For example, did Superman himself find his ability to fly a surprising discovery or did he simply start flying in one comic book and no one said anything about it?

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    Useful reference, quora.com/…
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 22, 2023 at 11:41
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    Am I right in thinking the flying came about on the radio serial first, to allow fast travel, and was then adopted to the comics? Jan 22, 2023 at 11:50
  • @Covertwalrus: That deserves to be its own question, I think. An interesting idea that the radio serial affected the comics book. Of course, leaping hundreds of feet would be a pretty fast mode of travel, back of the envelope calc suggests at least a mile a second in that way although the damage he would cause on landing...
    – releseabe
    Jan 22, 2023 at 11:52
  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/10578/…
    – Clockwork
    Jan 22, 2023 at 19:29
  • @Covertwalrus The 1941 Fleischer Studios theatrical cartoon series is credited for the idea that Superman can fly. They tried animating him leaping from place to place and it looked silly. The book publisher apparently transitioned him from leaping to flying around the same time to align the comic books with the cartoons.
    – Kenster
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


As noted in this Quora answer to the question of when Superman began flying, there's not really a single point where it happened, as it showed up a few times seemingly by accident (artists showing him visibly hovering for a few panels, or changing direction mid-air without actually mentioning flight), then moved to a controlled jump ("anti-gravity swimming" was apparently used to describe how he controlled his movement in the air by angling his hands, although it was still not actually flight) to him casually mentioning in his first meeting with Mr. Mxyztplkthat he didn't know there was anyone else who could fly to him being described in the narration that he can fly.

That said, in none of those cases was it revealed to be a revelation so much as a gradual growth of understanding of his abilities from being able to take long leaps which he couldn't control after starting until landing to being able to control flight by "swimming" through the air to adjust his flight path, to simply flying complete with the ability to stop and switch directions mid-air.

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