Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Death of Superman: TPB

In a time when dead meant dead (or so we thought until about a year later) DC dared to kill the most well known comic book hero ever. Based on a joke during a planning session, the Superman team decided that the world had taken the untouchable guardian for granted, and so...they killed him.

In 1992 Superman would meet, put down, and die at the hands of the strongest character he had ever faced in Doomsday. The Death of Superman tpb collected the breakout of Doomsday (from the earth) and the eventual battle between the monster and the man of steel. As the issues, starting at the Adventures of Superman #497, moved forward both the battle intensified and the panels per page reduced from 4, to 3, to 2, and final to one panel per page in the 22 page climax, Superman #75.

Superman gave his life to end Doomsday's destruction and died in the arms of his fiance, Lois Lane. Following Superman's death was the arch "Funeral for a Friend", which explored a world without Superman, and next by "Reign of the Superman". The latter introduced 4 pretender Supermen whom were all eventually replaced when the real Superman returned from death.

My father gave me this book as a gift for my birthday in 1992. It was the first tpb, or any type of collection, I had ever read. Though I was a Marvel fan I was still human and understood the importance of Superman. I saw the movies and understood that he was the most famous Superhero in comics. The death of this icon really felt powerful to me as a young child. No one could kill Superman! Yet the symbol was down and the impact on comics and me had been made.

Many readers of about my age can recall this event very well. It was in the news and one of the first comic books to cross the publishing gap with fan interest. I myself will occasionally purchase a DC superhero title based on this strong showing by Roger Stern and the Superman trust.

Looking back it is actually quite funny that Superman died at the hands of what he was most known for brute strength and power. I guess I always thought it would involve kryptonite or Mister Mxyzptlk. Crazy imp. The classic comic collection and bold iconic story telling of The Death of Superman makes it the comic of the day.


Shane Houghton said...

I definitely remember reading this when growing up. At my local library, they had a cassette audio book version that I would always check out for family road trips. It had sound effects and a full voice cast. It was intense and awesome and made those road trips into the perfect comic book adventure.

Dom said...

Was Doomsday's voice done by Vin Diesel? His performance as the Iron Giant in..."The Iron Giant" was spot on. Deep, robotic, emotionless voice. A true actor's actor.