At the start of the 70s, the Super-titles consisted of Action Comics, Superman, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Superboy and Adventure Comics (starring Supergirl). These were all being edited by Mort Weisinger, except Superboy which he’d left in 1968. Weisinger was also editing World’s Finest. Superman also appeared in Justice League of America.
Weisinger left his titles in 1970, and they were handed to different editors. The styles used varied. Action Comics was given to Murray Boltinoff, and Superman to Julie Schwartz, but they used the same art team (Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson) and one of the same writers (Cary Bates). Before too long Schwartz took over Action. By the 80s Julie Schwartz was editing everything Superman-related except World’s Finest and Justice League of America.
Supergirl graduated into her own series, and Adventure ceased to be a Super-book for a while. Later Superboy’s feature was temporarily moved back there.
In 1974 Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl and Lois Lane were merged into Superman Family. Initially Jimmy, Lois and Supergirl alternated in the lead slot and were backed with reprints. Later the reprints were dropped and the title carried a mix of features. In 1982 the title was cancelled and Supergirl got a new title, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (later just Supergirl).
The Legion of Super-Heroes had been appearing in the back of Action, but lost its place there when Weisinger departed. In 1973 Superboy was converted into a Legion title. The comic’s official title eventually became Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. In 1979 Superboy was dropped and the title became Legion of Super-Heroes.
Along the way the solo Superboy feature was revived for Adventure Comics, and then moved for a short period into Superman Family. In 1979 he got his own title, The New Adventures of Superboy.
When Weisinger left World’s Finest it was inherited by Schwartz and converted into a Superman team-up title. On Schwartz’s departure it became a Superman and Batman book again, although some of the stories were super-sons tales. Bob Haney wrote the Superman/Batman feature into 1979 and gave it its own distinct feel, although his writing is not to everyone's taste. After Haney left the title was more pedestrian.
In 1978 a new Superman team-up title, DC Comics Presents, was introduced. The title didn’t use a regular creative team, so all kinds of things appeared there.
Many of the Lois, Jimmy and Supergirl stories of the 70s and 80s have a second-team feel, although such writers as Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin also worked on them. I’m fond of the Leo Dorfman/Kurt Schaffenberger Jimmy Olsen stories from Jimmy Olsen and Superman Family, which depict Jimmy as very capable and have a light touch. After Superman Family's cancellation Lois appeared in back-ups in Supergirl's comic.
Some features spent some time as back-ups in Superman’s main titles and some time in Superman Family. Some of the "The Private Life of Clark Kent" and "The Fabulous World of Krypton" stories were very good. I like the "Mr. And Mrs. Superman" series, about the married Clark and Lois of Earth Two in the 50s. A very amusing Krypto series by Bob Toomey appeared in Superman Family. Superman Family also ran some decent Superman stories by Gerry Conway. The back-ups in the Super-titles of the 80s were often weak.
Beginning with World of Krypton in 1979 DC also published a few Superman mini-series. World of Krypton, about the adventures of Jor-El, wasn't very good, but The Krypton Chronicles, about the history of Krypton traced through Superman's family, has great charm. Steve Gerber and Gene Colan did a surreal and downbeat The Phantom Zone mini.
A post on what went on in Superman’s own feature to follow.
Seems like the Kirby influence on Superman has become more pronounced as the years have gone by. Probably due to fans turning pro and tapping into the stuff they read as kids.
Just to clarify my point on Kirby and Superman - I always viewed Kirby's Jimmy Olsen assignment as pretty trivial. "Hey Jack, while you're working on New Gods can you bang out a few issues of Superman's Pal...?". Whereas, it would have been a major statement to the comic book world if Jack had been asked to reinvigorate the company's flagship title. And if Superman was Kirby's sole focus for a year, prior to moving onto the Fourth World, who knows where he may have taken the Man of Steel. At the very least we might have avoided the whole Goody Rickles storyline!
I've heard the story of Kirby not wanting to cost anyone their job by taking on Superman, which is probably true, but at the same time it allowed Kirby to avoid dealing with the baggage of a thirty year old character and the micro management that very well would have come along with it.
And yet Kirby's Superman was redrawn by Al Plastino to conform to their standards so why give him the main title for all that ?