Robot 6

Happy birthday, Superman!

Art by John Byrne, from "Time" magazine

Art by John Byrne, from “Time” magazine

Since his debut nearly 78 years ago, Superman has had a handful of different “birth dates,” including Dec. 1 and sometime in October, but Feb. 29 — Leap Day! — is the one that’s more or less stuck. It’s the date longtime Superman editor Julius Schwartz settled on, and the one mentioned both in the celebrated 1985 story “For the Man Who Has Everything” and in Time‘s 1988 cover story.

And it’s the date DC Comics has embraced (although not always consistently in its books), and is celebrating this year with a 65 percent-off sale on select Superman digital collected editions.

Why Feb. 29 and not, say, April, when Action Comics #1 debuted, or June, when Clark Kent celebrates his birthday? Apparently to slow the (surprisingly vain) Man of Steel’s aging process: See, he only has a birthday every four years. Eh, I’d do that too, if I could get away with it.

So, to the Man Who Has Everything: Happy birthday! We’ll get together again in 2020.

From "For the Man Who Has Everything," by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

From “For the Man Who Has Everything,” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons




This is something that always bugged me. He gets to have all the best powers AND his birthday just happens to fall on February 29th? Really? And I’m saying this as a huge Superman fan. It’s okay to not give him ALL the coincidences. I think it’s best to keep it vague, myself. Plus, how would you line up the Kryptonian calendar with ours anyway?

Ian: His birthday falls on the 29th because he wasn’t born on Earth. No one knows the Kryptonian day he was born, and I don’t have a problem with the idea that the Kents find his ship on a leap year. The way some folks celebrate a dog’s birthday on the day they adopted the dog, Clark’s birthday is Feb 29.

Also, it’s comics. Who cares when his fake birthday is? If it bothers you, you have larger issues at hand.

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