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10/04 – Curious Cat Asks…

What is your all-time favorite Superman comic book story?

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76 Comments

The Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons Superman Annual.

I’m nothing if not a Gandalf zealot. Has to be:

“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”

with

“For the Man Who Has Everything”

as a close second.

I am also quite partial to

“A Superman for All Seasons”

which always impresses/suprises me given that I am not particularly fond of Loeb.

Finally, the three-issue WORLD’S FINEST prestige format story by Gibbons/Rude is very near+dear, but I don’t know if it can count given that it’s 50% Batman.

Easily “For the Man Who Has Everything” (Superman Annual #11)

My favorite Superman MOMENT is when Lana expects him to propose to her and he reveals that he can fly instead in the Loeb/Sale book (which is strange given my general dislike for Loeb).

My favorite Superman STORY is.. hrm. There’s a really great one that Rucka did with Mxy recently.

No it’s probably the fall out from the end of the Byrne run by Stern. All of the exile stuff after Superman killed the Phantom Zone Villains.

Stern is really, really good.

Not to be too recentist, but I’m gonna have to say Kingdom Come.

I don’t know why, but the first story that came to mind after reading the topic was Byrne’s 2-parter with Mr Miracle and Big Barda in his Action Comics-run; the villain was Sleaze.
I just love those simpler, continuity-free early times after the Crisis-reboot…

@Matt D

Oh shit yeah, that Mxy story was GENIUS

“The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue,” from 1963. There will never, EVER be a better Superman story.

Hmmm…howsabout I pick one from each era?

1940s – The Luthor-Powerstone multiparter

1950s – Superman #123, with Jimmy’s three wishes. Oddly, the bit I like in this story isn’t the proto-Supergirl, but Superman helping his parents out of a frame-job on Krypton to clear the way for their marriage.

1960s – The original “Death of Superman — An Imaginary Novel in Three Parts!”

1970s – Tie between the seminal “Must There Be a Superman?” and Cary Bates’ run of great stories from Superman #301-6.

1980s (Pre-Crisis) – “For the Man Who Has Everything”

1980s (Post-Crisis) – Superman v.2 #2

1990s – Tie between Superman: For All Seasons and Superman: Peace on Earth

2000s – “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?”

The Steranko story. Easy.

I’m not much of a Superman fan and have never religious read his books. I can credit the Death of Superman storyline with getting me into reading comics more, so I like that one a good amount. But I also really like Millar’s Red Son just because I liked the idea of the ending and I’m a sucker for some fictionalized history mixed in with my comics.

Hitman #34, without question.

The two famous Moore stories are both unbelievably well done and All-Star is one of my favorite current series, but Hitman is the only store that’s ever really made me care about the character itself.

Superman: For All Seasons

I really liked the two Elliot S! Maggin books, “The Last Son of Krypton” and “Miracle Monday.” They both really have a great cosmic scope. In “Last Son” Superman is recognized as one of the most important individuals in the universe, and in “Miracle” he beats the Devil. Both are just terrific stories.

What’s the Steranko Superman story and why don’t I know about it?

I’m rather fond of “The Immortal Superman” from Action Comics #385, 386 and 387, which I only discovered because they’re part of the Legion of Super-Heroes run in the series’ back-up slot.

I like many of the stories that either involve Superman going into the future, or glimpses of Superman’s life in the future. For instance “The Ghost of Superman-Future!” from Superman #416. (Plus it’s hard not to love Elliot S! Maggin’s enthusiasm for practically everything he writes.)

All the ones everyone has mentioned, plus “Secret Identity,” if it counts. Busiek and Immonen’s did a bang-up job creating the life story of an “Earth-Prime” Superman.

It’s called “Exile at the Edge of Eternity,” one of the short-stories that appeared in Superman #400, I believe.

The Steranko Superman story, that is. Here it is:
http://site.supermanthrutheages.com/400/exile/

Anywho, I think my all-time favorite Superman story is Superman For All Seasons. It just really got to the heart of the character and the people in his life.

“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” is my all time fave, followed closely by Hitman #34.

Hitman #34.

There’s quite a few of them I happen to enjoy:

1. “For the Man That Has Everything”
2. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”
3. Superman #121 (great Jurgens story)
4. Death of Superman
5. Superman: Peace on Earth
6. Superman/Doomsday (the first prestige mini)
7. Superman: The Dark Side
8. Time & Time Again
9. Red Son
10. Superman/Madman Hullabaloo
11. Superman for Earth
12. World of Krypton

Hell, there’s tons of them. He is my all time favorite character.

This is a tough one, but I think I’ll have to go with “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”

Honorable mentions would include “Revenge…Superman Style!” as well as the “Phantom Zone” mini-series, and, of course, the other Alan Moore favorite, “For the Man That Has Everything.”
Beyond those…lots. Just lots and lots.
My favorite Superman “moment” though, comes from the issue (whose title and number escape me)in which Clark finally just decides to go for it and makes his move on Lois.
(It was, I think, in 1990, around the time of the story in which Hank Henshaw was introduced and after the whole “Krypton Man” thing.)

And yes, the two Elliot S! Maggin novels deserve mention. So many great stories. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when they get buried by the not-so good stuff (to be charitable) and to get bogged down in the negative, but hey, in nearly 70 years there are bound to be stories of widely varying quality. And the stuff that shines really shines.

There are a lot of great stories here, but someone needs to mention both Supreme: Story of the Year and the first issue of Astro City as great Superman stories.

I’d love to say something new and exciting, but it’s “For the Man Who Has Everything” for me too.

My favorite Superman story is the one where Clark Kent is sitting at a bar on the roof of a really tall building and he tells the guy next to him about the updrafts.

That Steranko story has the best Steranko robot ever in it.

And it’s really great altogether.

“For The Man Who Has Everything” and the heartbreaking moment when he tells his son that he realizes that he doesn’t actually exist.

“The Miraculous Return of Jonathan Kent” – Action 507-508

It’s funny, I’m not particularly a Superman fan, but “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and “Red Son” are two of my favorite super-hero stories.

I’ll echo the huzzahs for the Moore stories and “What’s So Funny. . .,” but add Morrison’s story from All-Star Superman #5 — Clark interviews Luthor.

It’s funny how it’s the guys from the UK — Moore, Morrison, and Ennis — who seem to really get the character. Not to denegrate anyone else; I really enjoy the Maggin run and think that Busiek is doing some of the best stories of recent years — but those three took things to higher levels.

Supreme: Story of the Year.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

October 4, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Superman vs Muhammad Ali

I loved “For the Man who has Everything”, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, “The Key that Unlocked Chaos / Warworld / Where No Superman has gone Before”, and “The Second Coming of Superman” but that Supes / Ali book is in a class all its own.

My favourite single issue is SUPERMAN # 125, though I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite story– all three of them (Clark Kent’s College Days, the Lois Lane dream story, and Superman’s New Power) are wonderful.

I also really like Superman’s Tragic Marriage, in which Superman marries Lois and has a child, loses his wife, builds a robot Lois, falls in love with the robot, realizes its a robot, goes to an alternate universe, falls in love with _that_ Lois and marries her– much to the relief of _that_ universe’s Superman. It’s like Freud turned up to eleven.

I’ve read very few Superman stories, but of the ones I have read, “For the Man Who Has Everything” was easily the best.

Random Stranger

October 4, 2007 at 4:12 pm

I have to say that for the single best it has to be “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” but Moore’s story only works because of decades of establishing the iconic Superman before him. It’s Superman’s Götterdämmerung and has the power that only the end of a myth can have.

I’ve enjoyed plenty of other Superman stories but WHttMoT is just on another level entirely.

“Villain, Villain, Who’s got the Villain?” by Elliot S! Maggin and Alex Toth from Superman Annual 9.

Superman’s Lost 100 Years: It wasn’t a dream or an imaginary story and it kicked butt.

I haven’t read that many Superman stories, but “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” was my favorite. Of course, that kind of story is usually very good or very bad.

Hitman #34 is probably the best one I’ve ever read, with the other usual recent suspects (Secret Identity, the Moore Annual, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) also coming close. But that Hitman issue is freakin’ brilliant.

No one has mentioned Superman: It’s a Bird … yet, and I guess that doesn’t technically count as a Superman story, but it’s also brilliant. And I’m going to count it because his name is in the title.

I may be cheating here, but I’m going to say the origin.

The story of him crashing to Earth, the Kents raising him in Smallville, and whatever ultimately makes him decide to don the tights.

The origin’s been told hundreds of different times in different mediums and different continuities and its always my favorite.

My first thought was “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?”, the one where Supes meets The Authority (mildly disguised) and defeats them by being true to his own ideals. If anyone still argues that Superman is dull because he’s too much of a boy scout, read that one. It also happens to work perfectly with a married Superman, in ways that Spiderman’s writers could never manage.

The others are damn good too. I second the votes for Secret Identity and Whatever Happened… I’ve never read For The Man Who Has Everything, but I’ll have to hunt it down now.

I love all the stories mentioned so far, and they could all have a place as my favorite, but I’ll at least mention one nobody has. I can’t remember the title (I know it was in the Showcase volumes, though); it was a story where the IRS showed up, explaining that Superman owed ten million dollars in back taxes for all those lumps of coal he’d squeezed into diamonds, sunken treasures he’d brought up, and gifts he’d received from a grateful humanity. Superman protests that he donated all those things to charity, and didn’t keep a dime for himself, but the IRS man points out that you can’t declare your whole income as a deduction for a charitable donation, so Superman’s on the hook for ten mil and has only one day to get it.

The whole story is a comedy of errors, with Superman constantly finding the money, only to find someone who needs it more than he does. In the end, though, the head of the IRS points out that his employee forgot to allow Superman to declare dependents…and in a way, don’t we all depend on Superman? The tax bill instantly cancels out to zero, and Superman breathes a sigh of relief.

A great comedy gem of a story, from the Silver Age.

My favourite Superman stories (not comic stories) were the 1940’s Max Fleisher cartoon shorts.
I did enjoy Byrne’s ‘Man of Steel’.
The Moore stuff almost goes without saying, and it’s great to see the love for ‘Hitman #34′.

But I have to say, I despised ‘What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way?’.

I like any story wherein Superman dies, so “Death of Superman” ranks pretty high.

1, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
2, For the Man Who Has Everything…
3, World’s Finest (the Steve Rude miniseries)
4, For All Seasons
5, Miracle Monday

It’s gotta be “The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue”.

Honorable Mention Alan Moore’s “The Story of the Year” from Supreme. Not really Superman but close enough.

Back in the late 60s/early 70s, a puppet-maker died and passed his secrets of making magical to a greedy creep. The creep made Superman puppets which stole his powers one by one, the first taking his power of flight, then his strength, his speed, etc. Finally the creep called the puppets together to transfer their stolen powers to him. They did only to find that it was Superman in a mask using his “Super-Ventriloquism.” Superman took the creep to prison (although is stealing superpowers a crime?) and apparently he’s been there ever since.

That was probably the first Superman comic I ever read and nothing since has captured the feeling.

I did like the description of the IRS story.

I’m with the Mutt on this one.

“you’re a mean drunk, Superman!”

“I may be cheating here, but I’m going to say the origin.
The story of him crashing to Earth, the Kents raising him in Smallville, and whatever ultimately makes him decide to don the tights.”

Actually, in the origin he’s raised in an orphanage. But I get where you’re coming from.

I’ve read about a gajillion Superman comics, so I want to come up with a story nobody has mentioned yet, but it’s hard to go past ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it was the first Alan Moore story I ever read, which adds to the appeal.

I’m also quite partial to ‘The Secret Revealed!’ in John Byrne’s Superman #2 (the one where Lex is handed Superman’s secret identity, but his own arrogance refuses to allow him to believe it), and All-Star Superman has been a godsend- if it doesn’t fall apart at the end, and the little moments where the storytelling seems a bit muddled stop piling up, it could become my favourite Superman story.

Say what? The orphanage is just one version of the origin, so the other poster is right, too.

“Of thee I sing”. Yes, Hitman #34.
I do love “For the man who has everything”, and “Whatever happened…”, but they’re still “Superman stories”.
I do believe that Superman’s true value is in stories that are not his own. Because it’s only then that he can truly be “Super”, and at the same time a regular joe (if he’s written right, of course).

“Superman and Spider-Man”, the second team-up. It was also the first Superman comic I ever read.

Honestly, it’s pretty cheezy, and a much better Spidey story than Superman, but I have fond memories of it and especially the scene at the end where Doom gets away because he managed to set foot on his embassy’s property, and laughs at Superman about it.

The best Superman story is, of course, “For the Man who Has Everything” and the best scene in it is when the heat vision goes on in the climactic fight. “Burn.” No where else do you get to see Kal-El’s true anger and anguish, the torture of his loss, and the sheer release of his power against a foe that can take it.

I’ve never heard of this Hitman story, because I never read Hitman. Someone please enlighten me.

A toss up between “Exile” and the whole “Death and Return Saga”.

Both were great.

That is all.

Favorite? Not Best?

There’s a lot of weird ones I like that aren’t quite Superman stories. Steve Gerber’s Phantom Zone mini-series, and I… I… well, I think the pre-Crisis Superbaby is the funniest thing ever.

But SuperMAN stories? Tougher. I got a soft spot in my heart for Brave and the Bold 150, probably Bob Haney’s last great issue.

I’ve always liked the origin of the silver Brainiac (which Superman didn’t have much to do with, true, but it suggested Clark would willingly date both Lois and Lana as the mood struck). Or, “If Superman didn’t exist, someone would have to create him.”

My favorite title for a Superman story, meanwhile, is a lot easier: “Swear to God, This Time We’re Not Kidding”

I’m not a Superman fan at all, by any long shot but without question the best stories ever are For the Man Who Has Everything, and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Of late the last story to really impress me is Red Son- I’m a Millar fan, admittedly, but even so, the premise and execution of Red Son is almost perfect.

The moment where Lana thinks Clark is going to propose? I don’t recall that in Man for All Seasons, but if it’s there, Loeb cribbed it from Man of Steel, since the exact same thing described by the person voting for that moment happened there.

Anyone voting for Whatever Happened to…? Should read Superfolks. Moore borrowed liberally from that for a lot of the early portion of his career, and it’s rarely more obvious than in WHttMoT, where the twist ending is exactly the same.

Superman #400 is great, though I’m not sure why people would vote for only a section of it (or why DC insists on only reprinting part of it). The story is best experienced as a whole. It’s a very moving portrait of Superman as symbol

Anyway, my vote goes tot he story from Action #1 or 2 where Superman traps greedy mine owners in their own dangerous mine. It would take until Ellis’s Stormwatch and John Cumberland for Superman to ever be that cool again (Miracleman was a little to facist).

Salamurai, in the Hitman issue in question (#34?), Tommy Monaghan’s on his way to a hit, and stumbles upon Superman, just standing on a rooftop. Superman’s depressed because while he just saved a bunch of astronauts from certain death, well, that would be telling. The issue IIRC, won an Eisner, so of course DC hasn’t reprinted it. It’s up there with Astro City v1 #1 as a look into Superman’s pysche.

Superman Red/Superman Blue, which must be one of the most reprinted Superman stories.

@ Joe: it’s also explained in issue one of the recent Hitman/JLA two-parter.

The moment where Lana thinks Clark is going to propose? I don’t recall that in Man for All Seasons, but if it’s there, Loeb cribbed it from Man of Steel, since the exact same thing described by the person voting for that moment happened there.

Like every Loeb books, I’m sure EVERY good part of Superman for All Seasons is directly cribbed from a superior previous story, while all the illogical parts are 100% Loeb contributions. There’s a pretty good, consistent test you can do to tell if a Loeb scene is cribbed: is it good? Probably cribbed. Does the sequence make sense and last more than three consecutive panels without a plot hole popping up? Cribbed. The test has 100% success rate so far, I find.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow with ease.

Honourable mentions to Red Son and Secret Identity

I knew that Clark/Lana moment had stuck with me for some reason. It just happened to be because I had seen it before (just not drawn by Tim Sale).

There you go. I told you it was weird I liked it so much when I generally have a disdain for Loeb. That explains it.

Thanks.

Its maybe because I just read them, but I really dug DC Comics Presents 27-29, Mongul’s first appearances.

I’ve never liked Superman even though I like Superheroes. He just seemed to have it too easy.

But Hitman #34 and now JLA/Hitman #2 have given me the best takes on the character I have ever seen. While I don’t think Ennis could ever write Superman as a character, I think he does the best job of writing about Superman as a concept.

I second Mutt’s first suggestion, followed by the time Superman was flying around and spotted Wonder Woman sunbathing…

I struggle with this one because all my favorite Superman stories are Superboy stories.

Good point, fourthworlder, there have been some great Superboy stories. The first Bizarro story is probably my favourite, how about you?

thanks for the info, Joe Gualtieri.
I guess I have to track that down.

regarding “Superman For All Seasons”, I’ve liked every Loeb/Sale story I’ve read; one of the best parts of the book was the reuse of layouts and shots in the various chapters, tying them together visually — the most interesting being, Clark’s room at the farmhouse in chapter 1 & 4 and his Metropolis apartment bedroom in chapter 2.

Faves:

“The man who has everything”
“Superman for all seasons”
“What’s so funny about…”
“Red Son”
Hitman/JLA & Hitman #34

My favorite Superman story? Veitch’s Maximortal.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned this one (or at least I didn’t see it mentioned)… “The Miraculous Return of Jonathan Kent” from Action 507-508 (I think). It’s a genuinely sweet and moving tale where Clark Kent discovers one day that his father is now alive and everyone except Clark/Superman accepts it as a part of reality. It turns out that an alien is granting Jonathan his fondest wish from years back to see his son as a grown-up.

It’s a really sweet story about fathers and sons having that one last chance to connect. It really moved me as a 10 year-old. Still does today. And it even has a totally silly hippie villain who gets what he wants by saying “Please!”. For my money it’s as good as any issue of All -Star Superman (in fact one issue of All-Star pretty much goes to the same territory, only with lesser effect). And it’s written by Cary Bates, the most underrated writer in the history of DC comics.

Oh wait, someone else did mention Miraculous Return. Good.

One other story I’d add (probably my close second): As a kid, I loved the first Lori Lemaris story. It captured the sort of haunted pathos that was an essential component of the 1950s Superman perfectly.

John Byrne retold it during his run and I thought he did a magnificent job of it– plus, this was the height of Byrne’s ability to draw beautiful women and Lori was gorgeous as well!

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