Anyone who grew up in the Superman generations of the 80s and 90s and remembers Christopher Reeve might also recall that Superman’s alter-ego was Clark Kent. But that is not really Superman’s real name, is it? After all, he was an alien from the dying planet Krypton that was rocket-shipped to Earth by his father while he was only a baby. Superman, after raised in Smallville (Kansas) and later going to school at Metropolis University, Superman famously began working at the Daily Planet along side Lois Lane.
But what some do not know though is that Superman’s real name is Kal-El. The latter part of his name is sort of like his surname. For example, his father’s name was Jor-El and his cousin (Supergirl) is Kara Zor-El. But his original name, however, has a deep and interesting history.
A big clue stems from if you were to ask yourself when did the first Superman comic book come out. In June 1938, Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster created Superman. Their drawing ability was not the best and the super-hero concept was unusual, so they had a hard time defining Clark Kent and getting him published. What was interesting though was that Superman’s two creators were Jewish. Why does that matter? Because Superman’s Real Name, Kal-El, refers to him being the voice of God. Kal in Hebrew is sort of like “voice”, and El translates into God. The word also refers to might, strength and power.
Now that we know what Kal-El means in Hebrew and that first Superman comic book came out in 1938 by two Jewish guys, does this mean Superman is Jewish? Of course not. He came from another planet! Because he was raised in Kansas, we could argue that he is both Kryptonian and American, but that is all we can say for sure.
Something we can all agree on as well is that when the first Superman comic came out, Action Comic numero uno, no one predicted that the crudely drawn man with red underwear and the ability to jump really high would eventually fetch numbers in the millions.