"Hold on a minute!" you may be shouting from your cubicle. "Not only is he one of the most famous and recognizable icons in the world, he is also the first superhero ever created! So how can he be a rip off of anything if he was the first, you idiot?"
Well, that's where you are wrong, hypothetical Cracked reader who is talking to us and for some reason insulting us even though you are figment of our imagination; Superman may be the first superhero, but not the first character with those superpowers.
He is a Rip-Off of:
Philip Wylie's wrote a pulp novel called Gladiator in 1930, starring Hugo Danner, a man whose father invents a secret formula that can create superpowers. Instead of selling it and making millions, he just injects it into his son, because, hey, why not? Hugo gains super strength, bullet proof skin and the ability to jump over the tallest building in a single bound. Jumping, not flying--so it's sort of different, right? Well, actually, in Superman's early years he couldn't fly either, just jump really high.
All he was missing was the laser/telescopic eyes and the million retarded powers Superman pulled out of his ass in the 50s. And it was published eight years before Superman appeared.
But superpowers are kind of standard, right? Super strength? Hell, Hercules had that! It doesn't mean it's a rip-off!
But the resemblance doesn't end there. Both Superman and Hugo Danner grew up in a small farming town. Supes in Kansas and Danner in Colorado. Both pretended to be meek and weak to prevent people from finding out about their superpowers. And both had a special place where they went to be alone: Superman had his fortress of solitude in the Arctic, and Donner had his own place in northern Canada. Of course, his didn't have the total emo name, which really only proves that he was less of a huge tool.
And to boot, the first image of Superman the world saw, the cover of Action Comics #1, recreates a scene of the Gladiator novel where Hugo loses his shit, lifts up a car and scares the crap out of everyone.