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 that you’ll be choosing from at the end of 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)!
81. “Kryptonite Nevermore!” Superman #233-238, 240-242
Denny O’Neill joined Superman as the main writer in this dramatic storyline that did a few notable things. First off, it moved Clark Kent from being a reporter at the Daily Planet to being a TV anchor/reporter for Metropolis’ top TV news station. Next, all kryptonite on Earth was destroyed. Finally, a Sand creature created by the explosion that eliminated all of the kryptonite showed up with half of Superman’s powers. Superman stops the creature, but in the end he loses half of his powers. O’Neil intended the change to humanize Superman (and presumably also make him more of a Marvel-like character) but it lasted roughly about as long as O’Neil’s final issue, which was also the last issue of the story arc. Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson drew the story (with one issue inked by Dick Giordano).
82. “Dark Knight Over Metropolis” Superman #44, Adventures of Superman #467 and Action Comics #654
Writers Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens and Roger Stern (with artists Ordway, Dennis Janke, Jurgens, Art Thibert and Bob McLeod) deliver this powerful three-parter with Batman bringing a little bit of darkness to the Superman titles. In the end, Superman and Batman’s uneasy alliance takes a big step forward when Superman entrusts Batman with the kryptonite ring, which became a major plot point repeatedly in the last twenty years.
83. “Ruin” Adventures of Superman #627-638, 640-641, 645-647
Greg Rucka’s run on Adventures of Superman would likely be better remembered if it wasn’t constantly interrupted by crossovers, which you can see above with the disjointed nature of this storyline. However, that does not even tell you the full story, as a number of the above issues, while still technically following the Ruin storyline also take interludes into crossovers, like a side trip into Identity Crisis, the OMAC Project and Infinite Crisis. When he was given time to devote to his own story, though, Rucka did a great job introducing the notion of how much damage a villain could do if he knew Superman’s identity, like the mysterious Ruin did. Plus, Rucka introduced the new intriguing new head of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. You have to be a certain sort of crazy to want to be a SCU cop in Metropolis, and that’s Lt. Lupe Leocadio in a nutshell. Plus, Rucka has a great story where he establishes how crazy it must be to be Superman and to be so constantly aware of danger all around the globe but never able to solve everyone’s problem (we see his power in action when Lois is shot halfway around the world). Rucka worked with a number of artists, but I guess Karl Kerschl was the most common one.
84. “The Team of Luthor and Brainiac!” Superman Volume 1 #167
Edmond Hamilton (from a plot by a young Cary Bates), Curt Swan and George Klein deliver the first team-up between Superman’s most notorious rogues. The Luthor/Brainiac team would be a major recurring threat in Superman stories for years to come.
85. “The Last Secret Identity!” DC Comics Presents Annual #2
Elliot S! Maggin gave us one of the more compelling new additions to the Superman mythos in the last 30 years in the 1983 introduction of Superwoman. 29th Century historian Kristen Wells travels to the past to discover the identity of the mysterious Superwoman. Guess who ends up accidentally becoming the very person she came back in time to study? Keith Pollard, Mike DeCarlo and Tod Smith did the artwork.
86. “Secrets in the Night” Action Comics #662 (plus a bit of Superman #53)
Roger Stern and Bob McLeod have Clark Kent reveal his secret identity to Lois Lane. Jerry Ordway and Dennis Janke deal with the after-effects of the revelation a bit in their next issue.
87. “The Greatest Green Lantern of All!” Superman #257
We learn that Superman was destined to be the world’s greatest Green Lantern as we hear from Tomar-Re, who it turns out was the Green Lantern responsible for Krypton. Elliot S! Maggin, Neal Adams, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano handled this classic tale of what might have been.
88. “Superman and the Fiend from Dimension 5” Action Comics #1-18
I would like to split Grant Morrison’s Action Comics run up into smaller pieces, but the fact of the matter is that the whole idea of his run is that the whole thing is one non-linear tale, as Superman takes on the fiendish Vyndktvx all over the space/time continuum. Of course, along the way we get to see Morrison handle all sorts of different look-ins into the life and times of the newly revamped Superman, from his origins to his progression into the modern version of Superman to the travels to the future to the Superman of Earth-23. The stories are almost intentionally haphazard as they jump around in time and space. Rags Morales and Brad Walker are the two main artists on the run, but a number of artists did fill-in issues here and there, including Brent Anderson, Andy Kubert and Gene Ha.
89. “Superman: Last Son” Action Comics #844-846, 851 and Action Comics Annual #11
Geoff Johns is joined by Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner and artist Adam Kubert for this epic tale of the Phantom Zone villains and a young, mysterious Kryptonian boy that Superman tries to protect from General Zod. But what is the boy’s surprising connection TO Zod? And when the Phantom Zone Kryptonians attack Earth, who can Superman turn to that knows how to stop Supermen? Might his initials be LL?
90. “Superman, 2001” Superman #300
Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin wrote this classic imaginary tale for artists Curt Swan and Bob Oksner that asks the question, “What if Superman had landed on Earth today?” (Today, of course, being 1976). So the story shows what would happen if Superman had landed on Earth in modern times. Fast-forward to 2001 and see what would happen when baby Kal-El is forced to become a ward of the United States government (as obviously satellites would discover his crash landing nowadays). Gripping stuff from Bates and Maggin.