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28 December 2011 @ 10:04 pm
Your Obedient Serpent's Top Five Superman Stories!  
In the comments to my last entry, I opined that Superman vs. Muhammad Ali was "one of the top five Superman stories ever".

hitchkitty then decided to put me on the spot for specifics.

My current list, in chronological order:

I reserve the right to revise the list as my whims might demand.

Feel free to discuss this list and/or your own lists in the comments.

Edited to provide links to Amazon links for those stories in print, and online versions of those that aren't. Some additional notes:
  • Jerry and Joe wrote "K-Metal" in 1940, but the Powers That Be at DC shot it down in favor of indefinitely maintaining the status quo. It was never published, but over the years, the script and various pages of mostly-finished artwork made it to the collector's market. The link leads to a project to reconstruct the story, and if I'm interpreting recent court decisions correctly, this material would definitely fall under the auspices of the Siegel and Shuster heirs, rather than DC-AOL-Time-Warner-Mega-Huge-Conglomco.
  • Neal Adams has repeatedly referenced Superman vs. Muhammad Ali as his favorite comic book work. It really is Adams at his best; he goes all-out on the art, and it is epic.
  • Maggin's novel has been out of print for years, and DC shows no inclination to remedy that. The link leads to the entirety of the novel, online; Maggin himself has given his blessing to the web site, and has in fact contributed additional stories (an unusual instance of a former professional writing fanfic about the character he used to be paid to write).
  • The link for the Alan Moore story goes to the recent trade compilation of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? -- which includes "For The Man Who Has Everything" and another Superman story by Moore. "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow almost made this list, but as excellent as it is, I don't think it holds up as well as a stand-alone story.
  • "For The Man Who Has Everything" was also adapted as an episode of Justice League Unlimited. All-Star Superman was recently adapted as one of the DC Universe direct-to-video animated movies. It's quite good, but has a slightly different tone than the graphic novel.

Comments to the effect that Superman is "too powerful" to write interesting stories about will simply be deleted. Don't be a troll.

McGuffinhitchkitty on December 29th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
Favorite _Luthor_ story, at least at the moment
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on December 29th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Favorite _Luthor_ story, at least at the moment
Honestly, Byrne's "Lexpin" reboot kind of annoys me; they spent far too many years with Lex as essentially untouchable, which meant that Clark was never allowed to win.

Two of my favorite Luthor stories are listed above: Last Son of Krypton and All-Star Superman. Lex gets some good turns in various Elseworlds, as well, including Age of Wonder and Red Son.

Of course, Lex's finest moments are pretty much any scene in early Smallville with Michael Rosenbaum.
scarfman on December 29th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)

You know my standard rebuttal to the "too powerful" issue, I suspect.

Of the five stories you list, I know only the Magin and the Moore, but those are my top two. I liked Morrison's JLA revival in the 90s, though, so I bet I'd like the story you cite.

Your Obedient Serpent: YAYathelind on December 29th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
"K-Metal" is available online! See the updated main entry for linkage. I suspect you'll really appreciate the look into What Might Have Been.

And yes, I think you would really like All-Star Superman. If you can't score the trade, you should be able to get the DVD adaptation via Netflix (though it's not quite the same story, as it tries to cram 12 issues into an hour and a half).
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on December 29th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)

That's definitely on the top Ten List.

"These 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex world of jet-powered apes and time travel" is pretty much the guiding principle of my DC Adventures campaign.
ebony14 on December 29th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
And, of course, DC as a whole completely missed the point of that story by actually incorporating Manchester Black into the Justice League a few years later.

McGuffinhitchkitty on December 29th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
*follows link*

Wow. Someone drew Jack T. Chance without his ring and made him look like Andrew Dice Clay.
ebony14 on December 29th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Manchester Black and his cronies were a nod/homage/parody to the Authority/Stormwatch/Planetary, as far as I can tell, which during its run had several characters that mocked/deconstructed/pissed on the Silver Age comics characters. What worked as a one-shot character was a rather horrible recurring character, as far as I can tell. Although there was some nice characterization of some of the old guard Justice Leaguers in Justice League Elite, in particular Green Arrow.
Margarasmargaras on December 29th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
As always, I enjoy Superman: Red Son (alternate earth).
TheBitterGuythebitterguy on December 29th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree on FTMWHE vs WHTTMOT. I just find that MoT works (just like A-SS, but on a smaller scale) as the ultimate Superman story.

Did the Hitman story show up in contention?
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on December 30th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
The Hitman tale didn't make consideration for the top five, no, but might for the top 10 (or any list of Best Post-Crisis Superman Stories).

I'll confess that I have a hard time judging MoT, because it was the coda to my Superman, and I got every single obscure reference Moore threw at us. It's hard for me to know how much of the story hinges on that Ultimate Silver Age Nerdity. Do I like it as a story in itself, or as the ultimate "Imaginary" resolution to the sotry I'd been reading all my life?

FTM, on the other claw ... even if you only know enough about the characters to wonder if Aquaman got stuck babysitting Wendy and Marvin at the Hall of Justice, then you know enough to appreciate the story.