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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 21

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we continue our special Tear-Jerker Week of cool comic book moments!

Today’s “tear jerker” moment comes from a classic Alan Moore Superman story (the first of…hmmm…let’s say three tear jerking moments from this story).


In case you are unfamiliar with the story, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” was a two-part storyline taking place over the last two issues of the two Superman titles (Superman and Action Comics) that took place in the “original” Superman continuity, before the books switched over to the new continuity of the John Byrne “Man of Steel” reboot of the mid-80s.

The story was written by Alan Moore and was penciled by the legendary Superman artist Curt Swan.

The concept of the story was to give a complete conclusion to the Superman characters, one last final story before the reboot – as well as an homage to the “Imaginary Stories” that were popular in the Superman titles of the 1960s, where writers would be able to do whatever they wanted (up to and including killing off major characters).

The story is told via Lois Lane talking to a reporter who is asking, well, you know, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”

She then tells the last Superman story, and it begins with a dispiriting visit from Bizarro (click to enlarge)…

If I were to pick one specific “moment” from these two pages, I’d go with “Hello, Superman. Hello.”

It takes one heck of a writer to write a poignant, tear jerking scene starring Bizarro.


Yes, very heart rending. How about the Krypto scene later on?

Also, Brainiac and Luthor “teaming up”? Incredibly #$%^#$-ing creepy. Swan’s art makes it more disturbing because he didn’t go all out disgusting, but it still is.

In fact, this story is all about cool comic moments.

Remember, this is the first of three moments. ;)

See, that would involve me being able to read, and being that it’s 5:30 in the morning… :)

Hmm, 2 more? Krypto and what else, I’m forgetting the story. I think I know, but I’ll let you reveal it, Brian.

Man, get some sleep!

The other one would have to be Supergirl’s visit with the Legion, where Superman tells her that “right now, Supergirl is in the past.”

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 22, 2009 at 4:14 am

Y’know, it issues like this that makes me wonder about DC (or Marvel for that matter).

They had a great writer doing terrific stuff like this, and why does the publisher have to go and screw the relationship up?

I suspect we will see the Mr. Myxzptlk moment on the list.

Tom, it seems every company screws up their relationship with Mr Moore eventually. I love his work, but if everybody eventually has a problem with him, maybe it is him rather than everybody else?

I think the greatest comic book moment from this issue (which could populate a few weeks of this list on its own) is that beautiful title page that acts as a coda for the entire Superman mythos. I can understand why it wasn’t selected (it’s prose not comics) but it is so perfect that I consider it the moment that I became hopelessly attached to comics.

Bizzaro Thok am happy.

thanks for another sad moment for every time i remember or reread the story i picture that moment with Bizarro and of course the death of Krypto. not to mention the Luthor and Brainiac teamup is the most creepiest moment of the whole story. plus the last choice superman makes in the story

Funny how Alan Moore can pump out at least three poignant, memorable moments in one story (okay, it was a 2-parter), and other writers can go their entire careers without writing a single one.

It was a said day when Alan Moore stopped turning in the odd Batman, Green Lantern, or Superman story. Just think of all the concepts he created that are STILL being used in those franchises (particularly Green Lantern).

Wow, tough call. I’d think the “Superman wink” would have to qualify, especially since it appeared twice in the second half of the story.

For me, the biggest tear-jerker moment in that story is when Lana, just after gaining super-powers, hears Superman confessing to Perry that Lois would always be his choice, but he’d never tell for fear of hurting Lana; watching her go off to die for someone she knows will always see her as second best, with that “We’ll prove that no one loved him better than us” speech, is possibly the strongest and most affecting moment that character has ever had.

The end of the first issue was a moment for me. Superman, utterly defeated, sitting in the Fortress with Krypto–his face in his hands…

I don’t know, that scene has always stuck with me.

for some reason the hello superman hello has stuck with me more than any other scene in those two issues (and most issues in general), great choice

Definitely a teary choice. Look forward to more.

One of the coolest moments that i still remember, but i dont remember which book it was in was a story that had Superman and Superboy in it. I think Superboy was out of his time or something so Sperman stood immovable on a mountain and Superboy flew at him as fast as he could. They were saying what happens when an immovable object is met with an irresistable force…i think they tore a hole in time or something so Superboy could get back home.

that wasnt a tear-jerker tho…that was just cool…

a tear jerker, for me, was the sequence in the Legion of Superheroes story ‘The Greatest of them All” I think was the title, where Superboy dies…i always thought that was a good tear-jerker…at least thats how i remember it…


Just wanted to throw a shout out to inker… George Perez. As much as I love “Swanderson,” I thought Swan/Perez was a fantastic pairing. I can’t think of another case of Perez inking another penciller’s pages (although if memory serves, he did ink some Amethyst covers pencilled by Ernie Colon).

Where is this story collected? I’ve heard so many great things, but have never gotten off my keister to track it down and actually read it.

Spooky, I was just thinking about this exact page this morning!

It’s collected in DC universe:The stories of Alan Moore along with killing joke and a load of other stories, pretty good collection for the money I think

You can also find the 2 parts in a single bound volume with nothing else in it. Some people prefer this version because the preface (“this is an imaginary story, but aren’t they all”) is included.

I started to leave a comment, before reading the comments already posted, but I have to agree with Ryan Frank, my favorite tear-jerking moment was the Lana Lang scene after she takes a bath in the radioactive pool and becomes super-powered and overhears Kal-el’s confession to Perry.

“We’ll prove that no one loved him better than us”

Citizen Scribbler

January 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

My father read this story to me when I was a tyke (I used to get a subscription from the mail-in thing on the back of the little booklets that came with the Super Powers action figures) and I was always haunted by the Luthor/Brainiac team-up from this one.

Since this is a “tear-jerker” theme, the other two are probably the Krypto and Supergirl scenes. When he tells Kara “You grew up beautifully”- I just get all choked up even thinking about it…

-Citizen Scribbler

This was the first Superman comic I ever read.

When I was four.

You can imagine how I’ve had a different view of Superman growing up than most people have…

The end of the first issue was a moment for me. Superman, utterly defeated, sitting in the Fortress with Krypto–his face in his hands…

To me, this is the great, hollowed out, dispair moment of the whole thing. Seeing Superman know, just KNOW, that his time is over and he’s hopeless… The narration by Lois saying, “He’d looked like he’d been crying’ just always kills me.

We could just have each page of this story one at a time for several weeks of great comic moments!

It seems like I can so often be found whining about the “Good Old Days” of stories that begin and end in a single issue. But this one really needed more room to do justice to the ideas in it. It feels cramped as it is: It could easily have been expanded to twice its length.

I know what I think the other two moments have to be, and one of them is a scene no one has mentioned yet. If it’s included at all it’ll probably be tomorrow. I’ll wait and see.

I know I’m way late to this discussion, but I’ve always been more partial to “Everything, him go dark.” Except for the odd choice of “him,” it’s the most coherent thing Bizarro says. And my kids laugh at me when i read them the death of Krypto, because I can’t read it without bawling.

I love me some Krypto…

It was amazing how Moore crammed an entire “third act” of the Superman saga into two issues. He distilled 50 years of history down to its essence and gave everyone a moment. Byrne did a nice job re-inventing the first act a couple weeks later, but Moore did such a good job showing how the Silver Age elements fit together that I spent the next year waiting for them to come back.

I missed the Fortress of Solitude, Krypto, Kara Zor-El and the Lois-Lana rivalry much more than I expected.

Looking back, I wonder-why did Superman just stand there and let Bizarro die?

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