Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The return of the "classic" Superman to the DC Comics Universe inspired this cartoon highlighting just some of the myriad of variations of Superman that have appeared in DC Comics over the years. There are plenty more, especially if I start opening up the "Elseworlds" and "Imaginary Tales" versions.
For those who may not be able to identify all of them, here's some info about each character starting at the top going left to right.
1. "CLASSIC" SUPERMAN. This is the one most people associate with the character. Lantern-jawed caucasian with thick eyebrows, a spit-curl, and a low-necked costume with a cape.
2. "SUPER-LEX" SUPERMAN. This version is currently appearing in DC Comics and is following the *spoiler* death of the Nu52 version of Superman. Lex Luthor now wears super-powered armor and has set himself up as the replacement Superman for Earth in the aftermath of hero's death. Needless to say, the return of "Classic" Superman has upset Lex's plans.
3. "NEW SUPER-MAN" SUPERMAN. As far as I know, this version has not officially appeared in print yet, but this Chinese Super-Man is soon to premiere in his own series.
4. "NEW 52" SUPERMAN. The younger Superman of the New 52 era marked by the high collar, overly detailed costume, and the loss of the red trunks over tights look the character has had since the beginning.
5. "MULTIVERSITY" SUPERMAN. This Superman of "Earth 23" is also the President of the United States.
6. "EARTH 2" SUPERMAN. In the New 52 version of "Earth 2" this is the second person to be called Superman.
7. "SUPERMAN PRIME" SUPERMAN. I'm convinced the entire purpose of the DC event known as Infinite Crisis was done primarily to destroy the character of Superboy as a big eff-yoo to the family of Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman) who had recently won a huge ruling in the courts granting back to the Siegels the rights to the character of "Superboy"—a decision since reversed. So, in Infinite Crisis, the character of "Superboy Prime" (introduced during the original 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths as the Superboy of our Earth -- known as "Earth Prime"—was revealed to have gone psychotic and tried to destroy the entire Multiverse. And since at that time DC was enjoined from using "Superboy," the character called himself "Superman Prime."
8. "SUPERBOY" SUPERMAN. After the Death of Superman in the early 90s, there was a storyline called "Reign of the Supermen" where 4 new characters were introduced -- each calling himself "Superman." One of them was this new Superboy character who was a clone from the DNA of Superman and Lex Luthor.
9. "STEEL" SUPERMAN. In the "Reign of the Supermen," John Henry Irons fashioned himself a super-armored suit and called himself Superman for awhile. After the real Superman returned he called himself "Steel."
10. "CYBORG" SUPERMAN. In the "Reign of the Supermen," Hank Henshaw (DC's evil pastiche of Marvel's Reed Richards) used his super-brain to take possession of a cyborg body and pretended to be Superman.
11. "ERADICATOR" SUPERMAN. In the "Reign of the Supermen," a sentient Kryptonian weapon known as the Eradicator took on the human-like form of Superman in the interim between the Death and Resurrection of Superman.
12. "MESSIANIC MULLET" SUPERMAN. When Superman was eventually resurrected he somehow gained what I call his "Messianic Mullet" that stuck around way longer than it should have and resulting in the very embarrassing period in which Clark Kent wore a pony tail.
13. "ELECTRIC BLUE" SUPERMAN. In one of the worst ideas of the '90s, DC decided to give Superman all-new electricity powers and an all-new costume to go with it. Like the messianic mullet, this too went on way longer than it should have.
14. "TANGENT" SUPERMAN. DC let Superman artist Dan Jurgens go on a "tangent" and create a new universe of his own imagining using the familiar character names from the DC Universe and nothing else. This is the Superman of the Tangent Universe.
15. "JUST IMAGINE" SUPERMAN. DC also approached Stan Lee to do the same thing and try to re-imagine the DC Universe if the only things he had were the names. This is a series of comics that turned out way better than you might expect. This version of an alien policeman called Superman is a co-creation of Stan Lee and John Buscema.
16. SUPERSQUIRREL? Yes. Supersquirrel. The Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew stories take place on "Earth C" but most readers do not know that there is also an "Earth C-minus" where the JLA (Just'a Lotta Animals) exists. And on that Earth, there are funny animal versions of the entire JLA (Batmouse, Wonder Wabbit, Green Sparrow, etc.) and their pantheon of villains.