77 years ago - Non-Ek is born on Krypton to the science caste.
62 years ago - 15-year-old Non joins the Kryptonian science elite.
56 years ago - 21-year-old Non and all the Kryptonians across the galaxy are recalled to Krypton after a tragic hyperspatial accident sends an entire planet into the phantom zone. He first has Jor-El as a student.
53 years ago - 24-year-old Non publicizes the findings of his colleague Jor-El, plunging the Kryptonian population into panic.
48 years ago - 29-year-old Non, in a last-ditch effort to defeat the Kryptonian High Counsel, subjects himself to an ancient Kryptonian retro-virus to become a hybrid war-golum.
47 years ago - 30-year-old Non is captured and has his mind wiped by the Kryptonian ruling counsel.
46 years ago - 31-year-old Non Dru-Zod, & Faora-Ul, the worst criminals of the rebellion, are sentenced to imprisonment in the phantom zone.
10 years ago - 31-year-old Non, Dru-Zod & Faora-Ul are released from the phantom zone by Superman, and they battle Kal-El & Krypto. Hhe & Faora-Ul follow Dru-Zod as he begins to establish their rule over humanity.They are stopped by the combined efforts of Superman & Lex Luthor, who kills Non.
There is a long history of phantom zone criminals in the pages of Superman and Superboy, but generally speaking they are dangerously clever bad guys. I don't think there were many of them that were presented as just big, dumb dangerous monsters. Non was a completely orignal character in the Richard Donner Superman movie, and every time he appears in the comics it's a direct reference to Donner's version of the phantom zone criminals
Non's Comic History
Non appeared for the very first time in comcis pages in Geoff Johns and Richard Donner's reintroduction of the classic version of the character. Johns has a real tallent for retroactively rethinking characters (that can sometimes get him into hot water when he tries to fix what isn't already broken,) but in the case of Non he found a very clever way to present him. Rather than just being a hulking brute Kryptonian, Non had in fact been one of the great scientists of Krypton, a contemporary of Superman's father, Jor-El. He participated in Zod's revolt against the Kryptonian high counsel, and was then lobotomized, explaining his status as a hulking monster. It adds a certain element of tragedy to Non in particular and to the whole idea of Zod's rebellion in general. Later comics by Johns when he brought back a whole slew of Kryptonian characters actually made Non loyal to Clark. That's the sort of thing we're trying to avoid, but it shows just how innovated this reimagining of the character was.
Our Non Story
We did two things with Non that expanded on his depiction in the comics, First, we got more in-depth with just what his role was in the Kryptonian rebellion. He was technically Jor-El's teacher within the Kryptonian Science Elite, and as such was within his right to reveal Jor-El's findings regarding the coming destruction of their planet, but then he went on to ally with Zod in an attempt to overthrow the Ruiling Counsel... but where he truely overstepped was when he actually used an ancient kryptonian biological weapon to make himself a hybrid war-gollum. Anyone paying very close attention might recognize the mention of an ancient Kryptonian biological weapon as a reference to Doomsday. The idea was that this was the bio-weapon that ancient kryptonian scientists were developing when they created Doomsday before condemning him to space. (I also like using inherently Jewish ideas like a 'gollum' in reference to Superman. His creators were Jewish, and there are already a LOT of Jewish references within his mythology, so adding more always feels appropriate.)
Second, we actually depict Non's death. We wanted to show Lex Luthor getting involved in some of Clark's greatest battles, and to have him stand up in defence of humanity against a Kryptonian invasion feels entirely correct.
Non's role within the larger story of Superman has expanded in modern comics, as they've been more aggessive with the use of Kryptonian characters besides Clark himself. He's been seen in military uniforms and a variety of armor styles. And then of course, there's the classic look from Richard Donner's Superman movies where actor and former boxer Jack O'Halloran got to look scary as heck in his flowing v-neck jumpsuit.
Our version of the character, of course, only truely has one appearance, during the inital escape of the phantom zone criminals and Zod's attempt to rule humanity. While there are a lot of options for just how these characters look, we've been choosing to have them wear the costumes designed by Adam Kubert for Geoff Johns and Richard Donner's story last Son: jumpsuits with coats and goggles. This means we won't ever see any of his armored costumes. Still, his role in the overall story of Superman isn't really about what he does NOW, it's about the role he played in the history of Krypton and it's eventual destruction.