Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Happy 75th birthday, Superman: The Man of Steel and his Los Angeles connections

Hollywood Blvd Character Impersonators Protest Ban Against Them

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Christopher Dennis wearing a Superman super hero costume protests at the Los Angeles City Hall on Aug. 31, 2010 in Los Angeles. The super hero impersonators were protesting the arrests made by the Los Angeles Police Department of costumed characters along Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. According to the LAPD, officers received reports of tourists being aggressively solicited by the costumed superheroes, resulting in arrests along Hollywood Boulevard.

Action Comics #1 comic book of 1938 is p

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Action Comics #1 from 1938 is pictured on Feb. 23, 2010 in New York. It sold for $1 million, making it the first ever million-dollar comic book. It was Action Comics #1 that introduced Superman to the world. There are estimated to be only about 100 copies of the comic book in existence.

Flowers On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame For Christopher Reeve

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Flowers and memorbilla which were placed on Christopher Reeve's star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 11, 2004 in Hollywood. Reeve died of heart failure Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004.

Supermans 75th

Tony Dejak/AP

This Tuesday, April 2, 2013 photo shows oversized Superman comic book pages displayed on a fence outside of what was once Joe Shuster's boyhood home in Cleveland. Superman collaborators Jerry Siegel and Shuster lived several blocks apart in the Glenville neighborhood which shaped their lives, dreams for the future and their imagery of the Man of Steel.

Supermans 75th

Tony Dejak/AP

This Tuesday, April 2, 2013 photo shows a man riding his bicycle past the Home of Superman plaque in Cleveland. Superman collaborators Jerry Siegel and Shuster lived several blocks apart in the Glenville neighborhood which shaped their lives, dreams for the future and their imagery of the Man of Steel.

Brandon Routh Unveils Superman Wax Figure At Madame Tussauds

Evan Agostini/Getty Images

"Superman Returns" star Brandon Routh unveils the new Superman wax figure at Madame Toussauds New York June 27, 2006 in New York City.

The Superman costume that was worn by Ch

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The Superman costume that was worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman: The Movie" on display at Profiles In History in Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, on July 19, 2012.


It’s Superman’s 75th birthday, but he’s still looking good for his age. (Though wait, didn’t he used to look like this?)

Thursday, April 18 marks the 75th anniversary of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, hitting newsstands. While Superman made the cover, he wasn’t even the only story in that comic, taking only 13 pages of that first issue — but he soon took over, with the first issue selling 130,000 copies and later issues hitting the million mark.

Los Angeles has its own connections with the iconic hero. You’ll often notice a Superman planted squarely on Hollywood Boulevard, posing for tourists — this was even documented in the 2007 film, “Confessions of a Superhero.” Legendary Superman actor Christopher Reeve made his home in L.A. for a while and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

If you want to experience a bit of what one of Superman’s flights is like, you can head up north a little to Six Flags Magic Mountain and take a ride on Superman: Escape From Krypton.

A local Superman enthusiast even made a remote control Superman to fly around the coast:

Thursday is also the anniversary of another iconic character that appeared in that first issue of Action Comics — Lois Lane. Fellow supporting cast members Perry White and Jimmy Olsen don’t make their debuts until later.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson declared Thursday to be “Superman Day” in the city. Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were from Cleveland, and now the city is using that fact to try to claim ownership over the iconic hero as the brand new motion picture “Man Of Steel” prepares to fly into theaters.

“The Man of Steel in a steel town, the strength that he had, that’s all part of what Cleveland is,” Cleveland Mayor Jackson told NPR. “We’re a tough community that has overcome many challenges and obstacles, and Superman is a good representative model of Cleveland.”

The city marked the occasion by raising a Superman flag, passing out special cupcakes at the airport, offering a birthday card at the airport’s Superman Welcoming Center and turning the lights at City Hall and skyscraper Terminal Tower blue, red and yellow.

Superman is a native of the fictional Smallville, Kansas, but the closest to a real-life home for him has been Metropolis, Illinois — though the comics are always careful not to mention exactly which state the iconic city is in. It’s not the high-rise city of the Metropolis of the comics world, which has drawn strong inspiration from both New York City and Chicago, but it does feature a giant Superman statue.

And President Obama even posed with it back in the day.

The Siegel and Shuster Society raised $150,000 to fix up Siegel’s childhood Cleveland home, and its owner has labeled it “Superman’s House.”

Think you’re a real Superman fan? Celebrate with this quiz by Superman superfan/comic book writer Mark Waid. A sample question: What’s Clark Kent’s Social Security Number?

You can also check out this BBC interview from 1981 with Superman’s creators:

blog comments powered by Disqus