Superman is known across the globe as a comic book icon, pop culture mainstay, and a beacon of courage and hope. After making his first appearance in Action Comics #1 75 years ago in 1938, Superman became a pop culture sensation and remains the archetype for all the heroes that have followed.
With his latest cinematic adventure on the way and in celebration of his 75th birthday, we thought it was the perfect time to take a look at Superman’s most enduring tales. These are the stories that explore Superman — or even the idea, concepts, and philosophies behind Superman — to the fullest.
You’ll notice there’s no placement of stories that star the other members of the Super-family; these are restricted solely to stories about the Man of Steel himself.
As Seen In: Action Comics #866-870
“Your greatest power isn’t being able to fly or see through walls. It’s knowing what the right thing to do is.”
In Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Brainiac storyline, the creators mined the Silver Age for kooky concepts and turned them into a focal point of the Superman mythology. Here, we learn that despite all of Superman’s battles with Brainiac in the past, he’s never come face-to-face with the one, true being that is Brainiac, rather just incarnations of him. More importantly, this arc re-introduces the bottled city of Kandor to the Superman lore, which leads to the primary exploration of this tale: Superman rediscovering the culture of his home planet, but possibly at the expense of his humanity.