Superman Was Invented by High School Kids
Every elementary school kid has doodled a superhero on the back of a notebook at some point. But we're guessing your sloppy depiction of "Butt Man" didn't make you a millionaire and change pop culture forever. That is, however, what happened when a young Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel first conceived the Man of Steel in high school.
Their design would wind up being the template for pretty much every superhero that would come later. For instance, have you ever asked yourself why superheroes wear spandex and Speedos? It's not exactly practical crime-fighting wear. Well, it's because a couple of kids were most likely inspired by 1900s circus strong men like Zishe Breitbart.
Seen here about to sucker punch some rebar.
Breitbart was world-famous right around the time Siegel and Shuster were growing up. His mailing address was actually "Superman-New York," and the advertisements for his shows bragged that he could stop a speeding locomotive. And guys like him wouldn't be seen on stage without a tiny pair of shorts or tights.
As teenagers, Siegel and Shuster self-published their crude comic in a fanzine. And forget Lois, the Daily Planet, and Lex Luthor -- the first fictional superman was a creepy, sort-of evil mentalist who probably menaced renamed replicas of local bullies. After the Nazis went and soured the world on the whole concept of a "super man," Siegel and Shuster reinvented him as the captain of truth, justice and the American way.
The American way is to take your wrench-beatings with a smile.
Finding it difficult to track down anyone who had a serious interest in the character and style, it took an almost unbelievable three more years for the granddaddy of all superheroes to find an independent publisher.
What kid in the Great Depression would want to read this boring thing?