by Ryan Rigley
Superman is and has always been one of the most recognizable comic book characters of all time. From the blue spandex to that trademark spit curl, the Man of Steel has stood as a symbol of justice and a beacon of hope for 75 years now. However, there have been multiple incarnations of Superman throughout history.
Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” is the latest, and perhaps greatest, iteration of Superman in recent memory. Before that, Kal-El was brought to life by Brandon Routh in Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” And before that… well, you get the idea. Much like the films, Superman has actually had multiple incarnations in the DC comic book universe as well, most of which only exist in alternate universes. Check out these variant Supermen!
Mark Millar’s celebrated Elseworlds mini-series “Superman: Red Son” depicts what our world would have become if Kal-El’s spaceship crash landed in the Soviet Union as opposed to the United States. Basically, the focus on the Cold War shifts from nuclear weapons to superhumans with the United States employing Lex Luthor to do everything in his power to stop the Communist Kal-L once and for all.
On Earth-10, which is under the complete and utter control of the Nazi Party, Superman is known as Overman and supports the Nazi ideals of genetic purity. He primarily speaks German, being that the Nazi Party of this universe won World War II, and sports a huge swastika on his chest in place of that trademark “S.” Overman is also the leader of the JL-Axis, a Nazi-themed version of the Justice League.
A 200,000 year old artifact of the original Krypton, the Eradicator is a living weapon created by an alien race with the sole purpose of destroying anything that is not of Kryptonian heritage. During “Reign of the Supermen,” the Eradicator uses Kal-El’s body as a power source and subsequently believes himself to be the real Superman. These actions would eventually teach the Eradicator humility, sacrificing himself in order to restore the original Kal-El’s powers.
After Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday, several new Supermen emerged in Metropolis all claiming to be the original. Utilizing the knowledge gained from the real Superman’s birthing matrix, Hank Henshaw constructs a body genetically identical to the actual Superman with the intentions of destroying his reputation. Currently, the Cyborg Superman acts as a recurring enemy for Green Lantern as one of the Sinestro Corps’ most prominent members.
The leader of the evil Crime Syndicate of America on Earth-3, Ultraman hails from a universe where all of our world’s superheroes exist purely as supervillains. Unlike Superman, Ultraman only gets stronger when exposed to kryptonite. Also, the Krypton of his universe never exploded. Basically, Ultraman is the polar opposite of Superman, killing his opponents on a whim whenever he gets the opportunity.
Which alternate Superman would you like to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!