Dig the FIRST 13 SUPERMAN NEWSPAPER STRIPS: An 85th Anniversary Celebration

More specifically, the first 12 dailies and the first Sunday…


It was the newspaper strip its creators were unable to sell because the concept was too fantastic. Syndicate after syndicate rejected it. However, one of them was the McClure Syndicate where editor Sheldon Mayer saw the strip and convinced agent M.C. Gaines to pitch it to a publishing company that was putting together a brand new comic book and needed filler. They said yes.

The creators were writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster and, of course, the strip was Superman and the comic book was Action Comics #1. The character suddenly became the hottest property that Detective Comics Inc. had ever seen and that newspaper daily comic strip no syndicate originally wanted was now in demand, appearing for the first time January 16, 1939. A Sunday strip was added November 5, 1939.

In honor of the Superman newspaper daily comic strip’s 85th anniversary, below are the first two weeks of the strip, which included the Man of Steel’s origin, as well as the first Superman Sunday:


— Dig the FIRST 13 BATMAN NEWSPAPER STRIPS: An 80th Anniversary Celebration. Click here.

— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER-HEROES Comic Strips. Click here.

13th Dimension contributor-at-large PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagewas published by TwoMorrows. He is currently at work on a sequel, about movie comics. Peter has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. He lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wait just a minute here! Look at the one upset man in the foreground of panel three of day 9 (Destruction!)…could he be the same mobster guy on Earth on the some-what well known cover of Action Comics #1? He looks similar, has a similar reaction to things falling apart around him, and he is rough the same location on both the panel and cover? Inquiring Minds want…no, NEED to know, Dan.

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    • Hi, hellrayzor. The daily strip’s first two weeks was the first time that his origin was told. In Action Comics #1, there was just an opening panel that showed the rocket flying away from the planet (it didn’t have a name at that time). Superman #1, which came out a few months after the daily strip also just had one panel showing the rocket escaping from the planet, now named Krypton, and it was the only refence to where he came from. The first time that the origin was explored in depth in the COMIC BOOKS was Superman #53 in 1948. Even then, Superman was still unaware. He didn’t discover he was from Krypton until Superman #61 in 1949.

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      • So why on Krypton are destructive events called earthquakes? Shouldn’t they be Kryptonquakes? I’m also curious when did Lora become Lara…is it just a typo?

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        • Steven, the name Lara was first used in 1942 in the novel “The Adventures of Superman” by George Lowther. As to the use of “earthquake,” one possibility is that Siegel just wanted readers to understand quickly. However, I’ve developed another theory. In the 8th strip above, Jor-L tells Lora that he has been observing Earth. If ground quakes never existed before on Krypton, there would be no name for them…but by his telescopic observation of Earth, he would know of “earthquakes.” A third possibility…when we say “earthquakes,” we are NEVER talking about the planet Earth, we are talking about the ground or soil.

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