This weekend, people from all over the world will descend up a small town of Metropolis, Illinois — but why? To celebrate the most American pop culture icon of all time: Superman.
The annual Superman Celebration brings fans from far and wide to the streets of Metropolis, to admire the town's massive Superman statue and pay tribute to The Man of Steel.
Since 1938, Superman has captured the hearts and imaginations of international audiences, appearing in not just comic books, but also in TV series and movies.
But do you know everything about the Kryptonian turned Clark Kent? Here are ten lesser-known facts about The Man of Tomorrow.
Superman started out as a super villain
Did you know that the superhero who represents everything good was once meant to be evil? Jerry Siegel, who co-created Superman, first thought of the character as "The Super-Man," a bad guy set on controlling the world. Fortunately, that character concept never flew (pun intended) and he became a hero instead, donning his signature colors of bright red and blue.
Superman couldn't always fly
Most of our images of Superman show him soaring through the skies, his cape billowing behind him. Originally, however, Superman didn't fly. In fact, the most he could do was leap buildings in a single bound.
It wasn't until 1941 that the character began to fly like we're familiar with today. Along with this came other powers, such as his heat vision, x-ray vision and the "solar flare" ability he just gained in the books.
Einstein and Asimov argued over Superman
Two of the most brilliant minds of all time, Albert Einstein and Isaac Asimov, often disagreed over just how fast Superman could fly. Einstein determined that not even Superman could fly faster than the speed of light. However, Asimov stated that "Professor Einstein's statement is based on theory. Superman's speed is based on fact."
Superman stood for truth, justice and the American way? Not at first
Although one of the most common sayings about Superman is that he stands for "truth, justice and the American way," this phrase wasn't initially used to describe the superhero. It didn't come about until 1940s-era radio broadcasts, and it didn't actually become popular until the '50s, when it was used in the George Reeves Superman TV series.
Dracula once bit Superman
In the comic books, Dracula once bit Superman. But the infamous vamp was only hurting himself — Superman absorbs energy from the sun, which resulted in Dracula exploding shortly after biting the Man of Steel. Oops.
Clark Kent exists in the Marvel universe
Did you know that the Marvel universe actually contains a Clark Kent? That's right — but there, he's merely a mild-mannered reporter and not Superman.
Superman can wield Mjolnir
Not many can wield Thor's mighty hammer, but Superman can — he proved it in the JLA/Avengers crossover. That's right: Superman is worthy of Mjolnir. In that same story, Superman also used Captain America's shield.
The U.S. government once tried to cover up a Superman comic
In 1945 – during the top-secret Manhattan project – the U.S. government tried to cover up a Superman comic book with a plot that revolved around scientists splitting the atom and creating an atomic bomb. This comic came out before the public even knew such a thing was possible.
Superman had a Mini-Me
One story from the Superman comics had our hero capable of projecting a smaller version of himself, who also possessed his powers. The miniature Superman was however so successful that the real Superman got jealous and tried to kill him. In the end, though, Superman's Mini-Me saved the world and Superman — by sacrificing himself. Can we get an "awwww...?"
Superman Returns grossed more at the box office than Batman Begins
Regardless of what anyone thinks about the 2005 movie reboot with Brandon Routh in the title role of Superman Returns, it still did better at the box office than the Batman reboot, Batman Begins. That still doesn't make up for Superman being a dead-beat dad, though.