The DC Extended Universe actors Henry Cavill and Zachary Levi have both taken some time out to wish Superman a happy 80th birthday on Instagram.
Cavill plays the Man of Steel himself in the franchise, while Levi will play Captain Marvel/Shazam in Shazam, which is currently filming and comes out April 5, 2019.
The former’s message about Superman was rather heartfelt. It included a portrait by Eddie Lius depicting the hero as an old man, and said that the hero not only saved people’s lives, but “perhaps our souls,” giving hope to readers. He noted that Superman has inspired him to grow as a person and also stopped to thank all of the many writers and artists who have worked to create his legacy over the decades.
Levi’s, however, was a bit more mischievous, as he instead posted a dynamic comic panel where his own character is punching Superman in the face. “Happy birthday, old man! You don’t look a day past 75. Now stop running into my fist!” he wrote.
Captain Marvel/Shazam, who premiered in 1940, was clearly inspired by Superman and has a lot of similarities, save for the twist that he’s actually a young boy named Billy who can transform into a superpowered adult. (In the film, this part belongs to Asher Angel.)
In the comics, the two are usually depicted as friends, with Billy idolizing Superman and sometimes seeing him as a mentor. However, as Levi’s comic panel proves, the two have often come to blows, usually because one is brainwashed (or just uncharacteristically aggressive due to poor writing).
Cavill and Levi may have a similar dynamic, as the two have joked around on Instagram before. There are rumors that Cavill’s Superman may appear in Shazam, though that is not yet confirmed. Either way, it’s nice to see these two cinematic heroes both stop and pay tribute to a favorite comic character.