Art by Jim Lee

Leaping years in a single bound: Why Feb. 29 is celebrated as Superman’s birthday

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Happy birthday, Superman!

Superman’s date of birth has fallen into several different brackets on the calendar over his colorfully clad career as a crime fighter, but only one has been officially celebrated by DC Comics in recent years.

Also Happy Birthday to Shazam! (Formerly known as Captain Marvel)

Feb. 29 is also celebrated as Billy Batson’s birthday. The young man, imbued with the powers of the old god’s by an ancient wizard, was formerly recognized as Captain Marvel until a name dispute with Marvel Entertainment. The character is now known as “Shazam.”

An excerpt from DC Comics’ 1976 “Super Calendar.” Photo courtesy DC Comics

Almost every four years the Georgian calendar, which is the internationally recognized timetable used across the planet, receives its necessary realignment in the form of a leap year.

To achieve this, an extra day is supplementary added to the month of February. That extra day is today, Feb. 29.

Feb. 29 was concretely ordained as Clark Kent’s birthday in a 1976 edition of DC Comics’ “Super Calendar.”

The calendar listed a number of historic occasions and established birthdays for numerous characters, including our very own Lois Lane, who celebrates her birthday on August 17.

The date was popularized in the story “For the Man Who has Everything” that appeared in the 1985 “Superman Annual no. 11.”

The story was later adapted for “Justice League: Unlimited” in an episode that shared the same title.

In the story, Wonder Woman and Batman come to Superman’s Fortress of solitude to celebrate the Metropolis Marvel’s big day just to find him incapacitated at the hands of Mongul.

Why Feb. 29 is recognized as Superman’s birthday

DC’s reasoning for establishing Superman’s birthday on leap day is somewhat laughable.

Their decision to establish this date as Superman’s date of birth was because it only appears almost every four years. In other words, it was a way to explain why Superman is still “young” after appearing in comics for generations.

Of course this is somewhat ridiculous because the aging process doesn’t decelerate just because your birthdate doesn’t always appear on a calendar.

In later years Superman’s power source, the sun, was used as a more acceptable explanation for the Man of Steel’s stunted aging process.

Other dates recognized for Superman’s birthday

With characters like the Flash running back in time and altering history, or cataclysmic multiversal crisis’ happening on a regular basis, the historic backgrounds of the DC Universe are constantly in a state of fluidity.

From “World’s Finest Comics no. 235,” published Jan. 1976. Art by Dick Dillin.

Being the character that started it all, Superman’s date of birth has bounced from place to place faster than a speeding bullet.

One established date is April 18, the date the epic “Action Comic’s no. 1” was released to newsstands in 1938. This date was recognized in the 2016 miniseries, “Superman: American Alien.”

Another established day is Dec. 1. This was sanctioned in the 2009-2010 post “Flashpoint” miniseries “Superman: Secret Origin.”

Another accepted day is June 18. This was the date that Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha, found Krypton’s last son in a spaceship that crashed in the small Kansas based town of Smallville.

Featured photo courtesy DC Comics

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.


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