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Superboy (comic book)

Superboy #1 (March–April 1949).
Superman invites the readers to explore the new title.
Art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.
Publication information
Schedule (vol 1)
Bi-monthly (1-28, 193-206)
Eight times a year (29-125, 207-219)
Nine times a year (126-176)
Monthly (177-192, 220-230)
(The New Adventures of... & vol 3-4)
(vol 2)
Monthly (1-19)
Bi-monthly (20-22)
Format Ongoing series
Number of issues (vol 1): 230 and 1 Annual
(The New Adventures of...): 54
(vol 2): 22
(vol 3): 102 (#1-100 plus issues numbered 0 and 1,000,000) and 4 Annuals
(vol 4): 11
(vol 5): 35 (#1-34 plus issue numbered 0), a Superboy: Futures End one-shot, and 1 Annual
Main character(s) (vol 1 and The New Adventures of...)
Clark Kent/Kal-El
(vol 2)
Clark Kent based on Superboy television series
(vol 3-5)
Kon-El/Conner Kent
Creative team

Superboy is the name of several comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring characters of the same name. The first three titles feature the original Superboy, the legendary hero Superman as a boy. Later series feature the second Superboy, who is a partial clone of the original Superman.

Publication history

Volume 1 (1949-1977)

The first series featured the original Superboy, a teenage incarnation of the Man of Steel. It began publication in 1949,[1] four years after the character's debut in More Fun Comics #101 (January 1945). The majority of the stories were set in the rural town of Smallville during the character's youth, including tales of his toddlerhood.[2] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Many early Superboy stories seemed devoted to extolling the virtues of life in America's small towns, and covers made Smallville look like a dreamworld where few problems existed...Indeed, the early Superboy might fairly be called the Saturday Evening Post of comic books."[3] The supporting cast included Superboy's adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent, his over-inquisitive classmate and neighbor Lana Lang,[4] best friend Pete Ross who was secretly aware of Superboy's true identity as Clark Kent, Smallville Police Chief Parker, and the super-powered canine Krypto. With the exception of a teenage Lex Luthor, who was a frequent foe of the Boy of Steel, almost none of the featured villains appeared more than once. Fuzzy, the Krypto Mouse, a character who appeared in a single story in Superboy #65 (June 1958),[5] inspired a similar character created by writer Art Baltazar in 2012.[6] Bizarro debuted in Superboy #68 (Oct. 1958).[7] For much of this period, DC also published Superboy tales in Adventure Comics, which began featuring the Boy of Steel regularly in issue #103 (April 1946).

The Legion of Super-Heroes starred in their own backup feature starting with #172 (March 1971). Nick Cardy was the cover artist for Superboy for issues #182-198 and 200-206.[8] Dave Cockrum began drawing the Legion feature with issue #184 (April 1972), again increasing the team's popularity.[9] Wildfire made his first appearance as ERG-1 in the Legion back-up feature in issue #195.[10] With issue #197 (September 1973), the Legion became permanent co-stars, and the cover logo became "Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes" while the title of the book itself remained Superboy. Crafted by Cary Bates and Cockrum, the feature proved popular and saw such events as the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel in issue #200 (Feb 1974).[11] Cockrum was replaced on art by Mike Grell as of issue #203 (August 1974) which featured the death of Invisible Kid.[12] With issue #222 (Dec. 1976), the cover logo became "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes" and the book's title itself followed with issue #231 (Sept. 1977). The character Dawnstar was introduced in issue #226 (April 1977).[13] A backup story in issue #236 served as a lead-in to All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55 which featured the wedding of longtime Legion members Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad.[14] Writer Paul Levitz and artists James Sherman and Joe Staton crafted "Earthwar" an five-issue storyline in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241-245 (July-Nov. 1978).[15] A story originally scheduled to appear in DC Special Series was split apart and published in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #250-251 due to the DC Implosion.[16] Starting with issue #259 (Jan. 1980), the title was changed to Legion of Super-Heroes (volume 2), and the Boy of Steel left the team and the book. Though Superboy later rejoined, he made only occasional appearances in the series that once bore his name, and the series remained a Legion book until its last issue, Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #354 (Dec. 1987).

The New Adventures of Superboy (1980-1984)

New Adventures of Superboy #1 (Jan. 1980): Superboy (Kal-El) and his supporting cast: Chief Parker, Lana Lang, Pete Ross, and Martha & Jonathan Kent. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger and Dick Giordano.

The second series was actually titled The New Adventures of Superboy. It was launched to provide readers with monthly Smallville-based Superboy tales,[17] which largely disappeared after the Legion became co-stars of the original Superboy title. The series continued monthly publication for a total of 54 issues, with virtually all issues being pencilled by longtime Lois Lane artist Kurt Schaffenberger.[18] Issue #50 (Feb. 1984) featured a Legion of Super-Heroes guest appearance with Keith Giffen splitting the story's art duties with Schaffenberger.[19]

Superboy Spectacular #1 (cover dated March 1980) was DC's first direct sales-only title.[20][21]

Briefly, the series also included "Dial H for Hero" back-up feature which told the story of Christopher King and Victoria Grant, two teenagers who could change into a variety of super heroes based on reader submissions. The feature was originally presented in Adventure Comics, but moved to Superboy shortly after Adventure Comics ended its run as a monthly comic.

Volume 2 (1989-1991)

The third series (Volume 2) is different from other Superman or Superboy titles in that it is set in the continuity of the Superboy television series, as opposed to the regular DC Universe. Its intent was to explore some of the unseen tales and events that the TV series could not. The series originally carried the cover title Superboy: The Comic Book with issue #1 having a photo cover with the show's stars Gerard Christopher and Stacy Haiduk (dated Feb. 1990), although the title in the indicia was simply Superboy. After issue #11, the series changed its cover title to The Adventures of Superboy, a change reflected in the indicia beginning with #18.[22] The series was published monthly until it went bi-monthly for its final three issues, remained in publication for 22 issues to the end of 1991 (cover dated Feb. 1992), and a concluding one issue special in 1992.

Volume 3 (1994-2002)

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, the original Superboy was erased from mainstream DC continuity, with Superman beginning his superhero career as an adult in his early twenties. In 1993, DC Comics began "Reign of the Supermen", the third arc of its "The Death of Superman" storyline. The prelude to this arc, The Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993), introduced a new Superboy.[23] A hybrid clone of Superman and a human male, the character (eventually named "Kon-El") was given his own title[24] (Volume 3), which ran for 102 issues (including #0 and #1,000,000). Knockout first appeared in issue #1 and became a recurring antagonist for Superboy.[25]

For a portion of this period, Kon-El also appeared in the companion title Superboy and the Ravers, which ran for 19 issues.

Volume 4 (2010-2011)

A new Superboy series starring Kon-El debuted with a January 2011 cover date, initially written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Pier Gallo.[26] In this series, Kon-El, living under the secret identity of Conner Kent, lives with Martha Kent and Krypto in Smallville, the town he protects as the second Superboy.

Superboy vol. 4 ended as a result of DC Comics relaunching their entire line of comics in September 2011.[27]

Volume 5 (2011-2014)

As part of The New 52 relaunch in September 2011, the Superboy series began with a new first issue.[28] This new series was written by Scott Lobdell and is drawn by R. B. Silva and Rob Lean. Lobdell noted in an interview that Superboy "was created by Project Cadmus from the cells of Lex Luthor and Superman in the event anything ever happened to Superman. None of that has changed."[28] Tom DeFalco began scripting the series over Lobdell's plots with issue #6 (April 2012) and became the full writer with issue #12 (October 2012).[29] The series was cancelled with issue #34 (October 2014).[30]

Collected editions

See also


  1. ^ Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Superboy #1 - Superboy had been making appearances as a lead feature in Adventure Comics since early 1946, but he finally debuted in his own series with this issue. 
  2. ^ Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 64: "Superboy #8 introduced a toddler version of the Man of Steel. In a story written by Bill Finger and drawn by Curt Swan..."
  3. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "The Saga of Superboy Remembrance of Things Past". DC Comics : Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch Press. p. 89. ISBN 0-8212-2076-4. 
  4. ^ Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 65: "Superboy met the girl next door in Superboy #10, when the spunky redhead Lana Lang made her first appearance. In a story written by Bill Finger, with art by John Sikela, Lana quickly became infatuated with her Smallville neighbor, Clark Kent."
  5. ^ Coleman, Jerry (w), Sikela, John (p), Sikela, John (i). "The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse" Superboy 65 (June 1958)
  6. ^ Nagorski, Alex (May 24, 2012). "Superman Family Adventures: Character Descriptions". DC Comics. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "A book-length story by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp took up the entirety of Superboy #68. Bizarro was a copy of the Boy of Steel, created by a malfunctioning prototype duplicator ray."
  8. ^ Coates, John (1999). "Art Index". The Art of Nick Cardy. Coates Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 1-887591-22-2. 
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1970s" in Dolan, p. 151: "After more than a year as Murphy Anderson's background inker, Dave Cockrum landed his big DC break as the Legion of Super-Heroes artist ... Cockrum's debut story, which was written by Cary Bates, quickly established an exciting new vibe for the super-team."
  10. ^ Bates, Cary (w), Cockrum, Dave (p), Anderson, Murphy (i). "The One-Shot Hero!" Superboy 195 (June 1973)
  11. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 159: "Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel became the first Legionnaires to tie the knot. The wedding planners were writer Cary Bates and artist Dave Cockrum."
  12. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 160 "With the unenviable task of replacing the departing Dave Cockrum, one of the most popular artists ever to draw the Legion of Super-Heroes, Mike Grell's first issue on Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes killed off one of the team's most beloved members."
  13. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 172: "[The Legion] recruited the young Dawnstar from the Legion Academy in a story by scribe Paul Levitz and artist James Sherman."
  14. ^ Levitz, Paul (w), Sherman, James (p), Rubinstein, Josef (i). "Words Never Spoken!" Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes 236 (February 1978)
  15. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 178: "[Paul Levitz] demonstrated his great affinity for the Legion...when he and artist James Sherman waged "Earthwar".
  16. ^ Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide (1249): 132, DC Special Series planned...Superboy/Legion giant [was] split into a two-parter published in...Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes #250-251 (Apr. and May 79). 
  17. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 186 "After recently departing the pages of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superboy was free to pursue his own this premiere issue written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger."
  18. ^ Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 1-893905-61-6. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Dan (October 2013). "Making the Teen (of Steel) Scene: The New Adventures of Superboy". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (68): 22–23. 
  20. ^ 'Superboy Spectacular' at the Grand Comics Database
  21. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 454. ISBN 978-3-8365-1981-6. In a further effort to find new distribution, a Superboy Spectacular was produced for Random House's in-school book club program and offered to comic shops but not newsstands. 
  22. ^ 'The Adventures of Superboy' at the Grand Comics Database
  23. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 259: "The issue also featured four teaser comics that introduced a group of contenders all vying for the Superman name...A cloned Superboy escaped captivity in a yarn by writer Karl Kesel and artist Tom Grummett."
  24. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 265: "Superboy set up camp in picturesque Hawaii in his new ongoing title written by Karl Kesel and with art by Tom Grummett."
  25. ^ Kesel, Karl (w), Grummett, Tom (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Trouble in Paradise" Superboy v3, 1 (February 1994)
  26. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (May 14, 2010). "Jeff Lemire on Superboy Ongoing: "The Best of Two Worlds"". Newsarama. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  27. ^ Melrose, Kevin (May 31, 2011). "DC Announces Post-Flashpoint Details, Relaunches All Titles". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Campbell, Josie (July 5, 2011). "Lobdell Gets Angsty with Teen Titans & Superboy". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  29. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (July 24, 2012). "Superboy's New Writer Says We Don't Know if He's 'Good'". Newsarama. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012. I've scripted a number of issues. I was originally brought in because Scott Lobdell was juggling so many different assignments that he needed a little assistance in order to catch up. 
  30. ^ Ching, Albert (May 19, 2014). "Six DC Titles to End in August, Including Birds of Prey and Superboy". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. 

External links