Top Five Alternative Superman Stories We Wished Existed

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Superman is a character who seems to solve most of his problems with logic through an easy going grin and/or punching nouns. What happens when we dedicate standalone stories to issues people deal with on a regular basis? More importantly, what happens when someone like Superman has to deal with these issues? Stuff happens. Lots of it.

Action Comics No. 1. June 1938. Joe Shuster. Jerry Siegel.5. Superman vs Microaggression

After that whirlwind five issue story arc, Superman is in a good place. He’s dating Lois, he’s at the top of his game as a reporter and just saved a family from a burning building. Life is good for a Superman who can finally control his abilities after going batshit crazy that one time but what happens when Superman is introduced to… MICROAGGRESSION?? Kal-El will soon learn that being part of a dominant culture means he’ll accidentally belittle and alienate a marginalized group — without intended malice — in his social exchanges. Given that he’s white, male, heterosexual, cisgender and very able bodied, it’s safe to say he’s belittled and alienated many people unknowingly. Superman finds his self awareness in this trippy tale written by Gail Simone and drawn by Marco Rudy.

4. Superman vs Terrorism

Superman wonders why terrorists still run rampant in the Middle East and beyond despite his efforts (eye lasers, super cold breath, punching and being really fast). Not even his logic and need to discuss things seem to be working! After a wise old arab man — blind in one eye — tells him about being invaded by the West, Islamophabia and other neat stuff that are also possible reasons for young men and women heading towards terrorism, Superman realizes that this is soooo much more complex than just being jealous of the American Way. As he stares at his hands wondering what his all powerful self can do about ideology, Steve Rogers makes a surprise appearance so they can both ponder this question together. It’s the ultimate DC and Marvel crossover event!

3. Superman vs Prison-Industrial ComplexSeptember 1, 2006. All Star Superman. Issue #5. The Gospel According to Lex Luthor. Grant Morrison. Frank Quitely. Jamie Grant.

Written by Gotham Central’s, Greg Rucka –who hasn’t been at DC Comics for, like, a really long time — is a story of agony. Superman is excellent at bringing the bad guys to justice’s front door aka prison but when he goes to interview inmate/mortal enemy, Lex Luthor, as Clark Kent, he’s in for a surprise! The prison is in lockdown and Clark can’t out himself to Luthor so he has to use his wits — and any other skill that isn’t Kryptonian — to fight against:

White collar criminals!

Drug possessors!

People with mental disabilities who didn’t have access to help so were sent to prison instead!

And more drug possessors!

Soon, Clark realizes that he’s a cog in the prison-industrial complex machine and must now sit down to figure out where justice’s front door really is…

Superman #4. Jerry Siegel. Joe Shuster. Comics.2. Superman vs White Privilege

Superman meets his greatest challenge yet! In this epic showdown, the Man of Steel goes up against… HIMSELF. How will he cope with the privilege his skin offers him? Better yet, how will he handle the realization that he HAS privilege? This is a battle for his self awareness and learning that those who identify as minorities do not appreciate Kal-El shouting, “This is a job for Superman!” when referring to their struggle. With a cameo from Bruce Wayne!

1. Superman vs Comics Sans

To use or not to use? A difficult question for a guy whose stories have been created with it. Superman searches the globe for arguments in favour or against the font while also understanding himself as a fictional character. Grant Morrison takes us on philosophical journey unlike anything we’ve seen with the man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound and most recently ditched the outer underwear. The Question makes a special appearance in this story that breaks the fourth wall and may invite yet another DC Comics reboot!

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. Part-time contributor. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, Quill & Quire and Hyperallergic.

4 Comments

  1. I love the facial expression on the guy in the bottom right corner of that cover. It’s less fearful and more “Oh my God, I think I left the stove on!”

    $5 says the spirit of Comic Sans is some horrific thing with too many eyes and an overly symbolic name.