I spotted this in my local book store and it piqued my curiosity.

The Superman Files with unknown text

It is part of the cover of The Superman Files, ISBN: 9781449447151.

I can't find any where that explains the text on the cover. Is it a cypher for the English language, or is it a recognised Kryptonian language? If not is there any record of what it is?


No, it is not Kryptonian. The language is the Pre-Crisis 30th century shared galactic language of Interlac. It is a direct cypher made for comic readers of the Legion of Superheroes.

  • I recognized it from issues of the Legion of Superheroes which used to have coded messages in the stories or in the letter columns when I was a growing up.

Interlac is the designated communication language of the 30th century United Planets in the DC Comics fictional universe. It is also the name of a similarly-used language in the TV series Babylon 5.

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  • The first reference to Interlac as the "intergalactic universal language of the 30th century" was in Adventure Comics #379 published March, 1969.

  • It was also frequently referred to in the Super Friends comic book series (in which all of the Super Friends, including Wendy and Marvin, speak it) as a token explanation of how the Super Friends could understand the language of visiting and/or invading extraterrestrials.

  • The Interlac alphabet was codified years later by writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 2) #312 (June 1984).

'The Story of Kal-El' is the Interlac transliteration.

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    To be pedantic, if you can convert from english to "Interlac" by replacing the symbols used to represent each letter, it's still english, just using a different alphabet. – Fake Name Sep 18 '14 at 9:48
  • Hence the term cypher in the second sentence. How much more precision do you require? – Thaddeus Howze Sep 18 '14 at 16:56
  • I think @FakeName is referring to the last sentence. Technically it should read "...the Interlac transliteration" – Zano Sep 18 '14 at 17:35
  • I was primarily responding to the sentence in the header: The language is the Pre-Crisis 30th century shared galactic language of Interlac.. A cipher is not a language. – Fake Name Sep 19 '14 at 0:08
  • To be clear, I'm aware it's a literary device, but it's still technically incorrect. – Fake Name Sep 19 '14 at 0:09

If we take the bottom line as a correct substitution cypher for the English text above it, then the upper cypher text reads

The Story of Kal-El

Vertical bars indicate a capital letter.

  • 1
    ...as confirmed by Thaddeus' answer. – SQB Sep 17 '14 at 8:40
  • 2
    Thaddeus's answer looks better, but this one actually translates the text. – Mr Lister Sep 17 '14 at 9:45
  • 2
    Really? That isn't what was asked. And anyone who can knows what a simple cipher is can do the same. He didn't even ANSWER the QUESTION! – Thaddeus Howze Sep 17 '14 at 16:57

I would say that no, that is not Kryptonian. As you can see on Omniglot.com, the Kryptonian letters are totally different.

enter image description here

It must be a different alien language, since the letters differ quite a bit.

The site has a sample text in Kryptonian

enter image description here

in which we can see how much these two texts differ

The same Kryptonian alphabet can be seen on Superman Homepage


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