The silver age of comics, roughly from 1956-1969, was a bastion of some of the most beautifully strange stories ever told in the medium. One of the notable characteristics of this period was just how often Superman would – in wrestling terminology – turn heel and become a source of grief for our heroes and their pals. This progressed to a point that there is an entire webpage devoted to examples of his “superdickery” But was it really that bad?
Stick it to the man
In the years before Superman got his movie and had a sort of spiritual rebirth in the public consciousness, the character had a long and rich history of finding interesting solutions to intractable problems. Even in the golden age, he would do things like destroying factories that made sub-standard automobiles and knocking down tenement buildings to foil slumlords.
If you say that this sounds like the actions of a super villain instead of that of a hero you get a gold star on your homework. However, it was part of his established character as he rolled into the golden age of comics to use his vast powers in service of very grounded concerns.
Superman is blessed with a large and vibrant supporting cast of characters, including a few who had their own comics at one point. Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane’s comics were notorious for featuring Superman on the cover doing awful things, mostly so that his pals could slap both cheeks like Kevin from Home Alone and exclaim their disbelief.
However, most of these issues had some sort of explanation for this behavior that was usually the result of a nefarious plot by a villain or just a good old fashioned prime-time sitcom misunderstanding. Except for that time that he was going to let Batman be burned at the stake. That was them fighting over a girl, and all is fair in love and war.
Who am I kidding? Super Man was really a jerk in the silver age, but it made us laugh and isn’t that why they are called comic books? For more great issues featuring the misadventures of the Man of Steel click here and see our wide selection of Superman back issue comics for sale.