If I remember correctly, Superman's powers come from the fact that Earth's sun is yellow and Krypton's sun was red. So he is supercharged by our sun's solar energy or something like that.

While this could explain his strength, how does it explain how he flies?

  • 24
    What will really bake your noodle is, how does he fly faster? Sep 6, 2011 at 16:59
  • @Oghma - AFAIK, no canonical answer to that Sep 6, 2011 at 17:45
  • 1
    I believe he's just making a Daniel Tosh (comedian) reference.
    – Erik Noren
    Dec 29, 2011 at 15:53
  • 7
    He lies on a glass table in front of a screen. Feb 7, 2012 at 13:37
  • 5
    He doesn't. The 'Super-Kiss' that gave Lois amnesia in Superman 2 was the hint.. He has no powers except for a mind altering ability... He's been keeping us in a dreamworld of his making, with him as the hero, for decades. Please. Get us out!
    – K-H-W
    Apr 20, 2013 at 5:07

2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia's "Powers and abilities of Superman":

Flight - The ability to naturally defy and operate independently of gravity and propel himself through the air at will.

Originally, he only had the power to jump great distances, as stated by the 1940s Superman cartoons ("Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound"). Has ranged from simply being able to jump great distances using his vast strength, to beginning in late 1941 being able to accelerate, float in midair, change direction while traveling.

Later he became able to traverse interstellar distances without stopping.

Lex Luthor once theorized that Superman had to stem from a gigantic planet with enormous gravity, where his species had developed natural anti-gravity organs to be able to function; on Earth, this would allow him to control his own gravimetric field in order to fly.

The floating glove scene in man of steel proves the fact kryptonian can manipulate gravity. Also, from the main Superman Wiki article:

When making the cartoons, the Fleischer Brothers found it difficult to keep animating him leaping and requested to DC to change his ability to flying; this was an especially convenient concept for short films, which would have otherwise had to waste precious running time moving earthbound Clark Kent from place to place. Writers gradually increased his powers to larger extents during the Silver Age, in which Superman could fly to other worlds and galaxies and even across universes with relative ease.

Now, to address your "he is supercharged by our sun's solar energy or something like that." comment, Wiki says:

The source of Superman's powers has changed subtly over the course of his history.

It was originally stated that Superman's abilities derived from his Kryptonian heritage, which made him eons more evolved than humans. This was soon amended, with the source for the powers now based upon the establishment of Krypton's gravity as having been stronger than that of the Earth.

  • 9
    The canon (though it may be changed by the DCnU) is that Superman's powers come from Earth's yellow sun and his Kryptonian biology, but that even if Earth's sun was red he would be stronger and tougher than an average human, due to the differences in Kryptonian physiology and human.
    – Jeff
    Sep 6, 2011 at 17:42
  • 5
    I don't buy the gravity argument. It doesn't explain how he is able to hover at will, how he accelerates in the air, how he changes directions... etc Nov 16, 2011 at 21:27
  • 1
    @RoyalFlush It does explain it, if you consider that he creates and manipulates his own personal gravitic field. (This relies on the concept of an anti-gravitic/repelling force.) If repel>attract, he ascends. If repel<attract, he descends. If repel=attract, he hovers. A repelling behind him or attracting in front causes him to move forward. Sep 24, 2014 at 14:51

In John Byrne's original "Man of Steel" reboot of Superman, the position was adopted that most or all of Superman's powers were fundamentally psychokinetic in nature. This really made, and continues to make, an enormous amount of sense, explaining as it does things like why he gets strength and heat vision in the same power set, why his costume is as invulnerable as he is (he projects a PK barrier a little bit outward from his skin), and how he's able to do things like lift aircraft carriers without worrying about either his own leverage or whether the part of the thing he's holding onto has a millionth of the tensile strength necessary to be used as a lever to move the rest.

Different writers make different implications all the time, of course, but the psychokinetic model has continued to pop up over the years in a number of ways, such as in the case of Superboy, with his partial Kryptonian DNA, having as a power "tactile telekinesis" (a phrase which is exceeded in my hatred for it only by DC's absolute determination to keep repeating it as often as humanly possible and then some).

Flight is, naturally, one of the least obscure applications of psychokinesis possible.

  • 10
    John Byrne also wrote an episode of Fantastic Four where they are attacked by The Gladiator (a Marvel version of Superman). At one point, Gladiator picks up the Baxter building by one corner. Reed Richards realizes his powers must be based on telekinesis because the building would have collapsed otherwise.
    – Kenster
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.