Few heroes have reached the notoriety that Superman has. Ever since he first burst onto the comic book scene, the Big Blue Boy Scout has been a guiding hand in shaping superhero fiction. In the near century he’s been around, Clark Kent has had some landmark stories that have stood out among the thousands of other tales he’s appeared in.

Those iconic stories have all come with covers that have stood the test of time and remain some of the hero’s most well-known covers. Read on to see which ten artworks have taken on a life as some of Superman’s most iconic covers.



10 Action Comics #252

Action Comics 252 DC Comics

Superman may be known as the Last Son of Krypton, but that changed forever with one story from Action Comics #252. The cover from Curt Swan and Al Plastino advertises the tale “The Supergirl From Krypton!”, and features Clark Kent’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, bursting out of a spaceship. Superman is shocked as Supergirl boldly exclaims she has all of Clark’s powers. While many covers from the time featured hypothetical scenarios, this wasn’t an imaginary story. Kara’s introduction was a major change to Superman’s existence, as he now had the first member of what would become the Super Family.

9 Superman #233

Superman 233 DC Comics

Superman is known for his many feats of strength, often modeled after the style of old-school strongmen. The imagery of the Man of Steel breaking steel chains is seen as early as Superman #11. But it wasn’t until Superman #233 with cover art by Neal Adams that the image was updated to be a bit more impressive. In this cover, the links binding Superman are made of kryptonite rather than mere steel, making the feat much more impressive. The image of Clark Kent breaking free of kryptonite bindings has been replicated several times over the years by artists such as Dan Jurgens and Alex Ross.

8 Action Comics #583

Action Comics 583 DC Comics

All good things must come to an end. And for the Silver Age Superman, that ending came with Action Comics #583, the second part of Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”. Swan and Murphy Anderson’s cover depicts a solemn Man of Steel heading out into the great unknown as the hero’s allies bid him a fond farewell. Though the comic is an out-of-continuity ‘imaginary story’, there’s a twinge of sadness to the cover as it’s one of the last times this particular incarnation of Superman is ever seen.

7 Crisis on Infinite Universes #7

Crisis on Infinite Earth 7 Cover DC Comics

Nothing’s worse than when tragedy strikes during a big event. And for the Super Family, a devastating loss came in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. The cover by George Pérez sees the heroes of the DC Universe looking on as Superman unleashes an anguished cry over the death of Supergirl. Sure, it technically spoils one of the event’s most dramatic moments, but the cover communicates just how high the stakes are as DC’s heroes fight back against the Anti-Monitor. Supergirl eventually came back to life, but this cover broke the heart of Superman and comic book fans everywhere.

6 Man of Steel #1

Man of Steel 1 DC Comics

Speaking of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the reset continuity allowed DC to update Superman’s origin for a new era. The hero’s background was revealed in Man of Steel, a book DC strongly promoted to excite fans for Clark Kent’s new era. The cover by John Byrne and Dick Giordano is simple, showing the iconic Superman emblem peaking out from Clark’s drab daily attire. It tells fans that the hero they know and love hasn’t been erased and is still around. No matter what the Crisis has changed, this cover proved that Clark Kent is the same hero he ever was.

5 Adventure Comics #247

Adventure Comics 247 DC Comics

One of Superman’s most iconic covers also includes some of his most notable allies. The cover of Adventure Comics #247 by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye sees Clark Kent in his Superboy years being grilled by the Legion of Super-Heroes. Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl were utterly unknown to fans. But they’ve since become key figures in the future of the DC Universe. It’s a bit odd seeing the Legion turn Superboy down, but this cover was just the start of Clark Kent and his long association with the greatest heroes of the 31st century.

4 Superman #75

Superman 75 Cover DC Comics

The world stood still when Superman took on the menace known as Doomsday. Superman #75 was the final chapter of a saga that ended with the death of the Man of Steel. Fans around for that harrowing moment may recall the black polybag covers that only showed a version of Superman’s symbol dripping in blood. But the cover of Superman #75 by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding was even more ominous, depicting the hero’s cape fluttering lifelessly in the breeze. For the first time, fans would look at the cover of a Superman comic and feel nothing but horror.

3 All-Star Superman #1

All-Star Superman 1 DC Comics

Superman will always be one of the most inspiring figures in the DC Universe. And nothing says it more than the cover of All-Star Superman #1. Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant’s cover sees the Big Blue Boy Scout sitting among the clouds, watching over his city as a brand-new day dawns on the city of Metropolis. Superman even looks to the reader and gives them a reassuring grin. The cover isn’t the most action-packed, but it’s a wonderfully serene image that reminds readers of the stable presence Clark brings to the DC Universe.

2 Superman #1

Superman 1 DC Comics

The debut of Superman’s first self-titled comic created an image that is seared in Super-fans’ minds everywhere. Superman #1’s cover by Joe Shuster and Leo O’Mealia shows the hero surrounded by a yellow border as he’s shown leaping through the city. Over the years, the cover has been referenced in books like Kingdom Come, Supreme, and Tom Strong. It’s a simple pose that demonstrates the Man of Steel’s readiness to fight crime in all its forms. Maybe not the most exciting, but certainly an iconic image that fans associate with heroism.

1 Action Comics #1

Action Comics 1 Cover DC

What else can be said about the cover of Action Comics #1 other than it’s arguably the most well-known comic book tableau of all time? Joe Shuster and Jack Adler’s debut image of Superman shows the hero bashing in a car as a group of men run and look out for a place to hide. It’s a daring image, as nothing even says this man is a hero. And yet, this cover is remembered as one of the most pivotal images in comic book history. Who would have known that this action-packed cover would start the Golden Age of superheroes?

The Man of Steel has had hundreds of comics known to fans far and wide. But these ten stand out as some of the most iconic Superman covers in the hero’s history.

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