In celebration of Superman’s 75th anniversary on April 18th (Action Comics #1 came out on April 18, 1938), you’ll be voting for the Top 75 Superman Stories of All-Time. With such a big list, we can’t expect everyone to know all the best Superman stories over the years offhand, so we’ll be providing you a list of 100 nominees over ten days (ten a day) that you’ll be choosing from on April 15th (basically, you’ll get 100 choices and then you’ll be putting them into order from #75-1). This is not the final list, these are just the stories that you’ll be voting on later on.
Here is the next batch of ten nominees (they are not in any particular order)!
21. “What’s So Funny about Truth, Justice & the American Way?” Action Comics #775
Joe Kelly used this “anniversary” issue to take on the idea that perhaps Superman’s ideals were out of date in the 21st century. He did this by pitting Superman by a new superhero team called The Elite who were recklessly killing bad guys and causing widespread damage but were gaining a good deal of popular acclaim in doing so. They mocked Superman and repeatedly challenged him to fights before Superman finally agreed to take them on and in doing so, gave them a taste of their own bitter medicine. The art was by Doug Mahnke, Lee Bermejo and a host of inkers.
22. “The Supergirl from Krypton!” Action Comics #252
Otto Binder and Al Plastino introduce us to Superman’s teenage cousin, Supergirl!
23. “The Double-or-Nothing Life of Superman!” Superman #296-299
Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin wrote this compelling character-driven arc where a mysterious villain robs some of Superman’s powers, causing him to be powerless when he isn’t wearing his Superman costume. Supes feels that this is a mental thing caused by himself to make him choose once and for all between his Clark Kent identity or his Superman identity, so there’s an issue where he is only Clark and there’s an issue where he is only Superman. The Clark issue, in particular, is quite notable in how Clark romances Lois Lane. In the end, obviously, things go back to normal, but we still learned a lot about the two sides of Supes’ personality.
24. “The Jungle Line” DC Comics Presents #85
A Kryptonian fungus has a disastrous effect on Superman, causing him to try to get away from civilization. He ends up in the swamp where he encounters Swamp Thing, who tries to cure Superman of the Kryptonian virus, even as a delirious Superman attacks ol’ Swampy. This story, written by Alan Moore and impressively drawn by Rick Veitch and Al Williamson, is a compelling tale of how sometimes the most important fights are the ones you don’t fight with your fists.
25. “The Origin of Superman!” Superman #53
Bill Finger put together all the various aspects of Superman’s origin that we had learned over the years to provide the first cohesive origin of Superman (although while omitting his time as Superboy for some reason). The art was by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.
26. “22 Stories in a Single Bound” Superman Adventures #41
Mark Millar’s final issue of his run on Superman Adventures is a wonderfully clever collection of one-page stories drawn by a variety of artists (including Darwyn Cooke!).
27. Superman Birthright #1-12
Mark Waid, Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan retold Superman’s origin in a fascinating combination of various Superman origin stories of the past. I especially love Waid’s tributes to Elliot S! Maggin’s stories.
28. Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man
Gerry Conway wrote this historic meeting between DC and Marvel’s biggest heroes. Ross Andru, Neal Adams, John Romita and a host of inkers handled the artwork.
29. “Three Supermen from Krypton!” Superman #65
William Woolfolk and Al Plastino for the first time had Superman encounter fellow Kryptonian survivors, as he meets three villains who were suspended in animation and hurled through space (basically the plot of the film Superman 2).
30. “Brainiac” Action Comics #866-870
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Jon Sibal re-introduced the villainous Brainiac by making him a greater threat than ever before. Superman takes on Brainiac but things are so tough that he is unable to prevent a tragedy that hits him very close to home. A powerful story that set up DC’s New Krypton storyline.