DC Comics Presents was a DC Comics comic book starring Superman and a series of guest stars in team-up stories during The Bronze Age of Comic Books, surviving the mass cancellation of titles known as the "DC Implosion". The series lasted for 97 issues, a respectable run by modern standards, from 1978 to 1986. It was canceled during DC's first mass relaunch (after the Crisis on Infinite Earths) but the Action Comics series then became the new Superman team-up book for a while.
Notable events from the series:
- The ultimate Superman/The Flash race (to the very End of Time) in issues #1-2.
- The introduction of Ambush Bug, first as a recurring villain and then as a guest star himself.
- War World: The introduction of major Superman foe Mongul (a Thanos Captain Ersatz, even co-created by Thanos' creator.)
- Two team-ups with Swamp Thing, one of them -The Jungle Line- written by Alan Moore.
- He-Man, with the introduction of the Prince Adam identity.
- The introduction of Superwoman (as her own character and not an identity for Lois Lane.)
- Two team-up stories with... Clark Kent?
- Similarly, a team-up with the original Superboy (i.e. himself!)
- A team-up with Santa Claus (All Just a Dream... Or Was It a Dream?)
- The formal introduction of the Global Guardians (from the Superfriends comic) into the DC Universe.
- The introduction of Superboy-Prime (not yet an insane menace) as a tie-in for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- A team-up with O.M.A.C. (also via Time Travel), his last appearance before the COIE reboot.
- The very last Pre-Crisis Superman story -and an epilogue to The Phantom Zone mini-series-, in the final issue of the series. (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, published afterward, was later declared to be set in a parallel universe.)
The New Teen Titans also launched in this series, but in an insert story where Superman was not involved.
As part of their 2011 relaunch, the series was brought back, this time under the name DC Universe Presents. It was an anthology series, with each arc featuring a different DC character(s).
Tropes in DC Comics Presents include:
- Always Someone Better: In issue #47 "From Eternia With Death!", a Masters of the Universe crossover, it is shown that Superman is stronger than He-Man. Superman may be weak to magic, but if he can dodge magical attacks, then he can easily defeat even the likes of Skeletor.
- Captured on Purpose: In issue #5, Superman and Aquaman find someone has instigated war between Poseidonis and Tritonis. Needing to speak with the ruling council of Tritonis, they initially start fighting the guards before realizing it'd be easier to surrender and be led there as prisoners. (As it turns out, Ocean Master had usurped the Tritonians and was leading both sides into war.)
- Depending on the Writer: Most of the original series' stories were OK, but some had Superman acting way Out of Character, like during his fight with Martian Manhunter.
- Lampshaded in The Spectre issue (#29)- the Spectre calls Superman on his unusually brash behavior in the previous few issues.
- The series had no regular writer or artist, resulting in the style of each issue varying wildly. YMMV on whether that was a good or bad thing.
- Fully Absorbed Finale: The crossover with the Prince Gavyn Starman was basically a wrap-up for his canceled series (in the anthology series Adventure Comics) — and it featured Mongul too. In fact, given it was drawn by Jim Starlin, it could be considered an homage to Starlin's work on Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel.)
- Growing Up Sucks: In the issue that featured Harbinger, Lady Quark, and Pariah, Harbinger laments having grown up on board the Monitor's satellite without having the chance to experience life as an Earth woman.
- The Joy of X: The "Whatever Happened To …" backups.
- Planetary Core Manipulation: In #24, a villain named Mr. Genarian attempts to cure his heart condition by using a pacemaker-style device to link his heartbeat to the rhythm of the Earth's core. However, this backfires when instead of regulating his heartbeat, it gives the planet a series of 'heart attacks', causing global earthquakes. It is down to Superman and Deadman to save the day.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Given how powerful Superman is, especially Pre-Crisis, some stories had to get creative to justify the other heroes' participation or ability to fend for themselves against the Man of Steel.
- Standalone Episode: The original series did not have much continuity between issues. Of course, comics were different back then, and the Story Arc and Decompressed Comics were much rarer. There were exceptions, though, such as a three-issue story that introduced Mongul and Warworld (co-starring Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, and The Spectre); a two-part story involving Superman's Secret-Keeper Pete Ross, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and... Superboy? (the original one, back when he was Clark's past self in the future); a two-parter where Mxyzptlk and Mr. Mind teamed up to torment Superman and Captain Marvel; and the Origin Story of Superboy-Prime and how he gained his powers and met Superman.
- Team-Up Series: Superman teams up with guest stars.
- You Can't Fight Fate: A variation, in the Kamandi issue. Kamandi, having traveled back to Superman's era, begs him to prevent the cataclysm that produced his future dystopia. But of course, Superman has been to the future repeatedly (in his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes), and recognizes that Kamandi's world is a divergent timeline and there's nothing Superman can do in his own present to affect it.