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Super-Man's First Appearance

Superman's first appearance was in Action Comics #1, published on April 18, 1938 (cover-dated to June 1938). Action Comics #1 was an anthology, and contained eleven features:
  • "Superman" (pp. 113) by Siegel and Shuster.
  • "Chuck Dawson" (pp. 1419) by H. Fleming.
  • "Zatara Master Magician" (pp. 2031) by Fred Guardineer.
  • "South Sea Strategy" (text feature, pp. 3233) by Captain Frank Thomas.
  • "Sticky-Mitt Stimson" (pp. 3437) by Alger.
  • "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (pp. 3841) by Sven Elven.
  • "'Pep' Morgan" (pp. 4245) by Fred Guardineer.
  • "Scooby the Five Star Reporter" (pp. 4651) by Will Ely.
  • "Tex Thompson" (pp. 5263) by Bernard Baily.
  • "Stardust" (p. 64) by "The Star-Gazer".
  • "Odds 'N Ends" (inside back cover) by "Moldoff" (Sheldon Moldoff).

The text offers a 2-page account of Superman's origins. Superman then saves an innocent woman about to be executed while delivering the real murderess, bound and gagged, and leaving her on the lawn of the state Governor's mansion after breaking through the door into his house with a signed confession; he comes to the aid of a woman being beaten up by her husband, who faints when his knife shatters on Superman's skin; he rescues Lois Lane from a gangster who abducted her after she rebuffed him at a nightclub which leads to the cover scene with the car; and going to Washington, D.C., instead of South America, to "stir up news" as his editor wants, to investigate a Senator that he suspects is corrupt, and prompting a confession by leaping around high buildings with the terrified man, which leads into the next issue. All the while, Clark tries to keep Superman out of the papers.

Superman proved so popular that National Periodical Publications launched Superman into his own self-titled comic book, the first for any superhero, premiering with cover date June 1939.

This issue offers an expanded version of Superman's origin.
  • Baby Superman is sent to Earth by his scientist father in a "hastily-devised space ship" from "a distant planet" which "was destroyed by old age".
  • After the space ship lands on Earth, passing motorists, the Kents, discover the sleeping baby within, and turn the child over to an orphanage".
  • The baby Superman lifts a large chair overhead with one hand, astounding the orphanage attendants with "his feats of strength". The Kents return to the orphanage to adopt the child
  • When Superman (now named Clark) reaches maturity, he discovers that he can leap 1/8 of a mile, hurdle 20-story buildings, "raise tremendous weights", outrun a train, and "that nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin".
  • The Kents teach Clark that he must keep his powers a secret but that he will someday use them to assist humanity. Clark becomes Superman after the Kents pass away and wins his job as a reporter for the Daily Star by delivering information he had gathered as Superman about a lynch mob at the county jail.

Superman #1 also expands on the story of Evelyn Curry's last minute reprieve from the electirc chair when Superman gets the real killer Bea Carroll, a sultry blonde singer, to confess.

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