Graphic Content – Superman

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
67/501Title: Superman
Creator: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Year: 1939 onwards
Country: USA

After reading the three specific Superman stories as referenced in the book, it’s high time that I cross off the main event itself. For the purposes of this I have read, in addition to Death of Superman, Superman For All Seasons and All-Star Supermancomics from the 1930s to the 1960s. I figured that this would be enough to call it a day for now.

Like with Captain America it was interesting to see how the earlier editions of Superman didn’t have serialization. In fact, despite being alien, he pretty much fights for the values of the USA – with some of the comics I read from the 1940s making thinly veiled references to the axis powers. Some familiar villains and concepts (like Lex Luthor and kryptonite) slowly started to creep in until a lot of the lore was properly established in the 1950s.

That’s what made reading Death of Superman so interesting after reading mostly early issues. By then, most of the key mythos (like Bizarro, the bottled city of Kandor and supporting characters such as Krypto and Supergirl) were all suddenly there… which meant I had to go back and read some of the introductions.

What’s also been really interesting about seeing so many eras of Superman is just how much the characters have changed over time – especially Lois Lane. In the early editions she’s a horrible cut-throat (likely due to some misogyny on the part of the writers) and she eventually becomes a more nuanced character with equal parts heart and ambition.

The character of Superman himself also starts to become more and more human, with the 1990s and 2000s editions giving him such depth that I really changed my mind on him as a character. Prior to reading all these issues, I had always figured him to be a bit dull because of his invulnerability, but now I have to say that I really rate him and the surrounding mythology that has been generated.

Time to move away from the superheroes for the time being and go for something a bit more sinister for the next comic on the list. It’s been a long time since I read something in the crime family, so I think it’s going to be a little bit of Victorian murder.

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