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The 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time #25-1

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10. “The Death of Superman” (Superman Volume 1 #149) (1961)

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.

9. Secret Identity #1-4 (2003-04)

Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen take a different look at the Superman mythos by showing a man named Clark Kent who grew up in a world where Superman comic books existed but superheroes did not. So when Clark finds himself suddenly with super powers, well, things change in his life dramatically. He evens has his own Lois! This comic is touching and well-thought out and beautifully drawn by Immonen.

8. “What’s So Funny about Truth, Justice & the American Way?” Action Comics #775 (2001)

Joe Kelly used this “anniversary” issue to take on the idea that perhaps Superman’s ideals were out of date in the 21st century.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.

7. Superman for All Seasons #1-4 (1998)

In this breathtakingly beautifully drawn series by Tim Sale, writer Jeph Loeb uses the seasons to depict different points in Supermans’ life. Along those lines, each issue is narrated by a different person who has a different take of who Superman is. Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Lana Lang all have wildly different views of Superman (especially at the various points in time that they tell their respective stories) but when you put them together you have a fascinating picture of Superman as a whole.

6. Superman: Red Son #1-3 (2003)

Simply put, what if Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States? That’s the question that Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson and Walden Wong try to answer in this Elseworlds mini-series that also sees a Soviet version of Batman and also a taste of what Lex Luthor would be like if the rest of the United States was actually on his side!

5. Man of Steel #1-6 (1986)

John Byrne and Dick Giordano relaunch the Superman mythos in this excellent mini-series that re-establishes the entire Superman mythos ahead of the Superman titles all relaunching with a new status quo. What was so shocking about Byrne’s reboot was how much he kept the same. Superman and his supporting cast were largely the same, with the biggest changed being Lex Luthor now as a respected businessman, no Superboy, Krypton was a cold and desolate place, Superman was no longer “born” until he landed on Earth and Jonathan and Martha Kent still being alive with Clark as an adult. Clark Kent, I suppose, also saw a change as he was no longer so mild-mannered. In each of the six issues, Byrne re-established some part of the Superman status quo. #1 saw Clark gaining his powers for the first time, #2 introduced us to Lois Lane, #3 has Superman and Batman meet for the first time (in a standout issue), #5 introduced us to Lex Luthor, #5 gave us Bizarro and #6 had Clark learn about his Kryptonian heritage.

4. Kingdom Come (Kingdom Come #1-4) (1996)

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. All-Star Superman #1-12 (2006-08)

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely produced this epic maxi-series that opens with Superman realizing that he has just one year left to live. The series follows that year as Superman does as much good as he can before he dies. This series features call backs to pretty much every era of Superman comics, including acclaim spotlights on Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Bizarro and Lex Luthor (who is behind the plot to kill Superman).

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2. “For the Man Who has Everything?” (Superman Annual #11) (1985)

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons celebrate Superman’s birthday in style by having the villainous Mongul showing the Man of Steel a reality where Krypton DIDN’T explode and Kal-El is a middling bureaucrat. Can Superman’s visiting friends Batman, Wonder Woman and Robin help save him? And how will he react when he wakes from this fantasy (hint: he will be none too pleased with Mongul)?

1. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Superman #423/Action Comics #583 (1986)

Alan Moore helps close out Superman and Action Comics as the John Byrne reboot is about to commence. Along with artists Curt Swan, George Perez, Kurt Schaffenberger and Murphy Anderson, Moore reveals the final days of Superman and his allies in this tragic, but clever and heartfelt story. There are so many cool moments in this two-parter that I can’t even list them all here. I’ll pick one – Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang giving themselves powers for one last time so that they can go out and help defend their friend Superman from a siege of supervillains, claiming to the world one last time that they held a special place in Superman’s heart – “Nobody loved him better than us. Nobody!” So great.

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

Happy 75th Anniversary, Superman!

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Wow, Alan Moore beat out Grant Morrison. This doesn’t disappoint me but does indeed surprise.
Also did I miss it or did the original stories fail to make the top 75

Quite a mix of some of my favorites and some of my least favorites…

Totally agree on #1. Favorite Superman story ever.

Red Son ranked that high AGAIN? I’m curious if it’s one of the few Superman stories most current readers have been exposed to. A lot of the older Pre-Crisis stuff, like the imaginary stories, hasn’t been as readily accessible as the more recent stories.

I’m shocked that the top three weren’t reversed, to be honest. I think FOR THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING is probably the strongest single Superman story if only for the “burn” panel.

Captain Haddock

April 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

Great list, my favorite origin take has been Birthright and I’m glad to see I clearly wasn’t the only one that felt that way. And All-Star Superman still has my favorite Supes moment ever, when he stops that girl from jumping. Actual lump in throat.

I like both of Moore’s stories that were at the top of this list, but they’d by no means be my Top 2. But having said that, I’m not sure what my #1 actually would be. Reign of the Supermen is the one that I was most interested in at the time. Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite is the one I remember the most fondly. All-Star Superman is probably the one I’ve been the most impressed by recently. Great regard for some of the classic Silver Age stuff. Enjoyed John’s Brainiac. Consider Man of Steel the most important Superman story for my experience as a fan as it really kicked off my love for the character. The Supergirl Saga and Exile showed me what the character could really be about. The whole list makes me want to read and buy more.

Thanks, Brian.

Oh, and I was disappointed that Secret Origin (one of the worst retelling of Superman’s origin I’ve come across for a while) rated so high, but glad that Birthright and Man of Steel did so much better. And Superman for All Seasons, even.

“whatever happened is good”. (but Superman a quitter?)
“for the man who has everything” is at times downright boring.

“All-Star Superman” easily beats Moore here.
And the real Silver Age adventures are even better.

So glad Reign, Death and the Superman Blue moments from Morrison’s JLA placed this high on the list, I don’t care if they’re incredibly 90s, they’re still solid action stories.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who appreciated the potential the Blue powers had that Morrison tapped into out of necessity (and I think, Brian, you’re the only person I’ve come across that seems to love that moving the moon sequence as much as i do; I remember reading JLA for the first time and being blown away by that page, I actually had to stop and process the pure awesomeness for a few seconds lol), but it’s so cool to see that other people think those moments were pretty sweet too.

Those Porter splash pages looked hella sweet too, I wish DC would give him another shot at a top tier title, or maybe Marvel should try and steal him away for one of their Avengers or X-Men books lol

I think Superman wrestles an Angel would have ranked higher if it had been real Superman instead of Electra Glide in Blue Superman.

You ranked Man of Steel considerably higher than Birthright, so that’s good.

The Moore stories and Red Son should be at the bottom of the list, with just about any other Superman story replacing that Hitman issue.

Alan Moore!

Looking at Superman’s face in SUPERMAN #247, you have to wonder what’s worse: getting tried for crimes against humanity by the Guardians of the Universe, or trying to hold in a massive BM in front of the Guardians of the Universe.

I can’t agree with Final Crisis’ place on this list as I still have no idea what Final Crisis was about.

I would have included the Superman Red/Superman Blue story (the original from the 1960s, not the retread) and the Superman/Swamp Thing issue of DC Comics Presents (I think it was DC Comics Presents).

I’d have had All Star Superman at number one. I like the Moore stories, but they’re the opposite of the Morrison stuff, which is my favourite.

Moore tends to apply reality to Superman, Morrison applies Superman to reality.

The first two choices were the right ones.

I like the fact that Joe Kelly’s story was rated so high. Both his and Joe Casey’s Superman runs are highly underrated

The Crazed Spruce

April 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

I personally would’ve ranked the whole “death/funeral/reign” trilogy in the reverse order, and I don’t necessarily agree with counting company-wide crossovers as Superman stories, but all in all, I can’t really argue with the list. Okay, maybe I would’ve switched around the final two, but other than that, no arguments.

i almost feel asleep while reading “Superman for all Seasons”

Despite it being one of my votes, I must admit that “Whatever Happened…” is my least favorite Alan Moore Superman story. “For the Man…” and “The Jungle Line” are far better (picked them up too, obviously).

Anyway, 7 out of the Top 10 were on my list, so there’s that.

@Sandy: DC Comics Presents #85 made it to #44.

I have read plenty of stories from every Superman era and I think that Red Son was fantastic.

The only storyline I could think of that I would have picked is when Superman kills the Phantom Zone villains from the pocket universe (Byrne story from late 80s).

The Crazed Spruce

April 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

The only storyline I could think of that I would have picked is when Superman kills the Phantom Zone villains from the pocket universe (Byrne story from late 80s).

That one came in at #43. (And I agree, it was a great story. It was on my ballot, and even came in 5th on my personal Top 10.)

Nice list though I was not a fan of Final Crisis.

I really dislike Silver Age Superman stuff. There, I said it.

Golden Age stuff was kind of under-represented here, but I love most of the top stories here. “For the Man Who Has Everything” is my favorite, I’d say.

The final 5 are just perfect.

The Moore stories are good, but like 12 and 13 good, not 1 and 2.
With so many great Supes stories over the years, “Whatever Happened” gets way too much attention.

no love for “Who Took the Super Out of Superman?”

I’d have to go with Whatever Happened to the Man Of Tomorrow as my favorite also. Everything just seemed right and it really closed the door on the Silver Age Superman I grew up with. If I had to choose a favorite scene, it would have to be the scene with Krypto. Tugs at the heart man.

For my money, “Hitman” #34 was the best Superman story of that year. With all the other sturm und drang going on in the S-books in the late ’90s, Superman and Tommy Monaghan on that rooftop has stuck in my memory while the others have faded away.

Funeral for a friend is the best Superman’s story. I don’t want to explain why. Either you feel it or don’t.

Unfortunately they had to bring Superman back. It’s one of the reasons I don’t read much of the capesh**.

They’re always back. No sanctity, no respect for the dying. I too wish that some people would return from the dead in real world. I wish to speak to my grandpa, or to drink beer with my friend who drowned. In real world the dead remains dead. Why in comic books it can’t be the same?

I was hopeful to find “Superman: For Tomorrow” on top here. But its seems like the autor suddenly forgot this amazing historiy (as like many others) in favor to bring up from the grave some ones that i never ever heard before.
Well, an opinion is a opinion anyway!

Can’t argue with those top two. And I’m with Mojo: by far the most moving bit of “Whatever Happened…” is when Krypto sacrifices himself to kill Kryptonite Man and save his master. I get a lump in my throat every time I read that…

The Death of Superman gets a lot of flak, but it’s nice to see it get a lot of love, too, and rank so highly. The layouts were amazing at the time (with each consecutive issue having one less panel per page), and that final foldout spread of Lois and the dead Superman is still powerful years later. I agree, it would have been even better if they’d left him dead, though I understand why they didn’t (and we have gotten some really good Superman stories since).

I wonder where Moore’s Supreme would’ve placed had it been allowed. Say, there’s an idea — the best Superman-Pastiche Stories of All Time!

Happy Birthday to the Man of Steel!

Glad to see the 60s “Death of Superman” imaginary story land a little higher than the 90s “real” death.

I voted for a lot of the silver age stuff and they landed about where I expected, considering that I would guess a lot of the younger voters have never seen them. Also happy to see the Moore stories finish at #1 and #2. As one and two-part stories, they are throwbacks to the silver age.

Although Superboy stories didn’t become eligible for voting, I’d still like to mention one that I would have voted for if I could. “Superboy’s Voyage to New Krypton” from Superboy #74, a story with the same emotional punch as Superman #149.

nice top five for was gong to be surprised if not only for the man who has everything not make it but what ever happen to the man of tommorrow not cracking if not at least in the top five at least number two and three with all star superman. though also can’t believe super man vs muhmed ali did not rank higher on this list

I’m delighted to see Secret Identity so high on the list. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and get a copy. As always, Superman is an exemplar of doing the right thing, but in this case, the emphasis is not on defeating supervillains, but on doing the right thing at four key stages of a man’s life: adolescence, early adulthood, fatherhood, and old age. And yes, Immonen’s art IS “beautifully drawn (and painted!), so don’t mind the fact that Brian said the same thing about “For All Seasons.”

I think 1 and 2 are tied for best Superman story. With “Whatever Happened” just narrowing beating out “For the man that has everything”.

SHOCKED that All-Star wasn’t #1. I actually said “HO-LEE SHIT” out loud when I saw that.

And am I seeing this right… ? Did the second Superman / Spider-Man crossover actually miss out on the top 25 altogether?

Also, am I the only one who thought “For the Man Who Has Everything” was better than “Whatever Happened…”?

@Turd Burglar: Not at all. As I commented above, IMO “Whatever Happened” is the lesser of Alan Moore’s takes on Superman.

I’m disappointed that my absolute favorite Superman story (DCCP #50 teaming Superman and Clark Kent) didn’t even rate!! It superbly shows how important Clark is to the Superman mythos. And this was from the tail-end of the Pre-Crisis era, when the focus was usually more on the ‘super’ than the man.

I would recommend any Superfan check it out if you can find a copy.

[…] today, readers at Comic Book Resources selected their favorite Superman stories. There is a lot of […]

Glad that Moore beat Morrison. I enjoyed “All Star” but definitely thought it was a touch too nostalgic and just… superficial (for Morrison). Moore’s stories (especially “WHTTMAT?”) just felt more thoughtful and complete.

Glad to see that Hitman story on there. Maybe it’s a bit too high(?)–I didn’t actually vote for it–but I always had a soft spot for it and am happy to see it on here.

I’m glad some of the Morrison knob-gobbling was reined in.

I think I like Secret Origins more than Birthright (I mean, that first issue of Birthright is a complete waste of time and the ending is terrible), but I liked Man of Steel the most and I’m glad it made it so high on the list.

“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” would be my personal #1, but all the ones that ranked higher are quite good.

I’m so glad Morrison wasn’t #1 so we don’t have to listen to a bunch of whiney bitches go on about how CSBG is full of Morrison buttboys.

They’ll still go completely off the rails the next time Morrison gets even slightly praised, but it’s nice to not have to sit through it this one time.

I’m disappointed that my absolute favorite Superman story (DCCP #50 teaming Superman and Clark Kent) didn’t even rate!! It superbly shows how important Clark is to the Superman mythos. And this was from the tail-end of the Pre-Crisis era, when the focus was usually more on the ‘super’ than the man.

I would recommend any Superfan check it out if you can find a copy.

It was eligible for voting! But it just didn’t get enough votes.

Had anyone read stories from the incredible Superman #400? I’m surprised The Legend of Miracle Monday (at a minimum) should have made the list. It’s a shame no Elliot S! Maggin stories made it.

The Legend of Miracle Monday

Here’s a good post on the themes of ‘The Legend of Miracle Monday’

Superman wrestles an angel is more of a “cool Superman moment” rather than a cool Superman story. He’s barely in those issues aside from moving the moon and wrestling the angel. Definitely a cool moment but I have issue with calling it a Superman story.

I don’t usually read Superman, so I rarely vote, but as someone who doesn’t like Superman, I think Alan Moore’s stuff is the best, so I’m glad to see it win. I also liked Busiek’s ‘Secret Identity’ and Hitman 34.

And I agree, most of Alan Moore’s ‘Supreme’ stuff could definitely fit in on this list.

At any rate, there are some of these that I now want to read, so that’s a win.

Finally, and this fact is perhaps not entirely interesting to anybody, but Grant Morrison bores the hell out of me.

Sorry, by ‘rarely’ I mean ‘didn’t.’ Not sure where my brain was there.

Had anyone read stories from the incredible Superman #400?

Check the #75-26 list. ;)

What about Kryptonite No More?

Superman wrestles an angel is more of a “cool Superman moment” rather than a cool Superman story. He’s barely in those issues aside from moving the moon and wrestling the angel. Definitely a cool moment but I have issue with calling it a Superman story.

#6 opens with Superman debating his role on the team and as a hero in general due to his changed powers. #6 ends with him having to save the moon without his old powers. In #7, he finds a way to save the moon using his new powers and then arrives in time to save Martian Manhunter from the evil angel, thereby establishing that Blue or not Blue, Superman is still Superman. Yes, it is a team book so he is not the ONLY person who gets plot development in the two issues, but he clearly gets noticeable and important development. It’s clearly not just one cool moment in the midst of a story having nothing to do with him.

What about Kryptonite No More?

Check the #75-26 list. ;)

Okay, so I jumped the gun, and the right “Return to Krypton” made the top 25. But “The Last Days of Superman” clocking in somewhere in the 60s is still a crime against humanity.

Personally, my favorite moment from “Whatever Happened…” was Supergirl (and Invisible Kid) visiting.

While not a complete comic issue I had a fondness for a Paul Chadwick story in a DC Christmas special (Christmas with the Super-Heroes) years back. “Ex Machina” I’ve posted a link to a blog about it. Story stayed with me.


Superman: The Exile by Ordway and others is way better than many of the books in the list. Please check out the amazing storytelling skills of da ordster in this one.

Kinda bummed that Superman Annual 3 didn’t make the list, it was part of a the not great Armageddon 2001 crossover but it was pretty awesome as an answer to Dark Knight Returns, I always thought casting Superman as the rebel and Batman as the fascist was way more natural.

Good list. I would’ve liked to see Adventures of Superman (Armageddon 2001) annual by Louise Simonson, and maybe the Red Glass Trilogy by James D Hudnall. Those stories were cool.

Also would have loved to see some of Greg Rucka’s Superman nominated

They were. They didn’t get voted in.

Just re-read Swamp Thing #79 and kind of wish I’d thought to write it in as a suggestion. Superman gets some good character beats in there, and the reason he gives Swampy for why he sticks up for humans (even Luthor) is so simple and succinct, and brings out a divine quality in him as much as a human one.

Not the classiest portrayal of Luthor though.


@Omar Karindu: “I wonder where Moore’s Supreme would’ve placed had it been allowed. Say, there’s an idea — the best Superman-Pastiche Stories of All Time!”

It’s always interesting to see how these lists turn out. I’ve read almost half of the stories that were featured, but there are definitely a handful of the others I’ll be seeking out.

I’m happy that the two Action arcs by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank- Superman and the Legion of Superheroes; Brainiac- made the top 25. Johns has a great handle on the Man of Steel and Frank’s Superman art is the best…simply iconic.

And as this list shows, love him or hate him, Grant Morrison “gets” Superman as a character, whether in showing his humanity or writing stories that highlight the elements that make him super.

I’ve always loved Superman’s Return to Krypton.

It inspired an unproduced movie, you can read it here:


It serves as a backstory for the movie Superman Returns

I totally agree with number one but I guess Man of Steel by Byrne should be higher…loved to see the “Jungle Line” by Mooreand Veitch pitting Superman against Swamp Thing though.

It would be great to know whether (and if so, where) the older stories listed here have been reprinted.

I’d reverse the top three, but otherwise agree with the top six.

Completely agree with the top two. I was pleasantly surprised to see Byrne’s Man Of Steel rank highest of all the origin tales. That was my first exposure to Superman’s origin in the comics, so that is the one that has stuck with me the most.

Missing is the entire run of Superman (Animated) Adventures. Simple stories simply drawn with some great plots and wonderful interactions. Superman crashes in a swimming pool and two teen girls struggle to drag him out: “He’s heavy!” Superman walloped by the Parasite, and the citizens of Metropolis pelt him with bricks and trash to drive him off. Superman begs, “Please don’t, he’s dangerous,” and a citizen says, “You’ve saved us so many times, it’s our turn to help you!” Superman kissing Kara as he sacrifices himself to Luthor. Shrinking into the palm of Lois’s hand. Lost his memory and was homeless in Kansas, but still wouldn’t steal to feed himself. And Mark Millar’s “22 Stories” with a comic per page, and the many times idiot Mxyzptlzk screws himself over and over. Wonderful comics.

Check the #75-26 list. ;)

@Ed28 — Grant Morrison “gets” Superman as a character

I’m going to have to disagree with this about as strongly as it is physically possible to disagree with something.

@Clayton Emery —

Aside from “22 Stories in a Single Bound”, which made the list, there was also the two stories that were nominated for eisner awards (#3 and #11-12) from Scott McCloud’s run, plus pretty much any of the dozen and a half or so issues by Mark Millar (of all people).

What was especially great about the series is that it came out during a time when the Superman comics were largely not so hot and SA was about the only way you could read classic style (relatively speaking at least) Superman stories at the time.

is there somewhere i can find out which collected editions include these? the 75-25 list too. there are a number ive never read and would like to check out! thanks

@dan: Try http://www.comicbookdb.com Usually it lists, if there any, collected editions and reprints of the issues, and vice versa. For example: http://www.comicbookdb.com/issue.php?ID=6951

thank you tomer! that helped me find everything except 22 Stories in a Single Bound and The Supergirl Saga (if anyone has any ideas on those)

Aren’t there TPBs of Superman Adventures? I’d imagine that “22 Stories in a Single Bound” would be in one of those.

@dan: I could only find Superman #21, the first part of “Supergirl Saga,” collected in this:

Nothing for the rest of the story, nor for “22 Stories.”

dan wrote:
“Thank you tomer! that helped me find everything except 22 Stories in a Single Bound and
The Supergirl Saga (if anyone has any ideas on those)”

It’s really old, but the only time I saw those Supergirl stories collected was where I read them, in an Action Comics 80 page giant. Action #360/80 Page Giant G45:


Like others, I’m shocked that All-Star wasn’t #1 not because I wanted it to be, but I thought the voter demographic was a sure thing to put it there. But I’m pleased with the top several spots. For the Man Who Has Everything is my #1 because I think it is the greatest story about Superman the character as opposed to Superman the mythos, which is what so many of these are about. For the Man Who Has Everything, like Action 775, took a deep look into what makes Superman tick.

I’m also pleased that Secret Identity made it so high, and that It’s a Bird got a good number of votes. Two beautiful stories that address the concept of Superman in unique ways.

I’m a bit surprised the 90’s Death ranked so low–I thought it was a sure thing for the top 6 or 7 at least, and maybe top 3. It’s likely the one story on the list that wouldn’t suffer from any voters not having read it or at least knowing what it is and why it’s important.

@Mike: The “Supergirl Saga” in question was published in 1988. That 80-page issue is from 1968.

The recent Supergirl stuff is not yet reprinted. DC’s Byrne-era trades have not yet reached those issues (I dunno if they’re still doing those trades or not).

[…] by Fans and Lois’ on Twitter and the Net The 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time #75-26 The 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time #25-1 The $130 Check That Bought Superman Grober Unfug: SUPERMAN zum 75.: Clips, Links, […]

Hitman 34, FTW!

Thanks for a really enjoyable feature, Brian. I’m delighted the Return of Jonathan Kent made it in there, but amazed Superman #296-299 (Who took the Super out of Superman?) didn’t.

Mind, I’m reading this in the middle of the night … I may have missed it!

Oh, and while I enjoyed Superman for All Seasons, Tim Sale’s Man of Steel really is peculiar – like a weather balloon with constipation.

Yeah, Sale doesn’t draw Superman as well as he does Batman or Spider-Man.

Thanks for a really enjoyable feature, Brian. I’m delighted the Return of Jonathan Kent made it in there, but amazed Superman #296-299 (Who took the Super out of Superman?) didn’t.

Mind, I’m reading this in the middle of the night … I may have missed it!

No, you’re right, people didn’t vote for that one. That was a bit of a surprise. I was also surprised by Rucka’s run not getting enough votes for the Top 75.

I can’t agree with Final Crisis being anywhere on this list. It reads like an abridged version of a larger story. There are too many things that randomly happen throughout the series that Morrison says started and/or finished off panel. Subplots with no beginning, no end, and really no relevance to the overall story.

“Hey, what happened to Character X? Why is his arm gone?”
“Oh, it happened, I just didn’t write about it.”
“Now Character X is back, and he has his arm again!”
“Yeah, that also happened, I just didn’t write about it.”
“Do I even want to know how Character X went from being a middle-aged white guy to a teenaged Mexican girl…?

Plus, of course, big chunks of the story, important to the plot, happened in the offshoot books. Legion Of Three Words, that 3D thing, and so on.

For all the goodwill Morrison has earned over the years with his great stories like We3, he pissed away a LOT of it with Final Crisis.

brian, youve mentioned the rucka run a couple of times. if its something older than the new krypton era, which issues? i want to make sure ive read it. thanks

@dan: From Rucka’s page I see runs on Adventures of Superman in 2004-2006 and on Action Comics from 2009-2010, and a several one-shots/specials. Notice that the trades are listed separately from AoS and AC.

thanks tomer. i am just curious if he has specific stories that nearly made this list but are not collected yet. once i know any issue numbers i can research more.


April 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

Some great stories on that list. Oddly, a lot of the higher-ranked stories aren’t as good as the lower-ranked ones. In general.

The results point out the tastest of the voting demographic – primarily message boarders who grew up on 80s/90s material that are still rabid fans. Which explains a lot of “well-known”-but-mediocre stories ending up higher on the list than they should – the 90s Death of Superman, Man of Steel, Red Son, etc.

Even a lot of the *good* modern stories – Action 775, Brainiac, DC 1 Million – don’t merit such high rankings in an all-time greatest Superman stories list.

Ah well. Hopefully the 80s/90s fans will have abandoned their grip on the hobby by the time the 100th Anniversary rolls around.

Not going to quibble with placement, it all fell out pretty well, but Final Crisis? One of Superman’s greatest stories is when he sings away the villain?

There are a few notable exceptions. Superman (first series), #169, the backup story has a Superman who has recovered from amnesia and who remembers his true lost love (NOT lois Land). He finds her, wants to wed, but she contracts an incurable disease. This is Superman at the height of his powers in the 60’s, when he could, literaly, juggle planets. He combs the galaxy, but in the end is forced to watch as she dies. This shows that for all of his power, Superman is, in the end, just a man, who is powerless in the face of death and who may have a broken heart.
Superman #164. A great story featuring a powerless Superman on a planet where Luthor is the hero. Two enemies who just don’t like one another in a slugfest.
Superman #’s 233-242. Half a superman?
Also, “superman’s greatest failure”, in which, reacting rather than thinking, Superman destroys mankinds greatest gift, and hope.
Finally, the first appearance of Braniac.
From the Golden Age, Superman #17, and Action comics #47. The first ever cross over, when Luthor becomes super, and superman becomes ordinary

Great pictures, brilliant artwork. There are many good stories about superman. Couldn’t decide which one is the best actually. :)

Okay seriously, no “Last Son of Earth”?

I still believe The Death of Superman ( from 1961) is one of the greatest stories published in any form, up there with Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in terms of moving one emotionally. A Christmas Carol is not a preposterous comparison: Scrooge and Superman are iconic characters; the ghosts in the former fly with Scrooge in their arms a la Superman and Lois: both Dickens and Jerry Siegel use dreams and ‘imaginary’ scenarios in their palette of ideas; Dickens wrote for Penny Dreadfuls (written text rather than fully drawn ‘comics’).

Other great under-rated comics include a superb DC Comics Presents Superman and The Spectre, a wonderfully realized story that took The Man of Steel into a deeply profound, spiritual encounter. Also, a Superman Christmas story whereby the great hero helps people who have written letters to him. Some deeply moving stories that only Superman Comics at their best have delivered down the years.

So many not on this list. I have the benefit of having begun reading Superman in 1964, so know of many that exceed those listed here, including:

Superman # 196…the BACKUP story (if you can believe that). Superman falls in love, and proposes. Only problem is that she is deathly ill. Superman is at the height of his powers and searches through both time and space to find a cure. He fails. In the end, all he can do is fly away from her dead body with the word ‘choke’ on his lips.

Superman # 164. A Superman vs Luthor fight without powers. It comes down to two men who just hate one another, and Superman gets a black eye.

Superman’s greatest blunder..an Action comic from the 1970’s. Superman really blows it, and we all pay for his mistake.

Superman #17 and Action Comics #47 (Golden Age). Perhaps the first two-part story. Luthor gets powers, while Superman loses his powers.

Superman #190…ok, so this is arguably not as good as the others. Superman gets beaten up badly, his foes blow up, and he never knows who it was that set him up.

A Superman story from the 90’s (I think) by John Byrne, wherein Superman kills Phantom Zone prisoners. Their deaths haunt Superman for years.

Throne of Atlantis. A great storyline set in the future. Superman has been imprisoned in the center of the earth and humanity is nearly dead. Superman comes back to beat the villian, but since Superman won’t kill, his hesitation causes his own death, and, with it, the earth’s last hope.

I agree with “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow”.

there are more, but I highly recommend people read the above (note: many of the ‘modern’ comics aren’t on my list…although the latest Braniac storyline was great, as well as All Star Superman, and Emporer Joker (not on the list above)

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