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From comics to films: Here’s how Superman continues his legacy for 80 years

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In 1938, two kids from Cleveland, Ohio— Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created a character they thought would represent the best of humanity in a troubled time with few beacons of hope for the future. That character went on to become one of the brightest and most well-known creations in all of pop culture — Superman.

The first issue featured the first appearance of Superman, in a story written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster, a character that became so popular it launched the superhero genre and transformed American popular culture forever. The edition also includes Superman stories from throughout the history of Action Comics which has been published uninterrupted for 80 years including a previously unpublished 1940s story.

Ever since then, the last son of Krypton was travelled across the universe and on every medium of entertainment including the comic books, TV screens and on the big screen as well.

Check out the 80 years journey of Superman in 80 seconds:


The Death and Return of Superman was a turning point for the hero. In an era of comics in which sales across the medium were low and stories had become stagnant, DC decided to make a statement.

Superman: For The Man Who Has Everything (1985), and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow (1986), are two of the most powerful Superman stories from the 1980s.

Superman continued to evolve and be used in unique storytelling methods and spectacular art. Superman: Red Son and Superman: Birthright combine to give Superman an amazing 2003.

All-Star Superman is the ideal Superman story. Written by Grant Morrison, All-Star Superman is highly recognized as one of the greatest comic book stories of all time.

Action Comics #900 covers the short story of Superman renouncing his American citizenship, whereas, Action Comics #1000 concluded 80 years of Superman’s legacy.

Superman has been a part of both TV and movies, including live action and animated films. However, the two most notable performances by actors is the legendary Christopher Reeve and more recently British actor Henry Cavill. Reeve first played the superhero in 1978.


Superman has had an incredible history on television. Early in the character’s history, the Fleischer Superman debuted in animation in 1942. The Fleischer Superman cartoon brought the character to the mainstream.

The character of Superman continued to have a big presence in animation with the 1960s, 70s and 80s packed with Superman cartoons, featuring Super Friends and more. The next major phase of Superman in live-action television came with Superboy in 1988.

Superman: The Animated Series was a complete reinvention of Superman in animation and is one of the greatest versions of the character.

Taking a turn to the modern era, Superman saw a unique interpretation with Smallville, which premiered in Fall of 2001. Moreover, 2018’s Krypton celebrates the legacy of Superman by reflecting on his past.


He first appeared on the big screen in 1948, portrayed by Kirk Alyn. However, the popular, cinematic character-study came with Donner’s Superman in 1978.

While the cast and crew experienced some behind-the-scene troubles, ‘Superman II’ sequel managed to successfully capture the magic of the first film with a powerful Superman story.

2006’s Superman Returns had the weight of the world on its shoulders. Directed by Bryan Singer, Superman Returns was a love letter to the original two Superman films.

2016’s Batman v Superman followed up Man of Steel give an even more profound, social experiment on the character.

2017’s Justice League is the latest film with Superman on the big screen. Set in the same universe as its previous two franchises, it has a similar effect that Superman III had on its previous entities. While Justice League showed Superman at his most powerful and full of heroics, the film did not contribute much to Superman’s legacy;

DC Entertainment will celebrate the 1000th issue of Action Comics with the release of Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman, the Deluxe Edition, a commemorative hardcover collection of essays, tributes and reprints of classic Superman stories, edited by Paul Levitz, author, comics writer, historian and former president and publisher of DC Comics.

Here’s to the next 80 years to the Man of Steel – Superman.


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