Doomed planet. last hope. Kindly couple. Raging dick. The Superman of today is a character whose primary trait is that underneath his alien heritage and human upbringing, beats the heart of a truly good man. A god amongst men, a saviour from another planet whose very powers allows him to regularly slap the fabric of reality in the face and walk away unscathed.
Which created a problem, many many decades ago. After all, how do you write a compelling story for a man who can do anything? Superman only had three weaknesses back in the golden age of comics: Kryptonite, magic and finding a place to hide the bodies of people who stumbled on his secret identity that wasn’t already filled with corpses.
That left comic book writers with two choices: Ether write a regular adventure where the big blue boy scout saved the day with his awesome might yet again, or use his flawless persona to craft a tale of the last son of Krypton finally going mad with power and using his unstoppable gifts in a grand swindle that heckin’ bamboozled the world.
Here’s a look back at several times when Superman exposed the world to his own personal brand of Kraptonite:
Action Comics #311 – Superman, King of Earth!
The comic: Superman installs himself as the king of Earth
The truth: After red Kryptonite succeeds in splitting Superman and Clark Kent into two separate beings, the man of steel proclaims himself to be king of the world and forces the United Nations to recognise his royal status as he usurps all world governments. Meanwhile, Clark Kent leads a resistance movement to overthrow the tyrant. Wacky hijinks ensue.
Superman #298 – Clark Kent, Get Out Of My Life!
The comic: Fed up with his secret identity, Superman ditches the Clark Kent persona.
The truth: People die in the streets, planes crash and trains derail while an apathetic Superman watches on. But it was all a dream! Oh and also something about a time-displaced alien assassin by the name of Xviar working on his contract to kill the entire planet.
The Superman Family #194 – The Mysterious Misdemeanours of the Pranksters
The comic: Driven to the breaking point by the motherf***ing Prankster of all people, Superman is finally ready to break his no-killing rule!
The truth: The Prankster’s so-called crimes are merely an attempt to drive Superman mad, as he breaks the age-old silly laws of a bygone era because man…the f***ing Prankster. That is, until Superman figures out a way to prank the Prankster at his own game.
Action Comics #394 – Midas of Metropolis!
The comic: Superman on a financial warpath! Stealing every single dollar from the citizens of Metropolis in a deadly fiscal fight against the super-billionaire Cyrus Brand!
The truth: Turns out that the Super-Billionaire was actually a super crook, as the majority of his fortune came from forgeries. Working together with the US Treasury, Superman hatched a plan to drive Brand into a corner in an an effort to discover and destroy his printing presses.
Superman #293 – The Miracle of Thirsty Thursday!
The comic: Using his superpowers, Superman slowly subjects all of Metropolis to a slow and painful death by dehydration!
The truth: With Metropolis subjected to a poison gas that results in the population developing a fear of water, it’s up to Superman to find a cure or watch his city fall to ruin.
Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #81 – No Witnesses In Outer Space!
The comic: There’s no law in space for murdering people!
The truth: In another effort to get Superman to notice her, Lois Lane embarks on a mad swindle that involves psychic powers, a rocket filled with Kryptonite and a fake romance with an astronaut and holy s*** that’s convoluted. Anyway, Lois got her hose tangled up with her fake boyfriend astronaut’s hose, Superman ripped them apart and got the duo back to safety. Lois, you’re crazy. Proper proper crazy.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #98 – The Bride of Jungle Jimmy
The comic: In a plot twist that would make the Gintama manga proud, Jimmy Olsen finds himself betrothed to a gorilla while Superman adopts another culture for sh*ts and giggles!
The truth: What happens when you mix a King Kong movie-obsessed ape with a film set, delusions of grandeur and Jimmy Olsen? A film that actually sounds kinda awesome as Olsen learns the hard way that Hollywood is a bastard.
Superman #225 – The Secret of the Superman Impostor!
The comic: Dressed as the last son of Krypton and imprisoned within the fortress of solitude, a fake Superman goes mad over the course of a year thanks to his sadistic jailer!
The truth: An alien scientist creates a double of Superman minus his powers, but whose ability to feel pain is somehow transmitted to Superman himself. The double eventually kills himself, in a last-ditch effort to save the one true Superman.
World’s Finest Comics #239 – The UFO That Stole the USA!
The comic: Much like his habit of recruiting Robins, Superman is plenty sure that a new Batman will rise sooner or later as soon as he gets rid of the caped crusader that happens to be on life support.
The truth: Something about aliens using Earth as a playground, Batman getting knocked into a coma and Superman racing to repalce him with a duplicate so that his secret identity is never revealed. Also, Kryptonian medical aid schemes are AMAZING.
World’s Finest Comics #261 – Showdown in Gotham City!
The comic: Superman finally decides to kill Batman once and for all, in a pistol duel no less. Which is the equivalent of having a boxing match with Galactus I guess.
The truth: Humiliated by the Penguin and freakin’ Terra-Man of all people, Batman’s reputation is in shreds. Deciding to remind the criminal underworld that you don’t f*** with a billionaire who clearly has mental issues, Batman takes on a hypnotised Superman who believes himself to be the original Sundance Kid and…how many drugs were DC Comics on at the time?
Last Updated: February 13, 2018