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Fond Memories: Death of Superman

Remembering the first time I read the book

The year was 1993, and I was just a young lad of 11 years who read comics at random. I never picked up issues in sequential order. I picked up comics by how cool the cover was. I remember hearing on the news one morning that in issue #75 of Superman, Superman would die at the hands of Doomsday. This was national news. People lined up around the block at local comic book stores to pick this single issue up. It was a giant moment in comic book history. I never got my hands on that issue, but I did get a copy of the trade paperback collecting 7 issues that lead up to Superman's death. It was the first trade I ever picked up.
 
When it came to comics at that time, I had one thing on my mind, since I was 11, "How much will this be worth in the future." Many of my first memories came from the Reagan administration, so can you blame me? Aside from the potential future value of the book, I was introduced to many characters I never heard of because I mainly read Marvel comics at the time, and all of this because of JLA #68, part 5 of the story. It was a new world for me, and it was incredibly interesting. It was my first introduction to Ted Kord, Booster Gold, and most importantly Guy Gardner. Three characters I'd fall in love with all over again in my mid-twenties. It was also my introduction to Dan Jurgens, and the first time I remember truly being excited for a comic.
== TEASER ==
Knowing the title was called "The Death of Superman" didn't mean I wasn't excited and on the edge of my seat for the ending of the book. For me, it was more of a question (or rather a bunch of questions) of "who could beat Superman? How could this happen? How will the world react afterwords?" I never thought a super-hero could die, let alone the greatest of the all, Superman. For me, since I had never seen a death this large in comic books prior, this book was a revelation for me. No one was safe, not even the man of steel. It was brutal for its time, and being that I was a kid who loved 80s action films, this was perfect for me. The last two issues were nothing but super-intense fight scenes and lots of black blood. (darn you comics code authority!) This was the first time I remember reading a book back-to-back. As soon as I got through Superman #75, it was right back to the beginning of the issue to start all over. That's how much I enjoyed it.
 
It was also the first time I started reading single issues monthly. After Superman's death, I continued onward with Funeral for a Friend and the Reign of Superman. (Go Hank Henshaw go!) It opened the door for myself, as well as many other people, to DC Comics and got many of us hooked in for life. It was my first trade and my first favorite story. It will forever be one of my fondest comic book memories. 
 
17 years later (oh man, it's been that long? I feel old), I still pick it up from time-to-time and give it the old read through. Yes, the book is simply one big gimmick, but I still really enjoy the story. It really speaks for its time and the generation of kids growing up. Nothing says loving like too brutes punching each other in the face. What about you guys? Do you remember this book? What are your memories about it?
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Posted by Shadowdoggy

damn, 17 years? Really???? 
well, if hanging out here didn't do it already, I sure a sh!t feel old now  
such a great story though 
I remember them introducing Steel, Superboy, Cyborg Superman and Eradicator on this great 4 panel page and I thought......"wow, new SuperMEN!" 
we see how long that lasted 
great post though 
good times
Posted by Crimson Eagle

I remember when I found out that Superman died. I was shocked.

So I bought the trade paperback of the death and return of Superman. Up to this day I also take a look at it from timt to time.

Posted by ugli

In Houston, we actually got mailed a free copy with our newspaper and funny enough, I happened to stumble across it the other day.
 
 Ah, good times.. 

Posted by inferiorego
@Shadowdoggy said:
" damn, 17 years? Really???? well, if hanging out here didn't do it already, I sure a sh!t feel old now  such a great story though I remember them introducing Steel, Superboy, Cyborg Superman and Eradicator on this great 4 panel page and I thought......"wow, new SuperMEN!" we see how long that lasted great post though good times "
Superboy and Cyborg Superman are still around quite a bit though. Steel hasn't really been around since Countdown and 52, and I can't even begin to tell you what happened to Eradicator. Cyborg Superman was pretty lame, but he works out great as a Green Lantern villain for some reason.
Staff
Posted by darkwolverineUSMC

I remeber my cousin bying it for me, really before I even started collecting comics. I never liked D.C. But I remember that it came in some plastic wrap with his symbol on it bleeding. It also had some band you could wear around your arm, a poster. I gave it away to my cousin when I was 13. That's when I really started collecting hard core, and also when I realized I was strictly a Marvel sort of man.

Posted by goldenkey

I remember standing in line and getting a copy that was not the black bagged one.  There was this kid in line also who told me had a copy being held for him at another comic shop, and since I was about 8 people in line in front of him once I got mine I went to the other comic store, said his name and got another copy of the unbagged as well as a bagged copy.  I never like the kid and he approached me about it at school and I beat him up for lying.  At least thats what I told the teacher that grabbed when I was pounding the poor kid.  I was such an asshole in school.  The kid never got his death of Superman and caught an ass whoopin.  Poor kid. 
Edited by Shadowdoggy
@inferiorego:
oh yeah, I totally appreciate that story arc just for sheer sake of Kon-el  
who I usually enjoy 
and yeah....where the hell is Steel? 
he just sort of went away, as far as I can see remember  
I know his daughter replaced him and then someone else 
but didn't he (Irons) come back from the dead? 
hmmm 
very strange 
and I don't really miss Eradicator
he can stay missing
Posted by ComicMan24

I was about 5 when this came out., so I don't remember anyone talking about it, I don't even know if they talked about it here. I haven't read it yet but I would like to.

Online
Posted by ComicMan24
@Shadowdoggy: Eradicator is in the Outsiders now and I think Steel appeared recently where he fought Atlas.
Online
Posted by Shadowdoggy
@ComicMan24:
wow, thanks! 
you're so knowledgeable
Posted by KingsCastle

Wow has it really been 17 years...you're making me feel really old now too. :-p Death of Superman was also the storyline that pulled me in too. I have a lot of fond memories of it myself. I  loved the Reign of the Supermen story arc as well and remember thinking how cool it was that there with 4 Supermen each looking really unique. At the time kids in my school were really speculating hard about each of the 4 Supermen and which was the real one only to discover that none of them were the actual one. I remember looking at the Steel artwork and thinking there was a robot Superman out there. ^_^; The story hooked me all the way up to Superman's return and I even  the Steel and Superboy solo series for a long time afterwards. Definitely one of the most enjoyable period of comics for me. ^_^ 

Posted by Shadowdoggy
@KingsCastle:
totally agreed 
those were definitely my "comic book hey day"
Posted by inferiorego
@ComicMan24 said:
" @Shadowdoggy: Eradicator is in the Outsiders now and I think Steel appeared recently where he fought Atlas. "
I completely forgot about that! but I don't remember seeing him in the book since issue 30 (two issues ago). He's used very sparingly it seems.
Staff
Posted by ComicMan24
@Shadowdoggy said:
" @ComicMan24: wow, thanks! you're so knowledgeable "
No problem.
Online
Posted by ComicMan24
@inferiorego said:
" @ComicMan24 said:
" @Shadowdoggy: Eradicator is in the Outsiders now and I think Steel appeared recently where he fought Atlas. "
I completely forgot about that! but I don't remember seeing him in the book since issue 30 (two issues ago). He's used very sparingly it seems. "
Most probably. Hasn't the team split? Maybe that is a reason.
Online
Posted by inferiorego
@ComicMan24 said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @ComicMan24 said:
" @Shadowdoggy: Eradicator is in the Outsiders now and I think Steel appeared recently where he fought Atlas. "
I completely forgot about that! but I don't remember seeing him in the book since issue 30 (two issues ago). He's used very sparingly it seems. "
Most probably. Hasn't the team split? Maybe that is a reason. "
I'm so in and out of that book. It's hard to keep track. Not one of my favorites, even though I really like Didio and Tan
Staff
Posted by ArtisticNeedham

I remember that.  My brother had the large book, collecting it all.  Then they had this major event of bringing in the 4 Supermen.  I had two, Eradicator and Superboy, and my brother had the other two, Steel and Cyborg Superman.  We even got this big poster too with them all on it.  I remember worrying that they would sell out or something, like I might miss this whole thing.

Posted by ComicMan24
@inferiorego said:
" @ComicMan24 said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @ComicMan24 said:
" @Shadowdoggy: Eradicator is in the Outsiders now and I think Steel appeared recently where he fought Atlas. "
I completely forgot about that! but I don't remember seeing him in the book since issue 30 (two issues ago). He's used very sparingly it seems. "
Most probably. Hasn't the team split? Maybe that is a reason. "
I'm so in and out of that book. It's hard to keep track. Not one of my favorites, even though I really like Didio and Tan "
I'm not reading it currently although I try to keep up with any recent developments.
Online
Posted by Nick-SV(ril)
@inferiorego said:
I really like Didio and Tan "
One of the reason I still keep checking it. I'm curious to see how this chaos on the team is gonna evolve. 

On topic though, that's for sure (if not the one) one of my favorite story arcs and all that followed. Of course I don't remember anything going around here, being so young and all that. And thats what actually motivated me to get that bloody version of the Superman logo as tattoo. Sad, but a gold piece in the history of Superman.
Posted by Brickabrack

I never thought for a second he would stay dead, even then. I still bought the trade.  It was a well done story, still one of my favorites.
 
When Batman "died" I thought back to this story and realized how poorly the "death" of Batman was done. It wasn't an event like Superman's "death". It was a footnote at the end of a mini-series. The death of Batman and Superman needs to be as big a deal as this book was, focused only on that character. Not some 3 page ending in something that isn't even a book about that character.

Posted by Joeybagad0nutz

I was 1 years old when this happened..... I was still staring at shining things at the time. It wasn't until a couple years ago I actually heard about this story.

Posted by inferiorego
@Brickabrack said:
"

I never thought for a second he would stay dead, even then. I still bought the trade.  It was a well done story, still one of my favorites.
 
When Batman "died" I thought back to this story and realized how poorly the "death" of Batman was done. It wasn't an event like Superman's "death". It was a footnote at the end of a mini-series. The death of Batman and Superman needs to be as big a deal as this book was, focused only on that character. Not some 3 page ending in something that isn't even a book about that character.

"
The difference between the two "deaths" is that although everyone in the comic universe thought Batman died, the reader knew right from when it happened that Batman didn't die. He was misplaced in time. When Superman died, everyone, including the reader, thought he was dead.
Staff
Posted by Brickabrack
@inferiorego said:
" @Brickabrack said:
"

I never thought for a second he would stay dead, even then. I still bought the trade.  It was a well done story, still one of my favorites.
 
When Batman "died" I thought back to this story and realized how poorly the "death" of Batman was done. It wasn't an event like Superman's "death". It was a footnote at the end of a mini-series. The death of Batman and Superman needs to be as big a deal as this book was, focused only on that character. Not some 3 page ending in something that isn't even a book about that character.

"
The difference between the two "deaths" is that although everyone in the comic universe thought Batman died, the reader knew right from when it happened that Batman didn't die. He was misplaced in time. When Superman died, everyone, including the reader, thought he was dead. "

Yeah good point, and I get that. But it was still a huge deal, they were taking a major character out of play for an undisclosed amount of time (at the time) and the impact of it was lessened because of how they chose to handle it. The action was Batman took out a god and sacrificed himself for it, but the delivery was he jumped in out of nowhere and was dead inside of the last portion of the mini-series.  
 
Compare that to Superman's action, which was to sacrifice himself defeating a world-wide threat. it was a big story and it was delivered well in his own comic, so he was the focus. Which is exactly how they should have handled what happened to Batman, with a lot more fanfair, irregardless of wether or not the reader picked up the hint at the end that Batman was stranded and not dead.  
 
I don't know, I guess I'm jut saying I admire how they handled Superman's "death" and it made me see how much better Batman's "death" could have been.
Posted by DeadlyWolverine

I hope he dies and never comes back.

Posted by Grimoire

I picked up Death of Superman, Rebirth of Superman, Knightfall, and Knightsend trades all at the same time back then. These were the reason I liked comics when I was younger. It's been some time since then an only recently have I started reading comics again. lol

Posted by inferiorego
@Brickabrack said:
" @inferiorego said:
" @Brickabrack said:
"

I never thought for a second he would stay dead, even then. I still bought the trade.  It was a well done story, still one of my favorites.
 
When Batman "died" I thought back to this story and realized how poorly the "death" of Batman was done. It wasn't an event like Superman's "death". It was a footnote at the end of a mini-series. The death of Batman and Superman needs to be as big a deal as this book was, focused only on that character. Not some 3 page ending in something that isn't even a book about that character.

"
The difference between the two "deaths" is that although everyone in the comic universe thought Batman died, the reader knew right from when it happened that Batman didn't die. He was misplaced in time. When Superman died, everyone, including the reader, thought he was dead. "
Yeah good point, and I get that. But it was still a huge deal, they were taking a major character out of play for an undisclosed amount of time (at the time) and the impact of it was lessened because of how they chose to handle it. The action was Batman took out a god and sacrificed himself for it, but the delivery was he jumped in out of nowhere and was dead inside of the last portion of the mini-series.   Compare that to Superman's action, which was to sacrifice himself defeating a world-wide threat. it was a big story and it was delivered well in his own comic, so he was the focus. Which is exactly how they should have handled what happened to Batman, with a lot more fanfair, irregardless of wether or not the reader picked up the hint at the end that Batman was stranded and not dead.   I don't know, I guess I'm jut saying I admire how they handled Superman's "death" and it made me see how much better Batman's "death" could have been. "
The problem with Batman's death was that you needed to be reading Detective Comics, Batman and now a two issue tie-in (Batman 701, and 702) to understand why this was going on. I personally don't mind it, but I'm 110% understand why people are frustrated with it
Staff
Posted by jakob187

I constantly think back to the time that Death of Superman happened.  Unfortunately, I was busy spending my money on the arcade and baseball cards, so I rarely had dough for comics...let alone REAL comics at a REAL comic book store.  Most of my comics were purchased in three packs at Wal-Mart or at the local dollar stores.  Therefore, I never got my hands on any of the real issues of Death of Superman.  My cousin, however, was hardcore into Superman and this was a HUGE deal for him.   
 
We'd go down to the comic store (Bankston's), and there was a huge line before they opened waiting for the next issue.  It was such a big deal that Supes was going to be killed.  He bought all the issues, and I remember that my brother and I would walk down the street to his house.  He would read them aloud to us (he and I were the same age, but our brothers were two years younger than us), and we were just huddled around reading this big event.  It was something we looked forward to each week. 
 
About two years ago, I bought the trade paperback and revisited that story arc.  It was a little different than I remembered it, but it was still an outstanding story that Dan Jurgens told.  The art was phenomenal, and that iconic panel of Lois holding Clark's limp body is still heartbreaking. 
 
Yeah...I miss events like that.  Hell, this makes me think back on Fatal Attractions and the shock that event gave me.  I need to go back and re-read that again.

Posted by rasx

That was also my first trade (suprisingly since I barely buy anything from DC except maybe Batman). 
But it was a good read, especially the scenes with Lois.

Edited by SirSparkington

I just read The Death of Superman trade. Its an entertaining read but Doomsday is a walking plot device if I've seen one.

Posted by blogblaster9

1993 eh? Thats when Godzilla died too ironicly
Posted by SupremoMaximo

Just started college.. My friend/room mate had been collecting and I went back to a comic book store for the first time in about 6 years...  Great times.

Posted by XFan616

Yes. This was a very good story. One of the few DC storylines I really liked. It would have had more affect on me if it'd lasted for awhile longer, though, as with all comic deaths.

Posted by inferiorego

I'll be revisting another comic from my childhood later this week... prepare for cringing!

Staff
Posted by Primmaster64

Superman...

Posted by Bald Eagle

I love how on rare occasions comic book stuff makes it in the main stream news like the Death of Superman.  How they pretend its a big deal when they know next to nothing of comics or could care less about comic books.  And when we all know its temporary.
Posted by cbishop

I'm really sorry Death of Superman was your introduction to so many DC heroes.  It was history making, no question, but it has got to be one of the worst stories ever written.  Death sold purely on the hype.  I waited for the trade (I was in my early twenties then), to read the entire story, and back-to-back, those issues were shockingly bad.  I mean, the dialogue on one of the splash pages of #75 was "Watch for falling glass!"  Really?  World Without a Superman and Reign of the Supermen were much better stories. 
 
Yes, I bought my copies of #75 - three of them.  I kept one for my collection, and traded the other two back to the store a week later, for twice what I paid for 'em - my plan to begin with.  The death issue will never be a big ticket collectable.  I'm glad it's a fond memory for so many of you, but it was really bad.

Posted by geraldthesloth
@inferiorego said:
" @Shadowdoggy said:
" damn, 17 years? Really???? well, if hanging out here didn't do it already, I sure a sh!t feel old now  such a great story though I remember them introducing Steel, Superboy, Cyborg Superman and Eradicator on this great 4 panel page and I thought......"wow, new SuperMEN!" we see how long that lasted great post though good times "
Superboy and Cyborg Superman are still around quite a bit though. Steel hasn't really been around since Countdown and 52, and I can't even begin to tell you what happened to Eradicator. Cyborg Superman was pretty lame, but he works out great as a Green Lantern villain for some reason. "
Eradicator is still around and actually doing good as a Kryptonian plot device.
Posted by Xangel

My story of comics is almost exactly like yours; picking up whatever had a cool cover or getting a random book from my dad on my birthday or some other special occasion.  Death of Superman was my first tpb; and they continue to be my favorite way of reading comics; you don't have to be as delicate with them, you get everything in one volume you can take anywhere instead of 7 fragile sleeves.  This story was great and I too remember worrying about the value. I actually have 2 copies of this trade, one for reading and one for the collection (not like you can't get a mint book for $4 on ebay these days, but still)!

Posted by Amegashita

  Saw a trade package for the Death and Return of Superman at the bookstore yesterday... Should have bought it...

Posted by Gothic Storm
@inferiorego:  Your first memories were from the Reagan administration? Alright, so doing the math... You were 11 in 1993 and that made you 5 or 6 years old at the end of the Reagan administration (I think... it's late here on the East Coast!). Wow, you must have an incredible memory! Seriously though, I have some great memories of my father who passed away when I was 6 so koodos to you. 
 
I can remember not having to fight with anyone at the counter of my local comic shop, since I purchased Superman #75 at a Toys 'R Us. I don't think they sale comics at Toys 'R Us anymore, although I haven't shopped there for comics in a long time. This issue was great and DC accomplished what it set out to do... It got comic fans of Marvel and Non-comic fans to buy it's product (I was a Marvel-only reader back then). I ended up going to the local comic store (Titan Comics) and purchasing several back issues... mainly to find out who the heck Doomsday was! Needless to say, I ended up doing the same thing when Bane broke Batman's back (who are these no-name villains anyway???).
Posted by sdtopdog

Ah yes, Superman #75 pure hype by Dc.  Kill out superman, yeah right.  Anyways, that issue came out in the fall of '92 I was comic book reading since junior high, and a recent grad of UCSD and no job prospect(the Clinton days!!).  It was my first week of work at Diamond Comics Dist. here in San Diego, and I remember picking up all 20,000 copies of superman with the warehouse crew at the airport(back then comics came out Tues and Thurs.)  We get calls from people saying could they get a copy(one lady said she need one for her dying kid).  Since we were a distributor, and not a retailer, we refer them to check out the local comic book store.  However, that comic was not the problem, it was Bloodshot #1 that came out the same day, and comics come from the printers in boxes of 200, and with its chromium cover that box of Bloodshot #1 seemed to weigh twice as heavy as opposed to the other comic titles.  BTW, some comic store in San Diego, had the great idea to order 8,000 copies of that Valiant comic!!!  Looking back, I read almost every DC title and some Marvel, all the Valiants, and some indies!!!  Comics were $1.25 back then and with my employee discount I could get a weekly stash of 10 -15 books and spend about $10!!!  Worked at Diamond comics for 2 years and basically saw the industry try to copy the ball card business and saw how crappy comic book become!!!  Especially all those supermans that came out after the comic book in question!!!  Just started reading and buying comics again this year, and went to my first comic con since '92, and as an old timer now, my advice is just read and enjoy what you like, there's so much variety out there!!!!

Posted by atomicrobo5

Oh how I remember seeing this on the news and having to answer stupid questions about how could Superman die.  For like a week being a comic book geek was horrible because everyone just assumed I read Superman and was a walking lexicon of information..and I should have taken bets about him coming back sooner rather than later...I would be rich!

Edited by cjhanz

dun dun dunn! GUY THE YELLOW LANTERN GARDENER And the rest of the jla  were (CURSE WORD!) KICK BUTT IN  SUPES DEATH


 

Posted by dadarkknight36310
@inferiorego: Steel was in the New Krypton saga lol
Edited by dadarkknight36310
@Brickabrack: Yeah but at the time the Superman books were not really selling and they were running out of ideas. If you watch the extras in the Superman/Doomsday dvd it goes ino detail about why they killed him off. Also their was not that many people that died in comics back then. Nowadays so many people die and come back in comics that its not as shocking anymore. We knew Bats was not dead especially after this cat just had a billion dollar movie. We knew Bruce would come back when they were getting ready to release the next film lol. Oh yeah if you ask me they already had did sort of a death of Batman story with knightfalls when Bane broke Bruces back. I remember reading that trade when I was younger and seeing how bats were slowing wearing out through his many battles to finally go up against bane himself. That whole panel of Batman being to weak to throw hard punch and having his back broke and thrown off a building had me at the edge of my seat lol
 
P.s. The death of Superman was my first tpb too(I have been in love with tpb since. I think that what made the book even greater not having to waits months for an issue to come out. I think that will be the best way to read Brightest Day. I guess that why I liked 52 so much because I read the tpb lol), my second was Batman versus Predator lol
Posted by Pizawle

I was 3.
 
 
Damn shame things like this have no real significance, though. And there is no point in them starting now because the damage is already irrevocably done.

Posted by spider-man 2996
@goldenkey said:
"I remember standing in line and getting a copy that was not the black bagged one.  There was this kid in line also who told me had a copy being held for him at another comic shop, and since I was about 8 people in line in front of him once I got mine I went to the other comic store, said his name and got another copy of the unbagged as well as a bagged copy.  I never like the kid and he approached me about it at school and I beat him up for lying.  At least thats what I told the teacher that grabbed when I was pounding the poor kid.  I was such an asshole in school.  The kid never got his death of Superman and caught an ass whoopin.  Poor kid.  "

THATS SO FUNNY TO DO TO THAT KID
Posted by imaginaryman

I never read this book don't know why, I know its famous and I know this happened
I don't think being 2 yrs. old at the time is enough reason for me to excuse myself of not reading this hehe... one I'll read it one day :D
 
can someone rate this book from 1-10, 1 is lowest , and 10 is highest
I just wanna know from your opinions how good you think it is

Posted by Eyz

I love the whole Death of Superman, Reign Of Supermen, Return of Superman and Superman Doomsday arc!
I had a bunch of separate issues back then, and rebought the great trade paperbacks DC put out around the 2000s.
It was long, epic and changed a lot of the status quo. (Superboy, kryptonians aspects, Coast City, etc..)

Posted by LiamRawson

I remember discussing this in the college bar (Kings College London), drinking pints of Newcastle Brown Ale - I was chatting with a good friend about this and how the comic would be worth a bomb. We set out the next day to find it - Surprise, surprise, had sold out as quick as the Flash. 
 
Remember my disappointment when looking at the awful TPB - The awful artwork, the dreadful story. Load of crap. Gave it to some random chap in the bar a few days later, told him to keep it. 
 
IMO Knightfall was a far better read.

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