Maybe  you’re a long time fan looking for the greatest hits, or maybe you’re new to the world of Superman and about to head into a comic book store for the first time. If that’s the case, you’re probably curious where you should start. Fear not, dear friend! I am here to show you the wonders of the Man of Steel, having been a fan for as long as I can remember. Let’s take a trip into a world where a man can fly, and do things that inspire us to be better.

All-Star Superman

Written by Grant Morrison, Art by Frank Quitely

All- Star Superman is an homage to the Silver Age of Superman, and Grant Morrison gives a loving, glowing treatment to the Man of Steel. In this tale, Superman saves an experimental mission to the sun, only to learn that the exposure to the sun at that level had supercharged his cells to overload: Superman is dying. Before he does die though, he embarks on a quest to tie up some loose ends, and show the world why he is the first, and the greatest, superhero. Quitely’s art is amazing, and the visuals at times are breathtaking. The first sequence itself is amazing: a brief, 5-panel breakdown of his origin, which then leads to a gorgeous double splash (meaning both pages form a large image). The approach to this story is all about the wonder, unreality and spectacle of the world of Superman. It’s an amazing read, and arguably the best Superman story of the last 25 years.

Superman: Birthright

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Leneil Francis Yu

Superman: Birthright was written with the intent of being a non-canon origin of Superman, a gateway for new fans to jump in on the story of Superman. It is one of the best interpretations of Superman’s origin for the modern era. In fact, it may have influenced Man of Steel: The story starts out with Clark Kent in Africa doing a piece for the local newspaper. This Clark Kent is a man who has explored the world, looking for his place in it. Sound familiar? The book mixes in elements non-comic fans will recognize (Lex Luthor in Smallville), as well as adds on it’s own themes, and creates a terrific jumping on point for Superman and new initiates. It also happens to be our Book Club book for this month. If you’re in the city July 21st, come by and discuss the book!

Superman: Last Son Of Krypton

Written by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Art by Adam Kubert, Gary Frank

This book is actually two stories in one. The first, Last Son, is written by Geoff Johns  and Richard Donner, the director of the first two Superman movies, with art by Adam Kubert. The story revolves around the discovery of a Kryptonian boy, who lands on Earth and is taken in by… CLARK KENT! You can kind of treat this as Richard Donner’s Superman III; the secret origin of this Kryptonian boy turns out to be very malicious, and the story serves to illustrate that Superman may be an alien, but he’s OUR alien, and he will defend the world and protect it no matter what, and he passes this on to young Chris Kent. It’s very heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time, it’s also an interesting approach at Superman as a father, and the writers do a great job with this idea.

The second story is by Geoff Johns working alone, with art by Gary Frank. It’s actually the basis for the animated movie Superman Unbound. Superman has faced the artificial intelligence known as Brainiac many times, but he’s never faced the real thing, and the real thing is imposing. A much more powerful, more dangerous collector of cultures, Brainiac finally shows up to Earth for real, and he’s come to collect a piece of Earth, along with the Last Son of Krypton. Superman’s struggles against Brainiac also go beyond himself: Brianiac has a Kryptonian city locked up as well, shrunk into a bottle. Not only must Superman save his adopted world, but he must try to salvage a piece of his home world, and connect with a people he had previously  thought lost to him. A very solid, very heartfelt story.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Written by Jeph Loeb, Art by Ed McGuinness

One of the more fun interpretations of the Man of Steel, and also the source of a DC Animated film, Superman/Batman is the ultimate buddy action story. Lex Luthor is President of the United States, and he has declared Superman and Batman enemies of the state, accusing Superman of being involved with a kryptonite asteroid about to hit the Earth. With a huge bounty on their heads, the World’s Finest find themselves facing friends and foes alike. This all leads to a major showdown with Lex Luthor, and through it all, it’s an over the top, ridiculous action movie that would make Michael Bay jealous. Jeph Loeb was definitely having fun writing this book, and Ed McGuinness’ art is at its best here. It’s such a fun romp that I can’t help but smile thinking about this book. It’s just big, old goofy fun. With tons of explosions and fists, but still, tons of fun.

That’s it for this time, I’m hoping that both this list, along with Man of Steel, will help introduce you (or a friend of yours) to the wonderful world of Superman. Until Next Time—

“My son is twice the man that you were, Zod”

–        Raph

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