Don't you just love comic books?
It's kind of like the Transformer movies. Just when you thought the men behind the curtain were going to run out of ideas, they go and find something else to write about.
Sometimes you're left thinking, “Wow! What a great story line!” And other times, you wonder what the writers were smoking and where you can get some.
Here are some of the alternate versions of Kal-El worked, and some where it seemed like the writers were playing a game of “puff, puff, write.”
Superman: A Nation Divided
This story throws Superman into the Civil War. His name is Atticus Kent (best Civil War name ever!), and he goes off to fight against the Confederacy. Surviving a cannonball to the chest helps him realize there's more to him than meets the eye!
Sorry, wrong fantasy world.
In this timeline, for whatever reason, Kal-El's ship arrives on earth a little later than planned, and Superman ends up being found and raised by the Russians. Instead of fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, he fights for the socialism!
Instead of just being a few hours late, Krypton being destroyed a millennium earlier caused Superman to end up crashing and growing up in the middle ages. He becomes a blacksmith, falls in love with Lady Loisse, and makes a suit of armor for Baron Luthor out of the metal from his spaceship.
The Superman Monster
This is where it stops being halfway believable, and starts getting funky.
In this version, it's 1888, and young Victor Luthor has just been kicked out of college for conducting strange experiments. He witness a rocket falling from the sky, carrying the corpse (yes, corpse) of the infant Kal-El. He revives him, but creates a monster in the process. It's alive, and it's...weird!
Superman: Speeding Bullets
Imagine a world where Kal-El and his ship are found by Thomas and Martha Wayne, who name him named Bruce. One night, the Waynes are killed, but the young Bruce incinerates them with his laser eyes. Years later, he becomes...you got it. The Batman! Lex is disfigured instead of the Joker, and Lois Lane convinces Batman that he needs to dress brighter and cheer people up, so Superman is born.
Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle
Instead of Kansas, Superman lands in the jungle in this Elseworlds tale. It twists Tarzan's backstory too, where Lord Greystoke never actually gets lost in the jungle, but Superman grows up there with the gorillas. Greystoke goes on an expedition into the jungle, and finds Supes. Once there, Greystoke actually stays and lives among the critters, and Superman moves to the city.
Superman: True Brit
When his ship crashes in Weston-super-Mare instead of Kansas, Colin Clark is found and raised by his adoptive parents.
Sorry, I can't write any more...I'm absolutely in awe of his suit!
JLA: Shogun of Steel
A JLA Elseworlds tale instead of just a Superman tale, this involves Supes with a sword, and other Japanese versions of the Flash, Batgirl, Hawkman and others.
JLA: The Nail
This is quite possibly the perfect story to end this list with.
These two words will forever change the way you look at the world:
A nail actually alters the story of Superman in this three issue comic series from the 1998 JLA Elseworlds stories. The Kents get a flat tire caused by said nail, and never find the spaceship. Baby Kal-El is found by an Amish couple, and raised as their son. He grows up knowing about his powers, but refused the worldly urge to used them. Or something like that. Without Superman, the Justice League is a sorry mess, and seems to cause more trouble than they fix. The story actually gets kind of dark, too. In the end, an insane super-powered Jimmy Olsen (who got his powers from DNA taken from Kal-El's ship but none other than Lex Luthor), is fighting Batman near Kal's farm. A farmer tries to stop him, but Jimmy incinerates him with his heat vision. Or tries to; the farmer is Kal. Jimmy tries to get Kal to join him, but Kal refuses, and Jimmy incinerates Kal's adoptive parents. Kal and Jimmy fight, Jimmy dies, and Superman joins the JLA.
Oh, and at some point, Batman killed the Joker by snapping his neck.