Superman’s First Date – Idea Stimulator

Believe it or not, Clark Kent asked Lois Lane out on a date in the debut issue of Superman in Action Comics #1 (1938) Lois accepted, but was far from enthusiastic. Was she holding out for a hero?

Clark Kent definitely did not turn out to be the hero Lois was holding out for. He not only didn’t stand up for his date, he expected her to dance with a man she didn’t want to dance with. Lois is forced to take matters into her own hands literally by slapping the aggressive suitor as Clark cowers. The bully attacked Clark instead of Lois. And that coward, Clark let him.

Lois Lane

Though Lois had every right to be angry, readers sympathized with Clark since they were “in on the joke”. Lois would have to wait another 50 years. Lois summed up Clark’s lack of appeal nicely. However, this has been an eccentricity of the comics from the beginning. Clark seemed to desperately want Lois to love him and yet he presented himself as not only a lie, but a singularly unattractive lie as well. Admittedly Lois Lane was no real prize in the beginning either. The difference, of course, is that Lois was not pretending to be anyone else and expecting to be loved for that “secret identity”.

Who did not stick up for you in your life? Was there a time when you might have defended someone and did not? Or have you ever assumed a secret identity? Have you ever participated in a chat room with a different name?


March 1944
How to Date a Superhero


Religions are filled with people whose strengths are greater than the average person. Some of these include invincabilty, super strength, x-ray vision, ability to travel faster than a speeding bullet, flying, etc. Many superheroes are based upon the Greek Gods and Godeses. For example:

The Olympians are a group of 12 gods who ruled after the overthrow of the Titans. All the Olympians are related in some way. They are named after their dwelling place, Mount Olympus. The Olympian Gods are: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, Hephaestus.

Today superheroes are more likely to be found in comic books or being emulated by professional wrestlers. Here’s a short history.

A pre-Superman comic strip hero of sorts is Popeye. He was created by Elzie Segar and first appeared in a strip called Thimble Theater in 1929. While he didn’t go out and fight crime, he did eat his spinich and displayed some above average feats of human strength while fighting his nemises Bluto. In what ways was Popeye a hero? Ask Olive Oil.

The Phantom made his debut on February 17th, 1936 and he was the first costumed hero. The Phantom was the kind of hero that despite his normal “human” capabilities, fought crime with bravery and death defying stunts. Many future heroes would follow his lead. (Almost all Superheroes wore their underpants on the outside of their tights. Most wore capes even if they could not fly.)

In June 1938, Action Comics #1 came out, featuring a man in a red and blue costume lifting a car over his head! This was Superman, the very first comic character to have powers far beyond a normal human being. Sure, Flash Gordon and The Shadow were neat, but they couldn’t lift a car over their heads and throw it at someone! Nor could they let bullets bounce off their chests, or run faster than a train, or leap over tall buildings in a single bound. To say the least, Superman was a fitting name. Today Superman is one of the 10 most recognized ‘people’ on the face of the planet. He has been in movies, cartoons and TV series.

Detective Comics #27 hit the stands in In May, 1939. In it we saw the first appearance of Batman. While Superman was pure and clean, Batman was grim and gritty. In this comic, the villain fell into a vat of acid, which killed him. Not showing any remorse for causing the death, Batman observed “A fitting end for his kind.” Batman was created by Bob Kane and has always remained in print. He was a Super Hero; not a Super Power. During a time when superhero comics were not so popular, Batman survived by focusing on his detective abilities, making his comic stories more of a mystery series than a superhero book.

Here are some of the greatest. Captain Marvel. Captain Thunder, The Flash and Green Lantern. The Spectre, The Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Captain America, Ben Grimm, A.K.A. The Thing. The Hulk. Spider-Man. The X-men, Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Make a composite list of the strengths and characteristics of these or other superheroes. Pick six characteristics you like the most. Use these characteristics or attributes to invent your own Superhero. Give your superhero a name. Do they have alternative identities like Clark Kent, Ben Grimm or Freddy Freeman? As far as I know, Wonder Woman was the only well known female superhero. What would your female superhero be capable of doing?

In 1980, a lithe man with a full head of black hair showed up in my office. He introduced himself as Bob Kane. He said he heard about me from a mutual friend. Once again, I was in the company of one of my childhood heroes. I always preferred Batman over Superman. He had a portfolio with him filled with photographs of his paintings. Each was a six foot version of a frame from one of his Batman comics. He wanted to publish a book of his work. I suggested it to a few publishers who shrugged their shoulders. Why would movie fans want a book of outdated comic books frames no matter how large they were? I felt obligated to tell my superhero the truth. I could see his deep sadness. But he fooled us all. Kane had exhibits in several cities and sold his paintings for $15,000 each. That’s super.

Hear How & Why Bob Kane Created Batman
Terry Gross’ NPR Interview with Bob Kane
Broadcast 1990