The Wayback Machine: A Super Idea
Seventy years ago, two Cleveland teenagers dreamed up Superman — and a new kind of hero.

With superheroes everywhere from the box office to toy shelves to Happy Meal boxes, it's hard to believe that what future pop-culture historians might call the “superhero age” began just 70 years ago. And even then, the rest of the world wouldn't thrill to the exploits of that “strange visitor from another planet” — Superman, the archetype of all today's costumed do-gooders — for another five years.

In 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were just two Cleveland 19-year-olds. Enamored of comic strips and science-fiction novels, they dreamed up their own creation combining the two. A Chicago publisher expressed interest but ultimately rejected their “Superman” idea. Crushed, Shuster burned all his artwork except the cover.