Superman is a fictional, comic book superhero widely considered to be one of the most famous and popular such characters[1] and an American cultural icon.[2][3][4][5] Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian artist Joe Shuster in 1932 and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. in 1938, he first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games.

With a premise that taps into adolescent fantasy, Superman is born Kal-El on the alien planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father moments before the planet's destruction. Adopted and raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent, and imbued with a strong moral compass. Upon reaching maturity the character develops superhuman abilities, resolving to use these for the benefit of humanity. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book.[2]

While referred to less flatteringly as "the big blue Boy Scout" by some of his fellow superheroes,[6] Superman is hailed as "The Man of Steel," "The Man of Tomorrow," and "The Last Son of Krypton," by the general public within the comics. As Clark Kent, Superman lives among humans as a "mild-mannered reporter" for the Metropolis newspaper The Daily Planet (the Daily Star in original stories). There he works alongside reporter Lois Lane, with whom he is romantically linked. This relationship has been consummated by marriage on numerous occasions across varying media, and the union is now firmly established within the current mainstream comics continuity.

The character's cast, powers, and trappings have slowly expanded throughout the years. Superman's backstory was altered to allow for adventures as Superboy, and other survivors of Krypton were created, including Supergirl and Krypto the Superdog. In addition, Superman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film. The motion picture Superman Returns was released in 2006, with a performance at the international box office which exceeded expectations.[7] The character has been revamped and updated, most recently in 1986. John Byrne recreated the character, reducing Superman's powers and erasing several characters from the canon in a move which attracted media attention. Press coverage was again garnered in the 1990s with The Death of Superman, a storyline which saw the character briefly killed.

Superman has also held fascination for scholars, with cultural theorists, commentators, and critics alike exploring the character's impact and role in the United States and the rest of the world. Umberto Eco discussed the mythic qualities of the character in the early 1960s, and Larry Niven has pondered the implications of a sexual relationship the character might enjoy with Lois Lane.[8] The character's ownership has often been the subject of dispute, with Siegel and Shuster twice suing for the return of legal ownership. The copyright is again currently in dispute, with changes in copyright law allowing Siegel's wife and daughter to claim a share of the copyright, a move DC parent company Warner Bros. disputes.

Publication history

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster first created a bald telepathic villain bent on dominating the entire world. He appeared in the short story "The Reign of the Superman" from Science Fiction #3, a science fiction fanzine that Siegel published in 1933.[9] Siegel re-wrote the character in 1933 as a hero, bearing little or no resemblance to his villainous namesake, and began a six-year quest to find a publisher. Titling it The Superman, Siegel and Shuster offered it to Consolidated Book publishing, who had published a 48-page black-and-white comic book entitled Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48. Although the duo received an encouraging letter, Consolidated never again published comic books. Shuster took this to heart and burned all pages of the story, the cover surviving only because Siegel rescued it from the fire. Siegel and Shuster each compared this character to Slam Bradley, an adventurer the pair had created for Detective Comics #1 (May 1939).

By 1934 the pair had once more re-envisioned the character. He became more of a hero in the mythic tradition, inspired by such characters as Samson and Hercules,[11] who would right the wrongs of Siegel and Shuster's times, fighting for social justice and against tyranny. It was at this stage the costume was introduced, Siegel later recalling that they created a "kind of costume and let's give him a big S on his chest, and a cape, make him as colorful as we can and as distinctive as we can."[12] The design was based in part on the costumes worn by characters in outer space settings published in pulp magazines, as well as comic strips such as Flash Gordon,[13] and also partly suggested by the traditional circus strong-man outfit.[12][14] However, the cape has been noted as being markedly different from the Victorian tradition. Gary Engle described it as without "precedent in popular culture" in Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend.[15] The pants-over-tights outfit was soon established as the basis for many future superhero outfits. This third version of the character was given extraordinary abilities, although this time of a physical nature as opposed to the mental abilities of the villainous Superman.[12]

The locale and the hero's civilian names were inspired by the movies, Shuster said in 1983. "Jerry created all the names. We were great movie fans, and were inspired a lot by the actors and actresses we saw. As for Clark Kent, he combined the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor. And Metropolis, the city in which Superman operated, came from the Fritz Lang movie [Metropolis, 1927], which we both loved".[16]

Although they were by now selling material to comic book publishers, notably Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publishing, the pair decided to feature this character in a comic strip format, rather than in the longer comic book story format that was establishing itself at this time. They offered it to both Max Gaines, who passed, and to United Feature Syndicate, who expressed interest initially but finally rejected the strip in a letter dated February 18, 1937. However, in what historian Les Daniels describes as "an incredibly convoluted turn of events", Max Gaines ended up positioning the strip as the lead feature in Wheeler-Nicholson's new publication, Action Comics. Vin Sullivan, editor of the new book, wrote to the pair requesting that the comic strips be refashioned to suit the comic book format, requesting "eight panels a page". However Siegel and Shuster ignored this, utilising their own experience and ideas to create page layouts, with Siegel also identifying the image used for the cover of Action Comics #1 (June 1938), Superman's first appearance.[17]



Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Since his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), he has become one of the world's most popular, enduring and commercially successful superheroes and is arguably Marvel's most popular character.

When Spider-Man first saw print in the 1960s, teenage characters in superhero comic books were usually sidekicks. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring a hero who himself was an adolescent, to whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate.[1] Spider-Man has since appeared in various media including several animated and live-action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips and a successful series of films.

Marvel has published several Spider-Man comic book series, the first being The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy high school student to troubled college student to a married teacher and a member of the superhero team the New Avengers.

Publication history

By 1962, with the success of the Fantastic Four and other characters, Marvel editor and head writer Stan Lee was casting about for a new superhero idea. He said that the idea for Spider-Man arose from a surge in teenage demand for comic books, and the desire to create a character with whom teens could identify.[2] In his autobiography, Lee cites the non-superhuman pulp magazine crime fighter The Spider as an influence[3] and both there and in a multitude of print and video interviews said he was inspired by seeing a fly climb up a wall — adding in his autobiography that he has told that story so often he has become unsure of whether or not it is true.[4] Artist Ditko, in a 1990 article by himself, gave a more prosaic origin story for the name:

“ "In a discussion with me about Spider-Man, Stan said he liked the name Hawkman but DC had the name and character. Marvel would add Ant-Man [and the Wasp] so it would have the insect category. (Technically a spider is not an insect). From that I believed Stan had named the character.[5] ”

Lee approached Marvel publisher Martin Goodman to seek approval for the character. In a 1986 interview, he described in detail his arguments to overcome Goodman's objections.[1a] Goodman agreed to let Lee try out Spider-Man in the upcoming final issue of the canceled science-fiction/supernatural anthology series Amazing Adult Fantasy, which was renamed Amazing Fantasy for that single issue, #15 (Aug. 1962).[6]

Jack Kirby, in a 1982 interview, claimed Lee had minimal involvement in the character's creation, and that it had originated with Kirby and Joe Simon, who in the 1950s had proposed a character called The Silver Spider for the Crestwood comic Black Magic until the publisher went out of business. [1b]

Simon, in his 1990 autobiography, disputes Kirby's account, asserting that the supernatural anthology Black Magic was not a factor, and that he (Simon) devised the name "Spiderman" (later changed to "The Silver Spider"), while Kirby outlined the character's story and powers. Simon later elaborated that his and Kirby's character conception became the basis for Simon's Archie Comics superhero The Fly, introduced in early 1959.

Comics historian Greg Theakston says that Lee, after receiving Goodman's approval for the name Spider-Man and the "ordinary teen" concept, approached Kirby. Kirby told Lee about his 1950s Silver Spider/Spiderman, in which an orphaned boy living with an old couple finds a magic ring that gives him superpowers. Lee and Kirby "immediately sat down for a story conference" and Lee afterward directed Kirby to flesh out the character and draw some pages. Steve Ditko would be the inker.[7] "A day or two later", Kirby showed Lee the first six pages, and, as Lee recalled, "I hated the way he was doing it. Not that he did it badly — it just wasn't the character I wanted; it was too heroic".[8] Simon concurs that Kirby had shown the original Spiderman version to Lee, who liked the idea and assigned Kirby to draw sample pages of the new character but disliked the results — in Simon's description, "Captain America with cobwebs".[1c

Lee turned to Ditko, who developed a visual motif Lee found satisfactory, although Lee would later replace Ditko's original cover with one penciled by Kirby. Ditko said,
“ "The Spider-Man pages Stan showed me were nothing like the (eventually) published character. In fact, the only drawings of Spider-Man were on the splash [i.e., page 1] and at the end [where] Kirby had the guy leaping at you with a web gun... Anyway, the first five pages took place in the home, and the kid finds a ring and turns into Spider-Man.[9] ”

Ditko also recalled that,
“ One of the first things I did was to work up a costume. A vital, visual part of the character. I had to know how he looked ... before I did any breakdowns. For example: A clinging power so he wouldn't have hard shoes or boots, a hidden wrist-shooter versus a web gun and holster, etc. ... I wasn't sure Stan would like the idea of covering the character's face but I did it because it hid an obviously boyish face. It would also add mystery to the character....[10] ”

Much earlier, in a rare contemporaneous account, Ditko described his and Lee's contributions in a mail interview with Gary Martin published in Comic Fan #2 (Summer 1965): "Stan Lee thought the name up. I did costume, web gimmick on wrist & spider signal".[11] Additionally, Ditko shared a Manhattan studio with noted fetish artist Eric Stanton, an art-school classmate[12] who, in a 1988 interview with Theakston, recalled that although his contribution to Spider-Man was "almost nil", he and Ditko had "worked on storyboards together and I added a few ideas. But the whole thing was created by Steve on his own... I think I added the business about the webs coming out of his hands".[13]



Doraemon (ドラえもん, Doraemon?) is a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio (the pen name of Hiroshi Fujimoto) which later became an anime series and Asian franchise. The series is about a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobita Nobi.

The series first appeared in December 1969, when it was published simultaneously in six different magazines. In total, 1,344 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan under the Tentōmushi (てんとう虫, Tentōmushi?) manga brand, extending to forty-five volumes. The volumes are collected in the Takaoka Central Library in Toyama, Japan, where Fujio was born.

Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982, and the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997.

In Vietnam, Doraemon has become the series with largest amount of publishing to date (totally 40 million) and is continually printed and released[1].


In December 1969, the Doraemon manga appeared simultaneously in six different children's monthly magazines. The magazines were titled by the year of children's studies, which included Yoiko (good children), Yōchien (nursery school), and Shogaku Ichinensei (first grade) to Shogaku Yonnensei (fourth grade). By 1973, the series began to appear in two more magazines, Shogaku Gonensei (fifth grade) and Shogaku Rokunensei (sixth grade). The stories featured in each of the magazines were different, meaning the author was originally creating more than six stories each month. In 1977, CoroCoro Comic was launched as a magazine of Doraemon. Original manga based on the Doraemon movies were also released in CoroCoro Comic. The stories which are preserved under the Tentōmushi brand are the stories found in these magazines.

Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five books published from 1974 to 1996, which had a circulation of over 80 million in 1992. In addition, Doraemon has appeared in a variety of manga series by Shōgakukan. In 2005, Shōgakukan published a series of five more manga volumes under the title Doraemon+ (Doraemon Plus), which were not found in the forty-five Tentōmushi volumes.


Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a fictional comic book superhero co-created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger (although only Kane receives official credit) and published by DC Comics. The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy industrialist, playboy, and philanthropist. Witnessing the murder of his parents as a child leads him to train himself to physical and intellectual perfection and don a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his sidekick Robin and his butler Alfred Pennyworth, and fights an assortment of villains influenced by the characters' roots in film and pulp magazines. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation in his war on crime.

Batman became a popular character soon after his introduction, and eventually gained his own title, Batman. As the decades wore on, differing takes on the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series utilized a camp aesthetic associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in the 1986 miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by writer-artist Frank Miller. That and the success of director Tim Burton's 1989 Batman motion picture helped reignite popular interest in the character. A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world.

Publication history


In early 1938, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man".[1] Collaborator Bill Finger recalled Kane
“ had an idea for a character called 'Batman', and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN.[2]

Finger offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume.[3] Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character's secret identity: "Bruce Wayne's first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock ... then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne."[4] Various aspects of Batman's personality, character history, visual design and equipment were inspired by contemporary popular culture of the 1930s, including movies, pulp magazines, comic strips, newspaper headlines, and even aspects of Kane himself.[5] Kane noted especially the influence of the films The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) in the creation of the iconography associated with the character, while Finger drew inspiration from literary characters Doc Savage, The Shadow, and Sherlock Holmes in his depiction of Batman as a master sleuth and scientist.[6]

Kane himself, in his 1989 autobiography, detailed Finger's contributions to Batman creation:

“ One day I called Bill and said, 'I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I've made some crude, elementary sketches I'd like you to look at'. He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman's face. Bill said, 'Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?' At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: 'Color it dark gray to make it look more ominous'. The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action, and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn't have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn't leave fingerprints.[7] ”

Kane signed away ownership in the character in exchange for, among other compensation, a mandatory byline on all Batman comics. This byline did not, originally, say "Batman created by Bob Kane"; his name was simply written on the title page of each story. The name disappeared from the comic book in the mid-1960s, replaced by credits for each story's actual writer and artists. In the late 1970s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began receiving a "created by" credit on the Superman titles, along with William Moulton Marston being given the byline for creating Wonder Woman, Batman stories began saying "Created by Bob Kane" in addition to the other credits.

Finger did not receive the same recognition. While he had received credit for other DC work since the 1940s, he began, in the 1960s, to receive limited acknowledgment for his Batman writing; in the letters page of Batman #169 (Feb. 1965) for example, editor Julius Schwartz names him as the creator of the Riddler, one of Batman's recurring villains. However, Finger's contract left him only with his writing page rate and no byline. Finger, like Shuster, Siegel, and some other creators during and after the Golden Age of Comic Books, would resent National's denying him the money and credit he felt was owed for his creations.[8] At the time of Finger's death in 1974, DC had not officially credited Finger as Batman co-creator.