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DC Comics have, at least partially, inspired all live-action Superman projects. Christopher Reeve’s Superman resembled the altruistic aspects of the Golden Age Superman, while Henry Cavill’s Superman was darker and more serious, wearing a scowl rather than a smile, based on many DC comics that painted Superman as the antagonist (like Dark Knight Returns).

Which direction will the DCU take their new Superman film starring David Corenswet as the Man of Tomorrow? Straying from the overly bleak DC comics, James Gunn and the DCU should look to the most inspiring, hopeful Superman comics for inspiration––books like All-Star Superman and JLA: The Nail that emphasizes Superman’s importance.

10 A Superman For The Golden Age

DC: The New Frontier

Darwyn Cooke’s DC: New Frontier miniseries brought comic book readers back to the 1940s and 50s, when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman first debuted. New Frontier resurrects DC’s Golden Age era, bringing the classic versions of the World’s Finest to modern comic styles and sequential storytelling.

Fans are unsure what tone James Gunn’s new DC cinematic universe is going for, but if the DCU wants to produce a lighter DC Universe with hope and optimism set in a realistic world, Cooke’s New Frontier is the perfect inspiration. It emphasizes superheroes in a world that needs them the most.

9 Superman, Superhero & Father

Superman Rebirth

After the events of DC’s Convergence, the original Clark Kent and Lois Lane from the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths timeline returned to DC Comics canon… with a newborn son, Jonathan Kent. Jon Kent grew up in DC’s Rebirth era and became the new Superboy, learning to be a hero from his father and teaming up with Damian Wayne’s Robin.

Considering Damian Wayne will appear in the Brave and the Bold film, Jon Kent could debut in the DCU in the near future. The Superman Rebirth comics showed what an amazing father figure Superman is and why he’s the best teacher for any up-and-coming superhero.

8 The Life & Death Of Superman

All-Star Superman

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After hearing that his life may end soon, Superman embarks on a bucket list of activities, some small and intimate with Lois Lane, others grand and magnificent, involving the whole world. All-Star Superman is a love letter to Superman comics. Grant Morrison is a master of weaving so many threads from a character’s past together into one celebratory piece.

If the DCU wants to celebrate the Man of Steel, All-Star Superman should be their prime influence. All-Star Superman doesn’t simply celebrate Superman’s life but uses his impending doom to prove just how important he is to the world.

7 Geoff Johns Presents Superman’s Origin

Superman: Secret Origin

Everyone knows Superman’s origin story––the Last Son of Krypton rocketed to Earth, raised by the Kents to one day become the greatest hero on Earth. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank dug a little deeper when they produced Superman: Secret Origin.

The six-issue miniseries doesn’t simply retell Superman’s origin story but expands on it, focusing on Clark Kent’s development in Smallville and his relationships with the Legion of Super-Heroes, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor. Superman: Secret Origin is a far richer, deeper, and warmer origin story than what DC first presented in the 1940s.

6 A Man Of Steel For The Real World

Superman: Secret Identity

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Rather than a simple retelling of Superman’s origin, Secret Identity focuses on an entirely new individual. The Clark Kent of Secret Identity was named after the comic book superhero. This Clark Kent develops similar powers and becomes the Superman of his world.

Secret Identity follows many of the same narrative beats as any Superman origin story would, but with the added context that Superman was originally a fictional character in this universe. Secret Identity is funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting as readers watch this young Clark Kent grow into a hero inspired by the same Superman real-world fans read about every month.

5 Superman: Peace On Earth Received Many Comic Awards

Superman: Peace on Earth

Written by Paul Dini with stunning art from Alex Ross, Superman: Peace on Earth is an underrated graphic novel about Superman’s attempts to end world hunger. The Man of Steel is an optimist, and he presents a good plan, but when met with opposition, Superman must reconsider his methods of heroism in a world that fights change.

Superman: Peace on Earth won several prestigious comic book awards, including two Eisner Awards, the Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist and the Reuben Award for the best comic book of 1998. Superman: Peace on Earth is both optimistic and realistic, making it the perfect source for a film exploring deeper issues.

4 Krypton Comes To Earth

Superman: New Krypton

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“New Krypton” was a multipart comic event spread across Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl comics, set after the events of the “Brainiac” storyline. The citizens of the imprisoned Kandor City are free and living on Earth. Superman must deal with thousands of superpowered Kryptonians without a natural home.

“New Krypton” brings Superman’s Kryptonian past crashing into his Earthling present. Superman’s allegiance is torn between his roles as Kal-El and Clark Kent. If the DCU wanted to adapt another “Krypton on Earth” comic, then “New Krypton” is a top contender.

3 The Justice League Without Superman

JLA: The Nail

What if there was a world without Superman? JLA: The Nail is a classic Elseworlds comic that answered that very question. After Jonathan and Martha Kent’s truck hits a nail, they blow a tire and miss meeting young Kal-El at the Kryptonian ship crash site in Kansas. As a result, young Clark Kent never grows up to become Superman, and DC presents a Silver Age-inspired Justice League without their Man of Steel.

JLA: The Nail is a cool “what if?” comic that celebrates Superman at its core. Superman is the most powerful and important member of the Justice League. Once David Corenswet establishes his Superman, the DCU could adapt JLA: The Nail in a future project.

2 Superman Inspires DC’s Future Superheroes

“Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes”

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The Legion of Super-Heroes who existed before Crisis on Infinite Earths returned in a six-part Action Comics story arc written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. The Legion of Super-Heroes was incredibly popular in the Silver Age but less so in the modern era. “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” attempted to rectify that.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a popular DC superhero team, but they’re also important to Superman’s legacy. In fact, they are Superman’s legacy. The Man of Steel inspired these young heroes even a millennium in the future. Considering the original Superman (2025) title was Superman: Legacy, the Legion of Super-Heroes could appear in the DCU.

1 Superman’s Supporting Cast Drives The Story

Superman for All Seasons

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale made one of the best writer/artist duos in comics. After the massive success of Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory, Loeb and Sale brought their talents to Superman’s corner of the DC Comics universe. But rather than simply telling a story through Clark Kent’s eyes, readers experience Superman through the eyes of Lex Luthor, Jonathan Kent, Lana Lang, and Lois Lane.

For All Seasons proves why Superman is the Man of Tomorrow––a hero with a heart of gold, an alien with incredible power, raised by loving individuals. The DCU needs a Superman with a heart, and For All Seasons beautifully captures the Man of Steel’s warm heart.

Superman

Superman is a superhero who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, and debuted in the comic book Action Comics #1. 

Superman (2025)

Follows the titular superhero as he reconciles his heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth and justice in a world that views kindness as old-fashioned.

“}]] Beloved comic stories like For All Seasons and All-Star Superman could help James Gunn bring a wholesome and inspiring Man of Steel to the big screen.  Read More