I miss Bibbo.

§ August 27th, 2018 § Filed under death of superman, movie reviews § 6 Comments

Bibbo is, of course, the rough-hewn but good-hearted sailor who turns up in the Superman family of books shortly after the Byrne reboot in the mid-1980s. He was a semi-regular member of the supporting cast for quite a while, though his funnybook appearances have declined to a far more sporadic occurrence of late. However, he’s made it into DC’s newest attempt at adapting the “Death of Superman” to animation, in the aptly-named DVD/Blu-ray/digital release The Death of Superman.

Now, as compared to the original animated movie (discussed on this very website a mind-staggering eleven years ago), it hews much closer to the original comics, though seen through the lens of DC’s semi-New 52-ish continuity they’ve been painting onto these direct-to-home-video releases over the last few years. And this is probably the closest we’re going to get to whatever the New 52/Rebirth version of “Death of Superman” is, as it apparently existed in the new continuity (and was referenced in this interminable storyline that I don’t remember anything about aside from the terrible cover designs). Of course, now with the merging of the post-Byrne/pre-Flashpoint Superman with the New 52/Rebirth continuity, the original “Death of Superman” story is probably back in play, more or less, and…ugh, look, don’t get me started.

Anyway, this new cartoon corrects the main error of the original cartoon adaptation, in that Superman dies (um, SPOILER?) and is just straight up gone until the next movie eventually rolls around sometime in 2019, as opposed to his being gone for a few minutes in that first cartoon and then popping back up again. So yes, there will be at least the real world illusion of Superman being “gone” as we all patiently await the sequel. Not quite as effect as with the actual comic book event, where the Superman books continuied without any Superman in them, and even that brief hiatus in publishing his titles for that summer…quite the shocking turn of events after being used to weekly installments for the character.

We’ll also be getting, in that aforementioned sequel, the replacement Supermen (Steel, Superboy, Cyborg Superman, The Guy with the Weird Glasses), so it’s following the comics’ lead there as well. Also, this new movie had regular Lex Luthor, not Lex’s-brain-in-a-younger-clone-body-pretending-to-be-his-Australian-son Luthor which is a real strange artifact of weird subplotting at the time of the original event. (But still amusingly referenced in the film as a disguise worn by Luthoer.)

Speaking of strange artifacts, this costume just gets more and more dated:

…and with any luck maybe the payoff of the sequel will be Superman’s return to his classic costume. It’s so much of Its Time, and will only be remembered when people look back at this era of comics entertainment and say “man, remember that lame costume Superman was in? Who approved that idea?” It’s the Superman mullet of the modern day. Though it would be hilarious if the mullet shows up in the sequel. Would be comics-accurate, after all!

Despite all that, the costume isn’t that much of a distraction. Superman’s innate heroism shines through the story, and that’s the important bit. The movie is very action-packed, though with sufficient character moments to keep it from being entirely a brutal slugfest. And speaking of that, the cartoon certainly conveys just how brutal the battle is, and how outmatched all the rest of the Justice League is in their own attempts at slowing down Doomsday.

Overall, a nicely done film, I thought, and I look forward to the follow-up. But…in that one impact, where Superman slams into Doomsday with Lois Lane standing right there…I mean, that should’ve killed Lois, right? All those shockwaves they showeed and such? Lois was pretty much right there at the point of impact. …Anyway, nitpicking.

The special features are…okay, I guess. I think I was hoping for more background on the actual original event in the documentary, which you get a little of, but mostly it’s talk about the film and adaptation of the story elements from the original comics. Lots of Jon Bogdanove in there. And I suppose the doc on the first Doomsday DVD kinda covered the comics end of things sufficiently.

You also get a preview of the next movie, the one with all the faux Supermen in it, and you get a couple of Legion of Super-Heroes episodes from the TV series, featuring those weird redesigns I didn’t care for.

But enough about “Death of Superman,” let’s talk about…”Death of Superman,” as, due to a bit of fortuitous timing, my former boss Ralph brought me another box or three of old comics promo stuff from Long-Ago Times for me to poke through. And whaddya know, there’s some Death of Superman stuff located within. Such as, for example, these ads for t-shirts from Graphitti Designs (which you’ll have to click to enlarge in order to read ’em clearly):

Where was I? Behind the counter selling the darn comics, or managing the giant line of customers snaking through the store, that’s where I was.

“Wait, we still have regular ol’ Superman shirts to sell! Uh oh, how do we sell ’em?”


[slaps forehead] “Of course!”

Also click to embiggen this, so you can see the tastefully-muted Bloody S:

“The only card line to capture this incredible event…those bastards at Topps tried to get Superman’s death into their hockey cards, but NO GO, AMIGOS.”

While on the topic of tastefulness, here’s a slick provided by the publisher for our advertising convenience:

I wonder if the people I saw with that Bloody S tattooed on their arms still have ’em? (If I remember correctly, at least one celebrity Bloody-S-tattoo-haver had it covered up or removed.)

And here we go, the actual solicitation information from DC Comics for Superman #75, the actual Death issue…first, the blurb from the Coming Comics catalog cover for items releasing in January 1993:

One of the few instances where the publisher wasn’t kidding when they said “oh, yeah, actual real world media may be interested in this, so order lots.”

And here’s the issue’s solicitation itself:

I seem to remember ordering ten times our normal Superman numbers on this…”that should be more than enough,” we thought.

Oh, and here’s DC’s own t-shirt solicitation:

“QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED to however many millions our factories are phyiscally able to crank out.”

The event of course was so big, other publishers referenced it in their catalogs:

So there you go, more Death of Superman stuff than you can possibly stand, the latest installment in a long line of me talking about the same damn thing over and over again. But of course I’ll talk about it again when that second “Death of Superman” cartoon finally comes out, so get ready for that!

Besides, what else am I going to talk about?

I mean, honestly.

6 Responses to “I miss Bibbo.”

  • Nick says:

    I said ‘wait, what?!’ out loud to an otherwise empty room when Luthor Jr. made his ‘cameo’ in the new adaptation. Genuinely thought they were going for it, in explicably, if only for an instant.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    I actually would like to hear your thoughts on the whole Knightfall/Quest/End saga if you haven’t already done so.

  • ddaemon says:

    Thank you for your sympathies about my dilemma Stefan-El. I appreciate it. Yeah, I don”t know why he does it either. Maybe it is my profile name he doesn”t like. I”m not changing it though. If I did, then I would be caving into a bully. I”m not going to change my profile name because of a bully. It”s his problem if he doesn”t like it, not mine. I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words. And even though my profile name says spidey, my profile picture says my favorite superhero is superman. I think of Tobey Maguire”s first Spider-Man movie. In this film, there is an homage to superman twice. There is the scene where Peter Parker runs and rips open his shirt to reveal the Spider-Man symbol, similar to Christopher Reeve”s Clark Kent Superman shirt rip. Then there is also aunt May saying to Peter that he does to much and that he”s not superman. To me, it shows that they were showing a lot of respect for the world”s greatest superhero Superman. Even though they aren”t own by the same company, it was amazing to see the respect that was given to Superman. I always felt that these two characters have a lot in common. They are different, but they both share the same values. Protect the innocent, serve justice to the unjust, stand up for what”s right. That”s just how I see it. However if you were to ask me about who is my favorite superhero? It”s Superman by far. No other Superhero comes close in my book. Superman is the best. 10000000000000000000000

  • Thom H. says:

    Aside from the actual Death of Superman storyline, that was a strange time for the Superman comics. I mean, Luthor is masquerading as his own Australian son, Brainiac is a brainwashed circus strongman, Supergirl is an other-dimensional protoplasmic blob, and one of Superman’s friends is a Popeye knockoff. What is the thematic significance of any of that? The Byrne revamp of the Super-books had its problems, but the post-Byrne era was just weird.

  • Chris G says:

    I’ve always been amused at how the Superbooks just flat-out ignored the fact that Bibbo was basically trying to pick up Superman in his first appearance:


  • You mentioned John Bogandove, which made me think of something I’ve wondered about for quite awhile.

    His art seems to be disliked by a large number of fans, at least that’s the impression I’ve always gotten from responses I’ve seen online.

    I’ve always enjoyed his work, it has a life and vitality to it that many artist seem incapable of achieving.
    I never followed him on a monthly series, but I’m always happily surprised when I run across his work.

    His work seems criminally underrated. Is this a misconception on my part?

    As always, thanks for the interesting posts!