The Press: Superman

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How to end the war quickly seemed ridiculously simple to readers of the comic strips last week: send Superman to clean up Hitler. One reader wrote to the Philadelphia Inquirer suggesting precisely that solution.

Last word in adventure comics, Superman is rapidly becoming the No. 1 juvenile vogue in the U. S. A happy combination of Flash Gordon and Popeye the Sailor, Superman is an individual with the speed of an airplane, the strength of a locomotive, the leap of a cricket and the hide of a man of war. He was born on a distant planet called Krypton, whose inhabitants had a physical structure far more advanced than that of earth dwellers, but not enough perspicacity to keep their planet from blowing up like a grain of popcorn. In the debacle only the infant Superman escaped. Reared in an earthly orphanage, he grew to manhood, felt his oats, dedicated his life to helping those in need. In the eight months of his existence as a daily comic-strip character, Superman has:

1) Cleaned up a corrupt city (by tearing the wings off the politicalboss's airplane); 2) rescued a pretty female reporter (by catching her in mid-air); 3) saved the life of a beautiful foreign princess (by sinking a submarine singlehanded) ; 4) foiled a plot on a king's life (by braining a bombster with a camera).

To get around to all these exploits Superman not only has to fly through the air, but to swim faster than a ship can travel, to break through brick walls and leap skyscrapers. To keep his identity a secret he adopts another one: when not supermanhandling the wicked he is a bespectacled cub reporter named Clark Kent. The pretty female reporter is in love with Clark Kent and the beautiful foreign princess is in love with Superman. How to satisfy them both is a problem for Superman's creators.

They are two mild Cleveland youths named Jerry Siegel, who writes the continuity, and Joe Shuster, who draws the pictures. Shuster went to the Cleveland School of Art and Siegel just went to high school. Last year they started something called the American Authors'* League to help ambitious and unknown authors, decided to begin by helping themselves, and concentrated on comic strips. Superman, the only one they have sold, first turned up in Action Comics, a monthly, was taken up by the McClure Newspaper Syndicate last January. It now appears in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, St. Louis and many another large city. Some of them have Superman clubs; in others youngsters have taken to wearing Superman capes and carrying shields. In Milwaukee one enthusiastic young Superman fan jumped off the roof of his house and survived.