, Newburyport, MA


June 13, 2013

Superman celebrates his 75th birthday


Indeed, Zod returns in “Man of Steel,” now played by Michael Shannon, who was a couple of months shy of his 7th birthday when “Superman II” came out.

Cavill, 30, was born about six weeks before the premiere of “Superman III.” He is six years younger than Welling, who played the young, pre-Superman Clark Kent on “Smallville” from 2001 to 2011. Based on the chronology in Les Daniels’ book “Superman: The Complete History,” Cavill’s birth was long after the arrival of not only Superman but Superboy (in 1945), Supergirl (1959), Krypto the Super-Dog (1955), Streaky the Super-Cat (1960), Beppo the Super-Monkey (1959) and Comet the Super-Horse (1962).

Every decade since the ’30s has had some kind of Superman moment: the first appearance in the ’30s; animated productions from the legendary Max Fleischer, a live-action movie serial starring Kirk Alyn and radio programs in the ’40s; the TV series starring Reeves in the ’50s (and his death under still-debated circumstances before the decade was done); a Broadway musical in the ’60s; the Christopher Reeve movies beginning in the ’70s; more Reeve movies and a “Superboy” TV series in the ’80s; the death-of-Superman saga in the ’90s; “Smallville” and the big-screen “Superman Returns” in the ’00s; and now “Man of Steel.”

Not that all these efforts were successful. The musical was a dud. “Superman Returns” made close to $400 million worldwide — but that figure paled when the high cost of the movie was considered and, as Tye has written, it was less than the reinventions of Spider-Man and Batman had made.

Still, Superman endures, often revised and reconsidered, different and yet the same. Tye is fond of saying that Superman has evolved more than a perpetually changing fruit fly.

“He changes his hairstyle,” Tye said in a telephone interview. “His uniform gets updated. His work circumstances change.” Even the seemingly shocking change of Clark Kent from newspaper reporter to blogger was not really surprising, Tye said. “He’s been quitting the Daily Planet, whether it was to work for TV or do whatever seemed most contemporary, for 75 years.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features