Superman first appeared in “Action Comics” No. 1 in 1938. And now, 80 years and 999 issues later, “Action Comics” No. 1,000 has arrived. That’s a lot of action!
DC Comics celebrated by expanding “Action Comics” No. 1,000 to 80 pages (available now), featuring 10 covers and 10 stories by an all-star lineup of writers and artists. While the first nine stories are celebratory, the 10th is revelatory, with superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis (fresh from rival Marvel Comics) beginning his run on the Man of Tomorrow by introducing a mystery about Krypton’s destruction. Bendis’ story will continue in a six-issue, weekly “Man of Steel” miniseries, followed by a relaunch of “Superman” and, of course, “Action Comics” No. 1001.
Here are seven fun facts to know and tell about “Action Comics”:
1. While Superman gets all the headlines, there was another important character introduced in “Action Comics” No. 1 who has had equal longevity: Lois Lane. Inspired by movie reporter Torchy Blaine, Lois was smart and career-oriented — a rare type of female character in the 1930s, whose presence inarguably contributed to the Man of Steel’s success.
2. “Action Comics” isn’t the first American title to reach 1,000 issues — that honor goes to Dell’s “Four Color,” which ran 1,365 issues from 1942 to 1965.
3. While “Action” is the first DC title to reach issue No. 1,000, it is not the publisher’s longest-running title. “Detective Comics” debuted in 1937, beating “Action” by a year. Batman debuted in 1939, giving “Detective” a star that would carry it to the present. But “Action” stole a march on its older brother, going weekly for roughly a year, beginning in May 1988. “Detective” will hit issue No. 1,000 in 2019.
4. The publisher of “Action Comics” No. 1 was officially named National Allied Publications. Most fans at the time, though, knew the company as “DC.” That was because those initials were on every National book’s cover, identifying it as being from the same publisher as the popular “Detective Comics.” In 1977, the company finally acknowledged reality and officially changed its name to DC Comics Inc.
5. Three other popular features joined “Action” over the years, and became somewhat identified with the title: Vigilante (a Western-themed hero), Congo Bill (a jungle explorer) and Tommy Tomorrow (a cop in the future).
6. In 1991, Clark Kent revealed his secret identity to Lois Lane. This revelation has waffled back and forth through various reboots, but by and large it has stuck. The current versions of Superman and Lois Lane are married, with a son named Jon.
7. In 2011, DC Comics rebooted their superhero universe, including Superman. Changes included renumbering “Action Comics,” with issue No. 904 followed by a new “Action Comics” No. 1. Fortunately, this decision was reversed when “Action Comics” (second series) No. 52 was followed with “Action Comics” No. 957 in 2016.