The Superman, also known by his real name, William Dunn, was the earliest-known person to carry the mantle of Superman.
He originated as a poor man who had to wait on a bread-line each day for food. He was approached by a man named Professor Smalley, who offered him a hot meal. Upon following the strange professor, our poor man became a lab rat and was subjugated to a strange meteor rock, which-- it was later revealed-- gave him superpowers.
His superpowers-- which, unlike the modern Superman's powers, are mainly mental in nature: Telepathy and the ability to control human minds, and telescopic vision-- quickly corrupted the poor man, and he became an evil supervillain, quickly dubbing himself The Superman.
After experimenting with his powers, he decided to take over the world; He began sowing discord between nations to prepare for this. Professor Smalley, however, wanted the powers for himself, and the two had a final battle, of which Dunn was the victor. Unfortunately, Dunn's powers wore off soon after.
Behind the Scenes
This early version of Superman was depicted almost entirely different than the modern version. First and foremost, he was a villain.
Secondly, his powers were mainly mental in nature.
And thirdly, he was originally human, while the modern version was an alien raised on Earth.
There were two primary sources for the creation of this character. The first was the advent of the Great Depression, occurring in 1932 when Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster were being affected by it in terms of not being able to find a job. The second was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, more specifically his concept of the Ubermensch (which was German for "Superman", or more accurately "Overman") from his philosophical tract Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which both Siegel and Schuster criticized.
Powers and Abilities
Superman possess Telepathy, and the ability to control human minds. as well as telescopic vision.
|Versions of the character Superman|
|Historical Versions||William Dunn • The Superman • Kal-El|
|Alternate Universes||Earth-One • Earth-Two • Earth-31 • Red Son • Tangent • Calvin Ellis • Ultraman|
|Future Versions||Kingdom Come • Superman X • Willigig • Kaleb • Superman Prime • Superman of the 30th Century • Superman of the 67th Century • Superman XII • Superstar • Superego • Kal Kent • Supercilia • Titano • Kan • Layna • Superman of Xudar|
|In Other Media||Films Continuity • DCAU Continuity • Lois & Clark Continuity • Smallville Continuity • スーパーマン @ Tokyo Continuity • Man of Steel Continuity|