When was Superman first unequivocally depicted as flying in a comic book?
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Most vehemently argue that Superman is first seen flying or reasonably presumed to be flying in Action Comics #10.  However, according to sources that I've been able to find, it was later clarified that the panel(s) in which he is seen or depicted to be in "flight" were actually a creative mistake by Leo Nowak--who was new to the comic and character. Various sources also suggest that it wasn't until the Fleischer films that Superman was officially granted the ability of flight. Others argue that it is in fact, Action Comics #123 that he is first "officially" described to have the ability to fly; a narration bubble states the following in the issue: " Meanwhile, the punchboard plotters are unaware of a colorful figure flying overhead - - Superman, himself!” In other words, in issue #123, not only is Superman dawn in positions--in mid-air--that would suggest the ability to fly, but it is also explicitly mentioned by the book's narrator. Although, there is yet another comic that vies for the definitive comic book depiction of Superman's ability to fly.

This occurs in Superman issue #30; Superman is seen in several panels--zig-zagging through the sky--alongside Mr. Mxyzptlk. Superman even states to Mr. Mxyzptlk "I thought I was the only man who could fly!!" Considering everything mentioned here, when do you think Superman's ability to fly was definitively depicted in a comic book?

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:42 AM, Frank Castle 74 said:

Most vehemently argue that Superman is first seen flying or reasonably presumed to be flying in Action Comics #10.

What panel(s) in Action Comics #10 look like flying instead of jumping?

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On 6/20/2022 at 10:01 AM, Poekaymon said:

I have reviewed the matter and concluded that no flying is present in issue #10.  

Agreed.  There is nothing that even suggests he's flying in Action 10.

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Did the OP just make a typo, and really meant Action Comics 30? Leo Nowak is credited with inks on that cover, and it sure looks like Superman is flying.

Cover for Action Comics (DC, 1938 series) #30

Although in the book itself, a panel that visually suggests flying is explicitly called a leap in the text:

image.png.27b2667394f69b4227c71a52154f247b.png

Edited by stock_rotation
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I think a better argument could be that Superman is flying (although not specifically stated), or at least gliding, in Action #12.  Anytime Superman is doing something they use descriptive verbs -- leaping, springing, running, hurling, etc. -- to give context to the panel.  In panel 20 on page 3 he is described as swooping, "Down swoops Superman... ".  To me that implies some form of controlled movement rather than a freefall and it pretty much looks like a glide at the very least.

image.png.d35d954bdf7300665556b5b92b7ac445.png

Now for the twist.  On page 8, panel 54, he "swoops down from the skies".  Is that the same type of swooping that was done earlier?  It doesn't look like it to me.  That's more of the traditional "falling from the sky" that he does.  So we have the same verb describing what appears to be two different actions, leaving the door open to argue that perhaps on page 3 he is not actually flying or maybe he is flying in both.

image.png.5650bdd1256eb6cf7c64a73382e776d5.png

Edited by Stronguy
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If he's swooping down from the skies, how did he get up there in the first place without flying?  Does Superman have a private helicopter to elevate him for his swoops?

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:52 PM, Axe Elf said:

If he's swooping down from the skies, how did he get up there in the first place without flying?  Does Superman have a private helicopter to elevate him for his swoops?

Thanos Copter!

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On 6/20/2022 at 11:52 AM, Axe Elf said:

If he's swooping down from the skies, how did he get up there in the first place without flying?  Does Superman have a private helicopter to elevate him for his swoops?

Um he used to jump like the hulk :facepalm:

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:05 PM, kav said:

Um he used to jump like the hulk :facepalm:

Did the Hulk ever swoop?

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On 6/20/2022 at 12:06 PM, Axe Elf said:

Did the Hulk ever swoop?

jesus christ

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:06 PM, kav said:

jesus christ

Naw, I just look like Him...

521902017_LookUp.thumb.JPG.c79d6cd7b80429ec21aadd1dca6223a2.JPG

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On 6/20/2022 at 11:52 AM, Axe Elf said:

If he's swooping down from the skies, how did he get up there in the first place without flying?  Does Superman have a private helicopter to elevate him for his swoops?

I said 'like' the hulk.  free falling parachuters can swoop about until they pull the cord.  so can jumping superman, or the hulk, if he chooses to.  To answer your actual question of 'how he got up there', he jumped.  
Its really incredible the things you need explained to you.

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:11 PM, kav said:

Its really incredible the things you need explained to you.

I see what you did there... Hulk reference, right?

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On 6/20/2022 at 12:12 PM, Axe Elf said:

I see what you did there... Hulk reference, right?

ok that was funny.

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Action 21 has Superman changing direction in midair to pursue a fleeing airplane.  He was on the ground in the panel before so it's possible he jumped, but it appears obvious that he is able to control his movement in the air somehow.

image.png.f4f31c52c6994922c18e30d436bd4b8c.png

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On 6/20/2022 at 2:14 PM, Stronguy said:

He was on the ground in the panel before so it's possible he jumped, but it appears obvious that he is able to control his movement in the air somehow.

Yeah, I think the act of swooping itself implies control over his movement in the air.  Without control, you don't swoop--you plummet.

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