Maybe I was thinking about Twitter a little bit when I wrote that last line.

§ November 18th, 2022 § Filed under death of superman § 5 Comments

So let’s do a little more about the Death of Superman (which I write as I’m listening to the Longbox Heroes special Patreon-only Previews podcast as they cover the original solicitations for the event)….

Wayne wonders

“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?”

Well, coming the older-end of the spectrum, I’ll take a shot at answering this the lazy way, i.e. Wikipedia-ing it and looking at digital comics on the DC Universe app. I have all the relevant Doomsday appearances, but it’s late and my back hurts and I don’t want to go digging through boxes, so Wiki ahoy and all that. And the answer there is after being finally defeated on some alien world, his “dead” body was shot into space where it eventually ended up on Earth. So, basically, it just happened to show up on the one world where a surviving Kryptonian would also live.

I don’t know if there was more to it than that ever revealed…like, maybe there was some ancient Kryptonian presence on Earth thousands of years ago, and even in his inert “death” state Doomsday sensed it and subtly guiding the capsule he’s in towards the planet. If someone out there remembers a specific explanation, please pipe up, but I don’t recall.

• • •

DK sez

“Those post Man-of-Steel Superman books really do hold up decades later, the 10 years after the Crisis was a DC Renaissance for sure.”

and on a related note, Nicholas sez

“30 years (ugh) later, I still really like the majority of Death/Funeral/Reign – re-reading it now, it’s such a bananas story, and I think it’s amazing how much they focused on Lois’/the Kent’s grief.”

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was listening to the Longbox Heroes boys talking about the push for the original Death of Whatshisname. In the course of their discussion they noted the interviews with the event’s creative teams where they pushed this as a “story,” not a collection of pin-ups or shallow guest-appearance machines, stuff like that. And that was certainly the case, that while the focus was on the action and making sure y’all knew how much of a threat Doomsday was, there was enormous focus on how other characters in the book reacted to the goings-on, which only ramped up as the story entered the “Funeral for a Friend” phase that followed.

It was a big ol’ stunt, sure, but it was a stunt flavored heavily with characterization and with inclusion of guest-stars that make sense (like, of course the Justice League would show up, this is a Justice League-type problem). Tack on the almost movie serial-esque feeling to the proceedings (which really drove the “Reign of the Supermen” part of the story later on) you had yourselves some good comic-bookin’, a creative peak in that period of Super-books that DC continued to try to replicate, not just in those titles but elsewhere across the line. I mean, “The Death of Clark Kent,” c’mon son.

• • •

JohnJ returns with

“Mike, someday would you write about how your store did with the ‘Marriage of Lois and Clark’ I really over-ordered on that, hoping for the same type of press coverage the ‘Death’ storyline got. It turned out to get next to none which I blame on the ‘Lois and Clark’ tv series having their wedding episode at the same time.”

Yeah, we overdid it just a little too, in that we still have plenty left over afterwards. But it still sold as a back issue, so our overstock did eventually dwindle. Not disappear entirely, mind you…when I left the old store there were still plenty in the backroom awaiting their day in the sun, but certainly fewer than what we started with. Even now, when I get copies of those in stock at my shop, they tend to sell fairly quickly (though “event” books with gimmick covers are an easier sell now than they were when shelves were just overwhelmed with them).

That was a real problem for a while, second-guessing yourself on orders and on whether or not this event would be the one to get real-world attention. It did feel like the Supes/Lois wedding would have been a big deal, but if there was media attention, it wasn’t a patch on the Death of Superman. That’s why I just order what I think I can sell, and don’t speculate on whether or not some late-night talk show is suddenly going to promote the book the day before release. Can’t predict it, can’t count on it.

“Also, how weird is it that Bendis’s big idea of revealing Superman and Clark Kent as the same guy really fizzled since he did next to nothing with the premise. It’s part of the reason why I finally stopped reading most Superman comics after having read them for several years.”

I said before it’s funny they went this route so soon after the New 52 Superman made the same reveal (after the long-time-coming Superman-telling-Jimmy-he’s-Clark story that I wish had been done with, like, the Real Superman Drawn by Curt Swan).

Also funny, I just took in a collection Thursday afternoon that had a lot of the Bendis Superman in it, and I got to thinking about how both the Byrne run and the Bendis run started with a six-part Man of Steel mini, followed by a short run on the books themselves before those Big Name Creators bounced. I thought it was funny that Bendis was all “okay, Superman reveals he’s Clark Kent, bye y’all” and stuck everyone else with that plot twist. Anyway, they’ve done a little here and there with the idea, though it’s weird seeing him in Clark Kent clothes…which to be fair, is weird to characters in the comic, too. Maybe now that the whole “Superman on Warworld for the Last, What, Eight Years” story is over, we can get more work done on the whole exposed dual identity thing, and what that fully means for everyone involved.

Eventually there’s going to be a story where the secret ID is made secret again, which I hope will be an in-story thing and not just another reboot/relaunch. Frankly, with both Superman and Batman having biological sons running around in the DC Universe, I still feel like it’s only a matter of time before everything gets rebooted back to the previous status quo anyway. I mean, it’s all working now, but all it takes is someone higher up the food chain at Warner Bros. taking a look at what DC’s doing and telling them to knock it off. I don’t htink it’s likely, as Jon and Damian have embedded themselves quite well into DC’s output, but you never know. Wouldn’t be the first time someone took something that was working and fixed it ’til it broke.

5 Responses to “Maybe I was thinking about Twitter a little bit when I wrote that last line.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “Put down that scythe and help me bag ‘n’ tag these comics. I’ve got pricin’ to do.”

    Sixteen tons (of comics) and what do you get?
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    St. Peter don’t you call because Mike can’t go
    he’s got pricin’ to do at his funny book store

  • Aaron says:

    If the bring back Clark’s secret identity without a Dark Crisis or whatever, I’m hoping for magic shenanigans involving a deeper cut figure than a Zatara. Maybe Sebastian Faust, maybe someone interesting.

  • Mike: I should have looked at a Wiki app thing. I forgot they have those now for everything. Don’t ever go climbing through those long boxes for me, old chum.

    I had the impression that for those one panel sound effect dealies that he was punching himself out of an underground prison.

    Regarding the story as a whole, I really enjoyed the Justice League showing up in their own title in Ohio not knowing what the hell that thing was.

    I reviewed a copy of Roger Stern’s novelization, and if anyone was ever curious about how Doomsday got from Ohio to Metropolis so fast, in the book, right after he beats the crap out of Blue Beetle, he jumps up on a USAF jet going back to Dover AFB in Delaware, and back then, DC was sort of sticking to the DC Atlas, with Metropolis near Wilmington and Gotham at Cape May NJ.

    So I didn’t know how he got to Ohio and I decided to at least explain how he got to Metropolis so fast. The novel was pretty good. But I thank you again, Mike.

    Aaron: I think it should be Brainiac. Then he just leaves Earth after telling Superman “You owe me one.”

  • Andrew says:

    Wayne: an even better solution – it should be Psycho Pirate trying to restore the DC universe to pre 1985 continuity and always screwing himself over somehow but actually making small fixes that actually benefit the heroes in some way.

  • Andrew: I thought of Brainiac thinking he is never effing used and would be great in a DCMU film. No on returns my calls. But I rant.But then we the readers would want to know when B. would come back and call in his chip.

    Psycho-Pirate is really the perfect choice. One of my oldest action figures is P-P, from the early 00s when they were rubbery to the touch. Loved that costume, and he was a JSA foe, too. (And whomever came up with that name was kicking the joy juice.)
    Perhaps too convoluted, but find a way for P-P sort of time travel, the way Grant Morrison died with Animal Man. And then, as you say, he finds he can still recall COIE and the trauma it caused him–Anti-Monitor did keep him prisoner–and every time he goes back, he leaves a ripple.

    The best way to explain Superman is that he had the first “metaverse” reboot directly after COIE. Granted, Geoff Johns could write better than I could. But it certainly would be better than HEROES IN CRISIS.