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Superboy is the name of several American comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring characters of the same name. The first three Superboy titles feature the original Superboy, the underaged version of the legendary hero Superman. Later series feature the second Superboy, who is a partial clone of Superman.
The first series featured the original Superboy, a teenage incarnation of the Man of Steel. It began publication in 1949, 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. 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." The supporting cast included Superboy's adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent, his over-inquisitive classmate and neighbor Lana Lang, 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), inspired a similar character created by writer Art Baltazar in 2012. Bizarro debuted in Superboy #68 (Oct. 1958). 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). In 1962, Superboy was the second best selling comic book in the United States, surpassed only by Superman in sales.
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. Dave Cockrum began drawing the Legion feature with issue #184 (April 1972), again increasing the team's popularity. Wildfire made his first appearance as ERG-1 in the Legion back-up feature in issue #195. 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). Issues #202 (June 1974) and #205 (Dec. 1974) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format. Cockrum was replaced on art by Mike Grell as of issue #203 (August 1974) which featured the death of Invisible Kid. 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). 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. Writer Paul Levitz and artists James Sherman and Joe Staton crafted "Earthwar" a five-issue storyline in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241–245 (July–Nov. 1978). 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. 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 second series was actually titled The New Adventures of Superboy. It was launched to provide readers with monthly Smallville-based Superboy tales, which had largely disappeared after the Legion became co-stars of the original Superboy title, before re-emerging for brief stints in Adventure Comics and Superman Family between 1977-1979. The series continued monthly publication for a total of 54 issues, with virtually all issues being pencilled by longtime Lois Lane artist Kurt Schaffenberger. Issue #50 (Feb. 1984) featured a Legion of Super-Heroes guest appearance with Keith Giffen splitting the story's art duties with Schaffenberger.
Superboy Spectacular #1 (cover dated March 1980) was DC's first direct sales-only title.
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.
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 (as the original Superboy was erased from mainstream DC continuity after the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, with Superman beginning his superhero career as an adult). 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. 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.
A new Superboy was introduced in The Adventures of Superman #500 (June 1993), the prelude to the third arc "Reign of the Supermen" in the storyline "The Death of Superman". Originally established as a human clone genetically altered to imitate Superman's powers, created by Project Cadmus, the new Superboy became the focus of The Adventures of Superman, written by Karl Kesel and pencilled by Tom Grummett. The character was then given his own title wherein he became the resident superhero of Hawaii; Kesel and Grummett carried over as the series' first creative team, and also retained Superboy's supporting cast including love interest Tana Moon, unscrupulous agent Rex Leech and his daughter Roxy, and fellow Cadmus creation Dubbilex. Knockout first appeared in issue #1 (cover dated Feb. 1994) and became a recurring antagonist for Superboy. During this time, Superboy also became an honorary member of the Legion of Super-Heroes during one of the team's journeys to the present day. Kesel and Grummett departed the series after issue #30.
Subsequently, the series was mainly written by Ron Marz and Barbara Kesel; pencillers included Ramon Bernado, Sal Buscema and Georges Jeanty. During this period, Superboy also appeared in the companion title Superboy and the Ravers, which ran for 19 issues.
Kesel and Grummett returned to the series with issue #50. The creative team's second run saw major status quo shifts, including Superboy moving away from Hawaii and becoming employed by Project Cadmus, and the introduction of new regular supporting characters including Dr Serling Roquette, Mickey Cannon, and Guardian. Superboy was also finally given a real name, Kon-El. Kesel and Grummett's second run concluded with issue #79.
A new regular creative team of writer Joe Kelly and penciller Pascal Ferry began on the series with issue #83; Eddie Berganza began as co-writer with issue #87. The creative team changed again in issue #94, with the new writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti & Dan DiDio and penciller John McCrea; this run saw Kon-El move to an apartment building in the Suicide Slum section of Metropolis, with an entirely new supporting cast and set of street-level villains. The series was cancelled at issue #100 (with Kesel and Grummett returning for the prologue section of the finale; cover dated July 2002), having run for 102 issues altogether including #0 and #1,000,000.
A new Superboy series starring Kon-El debuted with a January 2011 cover date, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Pier Gallo. In the intervening time between series, Kon-El had been retconned to be the hybrid clone of Superman and Lex Luthor; Clark Kent's history as the original Superboy had also been restored to the main DC continuity. 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.
As part of The New 52 relaunch in September 2011, the Superboy series began with a new first issue. This new series was written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by R. B. Silva and Rob Lean. It began with a new origin story for Kon-El where he was created by the secret organisation N.O.W.H.E.R.E. as a "living weapon", in a manner similar to the origin of Superboy from the then-ongoing Young Justice cartoon. 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). Kon-El's genetic donor in the new continuity was originally left ambiguous and hinted to be the same as before the reboot, but was eventually revealed to be Jon Lane Kent, the villainous future son of Superman and Lois Lane.
Justin Jordan became the new series writer with issue #20. Kon-El was seemingly killed in the crossover story "Krypton Returns"; beginning with issue #26 under new writer Marv Wolfman, Jon Lane Kent became the new series protagonist. Aaron Kuder took over as writer with issue #30. The series was cancelled with issue #34 (October 2014), with Kon-El returning in the finale.
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.
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).
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.
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.