Superman is an incredibly versatile character. Not only does he pair well with so many DC characters, but he's also actually stepped into their shoes a few times. Yes, the Man of Steel has hung up the blue and red several times in his comic book tenure, opting instead for costumes and personalities more familiar to other DC comic celebrities.
Since we love Superman and all of his alter egos, we thought we might list those for you right here. So hang up your capes and "S" symbols (or hope or whatever), because here comes 10 times Superman has become other DC heroes (and villains).
Before you ask, yes, Frankenstein is a part of the DC Universe. (We know, it’s technically Frankenstein’s monster.) Fans might remember him from his exploits with the Justice League Dark or Agents of S.H.A.D.E., another supernatural evil-battling team in DC Comics. However, what even some of the biggest DC fans might not know is that Superman himself once became a resurrected beast like Frank.
In the comic, The Superman Monster, a scientist named Victor Luther finds a spaceship containing a dead infant in 19th-century England. He resurrects the child, raising it as his own super-powered monster. Not only is this a fun little gothic tale, it’s accompanied by another alternate-reality Frankenstein story, in which a young scientist named Bruce Wayne brings his dead father back to life. Check them both out.
Bruce Timm's Justice League Unlimited features some of the best appearances of DC Comics characters outside of the comic books themselves. And one of those character appearances is Boston Brand, AKA Deadman. With the power to temporarily possess loving people, Deadman at one point takes possession of Superman’s body.
Though he outwardly appeared to be the Man of Steel, Boston has taken complete control of his mental functions. This was a good thing too, because Deadman had something important to warn the Justice League about, and something coming out of Superman’s mouth carries a lot more weight than a message from a ghost. Especially an occasionally annoying ghost.
Frankenstein isn’t the only legendary figure to work his way into DC Comics lore. In one alternate reality tale, the baby called Kal-El grows up in medieval England as a blacksmith. When his country is threatened, Kal forges a suit of armor out of the ship in which he crashed to Earth.
Not only that, Kal creates an unbreakable sword that earns him a reputation as a leader among his people. That sword, as you can probably imagine, is called Excalibur.
Now we come to a tale that is considered canon in the DC mythos. (Although, isn’t everything canon in a world of infinite realities? Yes, we watch Rick and Morty.) During a recent story arc, the Joker comes back to Gotham after years of absence to wreak havoc on Batman’s closest allies.
One of the ways he does that is by transferring his consciousness into that of the JLA. And of course, one of the people he controls is Superman. The image of Superman with a Joker grin is a particularly frightening one from recent DC Comics, although it’s not without a match. If you’re wondering what we’re talking about, then you should really read up on The Batman Who Laughs.
Technically, Clark Kent never puts on the sexy catsuit that Dick Grayson wears in his second superhero identity. However, it was Superman that started going by “Nightwing” first.
In the Silver Age of Comics, Superman found himself powerless in a simulated Kryptonian environment. To continue fighting crime, Supes took on a bunch of Kryptonian gadgetry and rebranded himself “Nightwing.” It would be several years until the first Robin stole the name. Seems unfair, right?
In an alternate reality of the Injustice video game/comic series, Superman doesn’t actually take on the name “Sinestro.” However, in every other way but name, he becomes the character. He uses a yellow ring to control a planet through fear, becoming a leading member of the Sinestro Corps.
If the Sinestro Corps had titles in the same way that the “Green Lanterns” do, we would have just called Injustice Superman that. But since Sinestro is just so obsessed with his brand, we decided to just go with that.
Speaking of Green Lanterns, the alternate reality story Last Son of Earth departs wildly from the canon DC narrative. Not only does Superman take the Green Lantern mantle, he actually has Kryptonian heritage. Kal-El was rocketed to Krypton from Earth in this story.
He grows up with the assistance of a robotic suit, but maintains the spirit and determination that makes Superman Superman. Thus, when a Green Lantern ring goes looking for a new host, it picks the Last Son of Earth, a boy once named Clark Kent.
In the massive crossover event Multiversity, DC Comics combined the origins of two characters into one. These were Etrigan the Demon and Superman, resulting in an Etrigan that called himself “Superdemon.”
Superdemon came to earth from a magical realm based in Arthurian legend, and now fights for truth, Justice, and the American way. He’s not as handsome as the Superman we’re all used to, but he is pretty powerful, and a great ally for the heroes of his reality.
Possibly one of the most interesting alternate reality tales in DC’s Elseworlds line of stories, this comic asks the simple question, “What if Superman were Batman?” To answer this question, Speeding Bullets tells the story of a Kal-El found by the Waynes instead of the Kents, who becomes a super-powered vigilante after seeing his parents murdered in front of him.
Check out this story not just for its interesting premise, but for the sweet design of that Batman outfit. Who knew a Batman and Superman symbol could mash together so well?
Santa Claus is a canon addition to both the Marvel and DC comic book universes. And in a one-shot comic from 2006, Superman himself actually puts on the red coat and beard to make a child believe in the magic of Christmas. You might think this is sort of a silly way for Superman to spend his time, but it’s also a testament to just how good of a character he can be. Superman does what’s right on a large scale and a small scale. And we love him for it.
Did we forget any times that Superman took on the identity other DC characters? If so, which was it? Let us know in the comments section below!