Celebrate Superman Day With 10 Awesome Facts About The Hero You May Not Know

June 12 was officially declared "Superman Day" by DC Comics not too long ago, and while the Man of Steel's official birthday is April 18th, we're marking the occasion with some fun facts about the hero...

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Superman made his debut in the pages of Action Comics #1 on April 18th, 1938, but today is officially "Superman Day," and a chance to celebrate everything we love about this iconic superhero. 

While things are a little more muted today given current global events, people are sharing their favourite memories of the character on social media, and revealing what the character means to them. It was also this weekend seven years ago that Warner Bros. released Man of Steel in theaters, a film which would obviously kick off the DC Extended Universe as we know it.

While we'd love to hear your favourite Superman moments and memories in the comments section below, we thought we'd mark today by sharing some must-see fun facts about the DC Comics icon.

To check them out for yourselves, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button down below!

10. Kryptonite Didn't Debut In The Comic Books


Kryptonite has become a staple of Superman's adventures over the years, but were you aware that it doesn't actually originate in the comic books? Back in the 1940s, the character starred in a radio series where he was voiced by Bud Collyer. However, when the actor requested time off, the team behind the series realised they needed a plot device to explain his absence.

As a result, it was in 1943's "The Meteor From Krypton" that Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent was first exposed to the radioactive remains of his home planet, and it would take six years for that to find its way into the comic books.

However, it may have some roots in the source material as Jerry Siegel penned a story in 1940 which featured the Man of Steel coming across the mysterious power draining K-Metal; that ended up being rejected by DC Comics.

9. Superman Helped Bring Down The KKK


Superman has been in existence so long that he's lived through a long list of eras and historical events. That's something DC Comics has frequently addressed in stories featuring the character, and when the Ku Klux Klan attempted to return to prominence after World War II, author and civil rights activist Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the hateful organisation.

He did that so he could report their secrets to the police, but they had little to no interest in hearing what he'd learned, so he contacted the Superman radio serial and helped them come up with a sixteen episode series titled, "Clan Of The Fiery Cross." It was here that many of the organisations secrets were revealed, and the most embarrassing helped turn them into a joke.

As a result of them being put in the public spotlight, their membership numbers plummeted.

8. The Rights To The Hero Sold For $130


It was back in 1938 that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (who had been friends throughout high school) made the fateful decision to sell the rights to the Man of Steel to Detective Comics for $130, a paltry amount these days, but a generous - well, not that generous - amount at the time. 

This is why their families spent years battling DC Comics for the rights to the Man of Steel as it was obvious that neither they nor their families benefited from Superman the way they should have.

They didn't realise Superman would take off the way he did in terms of popularity, and also spent much of their lives battling the publisher before their respective families took over. They clearly made a mistake acting in haste, so you can why many creators are now far more careful these days when it comes to what happens to the rights of the characters they come up with. 

7. Pink Kryptonite's Unexpected Effect On Superman


It's not hard to find now quite offensive jokes online about pink Kryptonite making Superman gay, but there's actually some truth in that. Comic book fans already know that different coloured versions of the radioactive substance can change how the Man of Steel acts, but it was in an issue of Supergirl that the hero was exposed to a type which ended up changing his sexuality.

In a story set in an alternate reality, Superman coming into contact with pink Kryptonite made him, let's say, "camp" and led to some very awkward scenes of him flirting with his best pal, Jimmy Olsen!

This was one of the strangest - and possibly most offensive - uses of Kryptonite ever, and chances are you won't ever see it make its return to the comics or used in a live-action adaptation of any sort.

6. Darth Vader Helped "Create" The Movie Superman


Many fans still consider Christopher Reeve's Superman to be the best live-action take on the character to date, but after being cast to play the Man of Steel in the now classic 1978 movie, the actor didn't have long to transform into a convincing superhero (and he didn't have the Marvel diet to hand).

After seeing David Prowse - who is surely best known for wearing the Darth Vader suit in the original Star Wars trilogy - play Superman in a TV commercial, studio bosses decided to enlist the massive actor's help to get Reeve ready, and the results obviously ended up speaking for themselves.

After being paired up, the duo managed to add 30lbs of muscle to Reeve's frame in just six weeks. This isn't the only time Vader has entered Superman's world however; James Earl Jones - the iconic villain's voice - was set to play Perry White in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman before TV execs balked at the idea of a black actor playing Perry White. Really. 

5. The Nazis Really Weren't A Fan


A number of years ago, DC Comics generated controversy by having Superman disown the United States of America. Up until that point, the Man of Steel had been one of the most consistently patriotic characters in comic book history, and it was in 1940 that Look Magazine attempted to answer what would happen if the iconic superhero had become involved in World War II. 

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster came up with a story which depicted Superman effortlessly dismantling the Nazi war machine before capturing both Hitler and Stalin and single-handedly ending the war.

You might think this all sounds pretty harmless and isn't really that different to Captain America, but the real life Nazi High Command were left fuming when they heard about this American "propaganda" and quickly published a fierce rebuttal in the pages of the newspaper of the SS.

4. Someone Reportedly Tried To Shoot George Reeves


Superman's history on television and film is a strange one, but this story goes a long way in emphasising that. George Reeves played Superman in the 1950s TV series, but the actor never actually enjoyed playing the Man of Steel and viewed the role as being beneath him.

Of course, it probably didn't help that the pay was low and the production schedule a complete mess, and the serious actor understandably worried about being typecast in future.

However, it's been said that one thing which really bothered Reeves was having to make public appearances in costume as Superman. As a result, he claimed that it was during one of these a young fan shot at him because he believed that his idol would be bulletproof. It's widely believed that the actor fabricated the whole thing so he could get out of those meet and greets!

3. He Had A Mermaid Girlfriend


We all know that Superman's one true love is Lois Lane, but Clark Kent has obviously dated a lot of very different women over the years (including Wonder Woman not all that long ago). 

However, before he started working at The Daily Planet, Clark had a college sweetheart called Lori Lemaris. The wheelchair bound beauty was introduced in 1959, and the young hero even proposed marriage to her before learning a shocking secret about his soon to be wife. 

In a bizarre tale very much of its time, Superman learned that the reason Lori always needed to rush home by 8pm was because she needed to spend the night in a tank of water. As for why she was in a wheelchair, it was because she was secretly a mermaid hiding her lower half with a blanket. You can't make this up, and their relationship ended because she returned to Atlantis.

2. Some Of His Early Adventures Were Beyond Offensive


In the pages of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane, one of their weirdest team-ups occurred as the Man of Steel went to drastic measures to help Lois land a scoop. After being assigned to visit Metropolis' "Little Africa" district, the intrepid reporter was quickly turned away by African American activists who saw her as an enemy due to the colour of her skin.

Superman got involved by taking Lois to his alien transformation chamber and making her black for just a day so she could get the story she wanted. While the 1970s set story certainly tried to tackle some racial equality issues in a way which might educate readers, the whole thing was pretty silly, and downright offensive in many ways when you look back at it today.

This is the comic book equivalent of blackface, and not a tale DC Comics is likely to ever referenced today. That's a good thing, of course, but what other devices did Superman have hidden? 

1. The Recurring L.L. Initials...


We all know that Stan Lee had a big thing for alliteration in the 1960s (Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, etc.), but did he get that idea from the world of Superman? It's unlikely, but possible!

Take a close look at the Man of Steel's love interests over the years and there's something they all have in common; almost all of their initials are "L.L." There's Lois Lane for starters, then Lana Lang, Clark Kent's high school sweetheart. Don't forget his college love either - the aforementioned mermaid, Lori Lemaris - while you could be forgiven for not remembering Lyla Lerrol. 

Loads of Superman supporting characters share these initials too, though Lex Luthor, Lucy Lane, and Supergirl's alter-ego Linda Lee obviously haven't been romantically involved with Superman! It's a strange occurrence without a clear explanation, but an undeniably interesting Easter Egg.

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