Since making his debut in 1938, Superman has been one of the greatest comic book heroes around. Inspiring millions both in and out of the comic books, Superman is easily one of the biggest symbols of hope around.
However, today’s Superman is pretty different in a number of ways from the very first version of the character. While some changes may be much more blatant, others are a bit more obscure. Looking at some of the most important ones from over the years, here is our list of the 10 biggest changes to Superman.
Though some things always remain constant about the Man of Steel’s backstory, his early days are constantly being reimagined, both in and out of canon. Originally, Clark Kent spent a lot of time as DC’s original Superboy. However, this was eventually retconned so that he would first don the suit as a full-grown man.
Furthermore, Jonathan and Martha Kent have also died and come back several times at several different points in the character’s history, making things a bit confusing for newer readers especially. While Krypton’s destruction remains a focal point of the hero’s origin, many other aspects of it have changed over the years.
As time goes on, Superman only seems to grow more and more powerful. However, the hero didn’t always have a vast array of abilities at his disposal.
When he was originally created, Superman could really only leap, run super-fast, and lift an impossible amount. It wasn’t until later when powers like flight, heat and x-ray vision and frost breath were added. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine the hero without some of these abilities, but it is definitely a significant change since he first made his debut.
8 No Longer a Jerk
Superman is known for being one of the most honorable and noble comic book heroes around. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case for the character, especially throughout the Silver Age of comics.
In fact, there were plenty of instances where Superman was arguably the villain of the series, doing things like making Lois Lane fat, tricking her into thinking Clark Kent killed himself, or straight-up abusing Jimmy Olsen. Thankfully, the hero is no longer like this, but this is definitely something from his past that changed for the better.
7 In Other Media
As one of the oldest superheroes around, Superman has evolved in many ways beyond the comic book pages as well. From the radio serials to the silver screen, Superman has explored several other forms of media, with each putting their own unique spin on the character.
From shows like Superman: The Animated Series, or movies like Man of Steel (2013), there is a version of Superman for everyone to enjoy. With such a wide range of stories available with the character, even those who aren’t comic fans can still appreciate the character.
Though Superman’s current look fits the general aesthetic of the character, he has gone through several key costume changes over the years. Of course, some of these changes are intended to be temporary or serve a specific purpose, but the character’s look today is radically different from what it was when he first started out.
Especially in regards to the shield on his chest, Superman’s symbol has gone through several notable changes. Fortunately, the character’s look is much more steady now, with only a few minor tweaks here and there on occasion. Regardless, his modern look is a pretty significant departure from the suit he wore in Action Comics #1.
5 Role in the Multiverse
Though several alternate versions of Superman have been explored over the years, the character still plays a far greater role within the entire DC multiverse. Given the recent conclusion of the Doomsday Clock series, DC themselves has confirmed just how important Superman is in the entire multiverse.
As one of the most important comic book characters of all time, it definitely makes sense for Superman to have a big role within the rest of the multiverse as well. Considering how he is almost the central focus of any big DC event, it really intriguing to see how far he has come since 1938.
4 Fastest Man Alive No More
Before Flash was the definitive “Fastest Man Alive,” the Scarlet Speedster regularly competed with Superman for the title. In many cases, the two actually went up against one another, with several external factors generally influencing the results.
However, as of The Flash: Rebirth storyline, Barry Allen ensured that the title was his, leaving Superman behind in a very dramatic way. Though he is still one of the fastest characters in the DC universe, Superman is no longer the Fastest Man Alive.
Having been around for such a long time, Superman’s villains have definitely needed to keep the hero busy within the comics. Furthermore, though his rogue’s gallery may not be as large as Batman’s own, Superman has still faced a good variety of villains in his 80+ years as a character.
Likewise, as Superman continually manages to thwart virtually every evil plot thrown his way, his villains continually grow stronger and more powerful as well, posing all sorts of new threats for the Man of Steel in the process. While the characters aren’t causing much in terms of direct change for the character, they have still caused a lot of changes in Superman’s life over the years.
Lois Lane has been a major part of superman’s life for many years. No matter how many odds the couple faced, they always managed to get through whatever obstacle lies in their path, making them one of the more inspiring couples in all of comics.
However, Lois herself has grown quite a lot over the years, and it was very interesting to see the couple’s life after they officially tied the knot. Though she may not have any superhuman abilities of her own, Lois is still a great reminder of Superman’s humanity, and arguably just as powerful with a pen as he is in general.
1 Is A Father
Shortly before the events of DC Rebirth, Superman actually became a father to a superhuman son of his own. Known as Jon Kent, Lois and Clark have served as great parents for the young man, especially given his elevated role within the DC universe.
Despite having only been around for a few years, Jon has accomplished all sorts of wonders on his own, following in his father’s footsteps and proudly wearing the shield on his chest. While he still has a lot to learn as a young man, seeing Superman as a father has been one of the best experiences for the character as of recent.
Superman is one of the faces of DC Comics and is a symbol of hope. Here's the many ways he's changed and developed over the years since his origin.