I was in my early 20s when I sold the original…sigh.

§ November 14th, 2022 § Filed under death of superman, obituary § 12 Comments

So I briefly mentioned the release of the Death of Superman 30th anniversary comics last week, and wanted to dive into the topic just a tad bit more now that I’ve actually read the thing. “What, Mike talking about the Death of Superman? The devil you say!”

As I’d noted, I picked up the bagged version of the book, which featured this cover inside:

Boy, really pushing that “multiverse” thing. “Hey Marvel, we were here first!” Also, the back cover features the full image that’s on the foldout-cover variant of this comic. And yes, there is indeed a black armband inside, so you can…mourn the death of a fictional character who didn’t really die 30 years and had come back immediately anyway.

The lead story is by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding, and pretty much retells the events of the original story, mixed in with a l”current time” plot involving the return of Doomsday…or is it? It’s…fine, perfunctory and polished and giving you pretty much what you’d want from a “30th Anniversary of the Death of Superman” story.

A few things of note:

One, Superman’s cuffs, a design leftover from all the misguided fiddling with the man’s costume over the last decade, and left off more often than not in recent comics, are totally back with a vengeance:

Given we get an editorial note that the story takes place in “the not-too distant past” maybe this is just during a period before Supes dumped the cuffs (or at least stopped wearing them as often). In conclusion, they still look terrible. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Two, it takes place before Jon Kent was aged into young adulthood, so a lot of this story is in the context of telling Young Jon all about this event in his parents’ lives that apparently he’d somehow never heard of ’til today. Which seems…unlikely. I mean, I get Supes and Lois not wanting to tell him about it ’til he was older, but, like, Superman is the most famous hero in the DCU, and Jon almost certainly looked up his dad on Lexipedia to see what it said about him. And you think Lexipedia isn’t going to have a long, lurid and loving description of Superman’s apparent death at the hands of Doomsday? C’mon, son.

Three, there sure is a lot of dialogue being shouted at Superman from the sidelines during his big battle. I mean, I guess that’s realistic an’ all, but all I could think of was “all these dummies are in huge danger.”

Four, speaking of the fight, like in the original ’90s comics, the number of panels per page during the fight decreases as it moves long, ending in a series of splash pages. Nice callback.

Five, it’s also an appreciated throwback to How Superman Comics Used to Be. I miss seeing these particular versions of the characters, with their specific personalities, and using supporting characters (like Terrible Turpin) that we hadn’t seen in a bit. Post-Crisis/Early ’90s Superman had a specific look to them, and it’s hard not to contrast them with the Superman books DC is currently producing.

And I’ll drop the numbered item conceit here and note that one of the things I’ve wondered about re: Superman continuity, given the reboots and revamps we’ve had over the last decade or so, was the canonicity of the Death of Superman. I mean, there were references here and there and then eventually a confirmation that it did happen, but never did find out the exact details. Like, was Australian Son of Luthor But Actually Luthor’s Brain in a Younger Body a thing that happened in the New 52 universe, y’know, like that.

Well, this special pretty much establishes that the Death of Superman happened more or less as seen in the comics from 30 years ago, in whatever passes for current DC continuity nowadays. There are other stories in this special that are set in the Superman milieu circa the early ’90s, like a Steel story by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove. And we get some Ma and Pa Kent, though I think the “current” versions of them are portrayed a bit younger than the grandparent-ish types we got when Byrne rebooted everything. I don’t know, maybe something like what happened in this comic also happened to them. (Or maybe Dr. Manhattan did something when they came back in Doomsday Clock, but don’t get me started.)

I’m sure there’s more to say, but I’ll probably get to it when I address some of your comments from the last post (and probably this post) in my next entry. Oh, did I mention that the bagged version has a white backing board inserted inside that makes the package too big to fit on anything but the top shelf of my new comic racks? That’s annoying.

• • •

There are two voices for Batman that I hear in my head when reading the comics. There’s Adam West, who tends to pop into my head when I’m looking at some of the Silver Age stuff. And then there’s Kevin Conroy, the man who became the Batman to generations of fans. No offense to other great voice artists who’ve taken on the role, but whenever I’d watch one of those direct-to-DVD DC cartoons and it wasn’t Conroy in the Batman role, it just sounded…off to me. He embodied the character in a way so few others have.

We lost him too soon, dying recently at the age of 66. A tragic loss, and my condolences to his family, his friends, and his nearly-endless array of fans. So long, Kevin..

12 Responses to “I was in my early 20s when I sold the original…sigh.”

  • Andrew says:

    If I understand the current continuity correctly, the current Superman is NOT the Superman from the 1960s – 1980s Silver/Bronze age but a third Superman that Byrne launched post Crisis. correct?

    BUT I seem to remember some set of stories where the 1960s- 1980s Superman escaped the discontinued continuity and got to the current Earth and are the parents of Jon…. but I think I must have misunderstood (it was during a time in the early 2000s or so when I was SuperBrokeMan and wasn’t reading that closely and was mostly keeping tabs on the company via occasional online summaries and paging through books in stores ).

    You’re correct, DC continuity is really screwed up and with whatever it is they’re doing with DC on Infinite Earths seems like it’ll just make it even more so.


  • Andrew says:

    also re: Kevin Conroy – I have completely missed the animated features for a variety of reasons …. but seeing all the love for them and Kevin, it makes me want to dig into them. As a side note, I was surprised and thrilled to read Kevin’s story in the DC Pride issue this summer – it caught me by surprise. I have never met him but feel as though I knew him: we share some of the same history and struggles and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at his success.

  • Raymond says:

    Bud Collyer, the voice of Superman on the radio, also did the modulation thing with his voice to differentiate between Superman and Clark. It was particularly good for portraying Clark changing to Superman.

    This is a job…FOR SUPERMAN!

  • Snark Shark says:

    ” Supes dumped the cuffs”

    His outfit is NOT one that should’ve been screwed with!

    Andrew: “SuperBrokeMan”

    that’s the character we ALL get to be, at one time or another. It’s the real-life version of Captain universe!

    “I have completely missed the animated features”

    They’re very good! I literally watched several (episodes & the movie) last week, on some videotapes I got for free. Such odd timing.

  • DK says:

    I don’t care for Batman that much, but Kevin Contoy was so good at his job that Batman was one of the highlights of the animated Justice League.

    RIP to a true giant of the field.

  • Question for everyone, young and old: was it ever, ever explained how it came to be that Doomsday was buried in a field in Ohio?

    Mike: I really was waiting for you to say that there was a faded photo of Clark and Lois at a carnival.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    I meant inside the comic, of course. I suppose one day an editor will think about variant cover month, and each book will have that faded Polaroid Land photo only with different characters.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne Allen Sallee: DC can have an event called “Nostalgia Crisis” and the Psycho Pirate can go around with all of these old
    faded polaroid photos trying to convince various DC heroes of what they used to be like/what their earlier iterations were, but they won’t buy it … Finally, Batman will crack the case and inform them all that, although they imagine themselves to be real, they are merely fictitious characters whose fates are at the mercy of hack writers and editors at the DC of 2022…but the Flashes will use the speed force to travel back in time to Earth Prime where they will seek out Gardner Fox’s assistance, and he will help them formulate a plan so that COIE has a different outcome and Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth X, Earth S, and Earth C all survive intact–and The Spectre and Phantom Stranger will erase the burden from their minds that they are merely fictional characters and the majority of bad stories from the last few decades will be reconned out of existence…and we won’t have legions of Robins, Kid Flashes, Wonder Girls, etc.

  • Aaron says:

    Didn’t Aussiex get ridiculously angry that he wasn’t the one who killed Supes? I’ll bet Lexipedia glosses over it by calling it Temporary Alien Hibernation [small note at bottom: “some people referred to it as being like “death” but it clearly wasn’t that”] and cuts right to dozens of reports making fun of the mullet.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Yes, Lex was PISSED he wasn’t the one to “kill” Supes.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Aaron: “dozens of reports making fun of the mullet.”

    YIKES! The Super-Mullet.

    Billy Ray Cyrus has a LOT to answer for.