What is Superman: Definition and 31 Discussions

Superman is a superhero character who first appeared in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, and first appeared in the comic book Action Comics #1 (cover-dated June 1938 and published April 18, 1938). Superman has been adapted to a number of other media which includes radio serials, novels, movies, television shows and theatre.
Superman was born on the planet Krypton and was given the name Kal-El at birth. As a baby, his parents sent him to Earth in a small spaceship moments before Krypton was destroyed in a natural cataclysm. His ship landed in the American countryside, near the fictional town of Smallville. He was found and adopted by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark Kent. Clark developed various superhuman abilities, such as incredible strength and impervious skin. His adoptive parents advised him to use his abilities for the benefit of humanity, and he decided to fight crime as a vigilante. To protect his privacy, he changes into a colorful costume and uses the alias "Superman" when fighting crime. Clark Kent resides in the fictional American city of Metropolis, where he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet. Superman's supporting characters include his love interest and fellow journalist Lois Lane, Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen and editor-in-chief Perry White. His archenemy is Lex Luthor, a mad scientist and ruthless businessman; his other enemies are Darkseid, Brainiac, General Zod, Doomsday, Metallo, and more.
Superman is the classic archetype of the "superhero" character: he wears an outlandish costume, uses a codename, and fights evil with the aid of extraordinary abilities. Although there are earlier fictional characters who arguably fit this definition, such as Zorro and the Phantom, it was Superman who popularized it and established its conventions. Superheroes are usually judged by how closely they resemble the standard set by Superman. He was the best-selling superhero character in American comic books up until the 1980s.

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  1. chasrob

    Superman-Inspired Skinsuit: Capable of 4,000mph & 500Gees

    I’m writing some stories about a superhero flying brick; similar to Superman in that he has superspeed as a power. He has a problem in that he has no indestructible suit like Supes employs. However, some friendly advanced aliens presented him with a skinsuit that can handle speeds (at sea level)...
  2. RosutoTakeshi

    How Strong Does Superman Need to Be to Pull Our Sun?

    [Moderator's note: Unnecessary introductory statement deleted.] There's a comic where Superman breaks out/shatters chains that were designed to haul stars across the galaxy - Let's say these chains were made to pull (our) sun What tensile strength would a chain need to help pull our sun without...
  3. RosutoTakeshi

    Superman created virtual particles?

    Comic is Superman/Batman #80 Superman explains that virtual particles are always spontaneous generated And that he's using his heat vision to (excite) the vacuum in order to accelerate the process. He's generating more virtual particles So my question is, how much energy or heat did...
  4. Chestermiller

    Insights Lessons From the Bizzaro Universe - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Lessons From the Bizzaro Universe Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  5. M

    What is the top velocity of an object with a certain force applied in a vacuum?

    ok i have a simple enough scenario that i need a hand with solving. first off just to say, i don't know how to do the math for it so maybe someone here could help me out. basically has to do with finding the top velocity of an object with a certain force applied. all in a vacuum and without any...
  6. R

    How much energy was Superman exposed to?

    In Action Comics #867, Superman survived the explosion of a sun What I would like to know is, how much energy was he exposed to? - I know there's the Inverse square law to consider - And I know because of that, he did not get hit by the entire energy of that explosion because his surface...
  7. Tenebris

    Can Wolverine's Claws Defeat Superman?

    After hearing an argument on the cutting power of Wolverine, I began to wonder "could Wolverine cut, and possibly kill, Superman?" Wolverine has one of the sharpest, and strongest, cutting implements in the Marvel universe, so could he hurt the Man of Steel?
  8. C

    Uncovering the Secrets of Superman's Flight

    Hi, How does Superman fly? Does he emit gravitons or does he control the spacetime curvature since he doesn't have any jet or wind based propulsion system?
  9. LunaFlores

    Initial Velocity of the original superman

    Homework Statement The original superman leaps into the air to land on an 85.5 m high building. What was his intial velocity? d = 85.5 m v2 = 0 v1 = ? a = 9.8 m/s2 (I'm not sure about this one so I just used acceleration due to gravity) Homework Equations v2 = v1 + 2ad (?) The Attempt at a...
  10. Uberhulk

    What type of energy does Superman absorb and how does he store it in his body?

    In a Superman comic Superman drops a bomb into a sun eater and outruns the explosion, which is 50 times the size of Kepler's supernova. He is hit by the electromagnetic shockwaves but manages to fly out of the way of the wall of radiation. What type of energy did he absorb? What do...
  11. Evanish

    Could superman fit his hand around a Basketball?

    I know that you probably get tired of weird questions like this so I apologize in advance. I was thinking about length contraction in special relativity. I was thinking if superman was moving towards a basket ball at close to the speed of light when he passed it from his frame of reference it...
  12. chasrob

    Star-hopping a way home for a superman; astronomers needed

    I'm writing a novel which has as a protagonist a super-powered being, like in the comics (only he is the sole such critter in the universe). Like Superman he has the ability for flight through space, but he cannot take any matter, baryons, with him. I'm hoping some astronomy experts could help...
  13. M

    If You Were Superman, Which Scientific Mysteries Would You Solve?

    When I was younger, I used to imagine myself fighting bad guys and saving the world. I still do, to some extent. But now when I think about being a superhero, I think about time sharing my unique skillset to the academic and space community. I think I would fly to Europa and break through the...
  14. H

    Find Point of Intersection of Line & Plane: Where's Superman?

    Homework Statement I need to locate the coordinates if a point of intersection x0,y0,z0 of a plane with equation 2x+y-z=0 and a line that is perpendicular to that plane and passes through a point G(2,1,0). Homework Equations and I understand that this is a normal line and a plane so...
  15. Z

    Time needed for superman to stop the train

    hi, can some one give me an outline of how to solve the following question? thanks Superman (mass=84.0 kg) must fly into a train (mass = 18079 kg) traveling at 75.0 km/hr to stop it. Calculate the minimum time Superman must take to stop the train, if the passengers experience an average...
  16. Z

    How much force does the train exert on Superman?

    Homework Statement Superman must stop a 120-kmh train 150m to keep it from hitting a stalled car on the tracks. If the train's mass is 3.6 x 10^5 kg, how much force must he exert? Compare to the weight of the train (give as %). How much force does the train exert on Superman?" Homework...
  17. T

    Help Me Calculate How high SuperMan can Jump

    Homework Statement This is a semester review. I am having trouble starting the second part of this question. It is well-know fact that Superman is "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." Assume his mass is 100kg. The...
  18. Mentallic

    Superman and Time Travel: Is It Possible?

    In the movie, when superman flies near light speed, he manages to reverse time? Was the story-line just completely off from a physical perspective or is there some truth to this phenomenon? I understand that time would slow down for superman from a human's perspective. Maybe I just didn't...
  19. S

    Superman and the Kinetic Theory of Gases

    Homework Statement Superman leaps in front of Lois Lane to save her from a volley of bullets. In a 1-minute interval, and automatic weapon fires 150 bullets, each of mass 8.0g, at 400 m/s. The bullets strike his mighty chest, which has an area of 0.75 m2. Find the average force exerted on...
  20. B

    Watermelon and Superman experiment

    Homework Statement As a science project, you drop a watermelon off the top of the Empire State Building, 320 m above the sidewalk. It so happens that Superman flies by at the instant you release the watermelon. Superman is headed straight down with a speed of 32.0. How fast is the...
  21. B

    Superman: Stop a Train in Minimum Time

    Homework Statement A.) Find the speed at which Superman (mass=79.0 kg) must fly into a train (mass = 17026 kg) traveling at 70.0 km/hr to stop it. B.) Running into the train at that speed would severely damage both train and passengers. Calculate the minimum time Superman must take to stop...
  22. E

    Superman Problem: Catching a Falling Student

    Homework Statement Determined to test the law of gravity for himself,a student walks off a skyscraper 200 m high, stopwatch in hand and starts his free fall (zero initial velocity. Five seconds later, superman arrives at the scene and dives off the roof to save the student. a.) What must be...
  23. K

    Black Hole in SUperman Returns

    did anyone see this movie? and what's your opinion on the black hole that was shown at the end of the beginning credits? for those of you who didnt see it and will not. a black hole sucked up a sun and after that, there was a explosion of white light which i assumed was the hawking radiation.
  24. Q

    Superman Returns Phyics *SPOILER*

    OK, I'm giving away the ending, so don't say I didn't warn you...At the end, Superman lifts Luthor's new landmass into space. I did some rough hand calculations to figure out how much energy Superman had to use to lift the island into space. Judging from the scale presented in the movie, I'm...
  25. S

    What is the Average Force of Bullets Bouncing off Superman's Chest?

    I can't figure this one out. Please help. It is well known that bullets fired at Superman simply bounce off his chest. Suppose that a gangster sprays Superman's chest with bullets of mass m = 1.8 g at a rate of R = 200 bullets/min. The speed of each bullet is v = 460 m/s. Suppose the bullets...
  26. S

    Solve Superman Problem: Stop Train in <1 hr

    I'm back once more because of another problem that is driving me nuts. I've been trying to do this one for a long time. I'm posting the previous problem because it has relevant information and then bold typing the problem I'm confused on. ----Find the speed at which Superman (mass = 79 kg)...
  27. Clausius2

    Remembering Superman: Why did Christopher Reeve's passing hit us so hard?

    SUPERMAN (Cristopher Reeve) has died today. So I'm very sad :frown: . I was one of that children who were dreaming all nights of being Superman and flying all over the world. I usually went with my mother to the cinema to see each of his films, he was a part of my childhood. It was a pity to...
  28. E

    Baby Superman born in Berlin.

    "Baby Superman" born in Berlin. http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040624/ap_on_he_me/mighty_muscle_gene_7 Mutation Found in 'Muscle Man' Toddler Thu Jun 24, 8:33 AM ET Add Health - AP to My Yahoo! By LINDA A. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer Somewhere in Germany is...
  29. Ivan Seeking

    Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman

  30. B

    Superman his power to go back in time

    Could anyone explain the why superman whizzing around the Earth turned back time ?
  31. D

    Have You Seen the Hilarious Team-Up of Superman and Seinfeld?

    Have any of you seen the NBC/American Express specials featuring Seinfeld and Superman? They can be seen http://www.jerry.digisle.tv/room.html if you missed them. Jerry Seinfeld - best ever.