Today marks the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1. The comic book that introduced us to writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster’s Man of Steel and gave birth to the comic book industry as we know it today hit the stands on April 18, 1938.
In honor of his 75th birthday today, here’s a list of my all time favorite representations of Superman:
Favorite Superman Artist: Curt Swan
I was introduced to Curt Swan’s work on Superman back in the 70’s. His artistic representation of Superman/Clark Kent is the first one that comes to my mind when I think of the character. Every time I see another artist’s drawing of Superman my initial reaction is to compare it to Swan’s. His style is classic, and the faces he drew on each of his characters were never generic. Close behind Swan is Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, whose cover for Action Comics #484 (June 1978 – the 40th anniversary issue featuring the marriage of Superman and Lois Lane) is one of the first Superman comics I’ve ever owned.
Favorite Issue: Superman #400 (October 1984)
This issue stands out because it allowed the comic art junkie in me to see Superman drawn by just about every major artist at that time. In between several short stories were some amazing pin-up drawings from Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Jerry Robinson, Walt Simonson and Bill Sienkiewicz just to name a few.
Favorite Run: Man of Steel #1-6 (October 1986 – December 1986)
John Byrne is one of my favorite comic creators of all time, and it’s safe to say that most of the comics I bought in the 80’s were drawn by him. Having been a fan of his Marvel work, particularly X-Men, Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight, I was eagerly anticipating his Man of Steel mini-series in the months leading up to the first issue in October 1986.
Favorite Superman Film: Superman: The Movie (1978)
I’ve mentioned more than a few times that Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve is the comic book movie that I measure all others up against. Each time I watch it on DVD, a scene will come up that reminds me of the experience I had watching it for the first time in the theater back in 1978.
Favorite Superman Cartoons: Max Fleischer’s Superman
Max Fleischer’s animated Superman short films of the 40’s are incredible to watch seventy years later. They’re the reason I’m holding out hope for a 1940’s themed Superman movie one day. The complete series can be seen here.
This blog is a testament to the influence that comic books have had in my life, and considering the course of the industry since Action Comics #1, that wouldn’t have been possible without that first appearance of Superman.