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Where to start with Superman?

Old 07-28-10, 09:14 PM
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Where to start with Superman?

Hey everyone I'm trying to get a little more into the Superman character and some of his best stories. The thing is I've never really been a huge fan aside from watching the movies/tv shows. So basically what I'm asking is what are some of the essential stories to get? I'm mostly looking for TPB's to begin with probably, but if there are any individual titles to hunt down I might give that a try too. Thanks in advance to anyone that answers.
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Old 07-29-10, 12:04 AM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Probably you'll have to read now John Byrne's Man of Steel and the recent Secret Origins storyline that cover Superman's origin. The Death, Funeral For a Friend and Return of Superman so you can understand the importance of Superman in the DC universe. And to get with current Superman events, read the New Krypton saga that goes from the New Krypton story-arc to the War of the Supermen finale. Also, this 2 sites will tell you what issues to look for

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman

http://superman.wikia.com/wiki/Superman_Wiki
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Old 07-29-10, 07:39 AM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Two words: All-Star Superman.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:41 AM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

May as well skip Byrne's since it doesnt count anymore, and Secret Origin is just better.

My favs include:

Superman: Exile
Superman: The Wedding album
Death of Superman omnibus
Superman For Tomorrow
Superman/Batman: Supergirl
Superman/Batman: Search for Kryptonite
Superman Last Son
Superman Legion
Superman Brainiac
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Old 07-29-10, 01:02 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

I would say don't bother with New Krypton... it's basically been all but forgotten with very little lasting impact to the current titles, at least that's my understanding (basically negating Robinson's run on the title). JMS is writing a more grounded Superman right now, and his run just started, so that might be a good place to start for the more recent books (Superman 700 and on).

Did the recent Secret Origin's run replace Waid's Birthright miniseries as the origin now? I'd still recommend the Byrne Man of Steel run if you like Superman, as that was how he was reintroduced post-Crisis; they were slowly releasing these as a series of trades too, so it should be relatively easy to find.

I'd also recommend Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow trade. I'm not sure about the rest of the stories in the collection, but it's got two stories by Alan Moore that are generally considered two of the best Superman stories: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow and For the Man Who Has Everything.

Morrison's run on All Star Superman happens outside of continuity as well, but is worth a read. Also, Kingdom Come, if you haven't read it, is not necessarily a Superman title but does somewhat center around him and the affect his presence has on other heroes. And JLA: The Nail is an Elseworlds tale about what the world would have been like had the Kal-el never been found by the Kents, and thus never became Superman.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:42 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told. May be out of print, but you can probably get it used is a great place to start.

Those dissing Byrne's Man of Steel simply because they claim "it isn't in continuity", are, well, dorks. Just because a storyline isn't in continuity anymore doesn't mean it isn't worth reading.

Batman Year One is now officially not in continuity, does that mean it shouldn't be read?

Byren's Man Of Steel is well worht a look, if for no other reason then it gives a look at a time when Superman was really guiven a clean or semi-clean makeover and depowered and how Byrne tried and succeeded for the most part, and how he turned Luthor from a genuis mad scientist to a corrupt uber rich businessman and how that made Luthor a much richer, deeper and better character.

Superman Red Son is an excellent look at what might have happened if the rocket carrying Superman had landed in the Soviet Union instead of America.

And yes the new Secret Origin replaced Birthright as official continuity at least to the powers at DC. Birthright is still worth a read.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:18 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

All-Star Superman is amazing.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:37 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Spent 24 hours thinking of an answer to the OP's question and for the life of me couldn't come up with anything. 30+ years of reading comics, and the only truly great Superman stories I could remember (vaguely) were the Alan Moore stories, which IIRC, were published immediately preceding Bryne's reboot (which I never liked).

But then I see someone mention Kingdom Come and it's like a lightbulb was suddenly turned on. Yes- out of 30+ years of reading comics, that's hands down the best handling of the character I've ever seen. Older, sadder, wiser- it's a superb exploration of the characters psyche- as well as a kick-ass, eve of the apocalypse, mega cast of characters smackdown.

very highly recommended.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:41 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Alright cool, thanks for the suggestions so far. I think I might start out with the two volumes of All-Star Superman and Kingdom Come. My friend also was telling me that Red Son is a good else worlds title and I see that someone here mentioned it so I might check that out for fun too.
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Old 07-30-10, 01:10 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Red Son is okay, except the story doesn't wrap up very well. The ending is unbelievably out of place with the rest of the story. Still, it's a great read.

I would also recommend Supreme by Alan Moore. He took a Superman analogue and made him interesting. It really tapped into the history and mythology of the character. Great read.
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Old 07-30-10, 01:25 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
Red Son is okay, except the story doesn't wrap up very well. The ending is unbelievably out of place with the rest of the story. Still, it's a great read.

I would also recommend Supreme by Alan Moore. He took a Superman analogue and made him interesting. It really tapped into the history and mythology of the character. Great read.
Supreme was pretty good, but the tp's were put together really sloppily. Also, while Moore does draw clear lines between Superamn and Supreme the series is more a general noting and fairly condescending series of jabs at the idea of both continuity the endless resetting of same that superhero comics are forced to go through every few years or even months as new writers and artists jump onto and off of titles.
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Old 07-30-10, 04:11 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

I'd love to know what it is about All-Star Superman that I missed. I read it, and while it was alright, I finished it without a sense that it was "amazing" by any means.

I can second the recommendations about the two big Alan Moore Superman stories, "For the Man Who Has Everything" and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" Both are included in the DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore trade paperback, which I finally read earlier this year and I loved both of them. And I agree with TheMadFapper about continuity; so long as the story is interesting, what difference should it make? Continuity changes every other year, it seems; unless you're looking to commit yourself to being an ongoing reader, I say just seek out well told stories and don't concern yourself with where it fits into the "big picture."

John Byrne's The Man of Steel was considered mandatory for an entire generation, and I think it's okay not to feel obligated to read it. That said, I thought Byrne did a great job handling the relationships between the principal characters. I never really cared for his Lex Luthor, but I liked his Lois Lane and Perry White quite a bit. And the appearance of Batman was handled quite well; it could easily have just felt contrived, but there's some genuinely good stuff in there.

Another recommendation I would put forth is to root around for back issues of Superman Adventures, based on Superman: The Animated Series. If you weren't a reader of The Batman Adventures (or its subsequent incarnations), you might be surprised at the quality of a comic based on an animated series. I can't cite any particular issue or storyline, but I found the title in general quite enjoyable.
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Old 07-30-10, 04:37 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

I'll third (fourth?fifth?) the Alan Moore story recommendations. Those two stories are perhaps the best single issue superhero stories I've ever read.
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Old 07-30-10, 05:12 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

By the way, one more recommendation I would make (though it is a bit pricey):



Go back to where Siegel and Shuster began with the character. It's a gorgeous volume, and I found the stories interesting. There was something refreshing about Superman not being able to fly to far away planets or hoist entire mountains. The true test for Superman was never meant to be his extraordinary powers...but rather how he reconciled himself with humanity. This is where we really see what a challenge that can be for the Man of Steel.
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Old 07-30-10, 11:42 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

I don't hate on Byrne's cause its out of continuity, I just dont like it anymore, in the age of John's. Birthright is ok, if your a Smallville fan.

I also wouldnt say New Krypton has been swept away. The whole point of Grounded is because of what happened in New K, and the effects are felt in Supergirl also.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:53 AM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
By the way, one more recommendation I would make (though it is a bit pricey):


I know that a few years back they re-priced the first volumes of the Batman and Superman archives at $19.99.

The first volumes of both can, like a lot of golden age material, be quite crude in all departments. But there are definitely some interesting elements scattered around.

If you ever get tempted to pick one of these volumes up, I would suggest this one



because it has the artwork of Jack Burnley, one of the best and most underrated draftsmen in the golden age.

I'd love to know what it is about All-Star Superman that I missed. I read it, and while it was alright, I finished it without a sense that it was "amazing" by any means.

yeah, I sort of had the same reaction. I did enjoy it (and just sold off my HCs to make way for the Absolute due at the end of the year) but I don't quite understand the level of praise it gets. I certainly wouldn't stop anyone from checking it out.


Speaking of which, you might want to try your local Library to see if you can sample some of these. I know my library has bulked up its graphic novel collection quite a bit in the last few years.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:36 AM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
yeah, I sort of had the same reaction. I did enjoy it (and just sold off my HCs to make way for the Absolute due at the end of the year) but I don't quite understand the level of praise it gets. I certainly wouldn't stop anyone from checking it out.
The collective jizzing over All Star Superman is because it was written by Morrison and drawn by Quietley(Sp?), who are seen as the best/hottest writer artist of the moment.

And one of the fun things about reading older stuff like Byrne's run or stuff from the 1970's is seeing how the writers were desperately trying to have both themselves and the characters they wrote come off as cool and hip, with the results being laughable. Same thing in the late 1980's when the writers tried to introduce gangsta style language.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:57 PM
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Re: Where to start with Superman?

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
I certainly wouldn't stop anyone from checking it out.

Speaking of which, you might want to try your local Library to see if you can sample some of these. I know my library has bulked up its graphic novel collection quite a bit in the last few years.
Funny you mention this. I actually did check out All-Star Superman from my local library! Ours, too, has really bulked up its graphic novel collection in the last couple of years (though growth seems to have slowed this year in favor of growing their DVD library). It's also thanks to the library that I finally read Jeff Smith's Bone in collected edition two years ago. I still carry some shame for not having read it sooner or for owning most of the series, but at least I've read it. Same for Art Spiegelman's Maus.
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