"Hey, guys! I've been out of Superman for X years, mostly because Y disgusted me, but I just saw (the movie/a comic/Smallville) and I want to get back in. HELP!"
We're glad to oblige. As far as films go, well, you'd be hard pressed not to find the Superman movies or Smallville DVD sets, so this is a strictly COMIC based how-to.
STEP ONE: Get yourself back into the universe with a few iconic stories. We suggest:
Superman for All Seasons (This is the story that in part inspired the TV show "Smallville.")
Superman: Up, Up, And Away! (This is the introduction to the "New Earth" Superman, and a damned fine Lex/Superman fight story.)
Kingdom Come (A little alternative universe, but still iconic.)
All Star Superman (This is pretty much the ultimate in pared-down, iconic Superman, but with a solid set of characterization to go with it.)
Superman Showcase (The stories are more child-geared, but iconic nonetheless, and good for helping you bone up on major characters in their early incarnations.)
STEP TWO: Now that you're back in the universe, let's check out the major storylines of the last few decades:
Superman: Panic in the Sky (A great Byrne/Wolfman era Brainiac story.)
World Without A Superman - Funeral For A Friend story.
Superman: The Return of Superman (These three trades are the primary reason many of the senior staff joined and work for this site, an epic Superman story about his death and resurrection.)
Superman: Our Worlds At War (The opus of the "Loeb run" and a massive event involving Brainiac and Imperiex, familiar to "Legion" cartoon fans.)
Superman: Return to Krypton (Two great examples of the Berganza era, a tale of Joker stealing Mxyzptlk's powers, and a tale of an alternate Krypton Lois and Clark got to visit.)
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (The end of the Luthor Presidency)
STEP THREE: Okay. Now you're a junkie. You're addicted to Superman. MWU HA HA HA! Well, where then? This is just the beginning. There are literally hundreds of trades. Now that you've read the above, feel free to ask message board folks, write letters to the writers on the site, and question fellow posters, because now you're READY TO ROLL!
Of course, it's just as easy to pick up a comic and dive in using our INDEX LISTS, which will bring you up to speed. We've also put a link to trades next to the index entries, so if a particular story idea intrigues you, you can get it there as well.
Happy hunting, and apologies. Comics are expensive, we do know, but hey, when you're addicted, waddayagonnado?