The character, created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel for National Comics (today DC Comics), subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, and video games. Superman was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton and, as an infant, was rocketed to Earth by Jor-El, his scientist father, moments before Krypton exploded. The rocket landed on Earth outside the town of Smallville, where young Kal-El was discovered and adopted by the amiable Jonathan and Martha Kent. As he grew, he discovered that he possessed powers far beyond those of mortal men and women and resolves to use them to help others.
When not fighting the forces of evil as Superman, he lives among humanity as Clark Kent, a "mild-mannered reporter" for the Daily Planet. Clark works alongside reporter Lois Lane, with whom he is romantically involved. In current comics continuity, they are married; however, the character has had several other relationships throughout his years in comics. The character's adventures are today published in a number of comic books.
|“|| I've always been interested in comic books as an art form, and when I was younger I was addicted to them. I read Superman and Superboy, but Captain Marvel was probably my favorite of the super-heroes. The comic I loved best, though, was Pogo. After all, Kermit's beginnings were in a swamp, too.|
—Jim Henson, Creator of The Muppets 
- Beginning in the first season, Superman appeared on Sesame Street in animated inserts, produced by Filmation, the studio which had produced The New Adventures of Superman and its related spinoffs (1966-1969). In his first appearance, as seen in the first test pilot (included in Old School: Volume 2) , Superman battles a giant ape, in recycled footage from the New Adventures episode "The Chimp Who Made it Big," and a rapid transition results in the Man of Steel briefly announcing the letter D. In the archive footage, Superman's voice is that of Clayton Collyer, who played the role on radio and on the Filmation series.
Superman's second appearance featured a more substantial amount of new footage, and a new voice actor (Lennie Weinrib), as he explains why S is his favorite letter. Both segments featured music taken from the Filmation series, composed by John Gart, who had performed the organ score on the radio Superman series. (EKA: Episode 0184) (Old School: Volume 1)
- Episode 27 of Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony features an insert with a Muppet Superman (Victor Yerrid) trying to return a DVD to the rental store. When he learns that he's going to have to pay a late fee, and the clerk won't believe that he was out saving the world, Superman reverses the rotation of the Earth in order to turn back time (much like the plot element from Superman: The Movie). Clark Kent's cousin, Craig Kent, also appears in this episode with an editorial commentary wherein he laments being overshadowed by his cousin Clark.
- A 1966 presentation reel prepared for La Choy is introduced using narration taken from the opening of The Adventures of Superman radio serial (1940-1951), which starred Clayton "Bud" Collyer as Superman, and used in several subsequent versions. "Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. More spectacular than a rocket launch. Wilder than science fiction. Sexier than Playboy. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."
- In a sketch from The Ed Sullivan Show, a group of Reindeer attempt to make it snow. When they see the first snowflake, they make an announcement similar to the ones made by people who see Superman enter the scene: "It's a storm!" "It's a blizzard!" "Well, It's a beginning".
- The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970) references the same opening when Fred the Elf is taken prisoner and claims that he is not merely a "mild-mannered" toy builder, but "Super Elf, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."
- In The Perry Como Winter Show (1972), The Country Trio perform "You Don't Mess Around with Jim," which includes the lyric "You don't tug on Superman's cape."
- Super Grover is a long-running spoof of Superman. His secret identity is Grover Kent. It is also said that Super Grover is "smarter than a speeding bullet" during the introductions to his segments, and whenever Super Grover is arriving on the scene, whoever is in distress would say "It's a bird! It's a plane!" only to say "It's Super Grover" in a disappointed voice among Grover's landing.
- In a 1970s Sesame Street News Flash, Pinocchio makes up crazy lies to demonstrate his nose growing longer. One of the lies is that he "can lick Superman."
- In an Ernie and Bert sketch, Bert tells Ernie that if he can clean his mess up before lunchtime, he's Superman. When Bert bets that he can't do it in 15 seconds, Ernie proclaims "Here goes old Ernie, faster than a speeding bullet."
- Tom appeared as Superman in a 1971 sketch.
- A Sesame Street segment featuring kids painting on a glass surface in front of a camera includes a boy who paints a bird which the kids in voiceover narrate using a variation of the Superman radio introduction: "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's superbird!" (YouTube)
- When Mommy Dodo looks for Big Bird at the airport in Follow That Bird, she says, "Is that a bird?" Daddy Dodo replies, "No, it's a plane."
- Elmo has a modified Superman plush doll on his bed in Kids' Favorite Country Songs. When his cousin Elmer comes over to play, he asks him if he wants to play superheroes.
- When Othmar the Grouch lands on Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch notes the arrival of his ship by paraphrasing the popular Superman tagline: "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... trash can?"
- David appears in a sketch wearing a Superman suit having just emerged from a telephone booth. A popular conception of the transformation from Clark Kent to Superman is that he changes in a telephone booth.
- In the "Sticky (Ooey Gooey)" song, a boy can be seen wearing a Superman t-shirt. (YouTube)
- Co-production Plaza Sesamo has an animated character called Superkid; he uses the same colour scheme and title card format as Superman.
- The outreach video Here For You features Elmo and his cousin Chester playing superheroes. They announce their characters, Avocado Man and Turnip Boy, as "Faster than a mushy green vegetable. More powerful than a crash in the dirt." Yet another allusion to the classic Superman introduction.
- In an interview with Jewcy.com, Grover is asked if Super Grover and Superman ever encountered. Grover says they haven't, but if they did, "[they would] have a lot of super important, super-secret things to talk about."
- In Grover's 140 character speech for the Shorty Awards, his third one is Superman.
- A chapter title on the Iron Monster and Sesame Heroes DVD features a comic book cover of Slimey as a superhero spoofing Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman).
The Muppet Show
- When Christopher Reeve (famous for playing Superman) is the guest on The Muppet Show episode 418, Miss Piggy's dressing room is all decked out in Superman memorabilia. Reeve is also seen hanging out backstage reading superhero comic books with a group of rats, one of which he refers to as Super Rat (identified later as Rizzo in The Muppet Show Fan Club newsletter). Numerous jokes about Reeve being "The Man of Steel" are made throughout the episode.
- Promotional photos of Reeve as Superman can be seen on the corkboard behind Sam in the UK spot from episode 422.
- A poster of Superman from Superman: The Movie adorns the wall of Gabriel's bedroom in the number "Honest Lullaby" from episode 503.
- In episode 317, Wayne spends the majority of his "Dog Walk" commenting on things he passes by as he walks his dog. In reaction to the incessant pulling by his dog on leash, he exclaims that he's "not a Superman."
- In song, Annie Sue says that Pecos Bill "was the Western Superman to say the least" in episode 520.
- In the first episode, "Noisy Neighbors," Baby Gonzo enters the TV set and becomes "Super Gonzo". His alter ego is Cluck Kent; Baby Piggy appears as Piggy Lane.
- Super Gonzo also appears in a third season episode, "Fozzie's Family Tree," which parodies Superman's backstory on Krypton.
- In "Eight Take-Away One Equals Panic," the song "Table for One" includes a brief lyric about Superman.
- When the babies decide to write to Hollywood stars in "This Little Piggy Went to Hollywood," Skeeter says she's writing to Supergirl (Superman's cousin) because "she's neat-o!"
- The title of "Faster than a Speeding Weirdo" is a reference to the "faster than a speeding bullet" radio narration, but the rest of the episode is not related to Superman.
- Baby Kermit appeared in Superman dress on the cover of issue #11 of the Muppet Babies comic book in 1987.
- In episode 108 of Muppets Tonight, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew mistakes Hercule Poirot for Superman (skipping over everyone else's confusion that he is Hercules) and asks if he will fly around the earth backwards to go back in time, as Superman did in Superman: The Movie.
- The "Fairyland PD" sketch in episode 203 features dialogue between Bobo and Clifford about Bobo's wearing glasses on the job as a disguise. Clifford thinks it's ridiculous, but Bobo defends that it works for Clark Kent. After some pondering, Clifford comes to realize that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same.
- In the Summer 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine, Piggy appears as SuperMoi with Supergirl star Helen Slater.
- Beaker appears as Super Beaker in the Christopher Reeve issue, idolizing Reeve's famous role.
- The Siskel and Ebert Muppets trade jokes about various film classics in the Summer 1988 issue: "What's the Swedish Chef's favorite movie? Souper-man."
- The "Mondo Muppet" section of the Fall 1988 issue features several jokes about the sport of bowling: "What did Superman call the bowling alley he opened? Lois Lanes."
The Muppet Show Comic Book
- A movie poster in J. P. Grosse's office as seen in Muppet Diary 1980 features Kermit as "Superfrog" and references the 1978 film's tagline as "You'll Believe a Frog Can Fly".
- The 1978 Sesame Street book The Exciting Adventures of Super Grover parodies Superman's traditional introduction as Super Grover being "smarter than a speeding bullet, furrier than a powerful locomotive, and able to leap tall sandwiches in a single bound." Additionaly, the "It's a bird, it's a plane" phrase is parodied as "It's an eggplant! It's a meatball!"
- A French poster for The Muppet Movie features Kermit as Superman, spoofing a French poster for the release of Superman: The Movie. Statler and Waldorf appear in the bottom corner positions occupied by Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando, respectively.
- Kermit and Piggy appear together as Lois Lane and Superman in the 1982 Miss Piggy Calendar.
- The same image was later used on the cover of Kermit magazine, a 1989 German publication.
- Transformed by one of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's chemical mixtures, Beaker is seen again in his superhero alter ego, in the comic "Disco Frog" from the 1979 UK Muppet Show Annual. This time his secret identity sports Superman's signature hair curl and shirt-bursting chest emblem.
- A features Gonzo with the caption, "It's a bird, it's a plane ...what is it?"
- Ernie has appeared on Sesamstrasse merchandising as a superhero, and a secret identity with Clark Kent-like glasses. One such example is a set of shot glasses featuring both personae.
- Animal appears as "Superanimal" in a 1997 coloring book, representing one of the Great Muppets in American History, referencing Superman's status as an American icon.
- The packaging of the Super Scooter action figure was decorated with a mock DC Comics comic book. The text on the cover advertised the content of the book as follows: "You'll Believe a Muppet Will Fly!" The phrase is a take on the original marketing tagline of Superman: The Movie, which boasted of its technical achievements attempting to convince an audience that "You'll Believe a Man Can Fly."
- The 1981 Muppet Meeting Film "Ideal Sales Rep" features Leo using Grump as an example of what an ideal sales representative can be. Using a magic wand, he transforms Grump into a gorilla and ultimately, "Super Salesman" with a shield on his chest shaped like Superman's with two Ss.
- In the CD-ROM game Muppets Inside, when the tomato item is picked up, the Data-Bus screen reads "Tomatoes are a comedian's nemesis. To Fozzie, a ripe tomato in the hands of a heckler is like kryptonite in the hands of Lex Luthor." Also, in one of the ending scenes for the "Death-Defying Acts of Culture" mini-game, Statler and Waldorf exclaim "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super-Geek!" when Gonzo crashes into their box.
- In the Muppet Treasure Island CD-ROM game, the player is given a wardrobe to dress their character in. One of them is a superhero costume modeled after Superman's. The reflection of the player is shown in a mirror, flexing and flying out of frame.
- In The Muppets, Rob Corddry plays a Hollywood Walk of Fame "Superman" who works in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre taking pictures with tourists. Gary can't believe he got his pictures taken with Superman, but Mary doesn't think he's the real Superman.
- In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet: The Good, the Bad, and the Fuzzy, Danvers' superhero outfit features a "D" on his shirt, similar to the "S" that Superman has on his outfit.
- Action Comics #506 features a story about Jorlan, a sasquatch-like android from Krypton who is programmed to lure the children of Earth into outer space. As he descends upon an amusement park, TV reporter Lana Lang's production assistant remarks that he looks like "an escaped Muppet." Christopher Reeve can be seen reading this issue backstage with the rats on The Muppet Show.
- In the 1997 film based on Superman character Steel, the title character is involved in a car chase. To assist in his speedy getaway, his partner Susan Sparks hacks into the city's public transportation to change all the traffic lights green. When she has trouble doing so, she tells him over the radio, "It ain't easy being green."
- In the 2010 Smallville episode "Absolute Justice," Oliver Queen refers to Hawkman as Big Bird.
- The 1982 book and audio set, From Krypton to Metropolis was directed and produced by Christopher Cerf. Several other Sesame Street employees worked on the project:
- Narrated by Michael Kingsbury Frith
- Jim Thurman as Perry White and Director of the Orphanage
- Michael Kingsbury Frith as Tugboat Captain and Arresting Officer
- Frederick R. Newman as Grown-up Lex Luthor
- Christina Frith (Michael Frith's daughter) as Lois Lane
- Music by David Conner
- Engineering by Doug Epstein (engineer on many Sesame albums)
- Cries and Whispers by: Sharon Lerner
- Special Thanks to Jonathan Frith
Other cast/crew in Muppet/Henson productions also appeared in Superman-related works.
- Amy Adams played Lois Lane in Man of Steel (2013) and the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Edward Asner played Granny Goodness in Superman: The Animated Series (1998-1999)
- Justine Bateman played Sarah / Zara in four episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1996)
- Ned Beatty played Otis in Superman (1979) and Superman II (1980)
- Robert Beatty played a tanker captain in Superman III (1983) and the U. S. President in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
- Richard Belzer played Inspector Henderson in four Season One episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Sandra Bernhard played Gsptlsnz in the episode "Mxyzpixilated" of Superman: The Animated Series (1997)
- Ian Bliss played a shuttle commander in Superman Returns (2006)
- John Bluthal played a Pisa vendor in Superman III (1983)
- Wayne Brady played John in an episode of Superboy (1990)
- Downtown Julie Brown played Samantha in the episode "Sex, Lies and Videotape" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1997)
- Jason Carter played Calvin Dregg in the Season Two episode "Whine, Whine, Whine" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Rosalind Cash played Judge Angela Diggs in the Season One episode "The Man of Steel Bars" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
- Henry Cavill played Clark Kent/Superman in Man of Steel (2013) and the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Townsend Coleman played various roles in Superman: The Animated Series (1998-1999)
- Dave Coulier played The Real Anonymous in the episode "Chip Off the Old Clark" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Aria Noelle Curzon played Lucy Lane in the Superman the Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun" (1997)
- Mac Davis played Larry Smiley in the Season Three episode "Just Say Noah" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Barry Dennen played Dr McClean in Superman III' (1983)
- James Denton played Superman in All-Star Superman (2011)
- Michael Dorn played John Henry Irons/Steel and Kalibak in Superman: The Animated Series (1998-1999)
- Lori Fetrick played Vixen in the Season Four episode "Faster Than a Speeding Vixen" of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1997)
- Laurence Fishburne played Perry White in Man of Steel (2013) and the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Ben Ryan Ganger provided voiceovers for the Ruby-Spears cartoon (1988)
- Brad Garrett played Reverend Bob in the season three episode "I Now Pronounce You..." of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1996), and Bibbo Bibowksi and Lobo on Superman: The Animated Series' (1997-1999)
- John Glover played Lionel Luthor on Smallville (2001-2008)
- Gilbert Gottfried played Nick Knack in two episodes of Superboy (1990) and Mr. Mxyzptlk in Superman: The Animated Series (1997-1999)
- Elliott Gould played Vincent Winninger in the season one episode "Witness" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
- Harold Gould played Edwin Griffin in two second season episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994-1995)
- Richard Griffiths played a terrorist in Superman II (1980)
- Mark Hamill played The Joker in several episodes of Superman: The Animated Series (1997-1998)
- Melissa Joan Hart played Irma Ardeen in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "New Kids in Town" (1998)
- Teri Hatcher played Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997)
- Anne Heche voiced Lois Lane in Superman/Doomsday (2007)
- Sherman Hemsley played Mr. Schott in the Season Two episode "Season's Greedings" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Raelee Hill played a hospital nurse in Superman Returns (2006)
- William Hootkins played Harry Howler in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and Lex Luthor and the Narrator on BBC Radio (1990-1993)
- Bo Jackson played himself in the Season One episode "The Rival" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Penn Jillette played Darrin Romick in the Season One episode "Illusions of Grandeur" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- James Earl Jones played Franklin W. Stern in the season one episode "The House of Luthor" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Frank Langella played Perry White In Superman Returns (2006)
- Linda Lavin played Sydney Carlton in the Broadway production of It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1966)
- Kristanna Loken played Penny Barnes in the Season Four episode "AKA Superman" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1997)
- William H. Macy played the Director of the Paranormals Institute in the episode "Where There's Smoke..." of Superman: The Animated Series (1998)
- Christopher Malcolm played a miner in Superman III (1983)
- Howie Mandel played Mr. Mxyzptlk in the Season Four episode "Twas the Night Before Mxymas" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1996)
- James Marsden played Richard White in Superman Returns (2006)
- Andrea Martin played Mad Harriet in Superman: The Animated Series (1998-1999)
- Vincent Marzello played Jimmy Olsen on BBC Radio (1990-1993)
- Michael McKean played Dr. Fabian Leek in the Season One episode "Vatman" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994) and Perry White in three episodes of Smallville (2003-2011)
- Christopher Meloni played Colonel Nathan Hardy in Man of Steel (2013)
- Shanna Moakler played a pretty girl in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode "Big Girls Gon't Fly" (1996)
- Laraine Newman played Toby Raynes in Superman: The Animated Series (1998)
- Gary Owens narrated the TV version of It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1975)
- Frank Oz made a cameo appearance as a brain surgeon just about to begin surgery when the city's power is cut in a scene removed from Superman III (1983). In addition, Oz supervised puppet sequences for the film, also cut from the final version.
- Dan Payne played a Lexcorp security guard in two episodes of Smallville (2003)
- Kal Penn played Stanford in Superman Returns (2006)
- Patrick Pinney provided voiceovers for the Ruby-Spears cartoon (1988)
- Richard Portnow played Barry Barker in the Season Two episode "Whine, Whine, Whine" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Paula Poundstone provided the voice of the computer in the Season Three episode "Virtually Destroyed" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Richard Pryor played Gus Gorman in Superman III (1983)
- Hal Rayle provided voiceovers for the Ruby-Spears cartoon (1988)
- Alaina Reed played Nurse Berkey in the Season Two episode "Target: Jimmy Olsen" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Denise Richards played Angela in the episode "Season's Greedings" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Al Roker played a weatherman in the episode "Little Girl Lost: Part 1" of Superman: The Animated Series (1998)
- William Schallert played Al in the Season Two episode "The Source" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- Richard Schiff played Dr. Emil Hamilton in Man of Steel (2013)
- Kerry Shale played an MSBC newscaster in Superman IV: A Quest for Peace (1987) and Superboy and the Cyborg in Superman, Doomsday and Beyond (BBC Radio, 1993)
- Paul Shedlowich played news anchor #4 in Superman Returns (2006)
- Helen Slater played the title role in Supergirl (1984) and Lara in three episodes of Smallville (2007-2010)
- Cobie Smulders played Shannon Bell in the Smallville episode "Bound" (2004)
- Ben Stein played a lawyer in the Season Two episode "Whine, Whine, Whine" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995)
- Cree Summer played Natasha and a psychic in Superman: The Animated Series (1998-1999), various characters in the Superman Returns video game (2006), and Mercy Graves in Superman/Doomsday (2007)
- Loretta Swit played Sydney Carlton in the TV version of It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1975)
- Shelley Thompson played Lois Lane in Superman on Trial (radio, 1988) and Lana Lang in The Adventures of Superman (1990)
- Ben Vereen played Dr. Andre Novack in the season one episode "Illusions of Grandeur" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994)
- David Warner played Jor-El in the Season One episode "Foundling" of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994) and Ra's Al Ghul in Superman: The Animated Series (1999)
- Lesley Ann Warren played Lois Lane in a TV version of the musical, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman (1975)
- Frank Welker played several characters in Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)
- Fred Willard played President Garner in three episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1997-1999)
- John Williams composed the music for Superman: The Movie (1978)
- ↑ Fifty Who Made DC Great, 1985