World’s Finest (1960’s)

World’s Finest was initially a 96 page quarterly anthology, featuring various DC characters – always including Superman and Batman – in separate stories. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Pairing Superman and Batman made sense financially, since the two were DC’s most popular heroes.” When superheroes fell out of vogue in the early 1950s, DC shortened the size of the publication to that of the rest of its output, leaving only enough space for one story; this led to Superman and Batman appearing in the same story together starting with World’s Finest Comics #71 (July 1954). The series continued to feature 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).

 

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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 (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

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.

 

All-Star Superman (2005)

All-Star Superman is a twelve-issue series featuring Superman that was published by DC Comics. The series ran from November 2005 to October 2008. The series was written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Frank Quitely, and digitally inked by Jamie Grant. DC claimed that this series would “strip down the Man of Steel to his timeless, essential elements”.

The series was the second to be launched in 2005 under DC’s All-Star imprint, the first being All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder. These series were attempts by DC to allow major comics creators a chance to tell stories showcasing these characters without being restricted by DC Universe continuity.

The series was met with critical acclaim and is widely considered to be one of the best Superman stories of all time.

 

Adventure Comics (Silver Age)

Adventure Comics was published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. It was revived in 2009 by writer Geoff Johns with the Conner Kent incarnation of Superboy headlining the title’s main feature, and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the back-up story. It returned to its original numbering with #516 (September 2010). The series finally ended with #529 (October 2011), prior to DC’s The New 52 company reboot.

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).

Batman/Superman – New 52 (2011)

Batman/Superman (Volume 1) is a comic book series chronicling the adventures of Batman and Superman. It, along with Superman Unchained, was launched coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Superman.

Unlike its predecessor series, Superman/Batman, the stories reflect the status quo that is going on in the other Batman and Superman comic books.

 

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).

 

Superman V2 (1987)

This series was launched after John Byrne revamped the Superman character in 1986 in The Man of Steel limited series, introducing the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths version of the Superman character.

After that limited series, Action Comics returned to publication and Superman vol. 2, #1 was published. The original Superman series (volume 1) became The Adventures of Superman starting with issue #424. Superman vol. 2 continued publishing until April 2006 at which point DC restored The Adventures of Supermanto its original title and canceled the second Superman series.