It’s a bird. It’s a plane, It’s Superman, and the comic book superhero’s birthday is today…or so some say. The Man of Steel is one of about four million people known as “Leaplings,” because they were born on Leap Day.

The Earth circles the Sun once every 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar revised the Roman calendar. The adjustment became necessary when folks noticed the seasons were out of whack—leaves falling in May; snow piling up in July, and 80 degree temps in December. When elections rolled around, on the advice of his Super PAC, Caesar named the month of July after himself, added 10 days to each year plus an extra 24 hours in February every four years fulfilling his campaign slogan:”Make Rome Great with Change you can circle on your Julian calendar, which, by the way, is named after me.”

Although the fictitious superhero, created by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel, debuted April 18, 1938 in Action Comics, his actual birth date is unknown. He was born on the planet Krypton and named Kal-El. His parents put him in a mini-spaceship and sent him to Earth right before global warming exploded Krypton and destroyed all calendars, birth certificates and passports. He landed in a field near the town of Smallville, where farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent found him. They adopted him and named him Clark. In some early comics, June 18, the day the Kents found and named Clark, is given as Superman’s birthday.

Some folks speculate that Superman’s birth date was simply a joke. Others believe children born on leap day have unusual talents, unique personalities and super powers. For example, the Kents noticed early on that their foundling was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. After the initial shock, they made him a form fitting outfit and encouraged him to go into show business. When that didn’t pan out, he changed his name to Superman and took up crime fighting.

The Final Word…Superman isn’t the only “Leapling” with extraordinary talents. A few famous folks with Feb. 29 birthdays are: Pope Paul III (1468), composer Gioacchino Rossini (1792), former Indian prime minister Morarui Desai (1896), big band leader Jimmy Dorsey (1904),  singer/actress Dinah Shore(1916), American baseball player Al Rosen (1924), exotic dancer Tempest Storm (1928), actor Dennis Farina (1944) and rapper/actor Ja Rule (1976).

In spite of adding time to the calendar, the Julian calendar was still off by one day every 4000 years. Talk about having time on your hands. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII abolished the Julian calendar and renamed it the Gregorian calendar for guess who. He kept leap year with the caveat that a leap day was allowed in a year divisible by four but not by 100 except when the year is divisible by 400…Huh? It’s only off by 26 seconds a year, so don’t worry about it. If an upcoming ruler doesn’t create a new calendar and name it for him or herself, it will be about 2,900 years before we lose another whole day, plenty of time to change appointments, schedule gala events and fight for truth, justice and the American way.