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  1. #1
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    Default Superman's Life and Career Timeline

    I'd like to hear from the Superman experts here about Superman's life and career timeline. The main events in his life so far and the main enemies he has fought. What are the highlights of his life as a man and as a superhero?


    I have some ideas, but I'm far from an expert on the comics, so please help me here. Try to make it as concise as possible. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Refusing to kill Mongol on Warworld to end his space exile was always a big highlight for me, his big moment of redemption after he killed the Kryptonians of the alternate dimension

  3. #3
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    To cross section in a manner of speaking

    1. This is technically outside of his life, but still important in his timeline: prophecy in general and Jor El's inspiration in particular. The usual timeline of recorded El history generally goes back 10000 years. Jor El was a man with great knowledge and pride in the contributions of his clan. We have been given Van-L, his scientist ancestor, and information on others in his lineage, like an ancestor who drafted the Kryptonian constitution years before his time. The Kal El we know is named after a great ancestor, with the name meaning "star child." Jaf El was the ancestor who predicted the significance of the dawn of a yellow sun. Meanwhile on earth in other continuities, clandestine groups like the Seven and the skyfathers of earth diety populations divined the coming of Superman. You can see these in Krypton Chronicles, both volumes of World of Krypton, and the 1995 year one annuals as well as Action Comics 794. His grandfather Seyg El appeared in the 90s Starman. I still have to see the tv show variation on this.

    2. The birth of Kal and his voyage to earth are rather well covered I think. The timelines vary as some would place the explosion of Krypton anywhere from thousands of years ago like in Man of Steel to 50 years ago in the Zero Hour comic and 27 years ago in the new 52.

    3. Same with his various adoptions by the Kents. 1986 brought about a twist as the Kents were changed to be able to pass him as a natural son. The discovery of his powers as an infant or toddler is obviously a huge point of his life's trajectory.

    4. Meeting and befriending Lana is quite overlooked. As a Lois competitor she should be seen as a big deal, whereas Pete is just sort of a washed out Jimmy. Lana's friendship into adulthood and insight into his secret make her one of his truest friends, and the most persistent. She really is a great comic example of the concept where someone is "too" perfect for you, the inverse of opposites attracting. In time you can see her come to Metropolis through the 70s comics or Superman III, or in the name of business during the early 2000s under writers like Rucka.

    4. The original Superman spin off was Superboy. This headed up the most significant section of his life before Superman. This all goes back to the late 40s early 50s, but the Superman concept was inactive in the main comics from about 1986 to 2006. You would have had to watch the late 80s tv show or read its early 90s comic adaption to see him, aside from alternate reality tangents in the regular comics.

    5. Pre Superman. The tv show I mentioned had Shuster college in Florida, but the regular comics had him attend Met U. This is where Superboy transitioned to Superman, and where a younger Clark began operating in secret in the timelines with no Superboy. You can see this in The Secret Years and World of Metropolis as well as the recent Man and Superman 100 page special. One significant college event was dating Lori Lemaris, a telepathic mermaid. The proto Superman embarks on a world tour to become who he is in Superman 1978, the 2013 Man of Steel, and throughout his post college career in stories like the Man of Tomorrow collection, The Odyssey, Birthright, and Camelot Falls.

    6. Of very many allies and foes there are six very important ones: Batman, Lois, Kara, Lex, Mxy, and Brainiac. These are very major relationships as far as his stories go and have virtually the same impact on his career within the story.

    7. His death against Doomsday. This story is just too big. Aside from the original in 1992, we had several implied and direct equivalents in later continuities like the New 52.

    8. His marriage to Lois. Yes he has been married hundreds of times in "imaginary stories" but the ones to Lois stand out because they're revisited in long running stories. In the highly recommended Superman newspaper strip, they were married for a few years beginning in 1949 until it was written out a few years later. The Mr and Mrs Superman feature from the 70s kicked off with Action Comics 484. They were engaged in Superman #50 from 1990 and married in a 1996 special, the last time legend Curt Swan got to do the character iirc.

    9. The birth of Jon Kent in Convergence so far has been a very major change to the character. Now he is a true father, by blood for a change, to the current Superboy.

    10. The death of his father, an earlier Jon Kent. The death of Martha would prove to be a major thing in some stories, but in the golden age comics, the 60s Superboy due to hazardous pirate treasure, the 1978 movie and 2008 Brainiac story due to heart attack, Man of Steel due to tornado, and probably a few others (the new 52 and current versions are a little tricky to define), this is a stand out. Superman cannot save this one person when the time comes and it's a powerful life lesson.
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  4. #4
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head

    * His parents telling him he's an alien.

    * Making friends with Lana and Pete, and them finding out he's an alien.

    * Doing good around Smallville

    * Meeting Lex as a kid

    * Meeting the Legion and going to the future

    * The prom night when both Ma and Pa die in a car crash

    * Going to the big city, and getting a job at the Planet.

    * Meeting Lois and Jimmy

    * showing the world Superman

    * The interview with Lois

    * Making a long term foe out of Lex

    * Making friends with Jimmy

    * First time meeting another Kryptonian from the Phantom Zone

    * Meeting Batman and Wonder Woman, and forming the Trinity

    * Forming the JL

    * Falling for, dating, and telling Lois the secret identity.

    * Fighting and falling in combat with Doomsday

    * Coming back to life

    * The wedding of Lois and Clark

    * Kara coming to Earth

    * Lois tells Clark she'd pregnant

    * Birth of Jon Kent

    * Seeing Jon go into the family business

    * Jor-El not being dead

    * Jon and Lois asking to go off with Jor-El

    * Jon coming back several years older

    _________

    That's all the basics life changing moments, I think
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  5. #5
    Mighty Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Everyone here has done a great job nailing the big moments. To what has been mentioned above I would add the discovery of the Bottled City of Kandor, as here is a problem that Superman can’t easily solve, and his inability to reverse what was done to the Kandorians haunts him to some degree.

  6. #6
    Spectacular Member qwertyuiop1998's Avatar
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    My list:
    1 From Superman blood of my ancestor, Supes ancestor who creating the house of El legend( And this ancestor story reference Sam Son)
    2 From Many worlds of krypton, One of Superman ancestors joining clone wars, And later Supes father Jor-el born
    3 Jor-el Falling love with Lara, And find out Krypton will doom so when he failed convincing the council he send his son to earth
    4 Kents found Clark, This incident also have effect to conduit
    5 Supes teenager life: 1 Meeting Lana and conduit 2 Meeting Legion of Super-Heroes and go to future become Superboy 3 Manhunter brainwashing most Smallville become they agents 4Meeting LEX 5 Find Krypto
    6 Supes travelling the world and first time encounter with Batman(Also falling love with a chinese woman, But I cant remember her name.......)
    7 Supes become Superman and battle with Metallo Parasite, Humiliating Lex
    8 Helping the first JLA many times
    9 In COIE, Tossing AM to the Anti-Universe sun
    10 Meeting Matrix, Travelled to pocket universe which created by Time Trapper
    11 Travelling the universe, Meeting Mongul and beating him and bring the Eradicator to earth
    12 Possessed by Eradicator, But at Kents help him breaking it possessing and tossed it into sun
    13 Eradicaotr return, And superman beating him again, But this time have some benefit---Eradicator built the Fortress Of Solitude
    14 Superman joining JLA
    15 Superman battle with Doomsday
    16 Superman return and become more powerful after Return Of Superman
    17 Superman's power increasing too much out of control, But after parasite incident his power become normal( But still increased, Just not out of control)
    18 H/P, Superman battle Doomsday again and seemingly permanantly killed Doomsday
    19 Brainiac take control of the Warworld And attacking earth
    20 After Zero Hour, Superman battling Doomsday possessed by Brainiac
    21 Forming classic JLA
    22 Become Superman blue
    Last edited by qwertyuiop1998; 04-27-2019 at 04:16 AM.
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  7. #7

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    Here's something I put together that attempts to tell the story of Superman, through his many incarnations, as if all of them occurred to the same man.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing

  8. #8
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    Great read, thank you guys. It's interesting to see what it's really important for each fan of Superman and his entire mythos. I think I prefer when Pa Kent dies and Clark can't do anything about it. It adds an emotional layer to the character, IMO, that he can't save everybody all the time. And that happens all the time. He saves others, while others die. He's powerful, but he has limits. I like that, makes him relatable.

    I think it's also an important part of his story that General Zod and other dangerous Kryptonians escape the Phantom Zone and come to Earth to challenge Clark. And Lois Lane as big part of his life obviously.

    The only part I'm not sure about is the Legion of Superheroes and Superboy. I think it takes away from him evolution, at least as shown in the movies. But at the same time, the LOS is a cool concept and good source for cosmic adventures. It just seems counter-productive to me sometimes and convoluted.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    I liked this collage of his life. Guess it's missing the Superboy adventures. Where is this image from?

    I was also thinking.. I still don't understand how can Lois and Superman do the thing safely for her.. but maybe I can understand how she could give birth to Jon because he still isn't Super until after he is born and gains powers gradually?


  10. #10
    Spectacular Member qwertyuiop1998's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stargazer01 View Post
    I liked this collage of his life. Guess it's missing the Superboy adventures. Where is this image from?

    I was also thinking.. I still don't understand how can Lois and Superman do the thing safely for her.. but maybe I can understand how she could give birth to Jon because he still isn't Super until after he is born and gains powers gradually?

    This image from Action Comics 976
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  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    Off the top of my head

    * His parents telling him he's an alien.

    * Making friends with Lana and Pete, and them finding out he's an alien.

    * Doing good around Smallville

    * Meeting Lex as a kid

    * Meeting the Legion and going to the future

    * The prom night when both Ma and Pa die in a car crash

    --------------Other excellent stuff I'm not going to copy just to save on space-----------------

    That's all the basics life changing moments, I think
    This catches just about all the major points in my mind too (the whole post, not just the bit I included), but I'll add--

    * Clark's "missing" years. In many versions Clark graduates from high school and spends a few years doing.....stuff.....before arriving in Metropolis and becoming Superman. Generally these years are defined by Clark traveling the world, trying to figure out how he fits into it, with Birthright probably being the best example in print and Snyder's Man of Steel film doing it best in live-action. Smallville deserves a shout-out too (seasons 5-7 I think). This is typically the time frame when Clark evolves from "small town kid" into "worldly adult" and (some versions) builds the foundation to the "mild mannered" disguise.

    * Executing the Phantom Zone criminals, up through Exile. Clark's killed in almost every version and continuity I can think of but this was different. Clark's killed to save lives, always as a last resort and in the heat of battle. This wasn't like that though, this was a cold blooded execution driven by fear after the threat had been dealt with. The Zoners are powerless, trapped in a dead universe and helpless, and Clark still kills them, premeditated murder, because he fears they might somehow escape. It's the only time Clark killed because of fear instead of killing to protect and it had a huge impact on him. This, along with a few other events, drive him to leave earth, culminating in a battle with Mongol where Clark finally finds redemption.

    * Discovering New Genesis. At this point Clark knows he's from Krypton and he knows a lot about his culture and people. He's surrounded by other superhumans on earth. Yet he still is unlike anyone else, unique and, in some ways, alone. But when he discovers the New Gods and sees, at the other end of a Boom Tube, their city? It's the first time Clark has seen a place where he feels he would not only belong, but actually be rather ordinary. It has a strong appeal for him and is the first time he's found a place where he could be "normal," for even in the 31st century he and the Legion (superhumans) were strange and unusual. I think it forces him to question what he really wants out of life and what he sees his place as being.

    * First experience with magic and/or kryptonite. Clark grows up knowing nothing on earth can hurt him. And then one day he finds out that he's not as invulnerable as he thought. The first time magic showed up in Smallville, there was a great exchange between Clark and his parents. Clark's trying to explain that he just experienced magic, and his parents aren't buying it. I mean, magic? They think he's making it up. And then Clark tells them that it can hurt him, and the gravity of that statement hits the Kents. That's a real "oh sh*t" moment, and I think Clark discovering that there's stuff out there that can injure and kill him is incredibly rattling.
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  12. #12
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The discovery of what he truly is is an obvious moment... but it gets tricky through so many years of interpretation. The original Superman knew nothing of Krypton, he was a foundling with great powers who decided to be a superhero. In time the Superman identity was retconned into a promise he made at his father's deathbed. With Superman #53 and the comics that followed, the revelation becomes real and interesting but you also had the Superboy stories around the same time that established a new status quo, that he came to earth with knowledge of Krypton. Most versions after have him discover his background in his early to late teens, and the 1986 version mirrors the original in that he actually finds out about Krypton (not just the rocket) as he's already Superman. He's had almost every reaction so far, including indifference, so it's a little harder to stamp imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by stargazer01 View Post
    I liked this collage of his life. Guess it's missing the Superboy adventures. Where is this image from?

    I was also thinking.. I still don't understand how can Lois and Superman do the thing safely for her.. but maybe I can understand how she could give birth to Jon because he still isn't Super until after he is born and gains powers gradually?
    Whenever he loses his powers, oddly a common situation because it's comics, his physiology is entirely human for all intents and purposes.

    In the current comics it's one of those vague things where you can fill in the blank as they haven't touched it and might not at all. The timeline is screwy because if the Crisis never happened there should be some really weird stuff in his history, and an entirely different Superman out there who is virtually identical to the character from the 40s.
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  13. #13
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyuiop1998 View Post
    This image from Action Comics 976
    thank you


    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    The discovery of what he truly is is an obvious moment... but it gets tricky through so many years of interpretation. The original Superman knew nothing of Krypton, he was a foundling with great powers who decided to be a superhero. In time the Superman identity was retconned into a promise he made at his father's deathbed. With Superman #53 and the comics that followed, the revelation becomes real and interesting but you also had the Superboy stories around the same time that established a new status quo, that he came to earth with knowledge of Krypton. Most versions after have him discover his background in his early to late teens, and the 1986 version mirrors the original in that he actually finds out about Krypton (not just the rocket) as he's already Superman. He's had almost every reaction so far, including indifference, so it's a little harder to stamp imo.



    Whenever he loses his powers, oddly a common situation because it's comics, his physiology is entirely human for all intents and purposes.

    In the current comics it's one of those vague things where you can fill in the blank as they haven't touched it and might not at all. The timeline is screwy because if the Crisis never happened there should be some really weird stuff in his history, and an entirely different Superman out there who is virtually identical to the character from the 40s.
    I really like it when Clark learns he's from another world in his late teens.

    I wonder how Clark's physiology works under a red sun. Maybe he could feel like a normal human then.


    * Clark's "missing" years. In many versions Clark graduates from high school and spends a few years doing.....stuff.....before arriving in Metropolis and becoming Superman. Generally these years are defined by Clark traveling the world, trying to figure out how he fits into it, with Birthright probably being the best example in print and Snyder's Man of Steel film doing it best in live-action. Smallville deserves a shout-out too (seasons 5-7 I think). This is typically the time frame when Clark evolves from "small town kid" into "worldly adult" and (some versions) builds the foundation to the "mild mannered" disguise.
    This is a very interesting time in Clark's life that hasn't been explored well or the right way in a TV show I think. His college years and then going to Metropolis for the first time to work as a reporter and meeting Lois. Man and Superman has an interesting premise that could work on TV. Of course he becomes Superman to the world until then, but he discovers his alien roots and meets Jor-El before this (during his travels and college years). A new spin to the legend. A more detailed retelling of his story.
    Last edited by stargazer01; 05-02-2019 at 12:31 PM.

  14. #14
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Isn't Miller's Year One supposed to tackle these years? Something about Clark joining the army or some such?

    I agree it's a fascinating era that doesn't get nearly enough attention. I mean, between 18 and 24 I was all over the place; a new state every few months, new adventures, new travels.....those are big years for a lot of people as they become independent for the first time. I'd love to see more effort put into what Clark did then.
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  15. #15
    Mighty Member stargazer01's Avatar
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    When is Supergirl supposed to arrive to Earth? After Clark marries Lois? They don't show it in that picture collage.

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