Superman is without a doubt the most popular and beloved superhero in pop history, even though Batman’s and Spiderman’s fans might disagree with this statement. His popularity and mainstream influence can be seen in many ways, and his character has been re-created and repackaged so many times to the point where the original can barely be found in the new version. Here are 25 alternate versions of superman that are bizarrely cool. Which one is your favorite?
One of the greatest and most decorated comic book writers ever,Uncanny X-Men’s “father” Chris Claremont, had the absurdly “brilliant” idea to mix comic book history with Greek mythology and this is how we ended up with the very first half-man, half-horse superhero. Thank you very much Zeus . . . uhh, Chris Claremont.
Shogun of Steel
In this “oriental” version of the original story you get what you probably can guess by now—the Japanese “translation” of the epic superhero, who is also a shogun by the way. In case you still wonder how or why, the answer is simple really: Kal-El’s spaceship landed in ancient Japan instead of Smallville, Kansas. As for the painful difference in time period? Trust us, we asked the same question.
Superduperman, as the awfully ridiculous name suggests, is a spoof of Superman who appears in the parody comic strip MAD magazine #4, having the same abilities of the original superhero but combined with a weird sense of humor and attitude. If you’re looking for a good laugh then you will definitely appreciate this piece of satirical art.
Lionel Jr. Luthor
In this story Superman is found by Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor’s daddy, and was raised as Lionel Jr. alongside Lex, who’s technically Superman’s brother. However, the comic stays true to the original in some ways and when Lex finds out his brother’s secret, shows him some true brotherly love by killing him the following year.
In this limited but classic nineties series titled JLA: The Nail, Jonathan and Martha Kent’s pickup truck gets a flat tire caused by a nail (hence the title), and this prevents them from finding baby Kal-El’s spaceship. This little detail changes history as we know it and trust us when we say Metropolis is a much uglier and unsafe place without Superman. Oh yeah, did we mention that Superman was adopted by an Amish couple and grows up as one, too?
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Superman of the 30th Century
This Superman comes from the future and is the distant descendant of the original Superman. His real name is Klar Ken T-5477 and he’s a reporter for the Daily Interplanetary News, which is located where else? Metropolis. A big difference between this Superman and his ancestor is that he is immune to Kryptonite, yet is vulnerable to seawater, due to radioactive fallout that settled into the oceans of various planets after a nuclear war.
Forget all you know about Tarzan and Superman. In Sons of the Jungle you will be introduced to the weirdest comic story there is and that’s nowhere near an exaggeration. Instead of landing in Kansas, the alien baby ends up in the jungle where he is raised by gorillas, while the real Tarzan is never lost by his clumsy parents and grows up to be a classy Englishman named Lord Greystoke. It’s quite a fun story if you like twisted endings and alternative tales that end up reading like a parody.
The Gay Superman
While visually distinct and with a different name, Apollo is cast in the mold of the Superman archetype but very much his own individual. A hero of the darker Wildstorm Universe, which is assigned the designation Earth-50, Apollo is also seen in Final Crisis #7. He was genetically enhanced to be a solar-powered super-being and a member of the superhero team The Authority. Apollo is openly gay, and is married to his superhero partner Midnighter, a version of Batman.
The Black Superman
Let’s just say that this is what Barack Obama would look like if he were the famous superhero since Superman of Earth 23 is explicitly based on the American president. See, this version of Superman is unique not only for being black but with his nice suit and glasses on, Calvin Ellis (Superman’s secret identity) also happens to be the first black president in the history of the United States.
High Chancellor Superman
In this video game named Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman has conquered the Earth after the destruction of Metropolis and the death of Lois Lane and he’s determined to wipe out crime for good. As a result, he’s the one who becomes a mass murderer, since to eliminate crime on Earth he kills anyone in his path who will try to stop him.
Did you know that there’s a Nazi version of Superman? You know, an Aryan blonde with a swastika replacing the S symbol. No? We didn’t either before we researched this topic. Apparently on Earth-10 (one of the many DC multiverses), the Nazi Party is boss and has its own version of Superman named Overman. As one no doubt understands, this “Superman” supports the Nazi ideology of genetic purity and is a dedicated member of the JL-Axis, a Nazi-themed Justice League. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?
When you think that nothing can shock you anymore in the world of superheroes, there will inevitably be some writer who will prove you wrong. In the world of JSA: The Liberty Files, Superman is a dude named Zod, a total sociopath banished to Phantom Zone for creating a deadly synthetic plague when he was eleven. Cool stuff, eh?
The rare limited edition that came out in October 2007 and which takes place on Earth-8 features a German Superma who serves in Monarch’s army and is called Herr Superman. He’s not a Nazi or anything of this nature, just a German superhero with a wild accent.
Earth-Three is a fictional alternate universe in the DC Comics universe that first appeared in Justice League of America #29 back in 1964. In this alternate “comic reality” Superman is a villain and a leading member of the Crime Syndicate of America who doesn’t save the world. What’s even worse about this alternate story? Lex Luthor (of all people) is supposed to be the good guy and the only surviving superhero.
Bruce Wayne: Superman
I know, I know. You’re probably severely confused reading the name Bruce Wayne, looking at the photo of Batman and at the same time someone trying to convince you that what you see is Superman not Batman. However, we are kidding you not; in Superman: Speeding Bullets, the orphaned Kal-El is adopted by Thomas and Martha Wayne, who name him Bruce instead of Clark, and you can imagine how the rest of the story goes.
All-Star Superman is a Superman comic maxi-series, consisting of twelve issues that ran from November 2005 to October 2008 and literally won every major award there is. In this amazing but extremely depressing story Superman is subjected to a slow cellular death through intense solar radiation and without much time left, he tries to complete his very own bucket list.
We’ve seen many things in superhero “worlds” but the combination of two superheroes in one was quite shocking even for the most open-minded fans like me. Super-Soldier is the amalgamated version of Superman and Captain America. In this story Clark Kent volunteers to become a super-soldier during WWII and scientists make him a human experiment by using a combination of an enhancement serum and cells taken from an alien spacecraft, plus a supercharge of solar energy. Crazy stuff, right?
Kingdom Come Superman
This story takes place in the distant future where a depressed and disappointed Clark Kent has retired both as a professional and as a superhero after the murder of Lois Lane whom he failed to save. Of course, in the name of his love for mankind he finally makes a heroic comeback and ruins the party for the bad guys worldwide.
Superman Red/Superman Blue
In this wildly bizarre Silver Age rendering of the tale from the early sixties, Superman splits into two different but romantic men, one who marries Lois Lane and the other Lana Lang, and both live happily ever after. In the contemporary tale of the same alternative and weird plot Superman develops energy-based powers while losing his original powers, and gets a corresponding new costume. He again splits into two different guys, known as Superman Red and Superman Blue.
The young Superman of this story is more human than ever before and from a hero he morphs into an absolute amoral villain once he realizes what the amazing powers he possesses can do for him. This is without a doubt one of the deepest Superman stories, with great underlying political and social messages about what human selfishness and immaturity can do to anyone with power.
Superman: True Brit
The title of this one says it all, really. Superman: True Brit is a humorous adaptation of Superman in which his spaceship crashed in Weston-super-Mare in England instead of Smallville in Kansas, USA. The British version of Superman has a British accent, drinks tea not coffee, loves his full English breakfast, and looks like a 1960s British rock star. Plus he says “mate,” not dude.
The Mature Superman
In this story that takes us to Earth-Two, Superman is a mature, wiser superhero from a parallel Earth where he’s married to Lois Lane and where he fought alongside other classic DC heroes in the Justice League of America. And when we say mature we mean old, really old, with white hair and wrinkles, but still in great shape with a six-pack and all that.
This, ladies and gents, is the Frankenstein version of Superman. How so, you ask? To begin with, Bizarro managed to simultaneously impress and shock the fans of our most beloved “alien” in history because of his ugly appearance and lack of intellect. To make a long story short, Bizarro is the definition of the term antihero, he’s unattractive, dense, and doesn’t know how, or at least isn’t willing, to use his superpowers for anything good or useful.
Superman: Last Son of Earth
This alternative Superman can be found in a DC Comics Elseworlds tale released in 2000. The story’s writer, Steve Gerber, attempts to pass many social messages through the narrative and seems to focus more on xenophobia and authoritarianism. As for the plot, we have to admit that it’s truly intelligent and reverses the usual Superman origin; here Superman is sent from Earth to Krypton where he discovers a Green Lantern power ring, which pretty much gives him all the superpowers he needs to become a superhero.
Superman – Red Son
This is arguably the greatest alternate version ever written about the greatest superhero who never lived. In this superb story delivered by the master storyteller Mark Millar, Superman lands in the Ukraine not in Kansas. He is raised as a proud Soviet, who was taught to love and serve the communist principals of the Soviet Union, but he’s still the same compassionate, fair, courageous, and fearless superhero who loves humanity more than anything. He still obeys his super-hearing and responds to every call for help. His favorite “habit” remains saving lives. A must-read comic not just for the fans but everybody really.