Superman is more than just a pop icon, his character is a direct link to an American way of life. He is a reminder of the bygone spirit of the USA, an ideology that we always wonder about when our country forgets to live up to it.

Best of all, he’s an export. A sentinel of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” brandishing a red and yellow emblem that is recognizable across the globe.

For that reason, no person should be without Superman. Fortunately, the recent decades have had plenty of avenues to properly re-introduce the character to the uninitiated. But they weren’t in the movies or on TV (sorry, Smallville fans), no…they were exclusively in the comic books.

If you’ve ever wondered why people feel so strongly about that cornball superhero, the answers lie in the following five titles. This is…5 Superman Comics For People Who Think Superman is Corny.

5. It’s A Bird…
Writer Steven T. Seagle and painter Teddy Kristiansen give us a very offbeat take on the Man of Steel.
Seagle opens up about his own experience writing for an American icon.  His initial disregard for the character turns into true understanding as he ends up using the strength of the fictional hero to lift up his spirits during a personal bout with Huntington’s disease.

It’s very meta. But more importantly, it’s the type of character dissection that really brings you to the heart of what Superman is supposed to mean.

4. Luthor
Lex Luthor. His name is nearly as synonymous as Superman and heroism. But what makes him such an important part of the mythos? Writer Brian Azzarello knows, and he invites us to see things completely from Lex’s perspective in Luthor.

The layers that can be found within the arch-nemesis of arch-nemesis are many, and Azzarello uses that to makes a strong argument for Luthor. Hell, you might even find yourself secretly rooting him on after this.

3. Superman: The Last Son
The movie that Superman Returns should have been.

If it turns out that you enjoy Superman: The Movie and Superman II as much as Bryan Singer, this straight-up superhero adventure is right for you. Written by fan-favorite Geoff Johns with director Richard Donner, this blockbuster-styled graphic novel officially introduces General Zod and crew to modern comics.

A new last son of Krypton arrives to Earth. This young alien boy is instantly rescued by Superman from the clutches of big government. For the first time ever, Superman is now on the other side of the law.
To make matters worse, the incarcerated General Zod and his fellow Phantom Zone inmates land on Earth in similar pods across the globe. What seems like proof that Superman isn’t alone in the universe turns out to be a full scale Kryptonian prison riot – with Earth as the prison.

Bonus: Some copies come with 3D glasses for the Phantom Zone sequence. Amazon
2. Kingdom Come
Alex Ross’ amazing painted images and Kurt Busiek’s lively imagination give birth to one of the crown jewels of any comics collection.

A new breed of ruthless and careless superheroes have taken up the mantle. The difference between the good guys and the bad guys has drastically narrowed and Earth’s three biggest powers (Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman) have hung up their tights.

What happened to the man of tomorrow? Did he turn his back on humanity or did humanity turn their back on him? When did the golden vigilante, Magog, take over Metropolis, and what series of events put all of Earth’s greatest superheroes into retirement. More importantly, how bad will it have to get to bring Superman out of retirement? Answer: Pretty bad.

1.All-Star Superman
Like all great stories, All-Star Superman is simple yet full of emotion.
This Technicolor dream introduces us to a decaying Superman. Ironically enough, the sun — his power source — is killing him. Naturally, Lex Luthor had a little something to do with it but the Man of Steel’s greatest challenge isn’t that megalomaniac, it’s the guarantee of his earthly legacy. He just wants to know if we’ve learned anything from him.
Humble as always, even Superman doesn’t know in the end. He’s too busy crossing off his list of final things to do.