25 Greatest Superman Graphic Novels

Hundreds of superheroes have been introduced in comic books and the silver screen, but none of them could ever beat Superman. This American fictional character originally emerged from the old comic books published by DC Comics and is popularly regarded as a national cultural icon. To celebrate his heroism and preserve his legacy as a superhero, even writers today continue to create and publish graphic novels dedicated to this popular character. Here is a list of the 25 greatest Superman graphic novels of all time.

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25

Superman: Speeding Bullets

Superman: Speeding Bullets

Written by J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Eduardo Barretto, Superman: Speeding Bullets is a 52-paged DC Comics Elsewords comic book that was published in 1993. The concept of this graphic novel is the fusion of superheroes Superman and Batman. It provides an overview of how things would have been had the rocket ship of Superman landed in Gotham City instead of Smallville. The general message that the book tries to communicate to its readers is that the power of Superman and the methods of Batman are irreconcilable.

24

Superman: Escape from Bizarro World

Superman: Speeding Bullets

Written by Geoff Johns and Richards Donner, Superman: Escape from Bizarro World is considered a novel throwback to the Silver Age of Comic Books. In this graphic novel, artist Eric Powell introduces a new character named Bizarro Batman. This character also has a reversed “S” on his chest, just like that of Superman. Known as the doppelganger of the fictional superhero, Bizarro first appeared in Action Comics # 865 and was portrayed as an antagonist to Superman.

23

Superman: Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite

Superman: Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite

Starring Jerry Ordway, Bob McLead, Dave Hoover and Dan Jurgens, Superman: Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite was written by Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens and features Mister Mxyzptlk, one of the most powerful villains of Superman. In the novel, he torments the superhero once every 90 days and attempts to rob Superman with his magical powers through a mystical substance called Red Kryptonite. The story revolves around Superman’s predicament in dealing with the tactics of Mister Mxyzptlk than the villain himself.

22

Superman: New Krypton

Superman: New Krypton

Written by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates and Greg Rucka, Superman: New Krypton tells the story of the existence of more than 100,000 Kryptonians residing on earth and possessing the same superpowers as Superman. This novel features a broad range of cast of supporting characters and focuses on the conflict of Superman with his heritage as a Kryptonian as well as with his upbringing as a human. It artistically depicts the home world of Superman since the Silver Age.

21

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

Illustrated by Neal Adams and written by Dennis O’Neil, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali is about an alien race known as Scrubbs that threatens to invade the Earth through a trial-by-combat. When Superman volunteered himself as the greatest champion of the Earth to face the Scrubbs, boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali challenged him. The novel revolves around the mythology of Superman and the status of Muhammad Ali as a real cultural icon in the boxing realm.

20

Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come

Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come

A creation of Mark Waid and Alex Ross, Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come tells the story of Superman and his extended appearance in the official DC Universe following an event that led to his being thrown outside the universe. In this novel, the Superman of Earth 22 has to work with the Justice Society of America to prevent the villain Gog and the vigilante Magog from ruling the planet Earth.

19

Superman / Doomsday: Hunter / Prey

Superman / Doomsday: Hunter / Prey

Superman / Doomsday: Hunter / Prey recounts the story of Superman undertaking a perilous journey across the universe to discover the origins of another fictional monster known as Doomsday and to put an end to his threat among human beings. In the novel, Superman travels from planet Earth to Apokolips and beyond, trailing a path that leads to his confirmation that Doomsday is already returning and that there is no stopping him from terrorizing the human race. It is considered as the perfect follow-up to the Death and Return of Superman storyline.

18

Superman and the Legion of Superheroes

Superman and the Legion of Superheroes

Another creation of Geoff John, Superman and the Legion of Superheroes tells the story of Superman and his quest to expose Earth-Man’s lies through the help of the Legion of the Superheroes, a coalition of super-powered humans and aliens. Together, the superhero and the Legion clear the name of the coalition and restore honor to the legacy of Superman. In this novel, John reintroduces the Legion as an integral part of the development of the character of Superman as a superhero.

17

Superman: The Man of Steel

Superman: The Man of Steel

Written and illustrated by John Byrne, Superman: The Man of Steel is the official origin story of Superman. It was published between 1986 and 2003 and was the first graphic novel that came after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, another book that previously reinvented Superman’s mythology until the new age for the last son of Krypton. Critics consider this graphic novel as a radical transformation over the Silver Age tradition because it successfully applies significant alterations to the mythos of Superman as a superhero.

16

Superman: Secret Identity

Superman: Secret Identity

Illustrated by Stuart Immonen and written by Kurt Busiek, Superman: Secret Identity tries to show what being Superman would be like in the real world. Readers of this graphic novel are put in the shoes of a young boy known by the name Clark Kent, who happens to have the same name as the iconic superhero. Super Identity challenges its readers to discover what it is that they have in them that can make them be as powerful as Superman.

15

Superman: Birthright

Superman: Birthright

Known as the official origin story of Superman from 2003 until the Infinite Crisis in 2006, Superman: Birthright is one of the most unusually written Superman graphic novels published in the 20th century. It stands apart from all other origin stories in terms of its ambition and approach because it explores the separation of Superman from the identity of the human Clark Kent. In this book, Superman serves as the main persona while Clark Kent only serves as a disguise intended to draw people’s attention away from the superhero.

14

Superman: Red Son

Superman: Red Son

Released under the Elseworlds imprint in 2003, Superman: Red Son explores what would happen if baby Kal-El’s rocket ship had landed in Soviet Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas. This three-issue comic book introduces Superman as a superhero fighting for socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact instead of truth and justice. Authored by Mark Miller, it features a re-imagining of the creatures from Bizarro and Brainiac, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern.

13

Superman / Batman: Supergirl

Superman / Batman: Supergirl

First discovered by Batman in Gotham City Bay, the Supergirl in the Superman series first appeared in Action Comics # 252 and was reintroduced in the Superman/Batman storyline as “The Supergirl from Krypton.” This graphic novel reintroduces Supergirl to the DC Universe during the post crisis, where she undergoes trainings in the use of superpowers. In this novel, she is captured by the super villain Darkseid and molds her into being the leader of his Female Furies.

12

Superman: Peace on Earth

Superman: Peace on Earth

Conceived based on the Superman stories that were popularized during the 1940’s, Superman: Peace on Earth tells the story of Superman setting out on a quest to save people suffering from hunger by feeding the entire world for at least a day. This graphic novel features the creative illustrations of Alex Ross and effectively portrays Superman not as a brawny superhero but as a stand-in for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice to save the humanity.

11

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel

A five-issue monthly American graphic novel written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Lee Bernejo, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel features the nemesis of Superman named Lex Luthor as the major protagonist. The book generally exposes the motivations of Lex Luthor in being a constant rival of Superman as the Man of Steel. In this graphic novel, Luthor is depicted not as a ruthless and corrupt killer but as a charitable man.

10

Superman for All Seasons

Superman for All Seasons

A four-issue comic book limited series, Superman for All Seasons was written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale. It was originally published in 1998 by DC Comics and tackles events that run parallel to the events in the origin story of John Byne entitled The Man of Steel. This graphic novel effectively captures the grandeur of Superman as a superhero through the narrations provided by several characters, including Lois Lane, Lex Luther and Sam Loeb.

9

Bizarro Comics

Bizarro Comics

Named after the fictional character that debuted in the Silver Age of Comic Books, Bizarro was previously ranked # 25 on the List of 100 Top Comic Book Villains of IGN. The Bizarro Comics stars the imperfect clone of Superman named Bizarro, who, throughout the graphic novel, has been a source of both humor and confusion among readers. It features an array of artists and writers and gives brief and amusing accounts of other superheroes such as Batman, Hawkman and Wonder Woman.

8

The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman

A comic book storyline that was first released in 1992, The Death of Superman describes how Superman engages in a battle with the unstoppable killing machine popularly known as Doomsday, and how both of them eventually die from their wounds. This graphic novel focuses more on the reaction of the world to the death of this iconic superhero than the fight between him and the monster. When it was released, The Death of Superman reached the top of comics’ sales and was sold out overnight.

7

Superman: Earth One

Superman: Earth One

A Superman graphic novel illustrated by Shane Davis and written by J. Michael Stracyznski, Superman: Earth One retells the beginning of the transition of Clark Kent into being Superman and delves into the other possible alternatives into his becoming a superhero. It was first published by DC Comics in the United States in 2010 and in the United Kingdom a year after. This graphic novel reintroduces classic characters in the story of Superman.

6

Superman’s Metropolis

Superman’s Metropolis

Starred by the son of Clark Kent, Superman’s Metropolis is another Superman graphic novel that was originally written by Jean-Marc Lofficier, Randy Lofficier and Roy Thomas. Illustrated by Ted McKeeyer, the story tackled by comic book is patterned after the Fritz Lang movie entitled Metropolis. The story begins with the awareness of the son of Clark Kent when it comes to social inequality and ends with Clark and Lois being the enlightened rulers of the Metropolis following a rebellion.

5

The Superman Monster

The Superman Monster

An Elseworlds tale, The Superman Monster brings together the mythos of Superman as a superhero and the renowned masterpiece of Mary Shelly entitled Frankenstein. Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, this graphic novel was published by DC Comics in 1999 and was illustrated by renowned graphic artist Anthony Williams.

4

Son of Superman

Son of Superman

A DC Comics Elseworlds story that was first released in 2000, Son of Superman tells the story of Jon Kent manifesting his superpowers following the eruption of a solar flare. It recounts the attempts of the son of Clark Kent to follow the footsteps of his father as the new Superman and to discover the truth behind his disappearance. This graphic novel was written by Howard Chaykin and David Tischman and illustrated by J.H. Williams III.

3

It’s a Bird

It’s a Bird

Released by Vertigo in 2004, It’s a Bird is a graphic novel written by Steven T. Seagle and illustrated by Teddy Kristiansen. It chronicles the thoughts of its author as he attempts to work out a new approach to the iconic superhero Superman, and deals with several contradictions in the character of Superman as a protector of the people and a fascist. It generally centers on his idea of justice, truth and power.

2

Superman: True Brit

Superman: True Brit

Another DC Comics Elseworlds story, Superman: True Brit is a Superman graphic novel that was first published in the United States in 2004. Written by John Cleese and illustrated by John Byrne and Mark Farmer, this comic book re-imagines the origin of the superhero by taking into consideration how the upbringing of Clark Kent would have been different if his spaceship had not crashed in Smallville. It became one of the most controversial Superman graphic novels because of its tendency to ridicule the British psyche.

1

Superman: War of the Worlds

Superman: War of the Worlds

Written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Michael Lark, Superman: War of the Worlds was first published in 1999 as a rough adaptation of the novel The War of the Worlds of H.G. Wells. The novel was adapted to fit the mythology of Superman and was transported from the 20th century Britain to the time of Clark Kent in the Metropolis during the 1940’s.



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