Click to viewDC Comics' familiar red, yellow and blue-clad Superman may be 70 years old this year, but that doesn't mean that his creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster weren't thinking about their ubermensch before 1938. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet Archive, now everyone can read their little-seen, very different, earlier attempt at a character calling himself The Superman.
The story, entitled "The Reign Of The Superman", is reprinted from the third issue of the wonderfully-named Science Fiction: The Vanguard of Future Civilization, a zine self-produced by the future creators of the Man of Steel (Interestingly enough, when DC's Superman returned from his "death" in the early '90s, he did so in a storyline titled "Reign Of The Supermen"; unusual coincidence or knowing reference?) five years before the more familiar version of the character appeared in the first issue of Action Comics. This Superman, however, is somewhat less humble than the one we all know and love, as he proves with this expositionary introduction:
I can do four things that no one else on the planet can emulate. They are: intercept interplanetary messages, read the mind of anyone I desire, by sheer mental concentration force ideas into people's heads, and throw my vision to any spot in the universe.
While the story itself has little to do with the character that has come to be known by the same name, it's a fascinating view into a different course for popular culture's favorite alien son.