Leap Day is here… and so is Superman’s birthday!

DC Super Friends #9
“DC Super Friends” #9 (January 2009). Art by J. Bone.

Once again, it’s that quadrennial quirk of the calendar, Leap Day. Today in comic book-dom is also traditionally Superman’s birthday! (Not long after his pal Batman’s birthday…)

The writers and editors likely chose today as his birthdate in part as a joke. (Captain Marvel and Little Orphan Annie also call today their birthday.) The Leap Day birthdate was given as the day Kal-El was born on Krypton.

Clark Kent, meanwhile, celebrated his “birthday” in older comics on June 18, the day the Kents found his rocket. The June 18 date fits with the real-world June 1938 release of “Action Comics” #1, Superman’s first appearance. June 18 is also the birthday of Bud Collyer, Superman’s long-time radio voice.

Superman’s had the sporadic birthday-themed story over the years. However, the most famous one’s Alan Moore’s 1985 story “For the Man Who Has Everything.” Other stories include a 2009 story in DC’s “Super Friends” title.

Comics being, well, comics (and thus inconsistent), other birthdates have been offered over the years. 1950’s “Action Comics” #149 is cited by some as an October date. However, that’s based on the issue’s cover publication date; Superman’s birthdate was never stated in-story. Meanwhile, a 2009 Geoff Johns-written story showed Clark’s birthday being celebrated in December.

The Superman Homepage, a Superman fan site, usually sticks with the traditional February 29 birthdate. Some non-comics mass media (newspapers, etc.) also note the date. The most prominent such instance was “Time” magazine in its 1988 Superman 50th anniversary issue.

Overall, the February 29th date continues to be the most popular date. Of course, it probably doesn’t really jibe with Superman’s given age in stories. Older stories, and probably most media spinoffs, show him as 29 or 30 years old. Most modern comics (since the 90s) depict him as 35. However, maybe any oddness can be chalked up to a quirk in the Kryptonian calendar?

Birthdates/relevant dates

The 1976 DC calendar lists other relevant dates and birthdates for the classic Superman family:

  • Pete Ross: January 21
  • Terra-Man: February 25
  • Lori Lemaris: February 27
  • Perry White: March 12
  • Mr. Mxyzptlk: April 1 (appropriately enough)
  • Brainiac created: April 6
  • Supergirl lands on Earth: April 11 (celebrated as her secret identity’s “birthday”)
  • The Parasite: May 3
  • Superboy changed his name to Superman (pre-Crisis): May 14
  • Superman’s public debut (as Superboy pre-Crisis): June 11
  • Krypto lands on Earth: June 29
  • Steve Lombard: July 5
  • Lana Lang: July 17
  • Lucy Lane: July 25
  • Bizarro’s creation: July 27
  • Morgan Edge: August 7
  • Lois Lane: August 17
  • Pa Kent: September 1
  • Supergirl: September 22
  • Lex Luthor: September 28
  • Supergirl’s public debut: September 30
  • Ma Kent: November 7
  • Jimmy Olsen: November 29

(Updated 3/15/17)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *