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The 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time! Nominees #1-10

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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 the next 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, this is just the first group of stories that you’ll be voting on later on.

Here are the first batch of ten nominees (they are not in any particular order)!

1. The Death of Superman (Superman Volume 1 #149)

Possibly the greatest Imaginary Story, Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff show Lex Luthor getting his final victory over Superman, although things do not end up going the way Luthor had planned in the end.

2. Kingdom Come (Kingdom Come #1-4)

After a horrible tragedy sends him into seclusion for a decade, Superman is pulled out of retirement by the behavior of the “superheroes” of the DC future, but soon Mark Waid and Alex Ross are testing Superman’s very beliefs as he find himself acting more and more like the world’s “Big Brother.”

3. Panic in the Sky! (Action Comics #674-675, Adventures of Superman #488-489, Superman: The Man of Steel #9-10 and Superman #65-66)

Brainiac takes over Warworld and comes to invade Earth. Superman must lead Earth’s heroes in retaliation to defend our planet. Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway wrote this crossover story with pencils by Jurgens, Bob McLeod, Jon Bogdanove and Tom Grummett.

4. “Superman Takes a Wife!” Action Comics #484

Cart Bates, Curt Swan and Joe Giella celebrated Superman’s 40th anniversary by finally marrying Superman and Lois Lane…well, A Superman and Lois Lane, that is.

5. “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” Action Comics #858-863

In this six-part arc, Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Jon Sibal brought back the Levitz-era Legion of Super-Heroes as Superman finds himself on a futuristic Earth where the planet has been turned away from all aliens, including most of the Legion of Super-Heroes! Can Superman, an alien himself, turn the tide?

6. “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-56

supernominee6

Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Dick Giordano and Terry Austin gave us this unforgettable team-up/match-up of Superman and the famed boxer Muhammad Ali, as the two must fight each other in order to protect the Earth from an alien invasion.

7. “The Coming of Superman!” Action Comics #1-2

In this, the first Superman story, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster pack a whole lot of plot into this one story (naturally, as the story was a combination of a bunch of different comic strips), as Superman stops a wife-beaters, saves a wrongfully accused man from being electrocuted, saves Lois Lane from some gangsters and finally, affects U.S. foreign policy by proving that a war profiteer is inciting a war!! All in one initial story! All while also introducing an establishing the personalities for Superman, Lois Lane and Clark Kent!

8. Superman: Peace on Earth

Alex Ross and Paul Dini show Superman trying to do something about world hunger and realizing that it is not so easy to affect change on the world.

9. “Superman’s Race With the Flash!” Superman #199

Superman and the Flash race for charity but soon get caught up in foiling the plot of some gangsters! Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein were the creative team on this one.

10. “Public Enemies” Superman/Batman #1-6

After becoming President of the United States, Lex Luthor uses his power to brand Superman and Batman as, well, public enemies of the state. This leads to the eventual downfall of Luthor from the Presidency as Superman and Batman must clear their good name, stop Luthor AND stop a Kryptonite meteor headed for Earth all at the same time!

Feel free to e-mail me suggestions for stories that you’d like to see featured as a nominee! Odds are that whatever you suggest I already have in mind, but really, it can’t hurt, so send in those ideas! My e-mail is bcronin@comicbookresources.com

38 Comments

Man, there are gonna be a lot of omissions. World’s Funnest, Superman #400, DC Comics Presents #85 (and probably #26 and #47 for that matter), Superman’s Christmas Adventure (1940 version), the “unofficial” crossover with Asterix, Warrior of Mars, The Einstein Connection, Action Comics #338-339, Laetitia Lerner Superman’s Babysitter, Bizarro Must Think, nearly anything from Superman Adventures, most of the Byrne run, nearly anything from the early Golden Age… all stories that deserve consideration for a top 75 Supes stories list (and I could still think of others) yet I expect none of them to even be nominees.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing how this list turns out.

Wait a sec… How is the voting supposed to work here exactly? Or are we going to get instructions for voting after the nominees have all been posted?

The story in Action Comics #1 continued into issue #2, and was reprinted, with a couple of additional pages on Superman’s origin, in Superman #1. Just for completeness, you might want to include AC #2 and/or the pages in Superman #1 for your “Coming of Superman” entry.

My personal favorite Superman story is DC Comics Presents #50, Superman and Clark Kent.

Wow, this going to be tough. I can see already. There are some Superman stories that are my favorites, but they are so goofy, yet at the same time feel like classic Superman.

I like the first 7 but not sure about the last two (I haven’t read Peace on Earth). Race with the Flash was just silly and gimmicky and Public Enemies never clicked right with me.

nice to see the superman vs ali story is not only part of the list but way in the top seven. a good choice for it though also surprised kingdom come made so high a pick too

Y’all are crazy. According to DC (THE ONLY AUTHORITY), Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 in September 2011. Or maybe Justice League #1 from August 2011. He hasn’t had 75 stories since then, people! I don’t know who this dude Brian is talking about is, but it ain’t Superman. Sorry!

So wait. Muhammad Ali is part of the new 52?

I feel pretty confident that they’ll be somewhere among the nominees, but just in case…

I hope to see:
DC Comics Presents 85 (the Swamp Thing team-up by Moore/Veitch)
Hitman 34
Secret Identity
JLA 6-7 (The Superman/Azmodel fight)

Obviously the best Superman story is “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?” by Joe Kelly.

Someone should email Mr Cronin and tell him that somebody hacked this list and inserted ‘Superman and the Legion’ and ‘Public Enemies’…

doofus mcdoofus

April 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

‘Someone should email Mr Cronin and tell him that somebody hacked this list and inserted ‘Superman and the Legion’ and ‘Public Enemies’…’

Sooo funny. Now go back to the bingo, gramps.

This list reminds me of how much I despise Peace on Earth.

On a more positive note, it reminds me of one of the virtues of multiple Earths: it can ‘break’ the status quo, or at least do things comics focusing on the ‘main’ universe can’t.

Superman 149, the original Death of Superman, is my all-time favorite

[...] Robot 6 is a good comics blog. They are also doing something I would never dare: ranking the 75 Best… For one, I don’t know if I could come up with 75 (let’s be honest), but also: LOOK OUT FOR COMMENTS.  Not that I have that problem, but you know what I mean. [...]

Why does not liking bad Superman stories, one of which changes the up dated Clark Kent back to a 60s-70s version, make me ‘gramps’

Some likely nominees
Superman’s Return to Krypton
Kryptonite Never More (Superman 233) (unless Brian calls it the Sandman Saga or something)
Secret of the Superman Imposter (Superman 225) (Superman Robot thinks it’s the real thing – and ends with Superman with a tear)
of course the Alan Moore stories
Superman 296-298 – where Clark and Lois, um, spend some intimate time over beef bouginon.
Kamandi 29 (the Legend)

doofus mcdoofus

April 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm

‘Why does not liking bad Superman stories, one of which changes the up dated Clark Kent back to a 60s-70s version, make me ‘gramps’’

The same way you not liking a story makes it bad, gramps.

Who is the guy on the front cover of “Panic in the Sky”, located over Supes left shoulder and below Guy Gardener? And is the one located below his left knee someone from the Newsboy Legion??

Kingdom Come, Red Son, Reign Of The Supermen and I guess All-Star Superman. There’s my votes.

There is a 120% chance that Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow will be here.

It’s too bad only comics are permissible, or I would suggest Miracle Monday.

Jax, the guy by Guy and Superman is Agent Liberty (I think…), and the guy on the bottom is Guardian, who did indeed hang with the Newsboy Legion.

This is a cool list so far.

But man, how do we know that Action 1 came out April 18, 1938, but you’ve asked before to try to find out the exact release dates of ’80s comics? How were better records kept in the ’30s than the ’80s? That’s blowin’ my mind!

I hope to see Starman #75 on the list (though I also wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t there).

But man, how do we know that Action 1 came out April 18, 1938, but you’ve asked before to try to find out the exact release dates of ’80s comics? How were better records kept in the ’30s than the ’80s? That’s blowin’ my mind!

The data for the 1980s stuff is readily available from the company, it just isn’t publicly available. The Action Comics #1 date came up in the Siegel lawsuit.

Travis Pelkie

April 8, 2013 at 1:04 am

Oh, cool. Were you able to get the release dates of stuff you were looking for, then? I know you were asking a year or so ago about some stuff and the actual release dates. If I’m understanding you right (and I am slow), you were able to get some info from the companies, by writing to them or whatever, but it’s not info that’s out and on the internet, f’r instance.

I thought the internet was the infinite library, dangit!

Oh, cool. Were you able to get the release dates of stuff you were looking for, then? I know you were asking a year or so ago about some stuff and the actual release dates. If I’m understanding you right (and I am slow), you were able to get some info from the companies, by writing to them or whatever, but it’s not info that’s out and on the internet, f’r instance.

I thought the internet was the infinite library, dangit!

No, I was never able to get the info in question. Alas, alack!

Odds are that whatever you suggest I already have in mind, but really, it can’t hurt, so send in those ideas!

I think you might be surprised at how many “hidden gems” there are in the Superman catalogue. Part of the reason why you always hear about the same Superman stories over and again is because the character’s just been in SO many comics that no one has the time to wade through everything and pick out the ones that have gone overlooked but deserve more recognition.

I don’t know if it’s a Superman story per se, but the tale of Tomar-Re and his attempt to save Krypton with Tomar-Re’s retirement has a pleasant memory for me.

“Must There Be A Superman?”

And, I hope to see “The Night of March 31″ –
I don’t know the title – but the first story on Lexor – where Luthor becomes a hero to Superman’s villain – but has a touching ending with Superman taking Luthor back to Earth while letting the Lexorians still revere Luthor.

One of my favorite moments is in JLA 86 – where the JLA has gone to a planet that is polluted by “magic” to fix it. (That planet’s residents had been stealing Earth’s plankton). Superman goes out to address the multitudes and someone asks whether Superman knows that that planet’s citizens can kill him with magic and Batman says “he knows” and then there are just great shots of Superman addressing the crowds from a balcony – giving a speech about tending to the environment “as we must do on Earth”. Or something like that. It just spoke to what made him Superman.

i re read kingdom come recently – MAN that is one dull politically correct comic. (also i cant stand Ross)

Its All-Star Superman for modern Superman but really, the heart and soul of Superman will always be his Silver Age adventures.

How is Kingdom Come “politically correct”?

The Crazed Spruce

April 8, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I hope they break the whole “Death of Superman” storyline up into three parts. “Death of Superman” was an even-driven mess, and while “Reign of the Superman” was a fun story, it was driven by the need to restore the status quo. But “Funeral for a Friend” was a deft examination of a world picking up the pieces after its greatest hero is suddenly taken from it. I could easily vote for “Funeral for a Friend”, but would probably have trouble voting for the story as a whole.

And hey, if “Panic in the Sky” made the cut, maybe “Time and Time Again” will turn up, too!

The Crazed Spruce

April 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

That should be “[i]event[/i]-driven mess”…..

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Touche, CCCapital, touche.

So these nominees are just YOUR top 100? And we have to pick 75 of them? … Stupid. People should just pick there own top 10, and you tally it.

I enjoyed a lot of the early 2000′s work. Many were done in one stories or nice 2 parters.

[...] to Brian Cronin, who seems to know so much about comics that I think we should really just trust him, today is the [...]

This List? Really???
After RE-Reading “Kingdom Come” & its follow-up (return to Earth 22) “Thy Kingdom Come” (JSoA #9-22 + a couple a onezies) by G.Johns & A.Ross; which is truly Alot better! Even though its more God/ MaGoG & GoG focused, kinda exposes M.Waid & Ross’s original..
Either way…
Yes Superman (vol.1) #225 should be in some sorta running & so should-
K.Busieks 1st Volume of “Camelot Falls” it includes some of C.Pacheo’s Best work!
The 1st volume of “Camelot Falls” is AWESOME!
So is (C.Roberson) Superman #708 = Most UNDERRATED Modern comic Of All-time!
& What about J. Kelly’s Action #775, & who could forget Morrison’s “All-Star SuperMan”.

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