Action Comics (Silver Age)

In the view of comics historian Les Daniels, artist Curt Swan became the definitive artist of Superman in the early 1960s with a “new look” to the character that replaced Wayne Boring’s version. Bizarro World first appeared in the story “The World of Bizarros!” in issue #262 (April 1960). Writer Jim Shooter created the villain the Parasite in Action Comics #340 (Aug. 1966).

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Action Comics (Golden Age)

The major event many cite as marking the beginning of the Golden Age was the 1938 debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, published by the predecessor of modern-day DC Comics. The creation of Superman made comic books into a major industry. Some date the start to earlier events in the 1930s: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide‘s regular publication The Golden Age Quarterly lists comic books from 1933 onwards (1933 saw the publication of the first comic book in the size that would subsequently define the format); some historians, such Roger Sabin, date it to the publication of the first comic books featuring entirely original stories rather than re-prints of comic strips from newspapers (1935) by the company that would become DC Comics.

Action Comics #148 VF $295

Action Comics (1990’s)

Action Comics Weekly lasted until the beginning of March 1989 and after a short break, issue #643 (July 1989) brought the title back onto a monthly schedule. Writer/artist George Pérez took over the title and was joined by scripter Roger Stern the following month.

As writer of the series, Stern contributed to such storylines as “Panic in the Sky” and “The Death of Superman“. He created the Eradicator in Action Comics Annual #2 and later incorporated the character into the “Reign of the Supermen” story arc beginning in The Adventures of Superman#500. The Eradicator then took over Action Comics as “the Last Son of Krypton” in issue #687 (June 1993).

Stern wrote the 1991 story wherein Clark Kent finally revealed his identity as Superman to Lois Lane.

 

 

Superman (Golden Age)

The major event many cite as marking the beginning of the Golden Age was the 1938 debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, published by the predecessor of modern-day DC Comics. The creation of Superman made comic books into a major industry. Some date the start to earlier events in the 1930s: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide‘s regular publication The Golden Age Quarterly lists comic books from 1933 onwards (1933 saw the publication of the first comic book in the size that would subsequently define the format); some historians, such Roger Sabin, date it to the publication of the first comic books featuring entirely original stories rather than re-prints of comic strips from newspapers (1935) by the company that would become DC Comics.

Action Comics (1980’s)

The superheroine Vixen made her first appearance in Action Comics #521 (July 1981). To mark the 45th anniversary of the series, Lex Luthor and Brainiac were both given an updated appearance in issue #544 (June 1983). Lex Luthor dons his war suit for the first time in the story “Luthor Unleashed!” and Brainiac’s appearance changes from the familiar green-skinned android to the metal skeletal-like robot in the story “Rebirth!”. Schwartz ended his run as editor of the series with issue #583 (September 1986) which featured the second part of the “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” story by Alan Moore and Curt Swan.

Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, writer/artist John Byrne relaunched the Superman franchise in The Man of Steel limited series in 1986. Action Comics became a team-up title with issue #584 (January 1987).  The first Action Comics Annual was published in 1987 and featured Superman teaming with Batman in a story written by Byrne and drawn by Arthur Adams. A DC Comics Bonus Book was included in issue #599 (April 1988).

From May 24, 1988 – March 14, 1989, the publication frequency was changed to weekly, the title changed to Action Comics Weekly, and the series became an anthology. Prior to its launch, DC cancelled its ongoing Green Lantern Corps title, and made Green Lantern and his adventures exclusive to Action Comics Weekly.

Action Comics (2000’s)

Several major Superman storylines crossed over with Action Comics including “Emperor Joker” in 2000[and “Our Worlds at War” in 2001. John Byrne returned to Action Comics for issues #827–835 working with writer Gail Simone in 2005-2006.

After the “One Year Later” company-wide storyline, Action Comics had a crossover arc with the Superman series, titled “Up, Up and Away!” which told of Clark Kent attempting to protect Metropolis without his powers until eventually regaining them.

The “Last Son” storyline was written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, the director of the 1978 film Superman: The Movie, and was pencilled by Adam Kubert. This story introduced the original character, Christopher Kent and adapts the classic Superman film villains, General Zod, Ursa and Non into the regular DC Universe continuity. Issue #851 (August 2007) was presented in 3-D.

Starting with issue #875 (May 2009), written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Eddy BarrowsThara Ak-Var and Chris Kent, took Superman’s place as the main protagonists of the comic, while Superman left Earth to live on New Krypton. A Captain Atom back-up feature began in issue #879 (September 2009).

 

Action Comics (2010’s)

Although DC had initially announced Marc Guggenheim as writer of the title following the War of the Supermen limited series, he was replaced by Paul Cornell. Cornell featured Lex Luthor as the main character in Action Comics from issues #890-900 and Death appeared in issue #894, with the agreement of the character’s creator, Neil Gaiman. In April 2011, the 900th issue of Action Comics was released. It served as a conclusion for Luthor’s “Black Ring” storyline and a continuation for the “Reign of Doomsday” storyline. The final issue of the original series was Action Comics #904.

Action Comics – Rebirth (2016)

As part of DC Comics’ DC Rebirth relaunch in June 2016, Action Comics reverted to its original numbering beginning with Action Comics #957, with the series shipping twice-monthly. The series, written by Dan Jurgens, serves as a continuation of the comic book series, Superman: Lois and Clark, which featured the pre-Flashpoint Superman alongside his wife, Lois Lane, and their son, Jonathan Kent.

Action Comics – New 52 (2011)

As with all of the books associated with the DC relaunch, Clark Kent appears to be about five years younger than the previous incarnation of the character (where it would focus on the early days of Superman’s career, whereas the main series would focus on the present). Superheroes at large have appeared only in the past five years, and are viewed with at best, suspicion, and at worst, outright hostility. The storyline in Action Comics takes place about a year before the events of Justice League #1, and was referred to by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio as “DC Universe Year Zero” while JL operates as “Year One.” The Man of Steel is not yet trusted by the citizens of Metropolis and wears a basic costume consisting of a caped T-shirt, jeans and work boots.