Perhaps it was inevitable that the vigorous, young President who made physical fitness a national priority would join forces with the red-caped, comic book hero whose feats of super-human strength so captured the popular imagination.
In 1963, DC Comics, the publisher of Superman, collaborated with the Kennedy White House to create a story promoting the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. In the story, President Kennedy calls upon Superman to inspire the nation to exercise, eat better, and get stronger. “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” was in production when the President was assassinated, and the project was set aside. Eight months later, with the encouragement of President Lyndon Johnson, the story was published as a special tribute to President Kennedy.
Al Plastino, the comic book artist who drew Superman for 20 years, took special pride in his drawings for this story. In December 2013, just one month after Mr. Plastino passed away, DC Comics donated the drawings to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. They are displayed here for the first time.