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The 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time! Nominees #31-40

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)!

31. “How Superman Would End The War” Look Magazine February 27, 1940

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Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster clearly took a look of glee out of showing how Superman would end World War II in the time before the United States entered the war. Their solution was bizarre but certainly memorable!

32. “Final Crisis” (Final Crisis #1-7, Superman Beyond #1-2)

I initially planned on including just the Superman Beyond part of Final Crisis, but I realized that that doesn’t make sense since Superman Beyond is just part of the overall Final Crisis story and a big part of Final Crisis is Superman essentially saving both the Multiverse as well as all the people on Earth, so I guess I should just lump them all in as one story. Grant Morrison wrote it and JG Jones and Doug Mahnke drew the Superman parts of the story.

33. “Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter” DC Comics Presents #97

This story by Steve Gerber, Rick Veitch and Bob Smith served as both a sequel to Gerber’s Phantom Zone mini-series as well as the conclusion to the Pre-Crisis Superman. This story gave a fascinating origin for the Phantom Zone (Jor-El originally planned on using the Phantom Zone as a place where the people of Krypton could go to survive the explosion of Krypton) as well as a “everything goes crazy” second half of the story as Bizarro World is destroyed and the Phantom Zone villains take control of Mister Mxyzptlk to take the fight to Superman one last time.

34. “The Einstein Connection!” Superman #416

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Superman and Lex Luthor share a surprisingly touching moment together when Superman realizes why Luthor keeps committing odd crimes on the same date every year, March 16th. Elliot S! Maggin wrote it and Curt Swan and Al Williamson drew it.

35. “Camelot Falls” Superman #654-658, 662-664, 667 and Superman Annual #13

Kurt Busiek’s run on Superman began with a touching story with Clark and Lois celebrating a cute anniversary. It is a strong examination of how hard it is to have a marriage when one of the couple is, you know, SUPERMAN. Similarly, Busiek does a wonderful job re-introducing Lana Lang into the cast as the new CEO of Lexcorp. The strange nature of having a relationship with Superman is born out with Superman’s interactions with Lana. There is so much unsaid in their interactions, as she can’t reveal to him that she still has feelings for him, but at the same time, Superman can read her like a book easily but he doesn’t know how to handle things. The main conflict of the arc is when Superman is told of a great tragedy that is coming – if Superman and the world’s heroes fight it off, it will only grow in power and wipe EVERYone out. If he lets it attack now when it is weaker, millions will die NOW but more will live in the future. So what do you do? That’s just one of the fascinating questions that arises during Busiek’s run (another is the age old question of Nature versus Nurture when Superman meets a super-powered being who had almost the polar opposite of Superman’s childhood). The artwork is by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino and it is excellent.

36. Superman Earth One

J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis reboot Superman for a new generation, as we see a young man with great powers struggling to find a place in this world to use those powers. It definitely evokes classic Marvel-style adventures as young Clark learns that with great power comes great responsibility.

37. “Mighty One” Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth #29

Jack Kirby (with plotting by Steve Sherman) tells this fascinating story of how Superman still inspires people even after the APOCALYPSE and he is long dead.

38. “The Super-Duel in Space” Action Comics #242

Superman’s first fight against the villainous Brainiac and the introduction of the Bottled City of Kandor! Otto Binder wrote it and Al Plastino drew it.

39. “The Three Magic Wishes” Superman Volume 1 #123

In this classic Otto Binder tale, one of the few Superman stories drawn by legendary Batman artist Dick Sprang, we see a precursor to Binder’s later introduction of Supergirl as Jimmy Olsen discovers a totem that provides three magic wishes (hence the title of the story). Jimmy’s wish is for a Super-Girl, some bad guys then wish for Superman to lose his powers and the final wish allows Superman to go back in time and see Krypton and meet his parents for the first time. He even ends up arranging their marriage!!

40. “Ending Battle” Superman #186-187, Adventures of Superman #608-609, Superman: Man of Steel #130-131 and Action Comics #795-796

This story was the first Superman story that Geoff Johns worked on and it also served as a sequel to Joe Kelly’s acclaimed “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” storyline, as Manchester Black decides to do whatever he can to break Superman and to prove to him that he can stoop to Black’s level. Black does this by using his powers to learn Superman’s secret identity and tormenting Superman in and out of his costume until Superman reaches a breaking point with the seeming death of Lois Lane. Or does he? It well-knit storyline by Johns, Kelly, Joe Casey and Mark Schultz with art by Pascual Ferry, Duncan Rouleau, Derec Aucion and Brandon Badeaux. This ended a particularly dark point in Superman’s history. If you liked Kelly’s “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” then you’ll want to check this one. It’s also interesting to see early Johns work on Superman.

14 Comments

Shouldn’t DC Comics Presents #97 have been included as part of the Phantom Zone arc along with the mini? Seems odd to give it its own spot just because the one chapter was published under a different title (despite being part of the exact same story).

Also, I can not believe that you actually included Earth One. I think that’s probably the second most hated Superman story of all time right after Grounded and just ahead of the Electric Superman crapfest.

It was four years later. It’s a sequel, not a part of the original story.

Heck, check out the last page of Phantom Zone #4.

Note the “The End” bit?

Gerber then re-visits the characters from the mini-series in DC Comics Presents #97. That’s a sequel.

Kack Kirby ?

How much did Geoff Johns have to do with Superman: Sacrifice, the Superman story leading up to Infinite Crisis and concluding with Wonder Woman killing Max Lord? I ask because that story exists in direct contradiction to Ending Battle, and it is my understanding that Infinite Crisis was largely Johns’ brainchild.

Yay for the Kamandi issue! Missed the Ending Battle storyline – Will have to get the trade…

nice to see even if its earth one some current take on superman make the cut . and also cool to see the one phantom zone story even if its just a part of the mini series. that helped put the pre crisis superman to rest

I love reading these nominees. So many good Superman stories. You often hear people say Superman is hard to write for because he’s so powerful. Maybe, but a lot of people have still managed to write a lot of good stuff.

Superman Year One is godawful… Does not belong near this list.

You mean Earth One?

Funny, I liked Earth One. The first volume better than the second, but I liked it quite a lot.

Oh, that DCCP story is where the “Jor-El was going to take the Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone pre-‘splosion” comes from? Cuz Morrison used that in his Action run. I think it’s been used in the interim as well. Cool.

Travis- It was also used in Superman:The Animated Series. But, yeah, as far as I can recall Gerber used it first.

I just read Elliot S! Maggin’s issue of DC Challenge. He really liked Einstein a lot, I guess.

Oh, DC Challenge is so cool, man. Just a really cool, really weird series, with a ton of great characters used. No, it doesn’t make much sense in the long run, but it’s so fun, who cares?

Superman had a neat bit in there, actually, with a take off on a Firesign Theatre title, iirc.

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