Superman has been around for over 80 years, and in that time he’s made friends with the strangest characters in all comic book history. Beyond that, Kal-El has also become close companions with the most unlikely people fans could imagine, including characters who were previously the deadliest villains in Superman’s rogues’ gallery.
If these friendships prove anything, it’s that Superman is one of the most forgiving, most amiable, and most hopeful characters around. All of these things definitely apply to Superman, although with some of the friendships he’s had throughout the years, even the Man of Steel may have had to think twice about them.
10 Lex Luthor
Considering Lex Luthor is often thought of as Superman’s greatest enemy, and the person that hates Superman more than anything else in existence, it’s funny how often the two of them have ended up as friends. Throughout various reboots, and including the ever-popular Smallville TV series, Clark Kent and Lex Luthor are portrayed as having grown up together in Smallville until their different personalities pushed them apart. For a long time in the recent New 52 comics, Lex Luthor became a full member of the Justice League, even if Superman didn’t always trust him. In the Injustice series of games and comics, the corrupt Superman and Lex have always been best friends, until Superman goes too far with his Regime and Lex tries to kill him. It’s a friendship that’s doomed from the start.
9 The Quik Bunny
Out of all of Superman’s strangest crossovers in comics, they don’t come more bizarre and surprising than sharing a drink of tasty Nesquik with the corporation’s rabbit mascot. Made as part of a promotional tie-in comic by DC and Nestlé, and written by “Death of Superman” writer Mike Carlin, “Superman Meets The Quik Bunny” features Superman, the Quik Bunny, and the Quik Qlub kids thwarting Flash foe the Weather Wizard. After this, the friends challenge each other to a Nesquik drinking contest, although it’s hard to imagine any of them beating Superman.
8 Mr. Mxyzptlk
The trickster imp from the fifth dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk is the very definition of a strange friendship. That’s even if fans discount the fact that Mxyzptlk is one of the most powerful beings in DC Comics history, able to create anything he wants out of thin air.
It’s more the point that Mxyzptlk seems to live to torment Superman, putting him through an extreme parade of terrible or mischievous events, and yet still considers himself a friend to Superman. During the events of the Injustice videogame comics, for example, Mxyzptlk went out of his way to protect Superman, even if it meant dooming all of reality to do it.
7 Beppo The Monkey
While Krypto the Superdog is the most famous animal friend of Superman, there are actually a lot of super-powered animal companions between Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy comics. Out of all of these, Superman’s pal Beppo the Monkey is by far the most ridiculous. Created in 1959, Beppo is actually Kryptonian (as apparently Krypton has identical monkeys to Earth) and stowed away aboard the infant Kal-El’s pod when it was sent to Earth. Beppo has the same range of powers Superman has, and they were great friends when he was a kid, before Beppo went off to join the Legion of Super-Pets.
6 Lori Lemaris
The Silver Age of comics in the ’60s is well-known for leaning more into wacky kid-friendly stories than the slightly more serious adventures that came before and after this time period. All of this explains why Superman had a friendship, and later a relationship, with a mermaid in 1959. Lori Lemaris (another in the long line of Superman characters with the initials ‘L.L.’) is a mermaid from the undersea city of Tritonis, which is part of Aquaman’s kingdom of Atlantis. Clark and Lori met at Metropolis University, where she appeared to be human, but after turning down his marriage proposal Clark discovered the truth about her being a mermaid. Lori’s appeared a few times since, where her status as an old flame of Clark’s has put a strain on his relationship with Lois Lane.
5 Bibbo Bibbowski
Considering himself both Superman’s friend and greatest fan, Bibbo Bibbowski is a tough bartender who gained respect for Superman after he tried to take the Man of Steel in a fight – which he lost, obviously. He’s been one of Superman’s biggest supporters ever since, and has occasionally even helped Clark Kent with various stories. Bibbo even attempts to help Superman in the fight with Doomsday that killed him, to no avail. Apart from being a recurring character on Superman: The Animated Series, Bibbo most recently had a cameo appearance in Man of Steel where he was played by Bruce Bohne.
4 Ambush Bug
The silliest and most intentionally absurd character in DC Comics is Ambush Bug, otherwise known as Irwin Schwab. Ambush Bug is a character who breaks the fourth wall regularly and whose main superpower is the ability to transport anywhere in the Multiverse.
He occasionally tries to be a villain, but more often styles himself as a hero and a friend of Superman, all of which equally annoys the Man of Steel. He also immediately saw through Superman’s Clark Kent disguise and outright mocked other people for not seeing that it’s just a pair of glasses.
3 Captain Strong
Captain Strong was introduced in Action Comics 421 in February 1973, fast becoming a friend of both Superman and Clark Kent but never realizing they were the same person. However, the main reason this friendship is so unusual is that Captain Strong is actually a thinly-veiled parody of Popeye, complete with versions of Olive Oyl, Bluto, Wimpy, and Poopdeck Pappy. His “spinach” is actually an extraterrestrial seaweed that gives him super-human strength, and it had harmful effects too, leading to Superman having to put him down and take him to hospital. They became firm friends after that, even if he didn’t appear in too many Superman comics after the ’70s.
2 Space Canine Patrol Agents
Created as a parody of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the 31st Century team of teenage heroes that both Superman and Supergirl have been a part of at one time or another, the Space Canine Patrol Agents first met Kal-El in July 1966. Their roster includes Paws Pooch (who can grow extra legs), Tail Terrier (who has a rope-like elastic tail), Chameleon Collie (a shapeshifter), and Hot Dog (a pyrokinetic). While they’ve only made a few appearances, they were friends with Superman long before they met their more natural ally, Krypto the Superdog.
While always starting off as a villain to Superman, his flawed genetic mirror-copy Bizarro regularly ends up as an anti-hero and a weirdly close friend of Superman’s. After he created a full world of Bizarros he often looked for Superman’s help with problems. In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman was the one who helped give Bizarro his own world, and Superman often tried to help him when the likes of Mxyzptlk lied to him. Despite being literal opposites in every way, Superman and Bizarro have a surprisingly tight friendship, until someone messes up Bizarro and they start fighting each other again.