Cover Convention Special: Iconic Images of SUPERMAN
Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
Action Comics #1 (June 1938): What can you say? Superman's first appearance remains one of the most frequent subjects of homage in the super-hero and/or comic book lexicon.
Max Fleischer's Superman (1941-1943): The first of many, many appearances in animation for Superman came in the brilliant Max Fleischer cartoons. Some influential were these that you could still see elements in the extremely popular Timmverse versions of the character some 50 years later.
Lucy and Superman (1957): Desliu Productions knew synergy. I Love Lucy was huge. The George Reeves-starring Adventures of Superman was huge. Put them together, and you get a comedy classic. In the episode Lucy and Superman, the action revolves around getting Superman to stop by Little Ricky's birthday party. Lucy ends up in a Superman outfit and football helmet out on ledge in the pouring rain. As Superman makes his rescue, Ricky is throwing a fit that this is the craziest thing Lucy has done in their fifteen year marriage. Reeves nails the punchline: And they call ME Superman? That's gold.
Justice League of America #74 (September 1969): We all know that the whole DC Multiverse kicked into gear when Barry Allen and Jay Garrick met. However, it took several years and several JLA/JSA crossovers before Earth-1 Superman and Earth-2 Superman were in on the action at the same time.
Superman #233 (January 1971): Just as Batman got ramped back up in the '70s, Superman took a turn toward a more serious, modern take. First order of business? Make Kryptonite almost totally ineffective. For a while.
Super Friends (1973-1986): For many youngsters of my generation, their first regular acquaintance with the Man of Steel came through the Superman cartoon. Voiced by Danny Dark, Superman was a mainstay of the line-up even as faces familiar and not-so-familiar rotated through the cast.
Superman the Movie (1978): You will believe a man can fly. And they were right.
Superman for Atari 2600 (1978): Mock the graphics if you will, but it had Pause. (Yes, it did; Game Select switch, kids.)
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #250 (April 1979): Young Superman was never happier than when he was hanging out with his best friends, the future teens of the Legion. He even shared the title of his book beginning with issue #231, finally ceded the whole mag to the team in 1980.
Superman 2 Poster (1980): Now that's a great movie poster. Superman in the center, the villains rushing up to meet him . . . it plays like a comic book cover. As it should. This movie would provide us with two of the greatest Superman scenes in any medium.
General, would you care to step outside?: Has there EVER been a super-hero movie line to equal that moment?
Kneel Before Zod!: Iconic villain. Iconic twist. Iconic use of music. You can't overuse iconic on this one.
Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?: Bridging Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 in September of 1986, this Alan Moore-written story closed out the Silver Age, Pre-Crisis continuity of Superman. The final page of the story tips the readers that Superman may not be quite as dead as they may have thought.
The Man of Steel #1 (1986): John Byrne took the helm for the successful Post-Crisis reboot of Superman, giving readers new visions of Krypton, Bizarro, and a very corporate Lex Luthor.
Ruby-Spears Superman (1988): The intermediate larval stage between Super Friends and the Timmverse, the Superman series from Ruby-Spears only ran one season. However, it's notable for being the first DC animation to have Post-Crisis trappings.
The Death of Superman (1992): We all know this story, but we have to ask: what's more heartbreaking in a Superman context than the image of Lois weeping over the defeated Man of Steel?
Teri Hatcher (TV's Lois Lane, 1993-1997): As part of the promotion for Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, ABC released this image in 1995. It quickly became (for a while) the most downloaded photo in the burgeoning online community. It was apparently downloaded 20,000 times a month for six months, according to People Magazine. In 1995 internet numbers, that was staggering.
Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000): Following the wild success of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman took flight in the Timmverse, paving the way for the subsequent Justice League series. Tim Daly voiced Superman for the show, and has returned for other DC Animated installments over time.
Kingdom Come (1996): Artist Alex Ross broke through with Marvels, but he's become inextricably linked with Superman. He began his long association with Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid. Though the story features a cast of hundreds, it's really a story about the duty and morality of Superman in a world that doesn't realize it needs him.
The Wedding (October, 1996): Lois and Clark/Superman FINALLY tied the knot in the special The Wedding Album. It was an act of enormous transmedia synergy, as the Lois and Clark TV series handled a similar storyline at the same time.
Smallville Ad (Fall 2001): As part of the campaign leading up to the launch of Smallville on The WB in October, 2001, the network released this provocative image. While it did match up to events depicted in the pilot, observers saw everything from Jesus to Matthew Shepard in the ad. Whatever people saw in it, they certainly saw the show; its 8.4 million viewers for the premiere was a record for the network at the time.
Avengers/JLA #4 (March 2004): Fans had literally waited decades to see the Avengers and the JLA team up. As the two teams began their final battle with Krona, Captain America entrusted Superman with his shield; later in the fight, an overwhelmed Thor urges Superman forward and throws him Mjolnir to wield. The result? Fandom Nirvana under the hand of artist George Perez.
Infinite Crisis (2006): So much of IC is about Superman getting active and Earth-2 Superman realizing that he's actually not acting in the interest of reality. When the death of Superboy puts everyone's priorities back in order, it's up to the big guns to join an army of overmatched heroes in the Battle of Metropolis. As Doomsday bears down on Green Arrow and Arsenal, the monster gets a lot more than he bargained for: two very angry Supermen.
Superman Returns (2006): Yes, this film was a let-down to many fans. Can we at least all agree that the plane-and-shuttle sequence was tremendous?
The New Superman: Superman's new look, courtesy of George Perez.
The New Justice League: Superstar writer-and-artist combo Geoff Johns and Jim Lee take on the new version of the League. Justice League #1 is the first title from DC's New 52, and Superman stands in the forefront, just as he always has.