In the January, 1933 issue of "SCIENCE FICTION" appeared a story I had written in 1932 entitled, "The Reign of the Superman." I used the pseudonym "Herbert S. Fine" which combined the name of a cousin of mine together with my mother's maiden name.
After the publication of "Reign of the Superman", it occurred to me that a different version of Superman could be the basis of an extremely powerful and successful comic book. And so I originated, together with Joe Shuster, the comic book "THE SUPERMAN", back in 1933.
As a science fiction fan, I have long been very familiar with the various themes in the field. The superman theme has been one of them ever since Samson and Hercules. I just sat down and wrote a story of that type — only in this first story, the Superman was a villain.
A couple of months after I published this story, it occurred to me that a Superman as a hero rather than as a villain might make a great comic strip character in the vein of Tarzan, only more super and sensational than that great character. Joe and I drew it up as a comic book.
Clark Kent grew not only out of my private life, but also out of Joe Shuster's. As a high school student, I thought that someday I might become a reporter, and I had crushes on several attractive girls who either didn't know I existed or didn't care I existed.
One night, when all the thoughts were coming to me, the concept came to me that Superman could have a dual identity, and that in one of his identities he could be meek and mild, as I was, and wear glasses, the way I do. The heroine, who I figured would be some kind of girl reporter, would think he was some kind of worm; yet she would be crazy about this Superman character who could do all sorts of fabulous things. In fact, she was real wild about him, and a big inside joke was that the fellow she was crazy about was also the fellow whom she loathed.
Initially, we were turned down by almost every comics publisher in the country.