About the Superman Comics

[Last updated September 6, 2011]

  • What are the regular Superman comics?

    Currently, Superman's adventures regularly appear in two comics:

    • Action Comics (monthly) - First Issue: #1 [Cover Date: November 2011] (2nd series)
    • Superman (monthly) - First Issue: #1 [Cover Date: November 2011] (3rd series)

    Note: In late 2011 DC Comics relaunched the entire DC Universe of comic books, restarting with all new #1 issues. For Superman fans this included "Action Comics", "Superman", "Supergirl", "Superboy", "Teen Titans" and "Justice League".

    Action Comics made it to issue #904 before the relaunch in late 2011, with its first issue dating back to June 1938.

    Superman began publication in 1939 and continued up to #423. In 1987 Superman was retitled Adventures of Superman, with a new Superman #1 (2nd series) being published as part of the John Byrne revamping of Superman. Between 1987-2006 Adventures of Superman was published monthly [First Issue: #424 January 1987. Final Issue: #649 February 2006]. With the cancellation of Adventures of Superman in February 2006, Superman returned to its original numbering (started in 1939), going from #226 to #650 in March 2006. Issue #714 was the final issue of this numbering before the relaunch of the DC Universe in late 2011.

    Between 1991-2003 Superman: The Man of Steel was published monthly [First Issue: #1 July 1991. Final Issue: #134 March 2003].

    Between 1995-1999 another Superman comic, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow was published quarterly [First Issue: #1 Summer 1995. Final Issue: #15 Fall/Autumn 1999], allowing for a new Superman comic to appear each week. Superman: The Man of Tomorrow filled in the "skip weeks" (5th week in a month), but was regularly pushed aside for a skip-week special event and was therefore cancelled.

    Starting in August 2003, DC Comics began publishing a monthly comic book, Superman/Batman, which chronicled the adventures of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight together in the one book. It concluded with issue #87 in August 2011.

    In January 2007, DC Comics began publishing a monthly title called Superman Confidential, which told stories from key moments in the history of Superman. It was cancelled in 2008 after 14 issues.

    DC Comics regularly publishes special comics in an attempt to ensure Superman fans have something to read every week of the year. Of course being such a popular character, Superman often also appears in one-shots, and mini-series, and other DC superheroes' comics.

    After a July 1996 mini-series Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare, in October 1996, Superman became a member of the new version of the Justice League in the series JLA: Justice League of America. The JLA comic was published monthly and ran for 11 years, concluding with issue #125 (April 2006). A secondary JLA comic book monthly series called JLA: Classified also follows the adventures of the Justice League (First Issue: #1 January 2005). The Justice League was reformed and began a series of new adventures in the Justice League of America monthly comic book, with issue #0 starting in September 2006. Superman was not always an active member of the JLA (although Supergirl took his place). Justice League of America concluded with issue #60 in August 2011, with a new Justice League #1 published as part of the company-wide relaunch.

    After the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline following Superman's "death" at the hands of Doomsday, two new Superman-related books were introduced for the characters Superboy and Steel. However both were eventually cancelled. Steel ran for 52 issues, ending in May 1998. Superboy ran for 100 issues, ending in May 2002.

    In July 1996, a second monthly Superboy title started called Superboy & The Ravers, but it was cancelled in 1998. Superboy then appeared in Young Justice before it too was cancelled.

    A new monthly Superboy title began again in November 2010 and ran for 11 issues before being relaunched with a new #1 in late 2011. Superboy currently also appears in the Teen Titans monthly comic. Superboy is also part of the Young Justice comic book series (based on the animated series of the same name currently airing on Cartoon Network) which was first published in February 2011.

    A Supergirl comic series was published monthly beginning in September 1996, but it too was cancelled in May 2003 after 80 issues. A new Supergirl monthly series started again (this time with Superman's actual Kryptonian cousin, Kara Zor-El) in October 2005 and ran for 67 issues before Supergirl was relaunched with a new #1 in late 2011.

    Supergirl also appeared in the Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes monthly comic book series from issues #16-36 (March 2006 to January 2008), and the Justice League of America comic book series from issue #45-60 (May 2010 to August 2011).

    In February 1997, DC launched Adventures in the DC Universe, a comic book that followed in the same style writing and artwork as the Superman Adventures and the Batman and Robin Adventures comic books, this comic sometimes featured Superman, however it was cancelled in 1998.

    In November 2001, DC Comics launched Justice League Adventures, a comic book to tie-in with the "Justice League" animated series airing on the Cartoon Network. In August 2004 (after 34 issues) this comic title was cancelled and a new comic book series Justice League Unlimited was launched to coincide with the name change given to the animated series on the Cartoon Network. This title too was cancelled after 46 issues. Being a member of the Justice League, Superman features prominently in this title. This comic, like the other "Animated" style books, is not part of the same continuity used in the other Superman or JLA comics.

    With the popular Krypto The Superdog animated series running on Cartoon Network, DC Comics published a 6-issue tie-in comic book by the same name, which ran from November 2006 to April 2007.

    DC Comics also published a Super Friends comic book aimed at younger readers, which ran for 29 issues from February 2008 to September 2010.

    [Some years there is one Annual comic for each title as well, other years there is just one Annual comic for Superman as a whole, some years there have been no Annuals at all.]

  • What is the Superman Adventures comic?

    It was a monthly Superman comic that tied in with the WB Network's Superman: The Animated Series cartoon. The comic and television episodes are not part of the same continuity used in the other Superman comics. Superman Adventures ran for 66 issues, ending in April 2002.

    However, this Superman also appeared in the comic book Justice League Unlimited (and its predecessor Justice League Adventures) which tied in with the Cartoon Network Justice League Unlimited animated series.

    Shield Number

  • What are the two little boxes on some covers?

    On many of the regular Superman titles covers you'll find a rectangular box with that issue's issue number (e.g. Superman #150), month, and year, along with the Comics Code Authority logo.

    For many years a small triangular box had the year and a number saying what week of the year the comic came out, however with issue #154 of Superman (cover date March 2000) the triangle box was replaced with a Superman "S" shield, still containing the year and week number. Since the four regular titles of that time mostly had a continuing storyline, this triangle number or shield number was very useful in keeping one's collection in the correct reading order.

    The Triangle or Shield Numbering system ran for 11 years before DC Comics stopped using it in 2002, with Action Comics #785 being the last issue to use it.

    This numbering system returned in late 2008 (starting with Superman: New Krypton Special #1) to mark the reading order of particular story lines across the Superman family of comic books. DC Comics stopped using it once again in 2010 with Superman #697.

  • Letters to DC Comics.

    For many years each comic book issue usually had a letter column with letters commenting on an earlier issue. Each month, one lucky letter writer received an award called a Baldy.

    With the introduction of the internet, DC Comics moved the idea of the Letters Page online for a few years, but returned to the idea in 2011.

    To send your email comments to DC Comics about Superman, visit www.dcletterspage.com.

    Letters may be sent by regular mail to this address:
    Letters to the Editor
    DC Comics
    1700 Broadway
    New York, NY 10019

    Please include your full name, and address, for confirmation purposes. Letters should be no longer than 500 words and should not include attachments.

    Letters may be edited for length or clarity and may be published in any medium. Letters become the property of DC Comics.

    Unpublished letters will not be returned or acknowledged. Published letters may identify the writer by first name, hometown, state or country.

  • How much are the Superman comics worth?

    Generally, the Superman comics published since 1986 should be purchased because you like the stories, not because you think they'll be worth a lot of money in a few years. In America, the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is the most used reference book for determining the value of old comics. This price guide has an updated edition published annually. Wizard Magazine (published monthly) also has a Comic Book Price Guide printed in the back of every issue. Both are available at all good comic shops. You can also find an online comic book price guide at www.comicspriceguide.com.

  • What are the 1994 comics that say they are issue #0?

    Following the 1994 Zero Hour miniseries, each DC Comics title had an issue #0, with stories designed to introduce the characters to new readers. The Superman book's story introduced Clark Kent's childhood rival who would become the villain Conduit.