Revisiting the Superman Wordmark

Readers of this blog will know I have a bit of an obsession with the iconography around Superman. As a character that’s been around for 85+ years the logos and wordmarks have approached an almost religious/idolatrous level of complexity and evolution. With fervent believers on each side of course.

For the second Superman Day of the year I thought I would revisit the wordmark that was updated last year. A few months after it debuted last year I wrote about the wordmark and it’s history over the preceding decades. At the time I wrote that I did not like this new iteration and that I preferred the version debuted back in 1983.

Over a year later, I’d argue this new wordmark has failed. I’ll give two specific examples why I think so.

This morning DC sent out a marketing email for Superman Day telling people to shop our new merch drop!” The wordmark they used for the email? Of course it’s the post-83 version:

The Superman wordmark above Superman with his back facing us looking out at a clear blue sky.

In fact there is no current piece of Superman merchandise that features this new wordmark. If the powers that be were fully onboard with the change they’d have rolled out all kinds of products with it. Especially when the main toy complaint with Superman is that he doesn’t have any other costumes or accessories like Batman. New designs give them new things to sell!

My second and most damning piece of evidence: the new house ad for the House of Brainiac” crossover. One could easily argue that the merchandising arm of Warner Discovery isn’t tied in to the day to day aesthetics of the comic books so the above miss is excusable—although I’d argue that they should be very concerned with how their flagship character and property are being presented. But there is no argument that DCs inhouse ad design team shouldn’t be aligned with current character logos. In last week’s Green Lantern #10 which features a tie-in story to House of Brainiac” we get a two-page spread advertisement for the story that has the correct modern Action Comics logo—which I also don’t love—but has the classic post-83 wordmark—specifically the version from the DC Connect preview from last year with the extra gloss. How could they miss that in the ad for what they are promoting in a part of that storyline?


I went back through the last year of Action Comics and found the post-83 version used seven separate times. That’s overlooking the two early house ads for the Superman relaunch since they were likely put together before the issues were finalized. This new wordmark isn’t used in the pages of Action Comics until this month’s issue with the new recap page that was introduced as part of relaunch/rebrand.

For additional context some of the other Superman books published in the last twelve months include: Superman Space Age which used a pre-83 wordmark matching it’s Pre-Crisis era story. The Return of Superman special used the period appropriate post-83 wordmark. Superman 78 used the movie-styled wordmark, again appropriate for the subject matter. Finally, the Superman vs Meshi manga used a redrawn version of the post-83 wordmark.

Close up on the wordmark Superman vs. Meshi along with the Japanese Kanji translation

It seems the only books that have had this new wordmark on or in them are ones written by Joshua Williamson and I wonder if it was him that was the driving force behind it. There doesn’t seem to be any traction around the company to make this new version stick.

I’d love to ask designer Darran Robinson about it, but it appears all his social media and web presence have been removed.

April 18, 2024

Formerly Known As Legacy

Looks like I posted too soon yesterday; we got some big Superman news for his birthday later in the day. When I was on my way to see Dune Part Two my wonderful partner mentioned they are going with the Kingdom Come shield.” I know that they used the Kingdom Come shield for the name cards during the table read, but beyond that it was still speculation. She pulled up director James Gunn’s Instagram and I resisted the urge to pull over to take a closer look.

A close up of the new Superman shield covered in snow

The live-action theatrical shield has been on a parallel evolution path with the comics. In the late 1940s the comics were just starting to solidify the shield to the standard” we’d recognize today. Specifically look at the round bulbous serif on the bottom. An early example we can see in 1948’s Superman #53 released as the ten year anniversary issue. A close up of the cover of Superman 53 showing the round serif in 1948 When Kirk Alyn hit the big screen in 1948 his S skips this round serif going with the shield that had been more common throughout the 40s. George Reeves and his Mole Men stuck with a very similar style S—although the color TV show years did flatten the top line. A close up of the cover of Kirk Alyn’s Superman shield Fast forward to Christopher Reeve in 1978 and his shield also eschews that rounded serif. While the movie marketing material has it, Chris’ costume does not. The size and shape are also adjusted with thicker red lines along with a new angle on the top serif. I find it interesting that I often see fans describe this costume as the classic despite this S being unique. Being a Salkind production the Supergirl shield stays close in line to this one.

We don’t get another Superman theatrical release until Brandon Routh dons the cape in 2006. Again this shield evolves off the previous one. Missing that serif, but also getting much darker and smaller. The spandex era was over at this point so this S is no longer just sewn into the costume. The darker maroon almost brown color instead of red was this movie’s attempt at being modern. Hindsight is not kind to these colors.

That iteration only got one theatrical flight before Henry Cavill took the mantle. For the final time (so far) we skip the round serif, but gain a large serif at the top. I find this to be reminiscent of the early 1940s logos that these spun off of in the first place. Subsequent Cavill shields add a strip of Kryptonese text in the middle.

Close up on the cover to Superman 9, with Superman bursting through the page. Close up of the first image of Henry Cavill’s S

Corenswet’s new S breaks with this evolutionary path and gets its inspiration elsewhere.

With 1978’s Superman: The Movie, Jor-El wears the shield for the first time. Rather than standing for Superman, the S is now a family crest. The Superman name comes after the S in the movie. This is now an alien family crest that just so happens to be in the shape of the Latin letter S; the first letter of the character’s name. 2003’s Superman Birthright miniseries takes this to the next level. Explicitly calling the shield the Kryptonian symbol for hope. When Man of Steel was made ten years later they took this idea and ran with it. It informed their redesign of the shield making it a bit more alien” while still being recognizable as an S. I think this story element and influence was taken to the next level in the recent animated series My Adventures with Superman. The shield for this show sticks with classic comic colors but simplifies the shapes into straight lines. It can easily be read as an S, but is also believable as an alien symbol unrelated to human letters. This has been taken in the completely wrong direction with General Zod’s Kryptonian symbol of a Z in the comics. It makes no sense.

Black and white photo of Marlon Brando as Jor-El from Superman the movie Close up of the shield from My Adventures with Superman

Now the Kingdom Come of it all. The late 90s was the height of the Dark Age of comics. Gritty, violent superheroes were all the rage. The question the book asks is how does a character from the Golden Age like Superman fit in this world? Is he relevant” for today’s climate and sophisticated reader. Superman returns to a world that has largely forgotten about him with a new shield. Black replaces the yellow and the design is far simpler, more alien, and less obviously an S. This Superman previously wore the standard comic book S of the time, but his return in this changed world is decidedly darker. In trying to show the way to a new brand of heroes he veers into authoritarianism before ultimately failing.

Close up of the shield from Kingdom Come

I love this book, but the question does Superman fit into modern times” is almost as old as the character! People were saying that in 1978 when the first movie was made and people are still saying that today. How many times do we have to ask this question and get the same answer? I hope this movie isn’t trying to ask this same question.

When The CW wanted to bring back Brandon Routh to the cape as an older Superman for Crisis on Infinite Earths it was decided it should an adaptation of the version we saw in Kingdom Come. He was given the backstory from Kingdom Come minus some important bits like Magog and his exile. Fitting with this tragic backstory is the red and black S. While this costume is a very close adaptation of the comic version it is still influenced by the Routh’s Superman Returns costume. There is a raised plastic element to the shield and the suit is textured rather than a flat blue fabric. In the comic we never see Superman in costume during the denouement. The shield is always red and black. In fact, the epilogue from Justice Society #22 and the pseudo sequel The Kingdom also never feature a red and yellow version of the Kingdom Come S. On television though we got a farewell/homage to the Reeves/Routh version of the character with him flying over Earth and smiling at the camera. The black in his suit is replaced with yellow, but the shield maintains the abstract design. Brandon Routh’s Superman flying around the Earth smiling at the camera This new S is closest to that final Brandon Routh S; with the textures and materials most like Man of Steel. Rather than being made of a separate material like Crisis and Superman Returns the new shield is made from the same material as the costume like Man of Steel. This new shield also adds a yellow border further differentiating it. This S is not the Kingdom Come S. It’s Kingdom Come inspired, but it would be inaccurate to say it’s the Kingdom Come shield.

I personally don’t think this is a good choice for the S for this movie. I have never loved the idea that the S is a Kryptonian symbol and I think the biggest reason to use a design like this is to lean into that. I just want it to be an S. Maybe it becomes a symbol of hope in the universe after Superman’s appearance. I like that better thematically than him being born with a symbol of hope. I understand we’ve had 45+ years of it being Kryptonian, but the more alien we make it the less Superman it feels to me. This specific shield design was originally earned as part of a story that ties to years of continuity. It’s an old Clark. This is new movie is early days for this Superman. I think John Byrne explained the S really well in the Man of Steel miniseries. Clark saves the spaceplane without a costume, gets named Superman by Lois in the Daily Planet, and that name inspires the symbol. His mom makes the costume, him and Pa Kent make the S. But the biggest reason I think this symbol is a mistake is it comes with too much baggage. Every theatrical adaptation has had it’s own unique take on the shield signifying it is something new. Especially, Superman Returns and Man of Steel. Using an alteration of an existing comic design doesn’t make it instantly associated with the new movie. You post a black and white version of this and it could be Kingdom Come it could be Crisis on Infinite Earths or it could be this movie. You post a black and white version of the Man of Steel shield and you know what it is.

I haven’t touched on my feelings on everything else we know about this movie so while we are diving deep lets look at the rest of what we know. A group photo of the case from Superman after their first table read. Eve, Mr. Terrific, Superman/Clark, Otis, Lex, producer Peter Safran, Jimmy, Metamorpho, Lois, Hawkgirl, me, Guy, and The Engineer I like James Gunn. I think he is a good filmmaker and storyteller. I think he’s coming from the right place in making this movie based on everything he has said about it. He’s mentioned how important it is to his relationship with his father and he is concerned with the legacy of the character. There are things about Gunn that make me nervous though.

The first is his penchant for taking a lesser known character and just completely changing them to fit the story he wants to tell. It’s fine if you don’t have any love for a particular character (like Vigilante in Peacemaker), but can really hurt (like Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy).

He’s also taking a usual suspects approach to some of the cast and crew. The Guardians films are great, I’m not denying that. But do they have the best cinematography and best music in the film world right now? I don’t think anyone would say they do. I want this movie to be transcendant. I want it to be next level. It can’t just be another superhero movie. It needs to start a whole new universe and at the same time continuing a character legacy going back almost 90 years. This isn’t Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon. Using the same cinematographer and composer might be comfortable, but are they going to bring this to the next level it needs to be? We know he’s pals with Nathan Fillion, but do we need Fillion as Guy Gardner in the first new Superman movie? How about his brother as Max Lord?

Final point on Gunn, is the Brightburn of it all. Yes Gunn didn’t write or direct this movie, but he had a hand in producing it. Not only was this a movie I didn’t like, the evil Superman trope is one of my least favorite ideas in fiction. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Superman special. Now I like The Boys and Invincible, because those stories aren’t simply about what if Superman went bad”. They are about what would the rest of the world do if there was someone with Superman’s powers without his moral compass. It works as metaphor to actually powerful people and how we handle abuse of power. Versus an Injustice which has a focus on how cool it would be for Supes to rip someone in half. It is a videogame.

Our main cast for the movie? The big three of Lois, Clark, and Lex? They are great. The minute Rachel Brosnahan was announced I started watching Mrs. Maisel and she’s fantastic. She is like Lois Lane jumping off the page into real life. David Corenswet has a great look and was great in Pearl. The dude is giant, which really sells it for me. I’ve liked Nicholas Hoult in everything I’ve seen him in and he’s already shaved his head. Win, win, win.

The rest of the cast? No complaints besides why are all these characters in a Superman movie? Seems like a random bunch and seems like maybe too many characters for this movie that we want to focus on Big Blue! Miss Teschmacher and Otis tie it very closely to the Donnerverse so it’s strange he went with them rather than Mercy Graves or someone new. I know lots of the choices are dead ringers for their comic counterparts (looking at you Skyler Gisondo as Jimmy Olsen) which is cool, but I like when they throw curveballs too. Lawrence Fishburn was inspired casting as Perry White.

Just after I published I saw the report that Wendell Pierce has been cast as Perry White. Looks great!

Last bit I have to say on this movie right now is the about the title. I’ve never loved Superman Legacy as the title, but I do like the sentiment. When Superman Returns came out it felt like the perfect title. It was a continuation of a long dormant franchise, it was about Superman coming back after a long absence, and it echoed Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Man of Steel was also perfect. A reboot with a title echoing The Dark Knight (which was also part of a reboot of Batman). Superman: The Movie made sense for the first one and even echoed Batman: The Movie (1966). Yes, I always call it The Movie” because I like the 1970s vibe it gives and it’s on some advertising despite not being officially the title. Changing the title of this movie to simply Superman is undoubtably going to cause confusion. But it’s putting the flag in the sand saying this is going to do for Superman what Batman (1989) did for Batman. I hope they are right.

PS Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by this shield at all since Gunn basically told us almost a full year ago on BlueSky.

March 1, 2024

Superman’s Birthday

I couldn’t let the once every four years Superman’s Birthday go by without a little celebration.

Last May on a Superman collector’s Facebook group, someone posted for sale a Superman (or Batman) cake pan with original accessories and instructions. Originally made by the Wilton company in the late 1970s. I have vivid memories of having this cake as a child and loving it. The price was right, so I picked it up.

Superman or Batman cake pan with accessories and instructions

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to use it and what better time than Superman’s birthday?

  • It’s the 22nd leap day since 1938 so the Man of Tomorrow has plenty of good years ahead of him
  • We are rapidly approaching the 86th April 18 since 1938
  • This year will be the 11th Superman Day June 12th (originally Man of Steel day) since DC announced it in 2013 to coincide with the release of the Man of Steel movie
  • Finally, the best Superman holiday of them all, Miracle Monday, was first celebrated with the release of the book May 18th, 1981; 43 years ago this year

A cake in the shape of Superman’s torso

February 29, 2024


Photo with my girlfriend and I posing with Supermen Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Gerard Christopher, Dean Cain, and Tyler Hoechlin.

Over the weekend I went to the Rhode Island Comic Con. The main draw was, of course, the above picture with Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Gerard Christopher, Dean Cain, and Tyler Hoechlin; but there were lots of other Superman-related actors in attendance as well. If we consider Doom Patrol and Titans Superman related, there were 23 actors from Superman projects and one director (plus Brent Spiner who was cast but then dropped as the President on Supergirl and Tim Daly who cancelled). I tried to prioritize who I was meeting since there was no way I would be able to meet 22 people in one day!

Our first stop was the Smallville Fathers and Sons panel with Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider, and John Glover. The panel was short and there wasn’t much insight shared beyond what we get on the weekly Talkville podcast. Schneider did talk a bit about his return for the final episode which was cool to hear. Overall the panel they did at the Superman Celebration last year was better and more fun. Last year I went to Smallville Nights twice so I didn’t do that again this year. With time being as it is, I didn’t get photos or signatures from the two dads, but did walk by them on the convention floor.

Back in 2021 Stacy Haiduk and Ilan Michael Smith from Superboy were at the aforementioned Superman Celebration. I met them both and got a photo signed with a spot for Superboy Gerard Christopher right in the middle. I’ve been waiting patiently for a chance to meet Mr. Christopher and get his signature and this was finally my chance. He was super gracious to us. We talked briefly about his recent interview on the All-Star Superfan Podcast which I loved. We bumped into him later in the day and he was still so friendly and I loved that New York accent. Real stand-up guy.

After meeting Gerard we went around the corner to meet the Super Sons Alex Garfin and Jordan Elsass. We ended up waiting for them at their table for more than 30 minutes but then had to give up. I assume they were late because of the poorly organized photo ops. We looped back around at the end of our day and finally caught them. They both felt like their characters to me which is super interesting. Jordan mentioned how tough it was to live in Vancouver just like Jon Kent would complain about living in Smallville over Metropolis.

While we were waiting for the boys we did see John Ratzenberger across the aisle. He’s been in so many movies that I love him in, but of course his Superman the movie claim to fame is close to my heart: Absolutely impossible, sir. They have the new B20 low level avoidance systems.”

The very last stop of the day was the Brandon Routh panel. Since I had met him at the 2018 Celebration I didn’t do any additional meet and greet with him separately. This panel also paled in comparison to Celebration. This is pretty disappointing considering since 2018 he’s had the opportunity to revisit the role which is something he expressed great interest in. His answers were more limited due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike than it seemed the Smallville guys were. It didn’t help that he was running late and the panel felt very rushed.

The overall convention experience was one of the worst I’ve seen. I’ve been to many cons over the years both large and small (from New York Comic Con to LadiesCon in Somerville) and I’ve never seen a more poorly organized set up. First thing when we walked in at the security check was a no outside food rule. It’s absurd that I couldn’t bring in a pack of Twizzlers and would be forced to buy food there. I have several dietary restrictions which makes eating out a complicated endeavor. The next issue we ran into was with the panels. The two I went to were in a separate building requiring a second security check every time. The audio at the panels was absolute garbage. It was hard for us to hear what the panelists were saying and it was hard for them to hear questions from the audience. The camera set up dead in the middle of the room was terrible placement. They told everyone to hold photos until the end of the panel but then each time rushed the panelists off stage. Crappy experience. The photo op experience was also poorly managed. The photo ops were up on the 5th floor of the convention center. Everyone looking for their photo op congregated in a foyer as a big sea of people. The sea of people needed to be funneled through a double door choke point into the ballroom with designated lines for each photo op. When you heard them call out the name of the photo op you had to raise your hand and push through the crowd to find the line to stand in. It was also extra confusing because there were two Supermen groups (one without Gerard Christopher). They were about 20 minutes late to call out the Supermen group photo and there was another 20 or so minute wait before we got in front of them.

Once the photos started it was fast. You got about 15 seconds there to take the photo and go. There was a problem with our first photo so they called us back for a second one which gave me an additional few seconds with them. It was so cool to see them all together. Scrolling through social media I always see bad photoshop jobs putting these guys in the same place and here I was seeing it for real. This was also a great way to see Dean Cain without paying for his autograph. Dude really bums me out. Plus it was a way to see Welling, Routh, and Hoechlin all again and not feel bad for wasting money! When I sent the photo to my father he told me I looked like I had just won a million dollars. Can’t describe it better than that.

The people I missed? Anna Diop and Ryan Potter from Titans; April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, and Stephanie Czajkowski from Doom Patrol; Anson Mount and Evangeline Lilly who were on Smallville; Harry Lennix from Man of Steel; Nolan North from Young Justice; Phil Lamarr from Young Justice and Supergirl; Denise Crosby who was on Lois & Clark; Chad Coleman from Superman & Lois; and Amy Jo Johnson who directed an episode of Superman & Lois.

November 6, 2023

My Adventures Watching My Adventures With Superman

A few weeks ago I finished writing my recaps of each episode of My Adventures with Superman for Multiversity Comics. After a brief hiatus I wanted to write about the experience and my feelings on the show as a whole now that the first season is complete. Figured I’d put my six hours flight to good use.

The conceit they go with for television recaps is to organize them into five thoughts”. It was helpful to have a structure like that because it prevented me from writing a boring beat-by-beat recap of each episode. While each piece did include a recap I was able to structure them around themes and my ideas. It even let me put in some Easter eggs of my own. While each article was a lot of work it was ultimately rewarding to be able to write about a great new Superman adaptation for an audience.

One of the things the show did really well is demonstrate how great Superman really is as a character. It’s been brought up in both a Superman Homepage interview with producer Josephine Campbell and on the Always Hold on to Smallville podcast but the moment where he says to Lois that he didn’t know if he was bullet proof but knew she wasn’t will be remembered like the Regan scene in All Star Superman. Quintessential Superman.

The show shows us in no uncertain terms how special it is to have someone with the power of Superman who chooses to use it for good. The opposite of the old absolute power adage. Characters like Ivo, Waller, and Alex (definitely Luthor) are all well chosen to demonstrate the opposite. None of them can fathom that Superman uses his abilities for good. This is key to getting Superman right and this show nails it. Even when they dip into the alternate evil Superman well it’s done to reinforce how special Superman really is. Because not everyone with this power would do what he does. Also note the main evil Superman we see is Overman from Grant Morrison’s Animal Man not Ultraman or any other variant as I’ve seen speculated.

At first glance it may seem that Clark is the real person and Superman is the made up identity in opposition to the famous Kill Bill scene. But I think that when you look closely there are three personas. There is Clark Kent the reporter. This Clark needs to hide who he really is to fit in with his coworkers and the rest of the world. There is Superman the hero. Lois and Clark explained it well when Clark said Superman is what I can do”. Superman is Clark at his most selfless best. Then there is the Clark that he can be with Jimmy and Lois when they discover his secret. It’s the Clark from the farm in Kansas. This is the real person. I love that the show handled it with as much care and depth as they did. The who is the real person” debate has been had for ages and I’ve always felt it was more complicated than a duality. The best written Superman stories often show this.

The show goes a step further by exploring Clark’s identity by making him afraid of being different. The first episode is titled Adventures of a Normal Man” which he wishes he could be. This reminded me of Smallville, where there were many moments when Clark just wanted to be a normal Kansas kid. I loved the way MAWS used his fears of being different along with the General Lane story. The revelation that his home planet of Krypton might be an invading force and that is why he’s special is so shocking to Clark. The moment where Lois tells Clark that he could try being normal for a while hits Clark so hard. Throughout the season he becomes more comfortable with who he is and confronts his identity head on.

I read once that Donner said if they could make the Lois & Clark relationship believable the whole movie would be believable. They clearly took that to heart here and made the Lois & Clark relationship the core of the show. This relationship is so key to the character and it gets the attention it deserves. Unlike the last solo Superman show which I think made the core relationship an after thought.

The best part of TAS is the way they adapted the villains. Taking a page out of the Batman shows book they depicted some of the most iconic interpretations of the rogues gallery. MAWS didn’t quite live up to that mark. The choice to tie all the antagonists to Zero Day and Kryptonian technology is an excellent one. It makes it personal for him and pays off when he discovers their purpose. But I don’t think there is a reason for any of these characters to keep their tech after they’ve been caught. I also don’t think they chose the best characters. Heatwave? Mist? Livewire in particular is overshadowed by her TAS counterpart. Maybe like Superman & Lois they were given a list of characters they could use and it was very limited. I hope this is something that James Gunn fixes now that he’s in charge since it’s been a problem since Smallville. TAS has possibly the best versions of Bizarro, Parasite, Metallo, and Mr. Mxyzptlk. Tough to compete with that. I will say this Mxy was a ton of fun and it allowed them to really pay homage to different eras of the character. I like the idea that there is one Mxy that just looks different depending on the universe he’s in. Much better than when they do that with Darkseid.

A great part of our modern internet era is our ability to see behind the scenes of this show in a way that wasn’t quite possible in the 90s. Artist Kris Anka has shared some of his designs for the Superman costume. Producer Jake Wyatt said they wanted Jor-El to look like Big Boss. We’d be lucky to get this insight into TAS in DVD special features back then!

Speaking of DVD I am hoping and praying we get a physical release of this show. Warners is a horrible company in so many ways (lots of which we can thank the constant mergers and acquisitions of the last 30 years for) but one thing they do get is their fans still like physical media. Even Scooby Doo and Krypto Too got a DVD release. Maybe they’ll wait until after season two airs. It would be nice to have a complete twenty episode blu-ray set. Even better would be if this show continues past the two seasons, but that seems unlikely just due to WB being bad.

October 2, 2023

Adventures of Superman

First things first: I’ve got a small announcement. The blog will be going on a hiatus while I write weekly reviews for Multiversity Comics for the new animated series My Adventures with Superman! I’ve written for the website before and I’m excited to be covering this highly anticipated series.

In celebration I thought I would take a look back at the Adventures of Superman” title and how it’s been used over the years.

Back in February 1940 radio listeners were treated to the first episodes of The Adventures of Superman”. 15-minute serialized episodes airing several times a week. Long time Superman fans will know the importance of the radio show in Superman’s history; it’s responsible for introducing many of the elements we’ve come to associate with the Man of Steel.

Later that same year the cover to Superman #7 described our hero as the world’s greatest adventure-strip character”. This text remained on the cover through issue 20 and with issue 24 it was briefly changed to America’s favorite”; World War II nationalism and all that.

This was also the title used for George Lowther’s 1942 novel; showing The Adventures of” was catching on and had staying power.

A decade later and in the new medium of television we would get a continuation of sorts of the radio show. Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves remains a favorite of mine and many fans. It’s hard to overstate how influential this show was to a generation of viewers. To this day this might be the most well known Adventures of Superman.

Logo for the television Adventures of Superman in color.

Fast forward to the mid 60s when Filmation introduces us to The New Adventures of Superman. This emphasis let viewers know this was a new thing and not the show that had been in reruns for years. Beau Weaver who voiced Superman in the 1988 Ruby Spears cartoons mentioned this being an issue for his cartoon. Since it was only called Superman it didn’t let anyone know it was new!

And the naming of the show was unfortunate. It was called simply Superman. Better branding might have resulted from naming it Superman: The New Adventures or The All-New Superman. A listing in TV Guide or the newspaper TV listings that read simply Superman” did not spotlight it as a new series, did not distinguish it [enough] from reruns of the old George Reeves show or even from Super Friends.

Covers for the DVD releases of various Superman cartoons with the filmation The New Adventures of Superma volumes one and two on top.

Jump ahead another decade to the comics of the 70s. DC wanted it’s new direction of the Superman books to really stand out. They started with a big number 1 despite it being issue 233. Number 1 issues are often big sellers and it let readers know this is a good jumping on point. More to the point though this Neal Adam’s cover read The Amazing NEW Adventures of Superman”. This stuck around through issue 241 and from 242 to 247 it read The Amazing Adventures” dropping the new.

In 1987 DC gave John Byrne a new Superman #1 after his Man of Steel miniseries to mark the new era of the Man of Tomorrow. DC didn’t want to lose the legacy numbers from Superman volume 1 though. So we got the first comic officially titled The Adventures of Superman”. The first logo had Superman inverted from how we were used to it reminiscent of the Fleischer cartoons. The comic creators of the time were heavily influenced by the television show and this was only one small nod they included. This logo lasted until issue 456 with all but one cover by Jerry Ordway.

Internal DC comics ad for the three new Superman books in 1987. Superman, The Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics. Text reads AT LAST! THE GREATEST HERO IN COMICS BY THE GREATEST TALENTS IN COMICS!

After this the logo took the standard Superman wordmark from 1983 and added a flat The Adventures of” on top of it with a drop shadow. This stayed consistent until we got the electric Superman in issue #546. It returned again for issues 558-575. We then got one issue with the electric Superman logo mixed with a preview of the new The Adventures of” text. Stylized like the Superman logo but included the little extender on the A from the first logo. This version stuck around until 598. Issue 600 brought us what I affectionately call the SUPERMANS logo due to the S after the word. This lasted until 626.

Cover to Adventures of Superman #600

Then we drop The” and it’s just Adventures of Superman. Similar to the 577-598 look, but with the extender on the D instead of the A (since the A starts the title and not THE) and a more stylized S. It lasted this way until The Last Adventures of Superman #649. This was the end of The Adventures of Superman for a bit as the title became just Superman again. Check out the cover gallery at the DC database to see them all.

The next time we’d see Adventures of Superman on a comic is for the short lived digital first series of out-of-continuity stories. So many of these are great and I wish they sold enough to warrant an ongoing non-canonical Superman anthology book.

Most recently, Jon Kent’s current series takes on the storied Adventures of Superman title, but with a Jon Kent subtitle. This is just a miniseries and is a follow up to Superman: Son of Kal-El.

Finally, we have our honorable mention Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. They took Beau Weaver’s advice to heart with this mid 90s show and emphasized this wasn’t your dad’s Superman show.

Superboy and Supergirl had adventures too over the years. The Superboy television show changed it’s name to The Adventures of Superboy for it’s final seasons–along with the tie-in comic. We had a Supergirl book titled the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl” and had an Adventures of Supergirl” book that tied in with the recent CW television show.

I love the idea that Superman’s exploits” are so commonly known as adventures. We always say he fights a never-ending battle, but calling them adventures sounds so much more positive, exciting, and forward thinking to me. Let’s hope My Adventures With Superman” continues in the tradition of the Superman we love in more than just name.

June 26, 2023