darkseid army. However, his plan fails, and Sleez goes into hiding, with everyone agreeing to never mention it again.
He Betrayed His Best Friend
Pete Ross, who used to be Superman’s close friend, went through a troubling change. When Pete’s son, Jonathan Ross, was kidnapped and taken to an alien planet, Superman attempted to rescue him. However, the future Legion of Superheroes arrived and informed Superman that in order to achieve a ‘perfect future’ and become a great hero, Jonathan must remain captive. Surprisingly, Superman agreed to this. Pete, understandably upset by this news, suffered a mental breakdown, turned to crime, and ended up in a mental institution. Is a so-called ‘perfect’ timeline truly perfect if it means ruining the life of your best friend?
Many Types of Kryptonite
Kryptonite is a magical rock found in many stories to create a plot or exploit Superman’s vulnerabilities. There are different types of Kryptonite: the green one weakens him, the red one changes his form or mind, the gold one takes away his powers permanently, the black one divides a Kryptonian into good and evil versions, and even a pink one that supposedly alters a person’s sexual orientation.
Fritz Lang inspired Metropolis
There is a 1927 movie called Metropolis. It is a German movie by Fritz Lang. This was one of the best movies in the world. It is also the inspiration for New York. Moreover, this shows what a diverse show and comics Superman is.
Killing Lois Lane
To make Superman’s stories more exciting, his writers occasionally portrayed him as a villain. Even going as far as harming Lois Lane in different ways. You heard that right. He harmed Lois more than once. It was a heartbreaking arc. But later, he improved and set his manners right. Also, hurting someone you love turns out to be a great villain arc.
A Psychotic Alter Ego
Superman killed General Zod. He developed PTSD after that. Also, this made him an extremely violent psychopath. This has the name Gangbuster. He killed many criminals and also showed no mercy. The citizens of Metropolis started fearing him. But fortunately, Superman realizes what he was doing soon enough. He gets his life back on track.
Superman Made Lex Luthor Bald
Now here is a strange tale. Lex once had a lab accident that started a fire. A young Superman arrived to save him. But he blew so hard some chemicals fell on Luthor’s head. He lost all his hair. Luthor being Luthor, he immediately blames Superman for being jealous. Of course he did.
Superman has some of the most misleading covers. They do not often mean what they say. There is one where Aquaman and Jimmy Olsen are fighting over a glass of water. Now that strangely makes sense. But then once again, the story does not follow the cover at all. However, the plot is still enjoyable.