It began at the highest levels of authority. I cannot breach confidentiality of names now, and otherwise, even if I did, it wouldn’t matter. Roosevelt was already President for two years when he was informed about the arrival of a strange visitor to Earth. Sandra, or so her codename identified her, was the first one assigned to the mission, strictly in the interests of national security. It was suggested that this individual, whatever it was, posed a direct threat to our government.
Sandra enlisted the services of Henri Duval, a soldier of fortune whose specialized skills she believed would benefit her mission, which originally led her to the figure of a man who became known as Dr. Occult. The Doctor claimed to be a “ghost detective,” and led Sandra and Henri Duval down a rabbit-hole that led to what they later claimed to be vampires, but this was never substantiated. Sandra’s services were soon after voluntarily relinquished, and given to Steve Carson and the Federal Men, a team considered to be better suited to the task. Their investigations somehow led back to Dr. Occult, who had adopted a curious red and blue costume he himself could not explain. Within a matter of months, the Federal Men, too, lost their credibility when they reported having taken an extraordinary trip to the year 3000, where they encountered self-professed “ace sleuth” Jor-L, who helped them overcome a band of space pirates.
Soon after, the mission was handed over to Speed Saunders, Bart Regan, and Slam Bradley, each of whom specialized in legitimate fields, and came recommended by various government officials. Saunders was a federal agent, while Regan worked as a spy, and Bradley a police investigator. Together they uncovered the strange visitor’s identity as “Superman,” though at first the story was so incredible that they weren’t believed. It took reporter Lois Lane’s dogged inquiries to land Superman in the national news, beginning in the papers of Metropolis.
As if the supernatural hadn’t already played its hand in these events, a stage magician called Zatara also revealed his incredible abilities, as if to confirm the existence and veracity of Superman. Private detective Larry Steele soon uncovered the activities of masked vigilante the Crimson Avenger, moreover, and newsroom office boy Jimmy Olsen was the first individual since Lois Lane to verify that Superman was no hoax. In Gotham, Commissioner Gordon refused to comment on the existence of Batman, but the rumors were already taking on a life of their own.
Lane landed the scoop of the year when Superman agreed to recount to her a modified version of his origins. By that time, it was impossible to stem the positive tide of public opinion. No matter what we believed, he was a sensation, and soon an organization known as the Supermen of America was formed. The odd appearance of the Sandman briefly caught attention, but the leader of a ruthless crime syndicate, a formerly paralyzed scientist who took to calling himself the Ultra-Humanite, forced Superman to perform his greatest feat when he actually flew in the air in order to intercept the villain’s airplane. The Man of Tomorrow was here to stay.
Adapted from DC COMICS YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
NEW FUN #1 & 6,
NEW COMICS #2,
MORE FUN COMICS #15,
NEW ADVENTURE COMICS #12,
DETECTIVE COMICS #1, 20 & 27,
ACTION COMICS #1, 6 & 13,
SUPERMAN #1, and
NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR COMICS #1;