Superman 75 Years Old Happy Anniversary

Superman Homepage By Steve Younis
Superman Homepage By Steve Younis

Superman is the icon of icons in the comic world and turns 75 this year. He is the most well know character in the world of fictional superheroes. Asked anyone of the civilized world who Superman is he will know or have heard of him. Who do you think you are Superman? People jest when you try something they thing beyond human abilities. All other fictional Super Creations or heroes are compared to him. He is the first and longest lasting in popularity in the entertainment media.

Superman was created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. The character and name Superman by Siegle and Shuster is actually 82 years old but the DC Comics version is 75 years old starting with Action Comics #1 in 1938.

Reign of the Superman 1932
Reign of the Superman 1932

According to a 1983 interview with Siegel, he first wrote the short story “The Reign of the Superman” in 1932. Inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of an Übermensch, Siegel’s original story featured his first Superman as a powerful villain bent on dominating the entire world. Siegel’s short story appeared in Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization Issue #3, with accompanying artwork by Shuster. For this publication, Siegel used the pen name Herbert S. Fine, combining the first name of a cousin Herbert with the maiden name of Siegel’s mother.

My friend at Superman Homepage Steve Younis has put together a Info-Graphic of the Superman shield over the years from 1938 to 2013, you can find his article and full graphic here for observation and download. It is amazing the work and detail by Steve in his Info-Graphic please visit the Superman Homepage, but I wanted to high lite this graphic to discuss how the character has changed or remained the same over the years in his evolution as a super hero. This is not meant to be an exhaustive creation of the Superman history but a high light of the events that helped shaped Superman as we know him today.

!938 to 1943
1938 to 1943

In 1938 it was the Great Depression years most of the stories had to do with fighting injustice and crime. Superman took on the role of social activist, fighting crooked businessmen and politicians and demolishing run-down tenements. His powers were mild compared to the later version of Superman he jumped instead of flying and strength levels were reserved to lifting cars instead of mountains. Although he could run very fast he had nothing that would be called super speed and no mention of supervision in the early stories. By 1941 the Fleischer Cartoons introduced a more powerful Superman with abilities that became more like the modern Superman. By 1943 the USA was involved fully in World War II and you could see the stories reflect that. “Kryptonite” was introduced in June 1943 on the Superman radio series, in the story arc “The Meteor from Krypton”. A throw back from the 1940 story “The K-Metal from Krypton”, by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. The K-metal in the story was a piece of Krypton which robbed Superman of his strength while giving humans superhuman powers.

Action Comics 23
Action Comics 23

In Action Comics #23 (April 1940) Lex Luthor is introduced as “a power-mad, evil scientist” of high intelligence and incredible technological prowess. In Action Comics #13 (July 1939) The Ultra-Humanite is the first supervillain faced by Superman and one of the first of the Golden Age of Comics. He was designed to be the polar opposite of the Man of Steel: while Superman is a hero with superhuman strength, Ultra-Humanite is a criminal mastermind who has a crippled body but a highly advanced intellect. Siegel and Shuster retired the Ultra-Humanite as Superman’s arch-foe when Lex Luthor was introduced into the Superman comic. In Action Comics #64 (September 1943) the Toyman (Winslow Schott) was introduced he uses toy-based or toy-themed devices and gimmicks in his various crimes. In Superman #1 (Summer 1939) the child hood of Superman was defined introducing Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent as his adopted parents who’s name he took as his alter ego Clark Kent. They taught him to respect others and work for good with the great power he had. World’s Best Comics #1 (Spring 1941) which later became Worlds Finest it featured Superman, Batman and Robin in their own comic.

!944 to 1953
1944 to 1953
Superboy 1
Superboy 1

In 1945, Superboy made his debut in More Fun Comics #101. The character moved to Adventure Comics in 1946, and his own title, Superboy, was launched in 1949. Jor-El and Lara were (Kal-El) Superman’s biological parents and fully introduced in More Fun Comics #101 in 1945. Many of the supporting cast from Superman’s childhood as Superboy are introduced at this time. In Superman #45 (1947) Superwoman was introduced in which a pair of fraudulent magicians cast a “spell” on Lane, making her believe she has superpowers. Superman is forced to play along with the ruse for a time, using super-speed to invisibly intervene in Lane’s adventures, supporting the illusion.She briefly sports a costume modeled on Superman’s before the spell is “broken”.

Action Comics 101 (1946)
Action Comics 101 (1946)

Kirk Alyn was the first actor to play Superman on screen, in the 1948 film serial Superman, and its 1950 sequel Atom Man Vs. Superman. On T.V. in 1952 George Reeves played Clark Kent/Superman with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, John Hamilton as Perry White, and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson. Phyllis Coates plays Lois Lane in the first season with Noel Neill stepping into the role in the second season (1953). The TV series lasted till 1958.

In Superman #30 (September 1944) introduced Mister Mxyzptlk an imp from the fifth dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk possesses nigh-limitless reality-bending powers, which he often uses to pose challenges to Superman for his own amusement. In Action Comics #51 (August 1942) introduced the Prankster Oswald Loomis, the Prankster’s particular gimmick was the use of various practical jokes and gags in committing his crimes. In 1946 action Comics #101 depicting Superman with a camera covering the test of the Atomic Bomb. This illustrates the tension about the WW II and the dropping of the Bomb over Japan. Superman comics reflected the feeling at the time they were written.

1954 1963
1954 1963
Krypto was Kal El’s childhood dog companion on Krypton but was lost By Jor El when he shot the dog into space in a test flight before Krypton’s destruction. He showed up on years later on earth in a Superboy story in Adventure Comics #210 in March 1955. He looked like a normal earth dog but had superpowers because he was from Krypton. Writer Jerry Coleman and Wayne Boring created the Fortress of Solitude in Action Comics #241 (June 1958) and Otto Binder and Al Plastino debuted the villain Brainiac and the Bottle City of Kandor in the next issue the following month. First appearing in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), Brainiac was a bald, green-skinned humanoid who arrived on Earth and shrank various cities, including Metropolis, storing them in bottles with the intent of using them to restore Bryak, the planet he ruled. In Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), Superboy met the Legion Of Superheroes from the future. It was there first appearance and Superboy became a part of the group.

Action Comics 252
Action Comics 252

In 1960 in The Brave and The Bold #28 the Justice League of America was born with Superman part of the founding members. In Superman #129 (May 1959) Lori Lemaris was introduced as a mermaid from Tritonis, a city in the undersea lost continent of Atlantis and possible love interest of Superman. In Action Comics #252 (May 1959) the cousin of Superman Kara Zor-El named Supergirl later. Kara Zor-El is the last survivor of Argo City, which had survived the explosion of the planet Krypton and drifted through space. Bizarro World first appeared in the story “The World of Bizarros!” in Action Comics #262 (April 1960). Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen began in Sept 1954 and ran through March 1974 with 163 issues. Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane began in April 1958 and lasted till October 1974 with 137 issues plus 2 Annuals. The Kryptonite Kid first appeared in Superboy #83 (September 1960), he a teen-age alien criminal who flew in space through a green kryptonite cloud and became imbued with the properties of Kryptonite and became deadly to Superboy and later Superman. Superman comics became the most popular read comic books of this time era.

1964 - 1973
1964 – 1983

In 1966 through 1970 “The New Adventures of Superman” was released bringing many of the DC Characters to the Animated TV shows. Filmation Associates was the production company that helped put the series on TV. Bob Holiday is an American actor best known for playing Superman in the 1966 Broadway musical It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! Holiday was the next “live-action” Superman after George Reeves. Holiday has played Superman more than any other actor, having played the role in over 140 performances, as well as several live appearances in character. Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes, which ran from 1973 to 1986 on ABC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup. It featured Superman on many of the adventures of the Super Friends.

Superman 199
Superman 199

Artist Curt Swan became the definitive artist of Superman in the early 1960s with a “new look” to the character that replaced Wayne Boring’s version before that. Writer Jim Shooter created the villain the Parasite in Action Comics #340 (Aug. 1966). Writer Jim Shooter and Swan created the story “Superman’s Race With the Flash!” in Superman #199 (Aug. 1967) which featured the first race between the Flash and Superman, two characters known for their super-speed powers. Julius Schwartz became the title’s editor with Superman #233 (January 1971) and together with writer Denny O’Neil and artist Curt Swan revamped the Superman stories, starting with the elimination of Kryptonite. Elliot S. Maggin began his association with the title with the story “Must There Be a Superman?” in Superman #247 (Jan. 1972). A new version of the Toyman was created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan in Action Comics #432 (February 1974). Martin Pasko wrote Action Comics #500 (October 1979) which featured a history of the Superman canon as it existed at the time. In Superman #302 (August 1976) DC’s parent company Warner Communications reinstated the byline for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster which had been dropped decades earlier as original creators of Superman.

In 1978 Superman The Movie was released directed by Richard Donner. Christoper Reeve was cast as Superman and Marlon Brando was to play Superman’s father Jor-El with Gene Hackman cast as Lex Luthor Superman’s arc enemy. The film was a success both critically and commercially, being released during the Christmas season of 1978; it did not have much competition, leading the producers to believe that this was one factor in the film’s success. In 1980 Superman II was released credited to being directed by Richard Lester but much was done by uncredited directer Richard Donner of Superman The Movie. Again the head actors were Christoper Reeve as Superman, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane who also played Lois in the first film. It introduced to movie goers General Zod from Krypton. Prior to the destruction of Krypton, the criminals General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O’Halloran) are sentenced by Jor-El to banishment into the Phantom Zone for insurrection, among other crimes. They are released near earth from the Phantom Zone and become a real problem for Superman because they also have super powers. It was also a success this time even though there was stiff competition from Raiders of the Lost Ark the same year. One other Superman related movie was released during the early 1980’s Superman III (1983) with comedian Richard Pryor as computer wizard Gus Gorman. He creates a form of Kryptonite that turns the Man of Steel into an evil self. This film was a success but many fans were disappointed with the film because of the less than serious tone of the movie.

!984 - 2003
1984 – 2003

Before 1985 DC publications were notorious for continuity problems. No character’s back story within the comic books was entirely self-consistent and reliable. DC tried to fix it it by creating multiple earths to explain different factions of heroes like the Justice Society and the Justice League coming from different worlds like Earth 2 and Earth 1. Characters such as the Flash, the Atom, and Green Lantern often featured conflicting story lines not to mention the Golden Age Superman and Batman were quite different in abilities. Origins and even powers differed between tales, depending on the writers. Multiple earths and possibilities created major continuity problems for writers, something had to be done to simplify the origins and story arcs of the DC Universe so in 1985 DC Comics launched Crisis on Infinite Earths, a 12-issue limited series celebrating DC’s 50th anniversary with writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez. Featuring a cast of thousands and a timeline that ranged from the beginning of the universe to the end of time, it killed scores of characters, integrated a number of heroes from other companies to DC continuity, and re-wrote 50 years of DC universe history in order to streamline it.

Death of Supergirl
Death of Supergirl

Out of the series by Marv Wolfman Supergirl died, Superboy of Earth-Prime was created and John Byrne was given the creative right to remake Superman. Superman under Byrne truly became the last Son of Krypton, no Supergirl or Krypto. Kal El was the only survivor of the destruction of Krypton.  Also he was de-powered some from the Silver Aged version of Superman still very strong but his planet moving days were over. Superman was never Superboy but got his powers gradually as he lived under a yellow sun. Clark Kent does not put on a costume and become a super-hero until adulthood.  Byrne explained a pocket universe existence created by the Time Trapper for the reason of the Legion of Superheroes version of Superboy and out of this story arc came the creation of Matrix a man-made life-form made of synthetic protoplasm created by a heroic Lex Luthor of the “pocket universe”. Matrix eventually became the non Kryptonian Supergirl of this time period. The Superman title was stopped at #423 and the numbering was given to Adventures Of Superman from #424 (January 1987) to issue #649 (April 2006), for a total of 228 monthly issues. Adventures Of Superman would be written by Marv Wolfman and art by Jerry Ordway. Byrne would write and draw Action Comics and the new Superman title. The story began in a six part mini-series Man Of Steel which began in in 1986.

Superman 75 the death of Superman
Superman 75 the death of Superman

The first Action Comics Annual was published in 1987 and featured Superman teaming with Batman in a story written by Byrne and drawn by Arthur Adams. Jerry Ordway became both writer and artist with issue Adventures Of Superman #445 (October 1988). “The Death of Superman” story line ran through all the Superman titles in 1992. The storyline, devised by editor Mike Carlin and the Superman writing team of Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, and Karl Kesel, met with enormous success: the Superman titles gained international exposure, reaching to the top of the comics sales charts and selling out overnight. The event was widely covered by national and international news media. The storyline was adapted into a 2007 animated film, Superman: Doomsday. Superman’s fight and apparent death by Doomsday in Superman #75 lead to a story line called “The Reign of Supermen“. In Adventures of Superman #500 this story line introduced The Man of Steel: John Henry Irons was an ironworker and an ex-weapons designer for the military who wears a suit of armor and wields a hammer. The Man of Tomorrow, also called the Cyborg Superman, arrived with augmented Kryptonian technology. The Cyborg Superman appeared in Superman (vol. 2), starting with #78. After he was eventually revealed as former NASA astronaut Hank Henshaw, he later became a major supervillain.

The Metropolis Kid, is a reckless teenage clone of Superman. This Superman appeared in The Adventures of Superman, starting with #501. He is the result of the brief time Cadmus attempted to clone Superman. He later had a career as Superboy. And finally the Last Son of Krypton was a visored, energy-powered alien who dealt with criminals lethally. The Last Son of Krypton appeared in Action Comics, starting with Action Comics #687. He later was discovered to be the Eradicator, a reformed Superman enemy.The real Superman Kal El came back in Adventures of Superman#504 and the story line was changed to the Return Of Superman. Superman robots had stole his body and Superman spent time in stasis recovering in the Fortress of Solitude, his hair grew to shoulder length. Even after reclaiming his title as the one true Superman, he kept his hair long and this was how he was depicted for much of his appearances in the 1990’s comics.

Kingdom Come
Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come is a four-issue comic book mini-series published in 1996 by DC Comics under their Elseworlds imprint. The wonderful art work by Alex Ross painted in gouache and story by Alex Ross and Mark Waid make it one of the best Superman and superhero books of the last part of the 20th century. It’s about  growing conflict between “traditional” superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League,  and a growing population of largely amoral superheroes and villains and the possibility of a world-ending superhuman war or Armageddon. Superman: The Wedding Album One-Shot a comic was published in 1996. The story was written by the five of the major writers for the Superman titles at the time: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, David Michelinie, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern. Showing a cover date of December 1996, the issue was published during the week of October 6, 1996, coinciding with an episode of the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman that also featured the wedding of Clark Kent to Lois Lane. After The Wedding Album, The Adventures of Superman #541, Action Comics #728 and Superman: The Man of Steel #63 featured Lois and Clark’s honeymoon in Hawaii. Clark ends up getting captured by Rajiv Naga and needed Lois’ help to escape since he does not have any powers, having lost them during The Final Night storyline.

After getting home from the honeymoon, Superman is determined to get his powers back. After several failed efforts involving the Legion of Super-Heroes, Cadmus, and a visit to the Fortress, it is an encounter with the New Gods that restores Superman to his old self. Later Something odd strikes Superman as his powers begin to fluctuate. While temporarily deprived of the solar energy needed to provide the energy his body required to give him powers, Superman had developed electricity-based abilities, Superman found himself as pure energy, needing a containment suit from Dr. Emil Hamilton (the material of which was mysteriously donated by LexCorp). Superman possessed far different abilities than those traditionally associated with the Man of Steel. Furthermore, when he changed back into Clark Kent, he was rendered powerless.

Superman RedSuperman Blue
Superman Red
Superman Blue

In Superman Red/Superman Blue 1 (Feb 1998) a trap created by the Cyborg-Superman caused Superman to split into two beings one red and one blue who represented different aspects of his personality. They were polar opposites of each other and fought for the affection of Lois without considering her feelings. Lois lost her tolerance for this and essentially kicked them both out of the house until they could figure out how to unite. Following a battle with the Millennium Giants the two Supermen merged and Superman returned to his normal powers and original costume. The explanation is vague; Superman felt he was “rewarded” for saving the world, although he later claimed that he returned to normal when his electromagnetic energy dispersed. The storyline lasted from Superman: Man of Steel #78 April, 1998 to Superman #135 through 11 issues. Action Comics #775 March, 2001 was a story called “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, & the American Way?”. It’s about a group of super being that operate on no moral code and killing someone sometimes is OK. Superman faces the new team of super-terrorist called The Elite, and is horrified to discover that many people agree with their brutal methods for fighting crime. The story written by Joe Kelly is a classic of what makes Superman a hero of hero’s and a great read.  As of the start of 2002, the inter story between the Superman titles became less frequent, and the remaining issues of The Adventures of Superman commonly carried self-contained stories. The Adventures of Superman #600 (March 2002) was a double-sized special featuring Superman combating Lex Luthor. Superman: Birthright written by Mark Waid rewrote the history of Superman put in place by John Byrne in 1986 and restored most of the silver aged version of Superman in power. It was published in 12 issues September, 2003 to September, 2004.

Not to leave other media out in the first live action depiction of Supergirl was in the 1984 film, starring Helen Slater as Supergirl. The film is a spinoff from the Superman film series starring Christopher Reeve, to which it is connected by Marc McClure’s character Jimmy Olsen. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released in 1987 with Christopher Reeve hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the first two films. Cannon Films decided to cut the budget of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace from $35 million to $15 million, with poor special effects and heavy re-editing leading to the film’s poor reception. Warner Bros. decided to give the franchise a break following the negative reception of the last two Superman films. Nothing was released till Superman Returns in 2006. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman aired on ABC on Television from September 12, 1993 to June 14, 1997, and starred Dean Cain as Superman/Clark Kent and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane. Season three (1995–1996) would be the most successful season of Lois & Clark in its run. The show averaged at least 15 million viewers per episode, and ranked 44th for the season. Superman: The Animated Series was a 1996 animated television series. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and originally aired on The WB Television Network from September 6, 1996 to February 12, 2000. It was widely popular and sells in DVD format today.

The Adventures of Superboy (1988–1992) The Superboy TV series was brought to the screen by executive producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind in 1988, it was later changed to The Adventures of Superboy and lasted till 1992. John Haymes Newton played Superboy in the first season and Gerard Christopher played in seasons 2-4. Stacy Haiduk played Superboy’s love interest Lana Lang. Because of the number of different companies involved in Superboy and due to legal issues between Salkind and Time Warner that took time to settle, the series has not re-aired on American television since its initial syndicated run. This dispute was settled in 2005, opening the door for the series to be released on DVD.

Smallville was American television series developed by writers/producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. It is based on the DC Comics character Superman telling the story of Clark Kent before he became Superman. The television series was initially broadcast by The WB Television Network (The WB), premiering on October 16, 2001. The series was generally positively received when it began broadcasting. Former Superman star Christopher Reeve voiced his approval of the series and even made two guest appearances. The pilot episode broke the record for highest-rated debut for The WB, with 8.4 million viewers. Over ten seasons, it averaged approximately 4.34 million viewers per episode, with season two averaging the highest ratings, at 6.3 million. By the end of its run, Smallville had surpassed Stargate SG-1 to become the longest-running North American science fiction series, as well as the longest running comic book-based series in television history.

2004 - 2013
2004 – 2013

2004 to 2013 have been some of the most interesting and creative years of Superman in comic history. Action Comics #810 begins 2004 with a special holiday issue to ring in the New Year! Superman takes Lois on a whirlwind trip around the world as they celebrate New Year’s in every time zone, written by Joe Kelly. Mr Majestic a Superman type character from the Wildstorm Universe created by Jim Lee who was one of the original founders of Image Comics in the early 1990’s was introduced into Superman titles in a 3 part story “Strange New Visitor” that ended in Superman #201 written by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett. The cover mirrored Action #1 with Majestic smashing a car over Superboy and Jimmy Olson running away from the action, cover art by Ed McGuinness.

Superman Batman 8
Superman Batman 8

Superman/Batman premiered in August 2003 and was an update of the previous series, World’s Finest Comics, in which Superman and Batman regularly joined forces. Writer Jeph Loeb, presented the characters’ often opposing viewpoints and estimations of each other, which was a fresh approach to the classic relationship between Superman and Batman. Issues #1-6, illustrated by Ed McGuinness featured a story about Superman and Batman are labeled “enemies of the state” by elected U.S. President Lex Luthor, claiming that a Kryptonite asteroid headed for Earth is connected to an evil plot by Superman. The next major story by Jeph Loeb is “The Supergirl From Krypton” (issues #8-13, illustrated by Michael Turner), the Kryptonite asteroid is revealed to hold a pod that contains Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El. She would eventually be introduced to the world as Supergirl. The story was dedicated to Christopher Reeve, who died during the year the storyline ended.. Both series were made in to Animated movies Produced by Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) and  Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010).

In Superman #218-220, Adventures of Superman #642-643, Action Comics #829 and Wonder Woman #219-220, Max Lord has taken over Superman’s mind and has him in total control. Convinced his peers and loved ones are threatened, Superman is helpless. But Wonder Woman must battle past the Man of Steel and decisively end the threat. She fights Superman to a standstill and even hurts him then confronts Maxwell Lord with the Lasso of Truth to ask how to break Lord’s hold on Superman. Max Lord says the only way to end the control is to kill him. Wonder Woman snaps Lord’s neck while being watched by the Brother Eye satellite and broadcast around the world. The action freed Superman but changed the relationship between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman which lead to the story Infinite Crisis a major event that changes the DC Universe.

Infinite Crisis 1
Infinite Crisis 1

Infinite Crisis is a 2005 – 2006 mini series in 7 comics and a sequel to DC’s 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths. It revisited characters and concepts from that earlier Crisis, including the existence of DC’s Multiverse. Back in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kal-L (the Superman of pre-Crisis Earth-Two), the Superboy of Earth Prime, Alexander Luthor, Jr. of pre-Crisis Earth-Three, and Lois Lane Kent of pre-Crisis Earth-Two voluntarily enter themselves in “paradise” a separate dimension from the DC Universe. It crosses over into all the Superman titles of the time period. Kal-L Superman of Earth-Two is dissatisfied with the state of the world he left and is thinking of returning to the regular DCU but Alexander Luthor, Jr. of pre-Crisis Earth-Three and the Superboy of Earth Prime have there own plans to change things and bring back in a Universe changing event. Geoff Johns the writer who revamped Green Lantern with  Green Lantern: Rebirth the return of Hal Jordan is the writer of the series. Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, and Ivan Reis did the art work. At the end of the series Lois Lane of Earth Two dies, Alexander Luthor, Jr. of pre-Crisis Earth-Three is shot in the head and killed by the Joker, Superboy of Earth Prime becomes a villein and kills Superboy (Kon-El) and beats to death Superman Kal-L of Earth Two. Superboy of Earth Prime is finally stopped by Superman Kal-El and imprisoned under a Red sun by the Green Lanterns.

Because of the events of Infinite Crisis Superman once again is left powerless and creates a life as Clark Kent reporter. After living a normal human life as Clark Kent for a year, Superman’s powers suddenly came back and he again becomes Superman. Action Comics #844 through #846 and in #851 plus Annual #11 was the story “Last Son”. It is written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, the director of the well-known 1978 film Superman: The Movie and a portion of Superman II, with pencils by Adam Kubert. This story introduces the original character, Christopher Kent and reintroduces the classic Superman film villains, General Zod, Ursa and Non.

Action Comics 866
Action Comics 866

In Action Comics #866, a story arc begins focusing on the “true” Brainiac, who has not left his ship in centuries. Brainiac indeed bottled the city of Kandor and has it in his possession all along in reduced size.  Brainiac arrived months before Supergirl left Krypton and stole Kandor from Krypton, fifteen years later, Kal El’s uncle and Supergirl’s parents Zor-El and Alura, had been placed in the city by Brainiac after he destroyed the floating Argo City. After Superman battles and defeats the true Brainiac, Superman takes the stolen Kandor off of Brainiac’s ship. However, without Brainiac’s control, the field surrounding the city that keeps it miniaturized becomes unstable. Superman takes Kandor to the North Pole, where it expands to its rightful size, freeing all of Kandor’s citizens including Zor-El and Alura. The El family is re-united Kal El and cousin Kara and her parents Zor-El and Alura. And 100,000 Kryptonians are on earth. After this the Superman storys revolve around the series New Krypton, World of New Krypton and Last Stand of New Krypton and Superman: War of the Supermen. The colossal story ends with Kara (Supergirl) and Kal El (Superman) being alone on earth and the death of Kara’s parents and the survivors of Krypton perishing in outer space. Written by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates, and Greg Rucka and art work by Gary Frank and Pete Woods a great story one that you thought you would never see from DC Comics.

Final Crisis
Final Crisis

The major event of 2008 was “Final Crisis” a crossover storyline in 2008, primarily written by Grant Morrison. The series deals with alien villain Darkseid’s plot to overthrow reality, and the subsequent death and corruption of various DC characters and their universe. Superman played a major role in reversing the threat to reality by using the Miracle Machine, shown to him by Brainiac 5 from the future to realign reality and bring back all thing back into existence. But be fore he did that in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds written by Geoff Johns, Superboy (Conner Kent) in the future had been revived back to life in the 31th century to fight Superboy Prime who was sent there by the Time Trapper.  Breaking virtually all of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ enemies out of Takron-Galtos, Superboy-Prime leads them as a massive Legion of Super-Villains in a bid to destroy everything that Superman inspired, including the Legion and the United Planets. Defeating Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains with the help of Legion of Superheros of Three worlds and Superboy and Kid-Flash, Superman returns to the present with Superboy and Kid-Flash and completes the Miracle Machine and the saving of reality.

In 2009 and 2010 Superman and Superboy are involved in the “Blackest Night” series crossover with Green Lantern. It involves Nekron, a personified force of death who resurrects deceased superheroes and seeks to eliminate all life and emotion from the universe. Both Superman and Superboy come under control of Nekron because both have tasted death. But Hal Jordan Green Lantern sets them free with a White Ring and they defeat Nekron. J. Michael Straczynski begins writing a story called Superman: Grounded. It runs from Superman #700 to #714. It deals with a lot of personal problems Superman and Clark Kent have been dealing with since the destruction of New Krypton, he walks across the USA to find the reason to be Superman he has feelings of sadness and doubt. Many extraordinary thing happens in the journey to help him with his depression. Superman almost quits being Superman till he meets Jennings a school teacher with superpowers. He says that his journey finally reminded him of why he became Superman in the first place. His resolve renewed he once again becomes Superman.

Reign of Doomsday
Reign of Doomsday

After the conclusion of the New Krypton event, Luthor became the lead character in Action Comics and will remain so until issue #900. It was all about his obsession with the Black Power Ring and the power he had when he had a power ring in the Blackest Night series. After being infused with the Orange Light of Avarice, Luthor begins a universal quest to locate the energy of the Black Lantern Corps. Luthor is ultimately defeated by Superman in Action Comics #900 but Superman is left with the creation of Doomsday clones by Lex Luthor in a story line called “Reign of Doomsday”. Superboy, Steel, Supergirl and the Eradicator have been kidnapped by the Doomsday clones and a character called Doomslayer. The Eradicator is destroyed by Doomslayer by takes possession of the original body of Doomsday who is unconscious. The Eradicator sacrifices himself to send Doomslayer and the other clones to a different dimension and saves the day for the earth was under attack from the Doomsday clones. This ends in Action Comics #904 and begins a new Action Comics and Superman numbering with #1 in the DC New 52.

Flashpoint 5
Flashpoint 5

But before DC’s New 52 we have Flashpoint series which was written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Andy Kubert. In its conclusion, the series radically changes the status quo for DC Universe leading into the publisher’s 2011 relaunch, The New 52. The series details an altered DC Universe in which only Barry Allen, Kid Flash and Booster Gold seem to be aware of significant differences between the regular timeline and the altered one, including Cyborg’s place as the hero, Superman’s apparent detention by the government and a Thomas Wayne version of Batman who spends “his days running Wayne Casinos.” Everything has changed because of Flash’s actions in the Timeline and the Reverse-Flash reveals to Allen that he himself inadvertently created the Flashpoint timeline after he traveled back in time to stop the Reverse-Flash from killing his mother. After batman kills the Reverse-Flash who was going to kill the Flash, Barry enters the time-stream to change back history. While traveling through time, Barry realizes he can see three different timelines – DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm. A mysterious hooded figure, later identified as “Pandora”, tells him that the world was split into three to weaken them for an impending threat, and must now be reunited to combat it. The DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm universes are then merged, creating a brand new DC Universe. And that is the state of the current DC Universe.

The New 52
The New 52

The New 52 is a 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books, in which all of its existing titles were cancelled, and fifty-two new series debuted in September 2011 with new first issues. Among the series being renumbered are Action Comics and Detective Comics, which had previously retained their original numbering since the 1930s. The new continuity features new outfits and backstories for many of DC’s long established heroes and villains. Superman Action Comics was relaunched from issue #1, as part of the New 52 by the creative team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Rags Morales. As with all of the books associated with the DC relaunch, Clark Kent appears to be about five years younger than the previous incarnation of the character.  His power and strength are less as a young man and seem to grow to much greater levels as time goes on, much like the early versions of Superman in Action Comics #1. The Superman history and legend is being re wrote by Morrison.

DC Comics launched Superman volume 3 with issue #1 in September 2011 (cover dated November 2011), as part of The New 52. The first three issues saw George Pérez doing the scripting and breakdowns. DC announced in October 2011 that Dan Jurgens would be co-writing and drawing Superman with Keith Giffen. Their first issue was #7 (May 2012). As of September 2012’s #0 Issue, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort became the creative team. One of the major changes in continuity is that Lois Lane and Clark Kent are no longer married and as of Justice League 12 Superman and Wonder Woman are in a romantic relationship. Right now we are engaged in the first crossover between the Super titles that is Superman, Superboy and Supergirl, “H’El on Earth” Both Supergirl and Superboy have major rewrites in origin and history and this visitor H’El who says he is from Krypton will redefine the relationship between Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and even Krypto the super dog who is part of The New 52.

There have been many media releases for Superman character in the last 10 years. Superman Returns, an alternate sequel to Superman and Superman II directed by Bryan Singer, was released in 2006, along with Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. Following the disappointing financial results of Superman Returns, Warner Bros. plans to reboot the film series for a June 2013 release. Zack Snyder will direct the reboot, titled Man of Steel, with David S. Goyer writing and Christopher Nolan producing. Also DC Entertainment has released a series of animated films that include Superman: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006), Superman: Doomsday (2007), Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths in February, 2010, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse September, 2010, All-Star Superman (2011), Justice League: Doom (2012) and Superman vs. The Elite in (2012), all very popular and available in DVD format and some in Blu-Ray.

Well that’s the over view of the Comic World’s Greatest Hero of all time Superman, happy 75th birthday this year. May you last another 75 years entertaining the youth and young thinking adults for many generations. You truly are a hero for the ages. And thanks again to Steve Younis of the Superman Homepage for his permission to share his wonderful Info-Graphic that motivated me to write this article. What a fitting article for the 300th post on this Blog.  Thanks for joining us at Comics Talk. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt