The ascent of Superman


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The Independent Culture

Is Superman the most prolific character in fiction? The Man of Steel has appeared in at least 1,500 different comic books, several TV series – from Adventures of Superman to Smallville – and five (soon to be six) films. He's not an easy man to keep tabs on.

One Washington-based cartoonist is trying to do just that. "Calamity" Jon Morris started The Chronological Superman blog on Tumblr on 18 April. With each post he intents to document and analyse appearances by Superman in all their print formats, from his first appearance in Action Comics in 1938 straight through to December 1949 when The Adventures of Superman radio serials began. And possibly beyond.

It's a task made from someone who considers "him to be the most potent American folk myth of the 20th-century". So far, Morris has posted about eight appearances by Clark Kent in print, noting how Superman's early MO for teaching baddies a lesson was "redemption by terror" and that Action Comics' publishers National Allied didn't put their star on the cover between issues one and seven. It's early days, but it could be a treasure trove for fans of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Super creation.