Superman: All the Anniversaries

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Superman has been running, under one title or another, since 1939. This week, it reaches its gala 700th issue; here’s a little history of its previous anniversary issues.

July 1948: In Superman #53, the “tenth anniversary issue” (ten years and a month since Superman had first appeared in Action Comics #1, at any rate), writer Bill Finger and artists Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye revisit and expand on Superman’s origin. On the radio: Peggy Lee’s “Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me).”

September 1955: Superman–initially a quarterly series, then bimonthly, and by this point published eight times a year–reaches issue #100. The stories on the inside are the usual cheery eight-pagers; one of them is called “Superman–Substitute Teacher.” On the radio: Georgia Gibbs’ “Dance With Me Henry.”

October 1967: Superman #200, by writer Cary Bates and artist Wayne Boring, is an out-of-continuity “imaginary story” (in the words of Alan Moore: “aren’t they all?”). Nothing is particularly anniversary-issue-ish about it. By now, Superman is still published eight times a year, not counting a few bonus 80-page reprint specials. (One of them, the following summer’s Superman #207, has a cover celebrating Kal-El’s thirtieth anniversary in show biz; nothin’ but reprints on the inside, though.) On the radio: the Association’s “Windy.”

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June 1976: The now-monthly Superman celebrates its 300th issue with another “imaginary story,” once again written by Bates (this time with Elliott S! Maggin) and drawn by Curt Swan and Bob Oksner. The plot concerns baby Kal-El landing on Earth just in time for the Bicentennial, narrowly averting a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1990, and returning to the public eye in 2001. On the radio: the Miracles’ “Love Machine.”

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