Superman is a classic and enduring character in the DC Universe, one of the first and greatest super-heroes of all time. Having been published in hundreds if not thousands of comics since his first appearance in Action Comics #1 (1938), sorting through reading material can be intimidating. There are many Superman comics and even more stories featuring him. This page is meant to act as a helpful guide for both new readers getting into his mythos for the first time, and veteran readers looking for something new.
This section includes Superman's most current origin story, as well as out-of-continuity or self-contained tales.
- Superman: Secret Origin is Geoff Johns' version of the origin story, restoring the essence of the character by preserving and bringing together elements from his entire history.
- Superman: Birthright is Mark Waid's retelling of the origin story, a maxi-series that seeks to modernize the character while returning forgotten elements of the character.
- All Star Superman is Grant Morrison's tribute to the Silver Age Superman, a twelve-issue maxi-series set outside of regular continuity that strips the character to his essential elements. It's a modern take on the character told with imagination and creativity, brought to life by the illustrations of Frank Quitely.
- Superman: Earth One is a graphic novel by J. Michael Straczynski as part of the DC: Earth One series, a new modern version of the Superman story taking place in a separate continuity.
- Superman for all Seasons is a stirring four-part series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale that takes a look at Superman's earliest years as seen through the eyes of those closest to him on both sides.
- Superman: Kryptonite is an early story from Superman's career written by Darwyn Cooke and illustrated by Tim Sale, featuring his first encounter with the deadly Kryptonite set in a vibrant Metropolis drama.
- Superman Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen, is an out-of-continuity story that describes the life of Clark Kent, a man in a world in which the superheroes are alive only in the comics, who suddenly gains the powers of Superman and embarks on a super-heroic career, but keeps his existence secret from the world at large.
- Kingdom Come
- Red Son
- DC Retroactive: Superman is a three-issue-long tribute to each era of the character.
This section presents important story arcs and one-shots where debuted some important character or concept and/or are regarded as classic and iconic stories. For the convenience of readers, it's divided into periods, and every era's origin stories are included.
Golden Age (1938-1955)
- Action Comics #1 -- "Superman, Champion of the Oppressed"
- Superman #1 -- "Clark Kent Gets a Job"
- Superman #4 -- Lex Luthor's first story
- Superman #7 -- Perry White's first appearance
- Superman #13 -- Jimmy Olsen's first appearance
- Superman #30 -- First Mxyzptlk story
- Action Comics #64 -- First Toyman story
- More Fun Comics #101 -- First Superboy story, which accidentally altered Superman's origin.
- Superman #65 -- Superman meets surviving Kryptonian criminals for the first time.
- Superman #76 -- Superman and Batman learn each other's secret identities.
- Action Comics #158 -- Superman's origin is finally set. This story was his canonical origin from 1951 to 1986.
Silver Age (1955-1971)
- Adventure Comics #210 -- Krypto's first appearance
- Action Comics #241 -- "The Super-Key to Fort Superman" Fortress of Solitude's origin
- Adventure Comics #247 -- First appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes
- Action Comics #242 -- "The Super-Duel in Space". Brainiac and Kandor's first appearance.
- Superboy #68 -- First Bizarro story
- Action Comics #252 -- "The Menace of Metallo/The Supergirl from Krypton". Metallo and Supergirl's first appearance
- Adventure Comics #271 -- "Superboy: "How Luthor Met Superboy!". The origin of the Superman/Lex Luthor's feud
- Superman #141 -- "Return to Krypton"
- Adventure Comics #283 -- The Phantom Zone's first appearance
- Superman #149 -- "The Death of Superman!"
- Superman #156 -- "The Last Days of Superman"
- Action Comics #300 -- "Superman Under the Red Sun!"
- Superman #176 -- "Superman's Day of Truth!"
- Action Comics #261 -- "Supergirl's Super-cat". First Streaky story.
- Action Comics #276 -- Supergirl and Brainiac 5 meet and join the Legion.
- The Unknown Supergirl -- One of the first multi-part super-hero comic-book story arcs.
- Superman #162 -- "Superman Red and Blue"
- Action Comics #300 -- "Superman Under the Red Sun!"
- The Untold Story of Argo City
- Action Comics #340 -- Parasite's first appearance
- Action Comics #363-366 -- "The Leper of Krypton"
- Action Comics #385-387 -- "The Immortal Superman"
Bronze Age (1971-1986)
- The Sandman Saga
- Superman #247 -- "There Must Be a Superman?"
- Adventure Comics #411 -- "The Alien Among Us"
- Adventure Comics #421 -- "Demon Spawn"
- Amazing World of Superman #1
- Superman #292 -- "The Luthor Nobody Knows!"
- Who Took the Super out of Superman!
- The Great Phantom Peril -- Faora Hu-Ul's first appearance
- Action Comics #484 -- "Superman Takes a Wife!"
- Krypton No More
- Action Comics #500 -- "The Life Story Of Superman"
- Action Comics Vol 1 #507-508 --"The Miraculous Return of Jonathan Kent!"
- Superman #338 -- "Let my People Grow!"
- Superman Family #200 -- "Celebration"
- The Krypton Chronicles
- The Phantom Zone
- DC Comics Presents Annual #1 -- "Crisis on Three Earths!"
- Two for the Death of One
- DC Comics Presents #50 -- "When You Wish Upon A Planetoid!"
- A Mind-Switch in Time
- Action Comics #544 -- "Luthor Unleashed!"
- Superman #400 -- "The Living Legends of Superman"
- Supergirl Vol 2 #13-15 -- "Blackstar"
- Superman Annual #10 -- "The Day the Cheering Stopped"
- For the Man Who Has Everything
- DC Comics Presents #85 -- "The Jungle Line"
- Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
- The Man of Steel is John Byrne's Post-Crisis update of the Superman origin story, the mini-series that established his mythos during the 1986-2000 period.
- Death of Superman
- Funeral for a Friend
- Reign of the Supermen
- Hitman #34 -- "Of Thee I Sing"
- Action Comics #775 -- "What's so funny about Truth, Justice and the American Way?"
- Emperor Joker
- Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
- Public Enemies
- The Supergirl from Krypton
- Up, Up and Away
- Escape from Bizarro World
- Last Son
- Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
- The Third Kryptonian
- Coming of Atlas
- New Krypton
- Who Is Superwoman?
- Reign of Doomsday
- Superman and the Men of Steel is the New 52's version of the origin story written by Grant Morrison, it works in restoring Golden Age and Silver Age elements of Superman's history. the story depicts a young, 22 year-old Clark Kent starting his career as a Superman working above the law.
- Last Daughter of Krypton
- Red Daughter of Krypton
- The Final Days of Superman
- Action Comics #1000 -- "From the City That Has Everything"