Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about the strange visitor from the planet Krypton, the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

(via GIPHY)

Who is Superman?

Sent away in a rocket from the doomed planet Krypton as an infant, Kal-El landed on Earth and was raised by a kindly couple, who taught him the values of truth and justice. Gaining incredible superpowers under Earth’s yellow sun, he protects his adopted home as Superman, while working for the newspaper ‘The Daily Planet’ as the reporter Clark Kent.

Superman Classics

Before we get to the current run of Superman comics from the DC Rebirth era onward, here are some classic Superman stories to get you up to speed with the Man of Tomorrow.

Superman’s Early Years

The Superman chronicles. Volume two / Siegel, Jerry
Read the earliest adventures of Superman as written by his original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Superman : secret origin / Johns, Geoff
One of the more recent takes on Superman’s origin, which takes its cues from the Christopher Reeve movies.

Superman : world against Superman / Morrison, Grant
The New 52 origin of Superman, which brings him back to his roots as a ‘champion of the oppressed’ still figuring out his powers.

Superman smashes the Klan : the graphic novel / Yang, Gene Luen
A comic adaptation of a 1946 radio play famous for exposing the then-revived Ku Klux Klan, where Superman is pitted against the xenophobic ‘Clan of the Fiery Cross’.

Classic Superman Adventures

Superman : red and blue
An anthology series where the artists are limited to Superman’s distinctive colour pallete.

Superman for all seasons / Loeb, Jeph
A coming-of-age story where Superman is torn between the big city life of Metropolis and his country home life in Smallville.

Superman : last son / Johns, Geoff
Superman finds a young boy in a ship like the one he crash-landed in as an infant, and adopts the boy as his own, not knowing he is the son of Kryptonian criminal General Zod.

Superman : Emperor Joker
Superman wakes up in Arkham Asylum to learn that the Joker has gained reality-altering powers and now rules the world.

Superman : ending battle
A mysterious villain has gathered all of Superman’s adversaries for an all-out assault on the Man of Steel.

Superman : up up and away / Busiek, Kurt
After a year-long absence due to the loss of his powers, Superman returns to Metropolis right as Lex Luthor unleashes his new master plan.

Superman : Brainiac / Johns, Geoff
One of Superman’s most famous villains, the city-collecting alien android Brainiac, returns to menace Superman once more.

Superman : the black ring. Volume one and two / Cornell, Paul
One of the definitive Lex Luthor stories. Superman’s nemesis sets out on a quest for ultimate power, battling other villains along the way.

Possible Endings

There have been many stories exploring how Superman may die or otherwise cease to be; here are some of the best.

The death of Superman / Jurgens, Dan (also on Libby)
The story that killed Superman (for a while, at least), as he goes down swinging against the unstoppable monster Doomsday.

Absolute All-Star Superman / Morrison, Grant (also on Libby)
Considered one of the best Superman stories ever. After being exposed to strange radiation, Superman discovers that he only has one year to live, and sets out to make sure the world is safe in his absence.

Superman : whatever happened to the man of tomorrow / Moore, Alan
Superman’s identity is exposed to the public, and the Man of Steel must protect his loved ones as his villains lay siege to the Fortress of Solitude.

DC Rebirth – Superman Reborn

The major change to Superman in this era is the birth of Jon Kent, the son of Lois Lane and Superman. During this period, Superman, Lois, and Jon move to a quiet farm in Hamilton County and try to live out a normal life in between alien invasions and reality alterations.

Superman : Lois and Clark / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 1, Son of Superman / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 2, Trials of the super son / Tomasi, Peter

Superman reborn / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 4, Black dawn / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 5, Hopes and fears / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 6, Imperius Lex / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 7, Bizarroverse / Tomasi, Peter

Action Comics

Action Comics is the comic magazine where Superman first appeared in 1938, and is still being published today as a secondary series to the main Superman title. During DC Rebirth, Action Comics reached its 1000th issue, establishing a new status quo for the Man of Steel.

Superman action comics. Vol. 1, Path of doom / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 2. Welcome to the planet / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Men of steel / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics : the Oz effect / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 5, Booster shot / Jurgens, Dan

The Brian Michael Bendis run

After Action Comics‘ 1000th issue, long-time Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis jumped ship to DC Comics and began to write the Superman and Action Comics series simultaneously. Beginning with the miniseries The Man of Steel, Bendis used his run to revive the Legion of Superheroes, have Superman establish an “intergalactic UN” called the United Planets, and bring Clark and Lois into the world of international espionage with ‘Event Leviathan’.

Brian Michael Bendis Superman reading order

The Man of Steel / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Volume 1, Invisible mafia / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 2, Leviathan rising / Bendis, Brian Michael

Event Leviathan / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Leviathan hunt / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 3, The truth revealed / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, Metropolis burning / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 4, Mythological / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 5, The House of Kent / Bendis, Brian Michael

Bendis run spin-offs

During the Bendis run on Superman, both Lois Lane and Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen got their own series. The Legion of Superheroes, a team that began as a spin-off to the Superman title in the 50s, return to welcome Jon Kent to their ranks. Bendis also wrapped up the ‘Event Leviathan’ storyline in the spy series Checkmate.

Lois Lane : enemy of the people / Rucka, Greg

Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen : who killed Jimmy Olsen / Fraction, Matt

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Checkmate / Bendis, Brian Michael

Infinite Frontier – The Warworld Saga

During Infinite Frontier, Superman comes into contact with a lost refugee colony of Kryptonians fleeing from Warworld, an artificial planet powered by slave labour and ruled by the despotic alien Mongul. Despite his powers being on the wane, Superman gathers up a team of rebel heroes called The Authority to help him free Warworld’s prisoners.

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman and the Authority / Morrison, Grant

Superman action comics. Volume one, Warworld rising / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman : Action Comics. Vol. 2, The arena / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Jon Kent, Son of Superman

Jon Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane, and occasionally fights alongside his dad as Superboy. He becomes fast friends with Damian Wayne, Batman’s son and the current Robin, regularly teaming up for adventures with him as the Super Sons.

Jon Kent, Superboy

Super Sons. Vol. 1, When I grow up.. / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons. Vol. 2, Planet of the capes / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons of tomorrow / Tomasi, Peter

Super sons. Vol. 3, Parent trap / Tomasi, Peter

Action detectives / Tomasi, Peter

Adventures of the Super Sons. Vol. 2, Little monsters / Tomasi, Peter

Challenge of the Super Sons / Tomasi, Peter

Jon Kent, Superman

After going missing on an adventure in space, Jon returns to Earth as a teenager, before travelling to the 31st century to join the Legion of Superheroes. In the ‘Son of Kal-El‘ series, Jon takes on the mantle of Superman while his father journeys off-planet to Warworld.

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 1, The truth / Taylor, Tom

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 2, The rising / Taylor, Tom

Kong Kenan, the Super-Man of China

DC Rebirth saw the introduction of another Superman, an arrogant student from China named Kong Kenan. Gifted with the powers of Superman by the Ministry of Self-Reliance, Kenan must learn to master his new Kryptonian abilities to become a suitable superhuman representative of his nation.

Kong Kenan appearances

New Super-Man. Vol. 1, Made in China / Yang, Gene Luen

New Super-Man. Vol. 3, Equilibrium

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

A very DC rebirth holiday

Superman Across the Multiverse

Many writers have explored how Superman could be reinterpreted or reimagined throughout the DC Comics Multiverse.

Final Crisis – Features the story “Superman Beyond”, in which Clark Kent must team up with an alliance of Supermen from parallel Earths to save all of reality.

The Multiversity – President Superman of Earth-23, Superdemon of Earth-13, Captain Carrot of Earth-26 and more must answer a multiversal SOS to battle against interdimensional parasites called The Gentry.

Elseworlds : Superman. Volume one – An anthology of ‘Elseworld’ stories that reimagine Superman in different eras, like the Middle Ages or the American Civil War.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – Based on the hit video game, Superman becomes an authoritarian ruler after suffering a tragedy, and the Justice League is split on whether to join him or resist.

Superman: Earth One (only on Libby) – A younger, more withdrawn Superman must decide if he should use his powers or not, right on the cusp of an alien invasion.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a world where superhumans run rampant with no regard for morality, Superman comes out of retirement to show them a better way.

Justice League : gods and monsters / Timm, Bruce – Based on the animated film, a Superman raised by Mexican immigrants leads a more pragmatic Justice League.

Superman : red son / Millar, Mark – An alternate history that explores what would have happened if Superman landed in Soviet Russia instead of the USA.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – On Earth-3, where heroes and villains are switched, the criminal Ultraman leads a super-powered mob called the Crime Syndicate.

Superman ’78 / Venditti, Robert – A comic continuation of the Christopher Reeve Superman films from the 70s and 80s.

Doomsday clock – A sequel to Watchmen, where Doctor Manhattan invades the DC Universe to confront Superman, while the fate of the world hangs in the balance.