Birth of Superman – and Cinema

Superhero is the most popular genre today in movies. A fan always wonders how we got here. For that we need to read history.


Superman – debuted in 1938


USA was formed in 1783

So, why 1938 ?

For simple reason – USA never needed Superman till then

Ever since USA got independence in 1783 , USA need not to fear as a country due to two reason : –

  1. Economy and military might
  2. Neutrality




However in 1938 , USA needed to be afraid – afraid of Nazi Germany or rather afraid of man named Adolf Hitler.

Here was a man that turned Germany from guilt-ridden-from-World-War-2, economically-weak-from-Great-Depression and demilitarized-by-League-of-Nation into a country that was proud of it’s past, booming economy and scary military ever since he took power in 1932.

Here was a man who invaded Austria and was challenging French and British Empire

Here was a man who called himself “Ubermensch”


“Ubermensch” could not be born in USA . After all USA believed in “All men are created equal under law”. It had to be from outside world.

So why was was USA only one to be scared of Hitler ?

Japan, Spain and Italy had taken Hitler ‘s side

USSR ‘s military was as scary as Nazi Germany

UK was too arrogant to sign “Munich Agreement”

France was too arrogant to not prepare itself for 1940 Invasion


However for USA, it was different tale

USA knew they would never take Hitler ‘s side because of it’s large Jewish population

USA had not been in any war since 1918

USA was in Great Depression so it was not arrogant.

Adding fuel to fire was 1937 Japanese invasion of China. If a country as large as China could be invaded by small island nation of Japan , how could USA be safe ?


So why did Jerry Siegal had to turn Superman into comic book?

Maybe because Jerry was a teen who loved to draw ?

Other reason can be that Jerry was to poor to turn it into a movie ?

Or maybe because Hitler was a cartoon character himself.

I mean just look at Hitler.

Chaplin Moustache.

Emo hairstyle

Swastika logo

All those talk of Aryan Supremacyhqdefault

It sounded something out of comic book or Charlie Chan movies

To be fair Hirohito, Mussolini and Stalin were cartoonish . Even Churchil was bit cartoonish.


So why didn’t Superman fight Nazis in first issue ?

USA was neutral till Pearl Harbour attack in 1941

Surely Jerry did not want to create war.

So Superman had to fight fake villains

So why did despite the fact King Kong revolutionist special effects in Hollywood in 1933 was there no Superman movies made in 1930s or 1940s ?


For simple reason

  1. Comic book was considered “low art ” while story book was considered “high art”
  2. Comic book was for children

Plus there was no need for Superman in movie audience

Those who wanted action had Western

Those who wanted special effects and fantasy had “Snow White”,”Wizard of Oz” , “Thief of Baghdad”

Those who wanted men in tights had “Robin Hood”


Those who wanted realism ,

Well why they want Superman ?

Plus due to lack of income and low percentage , those who read Superman were low in number to watch movies.



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