Help Reading Superman?

So I’m relatively new to comics, and especially superman. However, reading Superman: Red Son made me want to get into his comics more.

A reading order I was following said to start from Byrne’s Man of Steel Miniseries, which I enjoyed. However, afterwards there’s both action comics and superman, which I’m confused by. What’s the difference?

Can i just read one and understand what’s happening ,or do I have to read both at the same time? And do I read every issue or should I skip to the important/best storylines for the pre-flashpoint books?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks y’all!


Didn’t mean to post multiple times if anyone knows how to delete threads plz help

Regarding John Byrne’s work on Action Comics and Superman, Action served as a team-up title for Superman and other characters, while the Superman ongoing series chronicled his standard adventures.

The Adventures of Superman (largely written by Marv Wolfman but Byrne came onboard much later for a bit) focused on Clark Kent and Superman.

If you liked Byrne’s Man of Steel, you’ll most likely dig his subsequent Superman work. He returned to Action Comics in 2005 as illustrator to Gail Simone’s writer for issues 827-831, writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for #832 and Simone once more for issues 833-835.


I’m several years into a reading project of all of the Superman books beginning with Byrne’s The Man of Steel, and I can highly recommend that era. After the mini-series, start with Superman (second series) #1, Adventures of Superman #424 (the first issue of that title, which continued the numbering from the original Superman book), and Action Comics #584.

The continuity across the three titles (and eventually four, once Superman: The Man of Steel starts) gets more and more tightly woven as it goes along, to the point that it would very difficult (or at least less enjoyable) to follow without reading all of the titles.

The one exception is a short period during which Action Comics became a weekly anthology book (#601-#642). Superman only had a two-page spread in that title during that experiment, and that story only lightly ties in with anything else. I don’t think all of those weekly issues are available digitally yet anyway, but there are some interesting features with other characters in those books.


From DC Universe News Section

Where to Start Reading Superman Comics

Look,up in the sky! It’s a bird
It’s a plane! No, it’s a
humongous collection of
Superman comic books! Now
that DC Universe has expanded
its digital library to over 20,000
comics, there are enough
Superman issues to fill the
Fortress of Solitude. If you’ve
always thought about reading
the Man of Steel’s adventures.
but have never known where to
start, we’ve got you covered. Here are some recommendations to get you started on your journey with the Last Son of Krypton.

The Man of Steel

THE STORY: In 1986.writer
arist John Byrne (of X-Men and
Fantastic Four fame) left Marvel
for DC and wrote and
illustrated a brand-new take on
Superman’s origin. Learn about
Clark Kent. his friends and his
enemies in the limited series
that reshaped Superman for the
Moden Age of comics.

Byrne also developed the evil
businessman persona of Lex
Luthor (conceived by
Adventures of Superman writer
Marv Wolfman), which has
become the character’s standard
interpretation, and reintroduced Jonathan and Martha Kent as living, vital presences in their son’s life. In the span of six issues, readers are given a crash course in Superman’s world as Byrne (ably assisted by inker Dick Giordano) sets up a new continuity that would defıne the character for the next two decades, including the
generation-defining “Death of
Superman” storyline.

FOR FANS OF: If you’re a fan of
the Christopher Reeve-starring
Superman movies, you’ll be
pleased to know that John
Byrne was too! Byrne took the
best elements from the Reeve
films (including Margot Kidder’s
sharp-tongued Lois Lane
in building a new mythology for
the Man of Steel

WHAT’S NEXT: lf you enjooy
John Byrne’s take on Superman
in this limited series, then check
out his run on the monthly Superman(1987) title that follovwed it. as well as
the concurrent Action Comics
(also written and illustrated by
Byrne) and Adventures of
Superman (written by Marv
Wolfman and illustrated by
Jerry Ordway).

Steel # 1-6

BONUS: TV’s Lois and Clark:
The New Adventures of
Superman ran from 1993 to
1997. Many aspects of this series, such as Clark Kent’s
persona, his parents designing
his suit and living to see him
marry Lois, and Lex Luthor’s
businessman characterization,
were inspired by the Man of
Steellimited series.

1996’s Superman: The Animated Series also took a number of its cues from Byrne.

All-Star Superman

FOR FANS OF: lf you loved the
2009 Batman & Robin series
then you’re in luck, because the
creative team of Morrison and
Quitely are behind this
masterpiece as well. Grant
Morrison’s offbeat Doom Patrol
comic inspired many of the
stories and characters in DC
Unjverse’s ljve-action Doom
Patrol series. So if you can’t get
enough of that, then you’re
going to love this

WHAT’S NEXT: lf you like writer
Grant Morrison’s take on the
Man of Steel. then check out his
run on Action Comic volume 2
(#1-18) in which he revamped
Superman for DC’s New 52
relaunch. and his celebrated run
on JLA which partners Supeman with DC’s other A-list champions,
including Batman and Wonder

Superman #1-12

BONUS: After you finish
reading the comic, check out
2011’s All-Star Superman
animated adaptation featuring
the voice of James Denton as

Superman: Birthright

THE STORY: How did Clark
Kent go from farmboy to hero?
Award-winning writer Mark
Waid and artist Leinil F. Yu
present a fresh take on the Man
of Steel’s origin, as Clark Kent struggles to find his place
in the world while dealing with
his enemy Lex Luthor.

In Superman: Birthright writer
Mark Waid took the best pieces
from John Byrne’s 1986’s Man
of Steel limited series. and
added elements from his
encyclopedic knowledge ofthe
Silver Age while giving the
legend new relevence for the
21st century.

FOR FANS OF: If you love the
2013 Man of Steel flm. this is
the Superman origin for you.
Henry Cavill’s portrayal of
Superman’s beginnings,
including the line about S
standing for “hope” took some
of its cues from this series.

WHAT’S NEXT: If you love how
Mark Waid writes the
beginnings of Superman’s
career. be sure to check out
Kingdom Come, his tale
(illustrated by Alex Ross) of an
older Superman coming out of
retirement to fight a new
generation of villains.

Birthright #1-12.

“For the Man Who Has Everything”

THE STORY: Wonder Woman.
Batman. and Robin arrive at the
Fortress of Solitude to celebrate
Superman’s birthday, but find
the Man of Steel in a trance.
Superman’s enemy Mongul has
trapped the Last Son of Krypton
with an alien plant known as the
Black Mercy. While under its effects, Superman imagines a
life in which Krypton never
exploded and he’s happily
married with children.

The bright fantasy, however,
soon turns dark, and Superman’s
friends struggle to free him. The
final act of this story features
one of Superman’s most
impressive battles as he
goes after Mongul with white-
hot fury… Writer Alan Moore
and artist Dave Gibbons, the
duo behind Watchmen, team up
to tell a Superman story that captivates after more than
thirty years.

FOR FANS OF: This is a great
tale for fans of DC’s Trinity
and Justice League Unlimited, as well as all who love the work of acclaimed writer Alan Moore
WHAT’S NEXT: If you loved the
battle between Superman and
Mongul, read DC Comics
Presents #27 to see their first
brawl. And be sure to read
Moore’s unforgettable two-part
tale of Superman’s battle in
“Whatever Happened to the
Man of Tomorrow?” (in
Superman #423 and Action
Comics #583) as well as his
Superman-Swamp Thing team-
up in DC Comics Presents #85
Annual #11

BONUS: This comic was
brilliantly adapted in the Justice
League Unlimited episode"For
The Man Who Has Everything.

Superman For All Seasons

THE STORY: Writer Jeph Loeb
and artist Tim Sale come
together to tell a Superman
story focusing on family, home,
and heroism. Set during the
early days of Superman’s career,
readers learn how Clark’s childhood in Smallville
defined the superhero he would
becone in this beautiful
coming-of-age tale.

FOR FANS OF: Fans of the liveaction Smallvilleseries will love this Norman Rockwell-esque look at Clark Kent’s early years.
If you’re a Batman fan who
enjoyed The Long Halloween or
Dark Victory, you’ll love seeing
the team of Jeph Loeb andTim
Sale reunite for an equally
gripping Superman story.


Superman/Batman #26 reunites
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale fora
tale in which Clark reminisces
about a high school friend who
died of cancer. This emotional
story was written as a tribute to
Loeb’s late son Sam. Bring some
tissues, because you may find
yourself shedding a few tears…
Sale returns to Superman’s early
days once more in the
“Kryptonite” storyline featured
in the first five issues of
2007’s Superman: Confidential
For All Seasons #1-4

Superman #1

THE STORY: Experience how
the legend began. 1939’s Superman #1 reprints the Man of Steel’s first appearance from June 1938’s Action Comics #1 along with issues #2 through 4 and new pages detailing his origins for the first time. See how writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster changed the cultural landscape and defined a genre of storytelling, as Superman meets Lois Lane and becomes a champion for the

FOR FANS OF: Pop culture history, Golden Age comics.and 1930s and '40s crime and adventure movies. As well as all who fight for social

WHAT’S NEXT: lf Superman’s
Golden Age persona appeals to
you, check out more of his
adventures in the early years of
Action Comics, Superman, and
World’s Finest comics

(1939) # 1

BONUS: Check out animation
producer Max Fleischer’s
Superman cartoons to see how
the Golden Age Superman was
first translated to the screen
Thecartoons are from the
1940’s, but they remain among
the most beautifully animated
films of all time. and mark the
first time that Superman flew
in any medium!

Superman: American Alien

THE STORY: This Elseworlds tale (one in a long-running series of “imaginary” stories feauturing DC’s heroes) focuses on a young
Clark Kent as he tries to make
his way in a world he wasnt
born on. When he’s too human
to be a Kryptonian, but too alien
to be a human., where does that
leave him? How does a confused alien teenager grow up to become Earth’s greatest hero?


Superman: American Alien

THE STORY: This Elseworlds tale (one in a long-running series of “imaginary” stories feauturing DC’s heroes) focuses on a young
Clark Kent as he tries to make
his way in a world he wasnt
born on. When he’s too human
to be a Kryptonian, but too alien
to be a human., where does that
leave him? How does a confused alien teenager grow up to become Earth’s greatest hero?

Screenwriter Max Landis’s script earned him an Eisner Award nomination.

FOR FANS OF: This story will be
fun for fans of Landis TV shows
and movies, including the
superhero fable Chronicle. lt’s
also great for fans of alternative
Superman stories and
contemporary coming-of-age

WHAT’S NEXT: If you’re a fan of
DC Elseworlds stories.check
out Superman: Red Son.This limited series (written by Kick-Ass and Kingsman creator Mark Millar) imagines a timeline in which baby Superman’s rocket landed in Russia instead of Kansas.

American Alien #1-7

BONUS: Max Landis is currently
developing a sequel titled
Superman: Agent of Batman.

"What’s So Funny About Truth. Justice & the American Way?

THE STORY: A new group of
super-powered vigilantes
known as the Elite have
captured America’s attention.
The group is led by Manchester
Black. who doesn’t share
Superman’s sense of morality.
Superman grows uncomfortable
with their violent methods and
questionable ethics, bracing the
group for a showdown. Can
Clark beat the Elite without
compromising his moral
compass? Has the world simply
outgrown Superman? Writer
Joe Kelly answers all these
questions in a comic that’s become of the best arguments for the Man of Steel ever written.

FOR FANS OF: This comic is
perfect for anyone who’s ever
questioned Superman’s
relevance. Have you ever
wished Superman was more like
Batman? Do you prefer violent
anti-heroes like Lobo?Then this
story might have you rethink
everything you thought you
knewabout the Last Son of

WHAT’S NEXT Want to see
what happens with ManchesterSt
Black next? See what happens
when he’s drafted into the
Suicide Squad in Adventures of
Superman #593.

Comics #775

BONUS: This issue was adapted
into the 2012 animated movie
Superman vs. The Elite, featuring George Newbern reprising his Justice League Unlimited role as the Man of Steel

Silver Age Superman

THE STORY. The 1950s and
'60s was the Silver Age of
comics, a time Superman ruled
the newsstands! His stories
blended science fiction.
adventure, comedy, and
sometimes romance into a
mythology that’s still with us. It
was an era that chronicled the
history of Krypton. That gave us
Red Kryptonite, Brainiac,
Superman’s mermaid love Lori
Lemaris, the Bottle City of
Kandor. That saw Lois Lane and
Jimmy Olsen receive their own
comic series. And that
introduced Supergirl and the
Legion of Super-Heroes-

  • Superman’s friends from the
    distant future.

FOR FANS OF: If you’re in the
mood for light, fun reading with
no continuity hassles, then
these are the stories for you. These stories are also great for fans of the 1950s George Reeves-starring Adventures of Superman TVs series
WHAT’S NEXT: lf you love
Superboy with the Legion of
Super-Heroes, check out
their adventures together in
1973’s Legionof Super-Heroes, as well as the animated Legion of Super Heroes TV series.

fve stand-outs from that time:
Superman’s first meeting with
Batman in Superman #76,the
first appearance of
Superman’s cousin Supergirl
in Actions Comics #252, a
typically crazy scheme from
Jimmy Olsen in Action Comics
#340, the first appearance of
the Legion of Super-Heroes
in Adventure Comics #247 and
the first appearance of the Parasite in Superman #123.
BONUS: If you find Silver Age
Superman fun, then you’ll love
the Batman: Brave and the Bold
episode The Battle of the
Superheroes!" in which
Superman recreates some of the
most outrageous covers from
this era of comics.

Superman Secret Origins

THE STORY: After the reality-
altering events of 2005’s Infinite
Crisis, writer Geoff Johns and
artist Gary Frank teamed up to
give Superman a new origin
in this six-issue limited series.
Classicelements from the Silver
Age like Krypton’s culture and
Clark’s tenure as Superboy made their return. See Superman’s life story from his babyhood on Krypton to his teenage years in Smallville to his life in Metropolis as a Daily Planet reporter.

FOR FANS OF: This limited
series has the visuals of
Superman: The Movie, as well as
elements of the Silver Age
Superman, mixed in with the
best bits of John Byrne’s The
Man of Steel.

WHAT’S NEXT: If you love what
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank did
with Superman’s origin here,
check out how they handle a
modern version of the Man of
Steel in Action Comics #858-
863 and #866-870.

Secret Origin #1-6

Superman: Secret ldentity
kurt busiek stuart immonen

THE STORY: Imagine what it
would be like growing up with
the same name as a famous
fictional character. Poor Clark
Kent finds himself the butt of
every Superman joke in this
Elseworlds tale. in which superheroes only exist in
comics. Soon, however, young
Clark finds he has the powers of
his fictjional namesake and
wants to use those abilities for
good. Writer Kurt Busiek tells
an inspiring tale exquisitely brought to life by Stuart Immonen’s photorealistic

FOR FANS OF: Those who love
TV’s Smallville and the unique
flavor of superhero neorealism
found in Busiek’s Marvels and
Astro City will love following
Clark on his heroic journey.
WHAT’S NEXT: There are lots
more Elseworlds Superman
stories to reacd. For more of Kurt Busiek’s Man of Steel stories.check out his run on the monthly Superman book, which
ran from Superman #650 to

Secret ldentity#1-4.

BONUS: This story was inspired
bythe tale of “Superboy Prime”
(the “real world” Superboy)
found in DC Comics Presents


The best Recent Superman is

Superman Lois and Clark, which introduced his son Jon Kent?

followed by Superman 2016

This before current Bendis run, which i dislike very much.


I’m a huge fan of Jeph Loeb’s run from the late 90s/early 2000s

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I second what SonofStone said.

Tomasi run on Superman Rebirth is one of my favorite runs of the character. Also checkout Super Sons if you wind up liking that run and the character Jon Kent. It follows both Jon and Damian Wayne. Their friendship is one of the best written dynamics in comics and would go as far as saying its better then their fathers.



As a relatively new Comic reader myself, let me just say Welcome and Prepare to be EXTREMELY overwhelmed. While I love reading DC comics, I must say that they aren’t very good at printing maps for their universe, let alone universes. You WILL get lost and you will have a day where you feel overwhelmed and want to cry. Don’ t worry. You will pioneer and soon be giving instructions to some one newer than you, and realize how much you have learned.
There are some fan made ’ maps’. Some can be quite helpful. The best I have found is at The dedicated fans creating this site provide timelines, recommended reading lists, and links to each story line so you can purchase from Amazon. I have found it extremely helpful. If you have a particular comic book issue and are trying to find where it goes I usual use although this requres a lot of deduction and time to usually figure it out. There is probably a fan site for it somewhere but I haven’ t found it. Unfortunately, DC doesn’ t have an offical issue look up or search, which would be usuful.

Also to note, every fan has their own opinion on how to read comics and they express it very strongly. This is fine, just know there is no ’ right’ way or order to read comics. No matter how you read them or which you like, somewhere a fan agrees and somewhere a fan objects. It is all part of the adventure.
There are also a lot of terms fans use, that you might not know what they are. Don’t be afraid to ask. Most of us are nice. Ignore the other ones. :wink:
To answer your questions:

Action Comics is the original DC comic and for a few years was the only comic. Detective Comics after which DC is named, was their second and introduced Batman. Superman was introduced as its own comic later on. Even later Superman was renamed the Adventures of Superman, a different run called Superman ran simultaneously and then Superman got canceled and Adventures became Superman again. All the while Action Comics was running and sometimes it was the same universe as Superman and sometimes it wasn’t. Walk in the park right?

I haven’ t encountered to many problems just reading AC or Superman. I should note however that I typically read the Volumes or graphic novels which collect the issues not the issues themselves. DC tends to be very good about inserting issues from other runs if they are necessary to understand the story in either of these.

I HIGHLY recommend you start with important timelines or popular stories instead of reading every issue. There are over 600 of just Action Comics alone, and as stated above DC is really good at bringing in other comics in their collections if needed to understand the story. If there is a crossover upcoming they will often have their character mention an event with a editor note to go read a certain other issue so you can be prepared. The second does’ t happen too often. Individual issues also have advertisement and don’t stand up to wear and tear as well, and are harder to store. Price wise, at least for more recent comics, it is about the same either way.

In short, my personal recommendations for starting to read comics are
–Use a fan site to find the important or essential list of Superman comics and read them in the DC assembled Hardcover volumes or Trade Paper Backs ( again I recommend the above site, but there others if you don’t like that one)
– Follow a certain Author you like. If you are buying issues not collections, note that certain online comic stores offer subscription services which allow you to be charged and sent every issue a certain author published automaticly. Consult your budget on this one. If you can afford it, you may love it. If not, you might end up in an argument with your pocket book.
–Follow a certain run such as Superman or Action. Again I recommend the Volumes over the issues but that is a personal preference. If you are reading Rebirth ( reomemded) of either run and are reading issues, there are subscriptions for that a well. This is usually a little easier to budget for because both of these are published at regular increments. Unfortunately noone seems to offer subscriptions for Volumes. :cry:

Hopefully this helped.


Supersons IS Amazing!


I will also recommend Peter Tomasi’s run on Superman 2016, and his Super Sons is just as good if not better.

His Superman is really outstanding, its probably my favorite title from the 2016 Rebirth launch.


I’ll second DCCC’s recommendation of Jeph Loeb’s run on Superman.

When he and Ed McGuinness were on Superman, that was the best Superbook of it’s time (mind you, this is coming from an ardent Adventures of Superman fan).

Loeb’s run begins in Superman (1986-2006) #154.


Loving the suggestions here! I see Super Sons mentioned once or twice and I’m more than happy to recommend that series as well. The art is great and it’s a ton of fun. :slight_smile:

If you read no other Superman story, read ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. There is no other story that gets closer to the heart of the First and Greatest.

Right here, of course.

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