Superman and the Running of the Bulls

The Running of the Bulls during the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain is a nine-day event during the fiesta season. From 1893 to 1902 the tradition died out and was forgotten until Ricardo Valero de Sanchez wandered close to a corral.


A photogenic bull at the most recent Running of the Bulls.

Ricardo was a slightly built boy around the age of 17. Tall, lanky, and awkward, Ricardo’s limbs looked lifeless as he would casually lope around town in nothing but his red briefs.

One fine day, Ricardo was idly walking about the streets of Pamplona when he noticed a bull in a corral just off of a street he rarely visited. Unwittingly, Ricardo went over to the corral, climbed up onto the gate and reached over to pat the bull on the head; he did so and then hopped off of the gate. As he hopped off, his elbow forcefully slammed into the latch, throwing Ricardo backwards while also flinging the gate open. The startled bull glared down at Ricardo’s red briefs and suddenly charged. The ensuing chase was the rebirth of the Running of the Bulls.

Local residents of Pamplona said Ricardo Valero de Sanchez flew down the street at an alarming speed, leaving the enraged bull behind. From that day forward, Ricardo was known as “superhombre,” simply because of the stunning physical ability he displayed while being chased. Just years later in 1932, his physical abilities and his nickname became immortalized with the birth of a well-known comic book series based off of him – Superman.

Superman remained somewhat true to the story of Ricardo except that Ricardo didn’t have x-ray vision. The comic book superhero did however retain Ricardo’s red briefs while a red matador’s cape was added as a tribute to the bull that Ricardo set loose.

Over time the story of Superman has evolved, but he and the Running of the Bulls are thriving to this day in thanks to Ricardo Valero de Sanchez and his red skivvies.

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1 Response to “Superman and the Running of the Bulls”


  1. 1 Lisa Summers June 8, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I have ALWAYS wondered how to spell “skivvies” and now – thanks to History Bluff – I finally know. . . Thanks, History Bluff writer-man!


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