Biographic by Steve McGarry for June 16, 2013
BIOGRAPHIC Steve McGarry Superman Superman, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, first appeared in comic books in 1938. The legendary defender of "Truth, Justice and the American way" was actually an alien - Kal-El was evacuated to earth from the doomed planet of Krypton, acquiring super powers under the Earth's yellow sun. In 1940, with actor Bud Collyer giving voice to the character, "the man of steel" made the leap from comic books to radio serials. The following year, the legendary Fleischer Studios created the first animated adventures of Superman. The actor to portray him on screen was Kirk Alyn, who starred in low-budget movie serieals in 1948 and 1950. Former boxer George Reeves took the role for 1951's "Superman and the Mole Men," which spawned the long-running TV series "The Adventures of Superman." Budgets were still low. In some episodes where the plot required Superman to fly in two different directions the film was simply flipped, resulting in the chest insignia appearing reversed! Christopher Reeve was a complete unknown when he was cast in the title role of the 1978 blockbuster "Superman." The movie, which also featured Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, made him a star, and he reprised the role in three sequels. In the mid-1990s, Dean Cain brought the superhero back to the small screen, opposite Teri Hatcher as reporter Lois Lane in "Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman." The big-budget 2006 movie "Superman Returns" cast newcomer Brandon Routh in the lead with Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey and Frank Langella in support. The latest incarnation, "Man of Steel," sees Henry Cavill, whose credits include "The Tudors" and "Immortals, " take on the Superman role, heading a stellar cast that includes Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe.