"How Super is Superman?"

Chronicling the Superpowers

Throughout the newspaper strip, Superman displays a wide variety of superpowers. Some are well known, such as his super-strength. Others, like his super-magnetism, are little known (and also rarely used). This is an attempt to chronicle all of his different super powers.


Superman has many aspects of his physiology that are more heightened and intense than the average mortal. As "Episode 1: Superman Comes to Earth" explains, even on Krypton the civilization of supermen had superpowers, and described the race as "beings which represent the human race at its ultimate peak of perfect development."

His physical body can withstand enormous forces, which can be described as "super-constitution" or simply, "invulnerability."

Even small aspects of Superman's physiology are super, including his super-heartbeat.

Superman's body also exhibits super-reactions.


Superman also can jump far distances. The 1940's version of Superman does not have the ability to fly. Instead, Superman leaps "in a single bound" across the countryside. In the first storyline, Superman is described as being able to "easily leap 1/8th of a mile" and hurdle a twenty story building."

Often this mimics flight, but text occasionally describes his leaps, and he crosses oceans by swimming, rather than leaping. In fact, his preference for swimming has earned him an "amphibious" label.


With greater lung capacity, Superman utilizes his super breath in a variety of ways. He is able to inhale vast amounts of air, and exhale air at super speeds.


Superman possesses astonishing mental abilities. With "almost limitless knowledge," nothing is beyond him. Super-thinking can handle any problem or situation.


With his super-hearing, Superman is able to eavesdrop at great distances and
his ears are attuned to identify any sound.


Superman is able to move at amazing speeds. More than once the description "faster than a speeding bullet" has been literally tested. Occasionally, Superman is able to even move his molecules fast enough that he passes through objects.


One of the most recognizable aspects of Superman's physiology is his super-strength. The limit to his strength has yet to be reached, as he is able to move mountains at ease. Later, the latent super-ability of Kryptonians was discounted, and a more scientific explanation was brought forth:


An interesting super power, which he occasionally uses, is his ability to precisely control his facial muscles, allowing him to shape his facial contours at will. This shape-shifting ability is quite useful for disguising himself among criminals, but leaves the reader wondering why he often resorts to using a simple pair of glasses as a disguise.

Control over Superman's muscles extends to his heart, as he is able to fake death by temporarily stopping his heart's movement.


Telescopic vision, or super-sight, allows Superman to see great distances.

X-ray vision allows Superman to see through solid objects (that are not made of lead).


Somehow, Superman has developed super-magnetism. Rarely used, and never explained, this power does come in handy.

Superman also has the ability to throw his voice over enormous distances through super-ventriloquism. In addition, manipulating his voice allows him to impersonate anyone at any distance.

Superman has also mastered the art of hypnosis, which he sometimes uses to pry into the inner workings of the criminal mind.

Taken together, Superman's superpowers are truly spectacular!