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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tra-EL's Avatar
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    Default Supermans Symbol Meaning..

    There are many different variations of Superman's symbol, esp. over the last couple of decades, or different age.

    Most of the recent comics and the most popular rendition and meaning of Superman's symbol is obviously his family crest, and the symbol of the great Jor-EL from Krypton. In Birthright, it was more of the symbol of all of Krypton, and a symbol of hope. Some think that it means just that of his name : Superman.

    Anyone read about a lesser known meaning of the way his symbol portrayed? I came across a story at how the Symbol actually means and is suppose to portray a 'snake.' Has everything to do with Jonathans side of the family and Jonathans ancestors used the symbol for their own crest that signified the family name and Jonathan passed it onto Clark for him to use for his costume. So, the "S" in this story, actually was supposed to signify a snake held by Jonathan's side of the family.

    Anyone come across this, and know what issue or when it appeared? I'm thinkin' early Silver Age.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Utility Belt's Avatar
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    I just finished reading The Last Days of Krypton, a novel by author Kevin J. Anderson, and in it the "S" symbol is indeed the family crest and it's supposed to represent a snake.
    The first time the "S" symbol was tied to Superman's Kryptonian heritage was in Superman: The Movie, where we saw Jor-El (Marlon Brando) using the symbol on his robes and other Kryptonians wearing other symbols, so it was implied that it was somehow his coat of arms.
    Whether it's designed by Jonathan Kent or the El family symbol, I DO NOT like the notion that it's supposed to be snake. That's very un-Superman like.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utility Belt View Post
    Whether it's designed by Jonathan Kent or the El family symbol, I DO NOT like the notion that it's supposed to be snake. That's very un-Superman like.
    Agreed.

    And wasn't it at one time supposed to represent resurrection, or something like that?

  4. #4
    Elder Member Mat001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utility Belt View Post
    I just finished reading The Last Days of Krypton, a novel by author Kevin J. Anderson, and in it the "S" symbol is indeed the family crest and it's supposed to represent a snake.
    The first time the "S" symbol was tied to Superman's Kryptonian heritage was in Superman: The Movie, where we saw Jor-El (Marlon Brando) using the symbol on his robes and other Kryptonians wearing other symbols, so it was implied that it was somehow his coat of arms.
    Whether it's designed by Jonathan Kent or the El family symbol, I DO NOT like the notion that it's supposed to be snake. That's very un-Superman like.
    "The Last Days Of Krypton" is not in continuity. But it is the family crest in the comics these days. The reason for its appearence is not explained.

  5. #5
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utility Belt View Post
    I DO NOT like the notion that it's supposed to be snake. That's very un-Superman like.
    It depends. If that story linked the S to the serpents on the caduceus or Asclepius' rod, it works for me as an alternative explanation.
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

  6. #6
    Omega Mutant ZNOP's Avatar
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    As a kid I, thought it stood for "SOL" as in the Earth's sun. Being that Jor-El, and Lara Lor-Van did send him here to fulfill his destiny.
    Last edited by ZNOP; 03-23-2009 at 01:33 PM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Tra-EL's Avatar
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    Found the stuff I was lookin' for. Someone on another board found a link providing me with the story.

    Turns out a rendition of the "S" shield did pop up as a snake from Jonathan's ancestors at one time in Superman's story. Knew I wasn't crazy at what I read one time, but my bad on the years, I thought the story was more towards the Silver Age but in fact it was around the year 1999 when it came about.

    Here's a part on what the writeup said:

    John Ostrander's 12-issue 1999 maxi series, "The Kents", includes a new origin for the "S". In "The Kents", Clark and his adoptive father, Jonathan pore through letters and other artifacts belonging to the first Kents to settle in Smallville, Kansas. Included with the letters and other items is a royal blue blanket with a crude "S" emblem on a shield. The blanket belonged to Kent ancestor Mary Glenowen, who was part Native American. She explains to her future husband Nathaniel Kent that each of the five sides of the diamond shield represents the five Iroquois Indian tribes that remained, and the "S" was a snake, considered to be a symbol of healing.

    Here's the pic of the "S" in that comic mini series: "The Kents" in 1999 where the story of the "Snake" Shield of a Tribe that resembles Healing:


  8. #8
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    Upside-down, it means "resurrection". That's from 52.

    I thought rightside-up, it meant "hope"?

  9. #9
    Elder Member Mat001's Avatar
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    Yeah, but it's not always refered to it as such. Mostly those scenes were written by Mark Waid. Geoff Johns had later revealed it as a family crest, which apparently doesn't have any meaning other than that. Similar to the films. It's possible that both explainations work, but so far, what Waid wrote hasn't been mentioned.

  10. #10
    Senior Member eggie's Avatar
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    I like it as a family crest from Krypton.

  11. #11
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    I like that it can or does mean all these things. It means "hope" and it idenitifies the Kents and the Els, it stands for Superman, for Sun, Sol, snakes, and it means [i]evil shall not pass[i]. The great shield echoing through time and space, blanketing the universe.

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Junior Bat-member :) Alejandro's Avatar
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    The "S" is a symbol from EArth, part of our language. As a symbol of the familily its astonoshingly similar to an "S" of our planet and abiosly everyone that sees that "S" think Superman. Anyways I am not a real Sups reader but I think the best would be that at least it was originally some kind of snake so:


    SSSSSSSuperman!

  14. #14
    Da Silicon Surfer Xybernauts's Avatar
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    I like the idea that it stand for the El family crest representing hope. I think in Birthright it was a family crest, but eventually all of Krypton adapted the symbol because of some great accomplishment that the house of El achieved.

    There was one other interpretation you neglect to mention. In Smallville it was supposed to be one half of an infinity symbol. I always liked that idea.




  15. #15
    Elder Member Mat001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xybernuts
    I like the idea that it stand for the El family crest representing hope. I think in Birthright it was a family crest, but eventually all of Krypton adapted the symbol because of some great accomplishment that the house of El achieved.
    No, it was the symbol of hope in "Birthright". In Action Comics Annual #10, it was the House of El family crest. In "Smallville" it was both the family crest and the symbol for air. As well as an S in the Kryptonian alphabet.

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