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The Many Faces of Superman!
Picture contributed by John D. Koen

I didn't have any conscious models for Superman. I suppose I may have been somewhat influenced by Johnny Weismuller. I had always been kind of fascinated, as a boy, by the Tarzan newspaper strip and the Weismuller movies, and I guess I may have imitated then subconsciously to a degree. Alex Raymond's strip Rip Kirby was probably also an influence.

At one point in the 1950s, I gave some thought to making Superman look more like George Reeves, the actor who played him on television. I had seen Reeves once on the set, briefly, on one of my trips to the coast. I began to study his features on the TV show, but finally decided that it would be pointless to copy him too literally, though I think I did get his profile a little bit from time to time.

I wanted to show strength, of course, and ruggedness. And character. Superman had to be the kind of person you'd want to have on your side.

When I drew Clark Kent, on the other hand, I deliberately softened his features, made them less angular than Superman's. I wanted him to appear more meek. Just sort of a good Joe. I don't know if it worked, but that's what I was trying to do.

Superman's hair was different from Clark's, too, of course. That curl would come down - it was a way of showing action. I guess that had been Shuster's action causing that lock of hair to fall out of place.

We also had arguments about showing expression. I felt it was necessary to put lines in the face to show pain or whatever. Mort and I had long discussions about this. He thought they made Superman look too old. I think I finally got through to him by pointing out that even a baby, when it's angry or crying, has lines in its face.

- Curt Swan

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Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
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