How Superman’s Famous Catchphrase ‘Up, Up and Away’ Unexpectedly Came to Be, According to Comics Expert Jeremy Dauber
DC Comics built up thousands of comics over the decades and has dug into them to reference from Batman, Wonder Woman, and of course, Superman movies. However, characters like Harley Quinn prove that some iconic pieces of DC come from outside of comics. American Comics: A History author Jeremy Dauber revealed to Showbiz Cheatsheet in an exclusive interview about the history of Superman’s catchphrase ‘Up, up, and away.’
Superman’s catchphrase ‘Up, up, and away’ does not make much sense, Jeremy Dauber said
Dauber talks about how superhero comics have formed the basis for movies, TV shows, and games in his book. However, during our interview, Dauber said how other media also affect comic heroes like Superman.
“There’s always a kind of back and forth relationship between the different mediums,” Dauber said. “It’s not only in one direction like there’s this original material in the comics, and then it goes into other media, and then it never comes back.”
For characters like Batman and Superman, who debuted in the late 1930s, it can be hard to know where all their elements originated. Dauber studied and teachers American comics history and noted where an iconic Superman line originated.
“To take a really classic example from an earlier period,” Dauber continued about his catchphrase, “Superman very famously … said ‘Up, up, and away!’ when he flies. But if you think about it, in the comic books, why would you possibly need to say the words’ up, up, and away’? It doesn’t make any sense if you can see Superman flying. Why would he shout this out randomly?”
Superman’s ‘Up, up, and away’ catchphrase came from ‘The Adventures of Superman’ in 1951
DC Comics‘ Superman rose to fame before TVs became commonplace in households. His first adaptations to other media include the 1941 animated show and the radio show The Adventures of Superman.
“The answer is that it’s from radio, where of course you couldn’t see Superman fly,” Dauber said about Superman’s ‘Up, up, and away’ catchphrase. “So the radio writers had to come up with some phrase that would indicate that Superman was flying. And then it found its way back into the comics.”
It quickly became a staple of the Superman canon. Even as recent as the CW’s Superman & Lois released a featurette called “Up, Up, and Away.”
However, Superman was not the only comic character to see different media change the comics they were based on.
Jeremy Dauber said that several Marvel characters changed thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
While on the DC side of things where Superman’s catchphrase ‘Up, up and away’ came from radio, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had even more significant effects on Marvel Comics.
“I think that [changes] come out in lots of different ways to this day,” Dauber continued. “There are certain kinds of representations or looks. Now that Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury in the movies, he looks different than he did in his first couple of decades in the comic books.”
He even talked about how character prominence changes. The Guardians of the Galaxy turned into major players after the success of the director James Gunn (who also helped revitalize The Suicide Squad).
And as superhero movies only grow in popularity, comics are sure to see even more changes.