First Published: April 2007
Contents: Superman stories from Action Comics #276 (May 1961) to #292 (September 1962); Superman #146 (July 1961) to #156 (October 1962); original content from Superman Annual #3 (August 1961), #4 (January 1962), and #5 (July 1962)
Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jerry Coleman, Al Pastino, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein, Bill Finger, and others
Key First Appearances: Legion of Super-Villains (Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen)
Story Continues from: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 2
Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4
Overview: Welcome back to the world of Superman! Rocketed to Earth as a baby as his home planet died, Kal-El grew to adulthood under the yellow sun, gaining powers and abilities beyond mortal man. Disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, Superman fights for truth, justice, and the American way.
The scope of Superman starts to spread, across the world and across the years. Superman introduces the world to his cousin Kara, who will become Supergirl, a new protector for Earth. From the far future, we get visits from the Legion of Super-Heroes, teenagers with powers who have been inspired to greatness by Superman. The challenges get harder and harder, as Lex Luthor devises more elaborate plots, and Mr. Mxyzptlk builds more mischievous schemes.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: Generally, my opinion of Silver Age Superman stories is negative – the tales don’t hold up, the stories are filled with plot holes, and there is no progression with the characters. But this volume goes against the norm. This is a fun Superman volume with a lot of classic stories, such as “The Last Days of Superman!” and “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”. We get a mix of everything in this volume – Superman, the Daily Planet staff, Supergirl, Lori Lemaris, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and more. This is the first time I feel that these Superman stories should be showcased like this, so get it in your library!
Footnotes: Action Comics #285 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.
The Legion story in Superman #147 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.
If you like this volume, try: All-Star Superman, which has been collected in multiple formats. Written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely, this 12-issue series is a wonderful homage to the Silver Age adventures of Superman, such as those collected in this volume. In this timeless story, Superman finds that his body is killing him after an over-exposure to the sun. Given a small window left to live, Superman vows to make the most of his remaining time. He grants Lois her greatest wish, he has one last adventure with his pal Jimmy Olsen, and he works with Lex to save the world. This is probably the best Superman story told in the last decade.