In “When We First Met,” we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became the notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.
Today, based on a suggestion from reader Bill S, we look into the history of Superman’s Kryptonian name. Bill specifically asked, “[W]hen did we first find out about Superman’s Kryptonian name – Kal-El? Or was Kal-L first? Why these two variations?”
Evolution of Superman Comics until his Nomenclature as ‘Kal-el’
Super Man as a COMIC STRIP: BIG FAILURE
Later that year, Superman got his own solo ongoing comic book series and Siegel and Shuster adapted the origin story in Action Comics #1 and added in Krypton but not the other aspects or features(like the respective names of the characters)…
Superman Radio Series
Superman however, then starred in his own hit radio series. One of the writers for the radio show,named George Lowther, wrote a novel about Superman in 1942…
It was in that novel that the names of Jor-el and Kal-el debuted.
Superboy in More Fun Comics #101
A few years later, in the first appearance of Superboy in More Fun Comics #101 (by Siegel and Shuster), we get to see Jor-El adapted into the comics…
10th anniversary origin of Superman in Superman #53
It was also worked in in the 10th anniversary origin of Superman in Superman #53..
Superman somehow didn’t learn his birth name until 1957’s Superman #113 by Bill Finger (who did Superman’s other origins but somehow didn’t work his name in there)…
“Return to Krypton” bit in Superman #141
Kal-El, though, was not really used in the comics with any regularity until the time Jerry Siegel returned to the Superman comics in the late 1950s, like this “Return to Krypton” bit in Superman #141…
and Otto Binder worked out the various origins together in Superman #146..
There you go, Bill! Thanks to Mark for the Superman #113 bit comic!