In a special Red’s Top Ten, I’ll be going over the Top Ten Superman Stories in honor of Superman’s Birthday. Also, if you like to check out my “Top Five and Bottom Five” of DC Animated films, click here.
Death and Return of Superman
Death and Return of Superman takes the Number 10 spot, with a blockbuster team of writers and artists: Mike Carlin, Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, Karl Kesel; brings us the story about Superman fighting an unstoppable killing machine named Doomsday, Doomsday tore through Metropolis and the Justice League, the fight was so catastrophic that both Superman and Doomsday both died from their injuries. This lead to a crossover involving the Stories ‘Funeral for a Friend‘, and ‘Reign of the Supermen‘ where we were introduced to Steel, Eradicator, Superboy (Conner Kent), and Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw). It eventually leads to animated adaptions of the storyline in the Justice League Cartoon Series and the 2004 film and 2019 films. Also led to a dark take on the story in the series “Tales of the Dark Multiverse“
For The Man Who Has Everything!
Taking the Number Nine Spot is Alan Moore and David Gibbon’s One-Shot story from Superman Annual #11 from 1985. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Robin (Jason Todd) come to the Fortress of Solitude for Superman’s birthday but only to find that the Man of Steel is under the control of Black Mercury, a parasite that attaches to their Prey and leaves them in a coma-like state, showing them their greatest dreams while they are trapped in their slumber. The story was adapted for an episode by the same name on Justice League Unlimited, except Robin was not featured on the episode. This was written by J. M. DeMatteis.
Swooping in at Number Eight is Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come. What started as a four-issue mini-series from 1996, the story is about a world where Superman and the Justice League have abandoned their roles as Superheroes who’ve become out of touch with the world as the public sees the rise of vigilantes who have grown dangerous and amoral. It is up to two groups, one of them being Batman and his assembled team and trying to stop Lex Luthor and prevent a World-Ending Superhuman War. Recently, Brandon Routh took on the role of Superman again, from the Kingdom Come World.
The Man of Steel
Not to be confused with Bendis’s story titled ‘Man of Steel‘, John Byrne’s Six-Issue Limited Series is Number Seven, Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths Story arc, it is a modern retelling of Superman’s origin. The Man of Steel’s story elements was used in and influenced the 2013 film by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel.
Superman renounces his American Citizenship
One of the most controversial Superman Stories to date is Number Six in the Top Ten; from Action Comics landmark issue #900, written as a short story by David S. Goyer and art by Miguel Sepulveda, set during the 2011-2012 Iran Protests in an area called Tehran, Superman stood in solidarity with the citizens and protected them while they staged a peaceful demonstration against the Iranian Military; this angered both the United States and Iranian Governments, viewing this as an Act of War, which both sides viewed him as American “Property”. Unfazed by Gabriel Wright, and being used as a tool for an instrument for American Policy, he would renounce his American citizenship. Some Conservatives viewed this story and Superman’s action as a “Lack of Patriotism” and Respect for America.
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The Rise of a Superman
Val-Zod and his rise to becoming the new Superman takes Number Five in this countdown, debuting in New 52’s Earth 2, Issue #19 during the Dark Ages Story Arc, Tom Taylor introduced us to a Superman who was corrupted by Darkseid and ready to take over Earth 2. But luckily the Wonders discovered a Kryptonian who can battle the brainwashed titan. He decided to step up and battle Superman, to save the world from Apokolips.
Even though the Animated adaption of this story was Number two in the last Top Five list, this got the Number Four Spot. Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quietly, this Twelve Issue series tells the tale of Superman, who is dying due to a fatal overdose of Solar Radiation from Lex Luthor and completing final tasks before he dies.
What’s so funny about ‘Truth, Justice, and the American Way’?
Superman’s Principles are questioned and put to the test in Action Comics #775, this story takes the Number Three spot in the countdown, written by Joe Kelly and Art by Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo; a moral struggle between Superman and the values of a violent, newer hero team named The Elite. This story was adapted into an animated film in 2012 and on Season Four’s CW show, Supergirl.
Superman vs. The Clan of the Fiery Cross
Near the end of our countdown, we find the classic radio story at Number Two, Superman vs. The Clan of the Fiery Cross. Running as a Sixteen-Part Episode that ran from June-July 1946, a Human Rights Activist infiltrated the KKK, other racists/terrorist groups, using what he had learned to alert the producers about it and they were already looking for a new villain for the show so they eagerly agreed. The Agent provided the ritual details and secret code words to the writers of the radio show after that happened it had a very negative impact on their Memberships and recruitment. Years later, there would be a comic mini-series inspired by the Radio Show.
Superman, Champion of the Oppressed
Finally, taking the Number One spot is the story that started it all, Action Comics #1, we saw many stories in this Comic Magazine, Chuck Dawson, Zatara the Magician, Sticky-Mitt Stimson; so many characters made their debuts, but the one who started the Superhero Genre was made by two men from Cleveland Ohio, Jerry Siegel, and Joseph Shuster. Superman made his debut in June 1938.
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