Immonen Week, Day 3: Seeing Superman in Red & Blue

After seven years of active work in and around the comic industry, in 1995 Stuart Immonen’s career really began to take hold. After doing a years-long run on DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes and a sprinkling of other small projects at both DC and Marvel he seemed poised for his first big shot at a top tier character – and let’s just say it was ‘super’.

After doing two fill-in issues of Superman with writer Dan Jurgens back in the summer of 1994, DC Comics’ Editorial gave him and writer/inker Karl Kesel a shot with a run on Adventures of Superman (a retitled version of the long-running Superman series). Beginning with February 1995’s #520, Kesel and Immonen took on the then-longlocked Superman for a thirty-issue run that led to the duo working on DC’s 1996 event series Final Night and afterward into the revamping of Superman into the beleaguered “Superman Blue / Superman Red” change.

At the same time he was cranking out the monthly adventures of Superman, Immonen found time to moonlight across town at Marvel with an issue of What If…? (#76, “What if Peter Parker Had To Invent Spider-Man?) and the Tom Brevoort-edited Spider-Man/Gen13 crossover OGN in 1996.

As one of DC’s primary artists, Immonen’s career was on fire and led him to branch out to writing comics. After doing small efforts in anthologies and one-shots, Immonen’s first real effort was writing and drawing the four-issue series Inferno which took a Legion of Super-Heroes character into her own series. Immonen’s writing depicted the former superhero trying to live as a normal person, even venturing into the idea of being homeless and finding herself. In addition to the story, it saw Immonen branching out into design with his cover treatments which borrowed from magazine covers of the time. Sadly, this four-issue series hasn't been collected.

In addition to Inferno, Immonen also got a Superman series of his own as he took on a twenty-issue run of Action Comics beginning with October 1997’s #738. Immonen became a part of DC’s braintrust of Superman writers at the time, but with him both writing and drawing each issue (although sometimes with an assist from the likes of a young Mark Millar). Immonen took on Action Comics at the height of the “Superman Red / Superman Blue” era and dealing with guiding a dramatically different Superman than anyone – comics fans or the mainstream public – could imagine.

In the final days of the 1990s, Immonen was at the peak of his career thus-far. In just over ten years, he’d gone from self-publishing comics out of his native Toronto to drawing (and writing) the most popular character in comics history. He was handling one of the biggest workloads in comics, but that immense amount of work allowed Immonen to evolve at a break-neck pace and begin to make more instinctual choices instead of laboring over pages and stories. Although comics were in a downturn in the late 90s, it’s these years that really forged Immonen’s talents and work ethic for the years to come and pushed him to what he was about to do next.

Here's a selection of covers Immonen did over these years of 1995 – 1999.





Check out the rest of Immonen Week:

Day 1: New Kid on the Block
Day 2: Big Two Beginnings
Day 4: We Have Ignition!
Day 5: The Two Sides of Stuart Immonen


  1. Holy crap i remember that What if? it was awesome. and i remember liking the art in superman at that time as well. had no idea it was immonen. these article are amazing. i’d love more of these for other artists

  2. That was a great What If…? It has PP as kind of a gadgety Doctor Octopus looking character if I remember right. Way before Iron Spider.

  3. @ResurrectionFlan  thats exactly it. man it was awesome

  4. Between the Superman books and Final Night, this was the era when I became a big fan of Immonen.

  5. I’ve wanted to read Final Night for years. I can’t believe that such an important part of Hal Jordans past has been out of print for so long.

  6. For some reason I really didn’t like his art during this period. His figures during his time on Superman struck me as very stiff. While I still much prefer his current style, I am more appreciative of that old Superman stuff. Love that cover to Adventures 525.

  7. Wow. So when I was a kid, and I saw a poster of the Blue Superman on the LCS in my mall, that was an Immonen drawing! Small world.