Fictional Character Biography
When the Golden Age of Comic Books came to a close in the 1950s, most of DC Comics' superhero comic books ceased publication. At the start of the Silver Age, characters such as the Flash and Green Lantern were revamped for more modern times, ignoring or abandoning established continuity and thus making a clean break between the two eras. It was later established that the Golden Age and Silver Age heroes lived on Earth-Two and Earth-One respectively, these being separate parallel Earths in a single Multiverse.
Superman was one of the few exceptions; his stories had been published without interruption since his 1938 debut in Action Comics #1. This caused a continuity problem, in that Superman was simultaneously a member of the Justice Society of America on Earth-Two and also member of the Justice League of America on Earth-One. It was eventually resolved that there were two Supermen. The Silver Age Superman was Kal-El from Earth-One, and the Golden Age Superman was Kal-L from Earth-Two.
Several differences between the two Supermen were established to clarify the distinction. The Earth-One names "Kal-El", "Jor-El" and "Jonathan and Martha Kent" became "Kal-L", "Jor-L" and "John and Mary Kent" on Earth-Two, as in the original Golden Age stories. Kal-L's costume was largely adapted from the 1940s drawing style, retaining the famous sweatshirt wrist cuffs, while his S-shield symbol was originally very different from the main Superman S symbol, adapting the 1940s six-sided version with the tail endings and hard left tilt of the S edges. George Pérez famously redesigned Kal-L's 1940s S shield (starting in JLA (Vol 1) #197) to be mostly the main S symbol with five sides and to merely reflect the tilt connecting the upper edge to the side of shield. Stories featuring both Supermen also indicated that Kal-L was the older of the two, being depicted as late-middle-aged, with grey or solid white hair at the base hair-line and face wrinkles, while his Earth-One counterpart was a youthful man of modern times.
These choices not only helped DC Comics to restore continuity to some of the character's Golden Age stories, but also led them to experiment with a Superman other than the mainstream one. Several differences between Kal-L and the better-known Kal-El were introduced. Kal-L was written to be different from the original Golden Age Superman, most famously by revealing his dual identities of Clark Kent and Superman to the woman he loved in the late 1940s, the Lois Lane of Earth-Two, and eventually marrying her in 1950. Their early marital life was depicted in the feature "Mr. & Mrs. Superman" in DC's Superman Family series, which was very different from the original published Superman stories of the 1940s and 1950s, in which Kent kept his secret from Lane and never married her.
Read more about this topic: Superman (Earth-Two)
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Famous quotes containing the words biography, fictional and/or character:
“A great biography should, like the close of a great drama, leave behind it a feeling of serenity. We collect into a small bunch the flowers, the few flowers, which brought sweetness into a life, and present it as an offering to an accomplished destiny. It is the dying refrain of a completed song, the final verse of a finished poem.”
—André Maurois (18851967)
“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.... This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.”
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“When much intercourse with a friend has supplied us with a standard of excellence, and has increased our respect for the resources of God who thus sends a real person to outgo our ideal; when he has, moreover, become an object of thought, and, whilst his character retains all its unconscious effect, is converted in the mind into solid and sweet wisdom,it is a sign to us that his office is closing, and he is commonly withdrawn from our sight in a short time.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)