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The 50 greatest Superman moments

Hollywoodland

The Moment: The so-called curse of Superman claimed many victims, amongst them George Reeves, star of the 1950s TV show The Adventures Of Superman but dead from a gunshot wound at the age of 45 (Suicide or murder?). 2006 movie Hollywoodland sifts the evidence.

Why It's Great: For all of the excitement Superman has generated on the page or onscreen, he's proved to be just as much of a lightning rod for real-life intrigue.

Barbarians At The Planet

The Moment: Will Lois Lane marry Lex Luthor? Will Clark reveal his true feelings for Lois? And who just tried to blow up the Daily Planet?

Why It's Great: The two-part finale of the first season of The New Adventures Of Superman demonstrates just how well Superman translates to the slow burn of episodic telly.

The Wedding

The Moment: About time. Nearly 60 years after they first met, Lois Lane marries Clark Kent.

Why It's Great: A genuine event in the comic book world, DC invited just about every past and present Superman artist who was still alive to contribute to the issue.

Bicycle Repair Man

The Moment: This 1969 sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus imagined a world populated by Supermen, but where one had a secret identity - the overall-wearing, vehicle-fixing Bicycle Repair Man.

Why It's Great: Britain doesn't really do superheroes, but if we did, the Pythons' smart, ironic idea is probably how they'd look.

Baby and Brando

The Moment: At the beginning of Superman: The Movie, Jor-El explains his rationale for sending his son to Earth and gives a moving farewell: "All that I have, all that I've learned, everything I feel, all this and more I...I bequeath you, my son."

Why It's Great: Marlon Brando's bank-busting cameo was early warning of the seriousness and sincerity with which Richard Donner would bring the Man of Steel to the big screen.

All-Star Superman

The Moment: This twelve-book series from 2006 to 2008 saw a dying Superman confront Lex Luthor one last time, with the latter reduced to a tearful Epiphany when he is forced to see the world through Superman's eyes.

Why It's Great: Grant Morrison counter-intuitively reckoned that, if Superman really was omnipotent, he wouldn't be a lantern-jawed hardbody but a chilled-out dude untouched by his Hercules-inspired labours.

Burned

The Moment: Lois finally discovers the truth in Superman 2, as Clark trips and puts his hand into a fire... but is unharmed. "You ARE Superman!" she exclaims.

Why It's Great: Amidst the Earth-threatening chaos of Zod's invasion, the biggest revelation in the film is also one of its smallest scenes, a lovely grace note that reminds us the story is all about the characters.

Reckoning

The Moment: The 100th episode of Smallville hit viewers with a double-whammy: not only does Clark Kent reveal his superpowers to Lana Lang, but his adopted dad Jonathan dies of a heart attack.

Why It's Great: Five seasons into Smallville, there's a pain and resonance to Jonathan's death that really means something, marking the next stage in Clark's character growth.

Speeding Bullets

The Moment: What if baby Kal-El was discovered and adopted by Thomas and Martha Wayne? Superman and Batman would be as one - that's the premise of this Elseworlds one-off.

Why It's Great: A Bruce Wayne with superpowers? It's the very apex of superhero fanboy fantasy.

Crisis On Infinite Earths

The Moment: Several different forms of Superman - not to mention various permutations of Lex Luthor, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest - unite to prevent a threat to destroy the entire Multiverse in this iconic 1985 comic series.

Why It's Great: Like a radical form of spring cleaning, DC Comics took every character and continuity problem it had built up over 50 years and wiped the slate clean so that a single Superman could continue in the comics.