In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman stands tall as the godfather of the entire genre. With his trademark S emblazoned across his chest, bright red cape and trunks, and legendary spit curl, the Man of Steel burst onto the pop-culture scene during the waning days of the Great Depression, just a few years before the U.S. entered WWII. He was seen as a hero for the times, a working-class orphan who used his immense power to help those in need.

Over the years, Superman has freed himself from the chains of the comic book industry to become a symbol of hope and heroism in every medium, for fans around the globe. He transcends superheroes and comics; he’s a part of American folklore.

This Friday, Superman makes his triumphant comeback on the big screen in Man of Steel, starring Henry Cavill as the last son of Krypton. To give you a rundown on how the character has progressed from his humble origins to this new $225 million blockbuster, we’re taking a look at The Evolution of Superman in Pop Culture.

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