You can’t talk about DC comics without talking about Superman! In fact, if you think of the word, “superhero,” Superman is likely the first one to pop into your head. He is many’s idea of the ultimate hero.
Superman has been the staple of superheroes and comics for nearly a century and has become an iconic symbol of hope, truth, and justice. So let’s look at what’s considered some of the best Superman graphic novels.
Note #1: These novels aren’t in any particular ranking order.
Note #2: I will be using “graphic novel” and “comic” interchangeably.
Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bernejo
This graphic novel has Lex Luthor as the protagonist. It’s always fascinating when you get a story from the point of view of the “villain,” and this story shows the complexity of Luthor’s character. In this version he’s even shown to be charitable, which is an interesting look at Superman’s most iconic nemesis.
Batman/Superman: Supergirl by Jeff Loeb, Michael Turner, and Peter SteigerWald
This comic introduces Supergirl and tells her own story of how she came to earth. Funny, interesting, and showing great interaction between Superman, Batman, and Supergirl, this comic does a good job of reintroducing an interesting character that may be a bit more obscure.
The Death of Superman by Various Artists
Likely one of the most iconic Superman stories, this graphic novel showed how even Superman, who often seemed untouchable, could die. The Death of Superman is emotionally charged, showing the brutal battle that led to Superman’s demise, as well as the heart-wrenching reactions of his friends, colleagues, and family.
Superman: Speeding Bullets by J.M. DeMatteis and Eduardo Barretto
A common theme for many Superman graphic novels is to change up where Superman’s spaceship crash landed. This story takes a look at what would’ve happened if his ship crashed in Gotham. Speeding Bullets explores the fusion of Superman and Batman and what that type of hero would be like. It’s a great Superman story with a Gotham twist!
Superman: War of the Worlds by Roy Thomas Michael Lark
This is a story about Superman set in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, and what it would be like if humanity had Superman fighting for them against this famous alien invasion. Different, yet intriguing, this graphic novel has a great style and a fun concept.
It’s a Bird by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen
This graphic novel feels more like an analysis of Superman himself, as the author tries to figure out his sometimes contradicting characteristics. It looks at the light and dark sides of Superman and tries to determine if he really is a hero for all. It’s an interesting read if you’re looking for something a little more introspective.
The Superman Monster by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
This is what happens when you take Superman and cross him with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. This fascinating graphic novel looks at Superman as the famous Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a fun reimagining of an iconic character.
Superman: Earth One by Shane Davis and Michael Stracyznski
This is a modern retelling of Superman’s origin and the beginning of Clark Kent’s transition into the man of steel. It also explores other alternatives that Clark could’ve taken and re-imagines characters in new and interesting ways. This comic is a great one if you’re looking for a more modern origin story of Superman.
Superman: Red Son by Mark Miller, Dave Johnson, and Kilian Plunkett
What if Superman’s ship had crash landed in Soviet Russia? What’s interesting about this comic is it shows an iconic hero fighting for socialism, a controversial topic. If you’re looking for something a little different in the Superman world, this story is a great one to read.
Superman: New Krypton by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates and Greg Rucka
Superman is not the last Kryptonian in this graphic novel. This story shows the existence of over 100,000 Kryptonians living on earth, with the same powers and strength as Superman. Where this story excels is showcasing Superman’s struggles to reconcile his Krypton identity with his Earth identity. The artwork is also beautiful.
Thus, whether you prefer a classic version of Superman, or something unique, each of these stories brings its own look at our famous hero. So go pick up one of these best Superman graphic novels and enjoy!
Additionally, you can find more Superman graphic novels on our Superman timeline.