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
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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.

Superman: Speeding Bullets (1993)

Baby Kal-El crashes into Earth, where he is discovered by Thomas and Martha Wayne. The couple decide to adopt Kal-El, and name him Bruce. One night, Thomas and Martha are gunned down by a mugger. Bruce incinerates the mugger with his heat vision and discovers his superpowers, but it is too late to save his parents. He decides to hide his powers in shame.

Bruce decides to create a secret identity for himself many years later. As the Batman, he begins to brutally strike back at the criminals in Gotham. Meanwhile, criminal Lex Luthor is on the run and is caught in a horribly disfiguring accident. Lex becomes this dimension’s version of the clown prince of crime, The Joker.

Bruce is eventually persuaded by Lois Lane that a more hopeful superhero is needed than his dark, violent Batman persona, giving rise to his new, more heroic identity of Superman.

Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12
Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12

World’s Finest (1970’s)

World’s Finest featured Superman and Batman team-ups until issue #197. Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in “The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads” in issue #175 (May 1968). The title briefly featured Superman teaming with heroes other than Batman in the early 1970s beginning with issue #198 (November 1970). That issue featured the first part of a two-issue team-up with the Flash. The series reverted to Superman and Batman team-ups after issue #214, initially with a unique twist, featuring the children they might one day have, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. These characters, billed as the Super-Sons, were co-created by writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin in issue #215 (January 1973).

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.

Superman V1 (1980’s)

The 1980s saw radical revisions of Superman. DC decided to remove the multiverse in a bid to simplify its comics line. This led to the rewriting of the back story of the characters DC published, Superman included. John Byrne rewrote Superman, removing many established conventions and characters from continuity, including Superboy and Supergirl. Byrne also re-established Superman’s adoptive parents, The Kents, as characters. In the previous continuity, the characters had been written as having died early in Superman’s life (about the time of Clark Kent’s graduation from high school).

Superman V4 – Rebirth (2016)

In June 2016, DC Comics once again relaunched its comic book titles with DC Rebirth. The publisher re-established the pre-New 52 Superman as the protagonist of the new comic books, with Lois Lane as his wife once more. He and Lois also conceive a biological son, Jonathan Samuel Kent, who eventually becomes Superboy. The story arc Superman Reborn smooths over the discrepancies between the two versions of the character. According to Mister Mxyzptlk, the creation of the New 52 caused Superman to be separated into two people: the New 52 character that served as the protagonist of the Superman books and the pre-Flashpoint character that took part in the Convergence event and sired Jon. Thanks to Jon, the new Superboy, the two Supermen merge into one complete version of Superman, rearranging their shared histories and accommodating them into the restored DC Universe. This complete Superman features a new suit that combines elements from the two eras. DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger “DC Universe” banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues across DC’s comic book titles, including volume one of Action Comics and the fourth volume of Superman.

Superman (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. Writer Jim Shooter and Swan crafted the story “Superman’s Race With the Flash!” in Superman #199 (Aug. 1967) which featured the first race between the Flash and Superman, two characters known for their super-speed powers. Another Silver Age first is the “Death of Superman,” from 1961’s Superman #149, by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff. The Silver Age was a fantastic period for Superman fans, giving us  characters such as Braniac, Bizzaro, Titano, Supergirl and The Legion of Superheroes.

100 Page Giants (2018 Walmart Exclusives)

The new Giant line of comics — which will run across four monthly titles — will mix all-new original material by some of DC’s top creators with reprints for a 100-page package.

Creators working on the new material include such fan-favorites as Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis and the Harley Quinn writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, each working on characters outside of their traditional range in the regular DC line, with Bendis working on his first solo Batman material in September — a 12-part story beginning in Batman Giant No. 3 — and Tom King taking on Superman with artist Andy Kubert for their own yearlong epic beginning in Superman Giant No. 3. Not to be left behind, Palmiotti and Conner will launch a 12-part Wonder Woman story in the third Justice League issue.