Kal-El was born to Jor-El and Lara on the planet Krypton. His parents, desperate to save their son from a dying world, launched him toward Earth in the moments just before the planet's destruction.
The infant Kryptonian arrived in Smallville, Kansas, where Jonathan and Martha Kent found him and raised him as their son. They gave him the name Clark, and nurtured him with a virtuous sense of responsibility. It became obvious that the young Clark was gifted with superhuman abilities; incredible strength and speed, flight, and the ability to project heat beams from his eyes. He would later discover that the abilities were brought about by exposure to the Sun.
Jonathan and Martha taught Clark to hide his abilities in an effort to allow their adopted son a chance at a normal life. Clark agreed with his parents, downplaying his strength, and even wearing eyeglasses to feign vision problems.
In high school and college, Clark showed aptitude in writing, and majored in journalism at Kansas State. He worked for the Smallville Gazette for a time, before moving to the big city of Metropolis. He eventually landed a job working for the Daily Planet, where he became the partner and rival of the newspaper's star reporter, Lois Lane.
After working on an exclusive series of stories about Lexcorp's advancements in the field of robotics, Clark befriended the company's founder and chief scientist, Lex Luthor. The entrepreneur's desire to use his intellect to correct injustice in his city inspired Clark.
Eventually, Clark decided he could no longer stand on the sidelines as criminal organizations, like Intergang, preyed upon the law-abiding citizens of Metropolis. Inventing a costumed persona, Clark used his Kryptonian abilities to fight against lawlessness. The astounded citizens of the world applauded his heroism, and the Daily Planet was the first to name him Superman, thanks to a headline by Clark's rival, Lois Lane.
In order to protect his friends, colleagues and family, Superman refused to reveal his identity, maintaining his alter ego as a mild-mannered reporter.