In 2023 Superman will celebrate his 85th anniversary. So let’s look back at the various periods of Superman history since 1938 and see if we can determine which era of Superman content has been the most popular over the character’s entire history.
No. 8 – Our current time period from 2020 to today, has seen the release of a few animated films such as “Superman: Red Son,” “Superman: Man of Tomorrow,” and “Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons”. We’ve also been lucky to watch two seasons of the ongoing “Superman & Lois” TV series as well as “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and the animated film “DC League of Super-Pets”. While it hasn’t been Superman’s most prolific period to date, there’s a lot of hope for the future with Henry Cavill returning as Superman after quite a few years in the wilderness.
No. 7 – The decade from 2000-2009 was a fairly major period in the world of Superman, with the TV serie “Smallville” having a major impact on the character’s popularity, especially online. We also saw the “Justice League/Justice League Unlimited” cartoons and the “Krypto: The Superdog” cartoons. Superman finally returned to the big screen during this period with “Superman Returns” starring Brandon Routh. This decade also saw the “Legion of Super Heroes” cartoons, and animated films like “Superman: Doomsday,” “Justice League: New Frontier,” and “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies”.
No. 6 – During the period from 2010 to 2019 we were very lucky to get so much content in so many different formats. There were the three Henry Cavill films, three seasons of the “Young Justice” animated series, 14 different Superman and Justice League animated movies (yes 14!), the “Supergirl” TV series (including the many different Arrowverse crossovers), the “Krypton” TV series, “Justice League Action” cartoons, and some interesting comic book stories.
No. 5 – The longer period of 1960-1977 saw Superman hit the Broadway stage, his adventures made it to cartoon form on television with “The New Adventures of Superman” and the many different varieties of the “Super Friends”. A very popular era for the Man of Steel, especially for fans who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons.
No. 4 – From 1951-1959 we saw six seasons of the “Adventures of Superman” TV series and the era of Silver Age comic books. The George Reeves TV series would prove a major boost for the character’s popularity, with many fans rushing home from school or work to ensure they were in front of the television set to catch Superman’s TV adventures.
No. 3 – There’s no doubting that the period from 1938-1950 was amongst the character’s most important periods, with the debut of Superman in comic book form, and then newspaper strips, the long-running radio series, the Fleischer cartoons and the Kirk Alyn serials. Superman’s formative years created the character we know and love today.
No. 2 – Quite a lot of Superman fans will remember 1986-1999 fondly, with the Byrne era of comic books taking off. It is during this period that Superman became a major focus in the media with 1992’s “The Death of Superman” story. This period also saw the final Christopher Reeve Superman film, the Ruby Spears “Superman” cartoons, and the “Superboy” TV series. However this period in Superman’s history will also be remembered for both the “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” TV series and “Superman: The Animated Series”, which both had a major hand in creating new Superman fans. It was also during this time that the Superman Homepage website debuted online.
No. 1 – With all that, there’s little doubt that the most popular era in Superman’s history was 1978-1985 in which we saw the first three Christopher Reeve Superman movies and Helen Slater’s “Supergirl” film. This period had a major impact on creating an influx in Superman’s popularity. Still today, many people regard “Superman: The Movie” as the best comic book film of all time.
Here’s hoping the next few years are just as good to us!