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CSBG Archive

The 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History – Day 4

Okay, in case you didn’t see the introduction, the concept is that each day up to and including the 31st of July, I’ll be posting six of the most memorable moments from DC Comics’ 75-year history. On the 31st, you folks will get a chance to pick your Top 10 out of the 100 choices. I’ll tabulate the votes and I’ll debut the Top 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History starting on August 8th. In the meantime, feel free to post suggestions for moments you think should be featured either at our Twitter account (twitter.com/csbg), our Facebook page (facebook.com/comicsshouldbegood) or just e-mail me (bcronin@comicbookresources.com)!

Here’s the next six moments! And click here for the master list of all the moments posted so far!

NOTE: Each day of moments will almost certainly contain some spoilers for past comic books, plus each day might include content that originally appeared in “Mature Readers Only” comics, so be forewarned!

17. Death of Supergirl (Crisis on Infinite Earths #7)

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Marv Wolfman and George Perez give Superman’s cousin an extremely heroic, heartfelt send-off in this touching moment from Crisis on Infinite Earths.

18. Is Batman a man or a fiend from hell? (Batman #244)

This is how awesome Batman #244 is – this isn’t even the last moment from this Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams classic. Still, in terms of “wow, Batman is awesome?” you don’t get much cooler than the reaction Ra’s gives him here.

19. The revelation of the Fourth Man (Planetary #12)

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All throughout the series, Warren Ellis and John Cassaday laid hints as to who the mysterious “Fourth Man” of Planetary was – here, Elijah Snow discovers the truth – the man he has been searching for has been him all along!

20. Superman reveals his secret identity to Lois Lane (Action Comics #662)

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You know, oddly enough, the actual PROPOSAL (and acceptance) between Lois and Clark really is not all that memorable (and as such, won’t be on the list), but the reveal of his identity sure was. A job well done by Roger Stern and Bob McLeod…

21. Earth-2 is discovered! (Flash #123)

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In this important issue, Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino introduce the concept of TWO Earths to work in the fact that DC had had previous incarnations of the Flash, Green Lantern, etc. This is the first meeting of heroes from both worlds.

22. Gordon and Batman’s alliance begins (Batman #404)

As awesome as Batman Year One was, only this last scene was actually included more or less word for word in the film Batman Begins. It’s a beautifully memorable ending by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.

50 Comments

Wow….all of these moments really make me nostalgic.

Death Of Supergirl was a jaw dropper when it came out.

John Trumbull

July 18, 2010 at 9:44 am

Sadly, the Supergirl death scene has not aged well. It just reads horribly melodramatic and overwritten today. The Batman/Ra’s Al Ghul moment, however, still works like gangbusters.

My favorite version of Lois Lane learning Superman’s ID is from All-Star Superman, where Supes tells her and she REFUSES to believe it because he fooled her so many times in the past. Great twist by Grant Morrison.

I wished you showed the original comic book version of the Batman: Year One moment. I thought Richmond Lewis’ coloring in that was far superior to the recolored TPB version shown here. And you do seem to be showing the ORIGINAL versions in most cases, as in the Ra’s moment above.

AverageJoeEveryman

July 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

Maybe it’s just me but as much as I love Planetary and Ellis did anybody think the fourth man was someone other than Snow?

You know, it’s really impressive how much innovation is present in the early issues of Flash. Throughout the Infantino run on the book we end up with the creation of stuff like the Flash Museum, the parallel earths which basically became the foundation for the DC Universe until COIE, the first real idea of legacy heroes in comics with Barry Allen being specifically inspired by Jay Garrick, and the introduction of almost every single significant recurring Flash villain.

Sadly, the Supergirl death scene has not aged well. It just reads horribly melodramatic and overwritten today.

I think the dialogue from the other characters is overwritten, sure. The words Superman and Supergirl share, though, are mostly solid.

You know, I know fandom’s split over whether or not Superman should’ve revealed his secret to Lois Lane and married her, but the scene where he does the former’s pretty well done.

And good point, Captain Flash! It makes me think of the innovation of Kirby and Lee’s FF and Ditko and Lee’s Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. I mean, everyone in the Marvel Universe’s run into Doctor Doom and Galactus at some point, right?

Matter-Pooper Lad

July 18, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Superman revealing himself to Lois Lane? That qualifies to be on this list?
To me it was weakly handled, nowhere near as emotional as when Daredevil revealed himself to Karen Page.

And the Supergirl death was also void of emotion, unless you were seven years old. It just reeked of Editorial manipulation obviously cleaning the slate. But I thought the entire Crisis series stunk for that reason. DC should have never messed with Earth-2 because they’ve only made things more complicated since.

the death of super girl is still sad for it shows that with her gone super man is truley the last of his kind. as for the batman rha’s moment love the look of fear on rha’s face when he sees batman walking up having gotten the antidote from Talia. superman revealing his true i.d to lois was a long time coming even though handled some what lamely . and though bat man year one moments would not pop up till higher on the list.

I was hoping to see this Superman moment on here. During that enjoyable period on the book (s), this was highly significant, and really showed us that “Post-Crisis” was really going to mean something different than before.

I haven’t reread Supergirl’s for a while but I’ll never forget the many times that that emotionally-charged scene impacted me – easily the most memorable moment in the entire Crisis. I was never aware of the editorial manipulation back at the time (I was 15, I think) and even though I am today, I still don’t mind because I still think the Crisis in general was a good idea.

Chad, I don’t think the order of the moments at this point is relevant at all.

I’m really enjoying these moments so far, especially the 80’s ones (Year One, Watchmen, Dark Knight, etc.) as that is when I started reading DC.

Waiting for Swamp Thing, now…

does ABC Comics count….then does the memorable moment of the Death of the Invisible man at the mercies of Mr . Hyde count?
ewwwww…

Captain Flash

July 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Have to feel bad for Bob Mcleod. He’s up there with Adams, Infantino, Mazzucchelli, and Cassady. He comes off a little worse in comparison. (Not that it’s bad, it’s just more… workmanlike I guess?)

I found the actual reveal of Superman’s ID– the scene, and the whole issue– to be entirely underwhelming. Not against it, but not impressed by it either.

"O" the Humanatee!

July 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

@Matter-Pooper Man: How old were you when you read Crisis on Infinite Earths? Did you read it at the time it came out? I’m curious because when I read it as it was coming out, at age 26, I had none of the problems with it that you did. I do agree with you about many of the after-effects of the series, but those are, by definition, after.

I read The Death of Supergirl when it originally came out at the ripe old age of 18 years old and choked up pretty badly over it, yes it rocked me emotionally because I had read both Superman and Supergirl for years, I recently re-read it in the Absolute version and still had an emotional reaction.

I agree with Gokitalo, Marv wrote the hell out of the dialogue between Kal and Kara

I see a lot of people underwhelmed by Superman’s big reveal and I think I know why, or at least, I know why it is a let down for me personally: because the issue ends there. What we really want to see is Lois’s reaction, and I don’t just mean one picture of her mouth agape as Clark takes off his shirt. Ending on this scene just seems like a really bad idea. I guess it’s a tease to get people to read the next issue, but it’s not really written as a cliffhanger either; it’s written as the beginning (or middle) of a story without providing the climax everyone has been waiting for.

I find these pages to be fine, there just needs to be another 8-10 after it showing the resulting conversation. Without those, it’s a tease with no punch.

Ethan Shuster

July 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

A story like the Crisis has to be over the top. It’s this big, insane epic story. Dr. Light’s dialogue is a bit overwritten, but the actual death and reaction is well done. That scene still gets me, to be honest. Just seeing Superman like that is something.

John Trumbull

July 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm

It’s funny, Gokitalo & Marvelbunny, but personally, the dialogue between Superman and Kara in the COIE death scene is EXACTLY what I was referring to when I was talking about it not aging terribly well. For my money, Wildfire’s line, “But we… we had a casualty” is MUCH more powerful, largely because it’s nicely understated. It contrasts very nicely with the big cosmic goings-on. If I were writing and/or drawing that scene today, I’d probably just use that line & follow it up with a silent panel of Supes cradling Kara’s body.

Zor-El of Argo

July 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

The Supergirl death scene was beautifully rendered reguardless of “when” you read it.

I think Superman’s reveal to Lois works BECAUSE it was so understated. While Terry Hatcher’s reaction on “Lois and Clark” was amusing, the comic book Lois had a very believable reaction… shock. She needed time to process what she learned before giving a real reaction. Shortly after, I forget how many issues, she started resenting Clark’s position as her top journalistic rival believing he’d had an unfair advantage all those years. She and Clark then entered into a bet to see who could bring in the bigger story without Clark using his powers in any way.

I trust you’re going to include several more scenes from BATMAN: YEAR ONE and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

Oy with the “Hasn’t aged well” pap. I guess Shakespeare hasn’t aged well either with his silly speech patterns.

Did you seriously just fucking compare Crisis on Infinite Earths to Shakespeare?

I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone got upset at that.

I suppose in the wake of all the character deaths in comics the last 20 years or so (with accompanying resurrections) that it is easy to be jaded against the “Death of Supergirl” but at the time it seemed pretty final what with the restructuring of the DC Universe and the eliminations of entire comics realities. When I read this in my teens I was quite moved so that makes it pretty memorable.

“As awesome as Batman Year One was, only this last scene was actually included more or less word for word in the film Batman Begins. It’s a beautifully memorable ending by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli.”

Actually, Brian the scene from where Batman uses sonar to control bats during his escape from the SWAT team was also from “Year One”. Right down to Batman activating the device from his the bottom of his boot heel.

Supergirl’s death is a great choice, one of the top 75 DC covers AND top 75 moments.

-Supergirl’s Death should definitely be on the list.
-Batman’s “resurrection?” Not so much. It comes across as terribly melodramatic (I mean, a KISS?) especially given the kind of foe that Ra’s is supposed to be (not to mention, Ra’s comes back from the dead regularly, why is he so shocked?)
-Planetary? Isn’t that Wildstorm stuff? Yes DC owns it now but by that same token, we would have to count stuff from Milestone, Red Circle, Fawcett or Quality.
– The reveal of Superman’s ID to Lois technically should count… but it looks so underwhelming when compared to the way it happened in the movies.
-Earth-2: Now THIS is both legendary and a cool moment (the meeting of the two Flashes) that opened the door for many such stories.
-Comm. Gordon: A major point in the Bat-mythos and written well.

Wait, so Shakespeare didn’t write COIE? Does this mean that Thomas Pynchon didn’t write Onslaught: Phase 1? I AM SO CONFUSED

I think Supergirl’s death hasn’t aged well since she’s been alive in some form for the past 20 years or so. Takes a lot away from the moment for me, same now that Barry’s back.

I’d like to see a list of the 75 most forgettable moments – but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

The Flash issue didn’t establish the parallel worlds concept, much less an Earth-1 superhero meeting a parallel world doppelganger. Kanigher did it in Wonder Woman long before the Flash issue. It’s more precise to say that the Flash issue established that the Golden Age versions of the Silver Age characters continued to live on Earth-Two.

Speaking of, where are the Wonder Woman moments? Her debut, the reformation of Paula von Gunther, the first DCU supervillain team (Villainy, Inc.), the Orana contest, the mod Di phase, the deaths and rebirths of Steve Trevor, the recovery of her lost memories, Nubia, the 87 reboot, the killing of Max Lord (surely this won’t be the only Wonder-moment?!?)?

The Flash issue didn’t establish the parallel worlds concept, much less an Earth-1 superhero meeting a parallel world doppelganger. Kanigher did it in Wonder Woman long before the Flash issue. It’s more precise to say that the Flash issue established that the Golden Age versions of the Silver Age characters continued to live on Earth-Two.

It’s a good thing I did not say that the Flash issue established the concept of parallel worlds then.

Looks like you’re including only a maximum of two pages per moment, but I think Elijah Snow using his powers to draw the gigantic “4” with ice should be part of the Planetary moment. It follows straight from the Fourth Man revelation, and makes that scene much more memorable than the above two pages alone do.

Looks like you’re including only a maximum of two pages per moment

Yep.

And besides, as cool as the “4” in the park was, anyone who votes for this moment is going to vote for it with or without the “4” part, ya know?

Continuing tracking: I’ve still seen all of these issues, and have 17 of the originals.

I was somewhat surprised to see a second scene from Batman #244; particularly one that continues immediately after the earlier one you picked. I think that’s probably going to split the votes; I know I think of it as one (extended) sequence. And one of at least 4 or 5 O’neil- Adams Batman sequences that could make the list.

I’m not sure I would… I thought the “4” part was more memorable than Fourth Man revelation, which wasn’t that hard to guess in advance.

I’m not sure I would… I thought the “4” part was more memorable than Fourth Man revelation, which wasn’t that hard to guess in advance.

It was not hard to guess that Clark Kent was Superman, either. The entire second volume of Planetary is called ” The Fourth Man.” The discussion of who the Fourth Man is is the backbone of the first 12 issues. Him drawing a “4” in the park only comes about BECAUSE of the revelation. The revelation is the key. Anyone voting for this scene KNOWS that it is then followed by the “4” in the park.

“It’s a good thing I did not say that the Flash issue established the concept of parallel worlds then.”

Didn’t say you did. Some of the commenters did.

“As awesome as Batman Year One was, only this last scene was actually included more or less word for word in the film Batman Begins.”

How does this add to how cool or memorable the moment was?

How does this add to how cool or memorable the moment was?

The fact that the filmmakers chose this one scene from Year One to pretty much do word-for-word/shot-for-shot (as opposed to any other scene from Year One) is a notable indication that the scene was memorable.

So, You’ll note that I said “the parallel earths which basically became the foundation for the DC Universe until COIE.” Flash’s cosmology is the one still in use with Earth-1 being the home of the JSA, Earth-3 is Crime Syndicate, etc. Even the idea of “cosmic vibrations” comes up in the climax of Final Crisis.

As Wikipedia describes the Wonder Woman issue: “Wonder Woman fell through a space-time warp and encountered her double, whose name, Terra Terruna, translated as Wonder Woman. After battling the villain Duke Dazam, Wonder Woman returned home.” Not exactly the multiverse we all know and love(well, some of us), eh?

Yeah, I think it was merely a case of So seeing a slight where none was intended (if it was there at all).

That’s what I figured too, nothing wrong with a little friendly debate, though, right? : )

Zor-El of Argo

July 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

The death of Supergirl is one of the most memorable scenes to those of us who read it at the time it was published. That it means nothing to the newer fans who first read it years after much of the Crisis was undone is irrelevant. Those of us who were reading in the mid 80’s the scene still sticks out prominently in our minds when comics from that era are brought up. That makes it memorable. The Flash moment from above was well before my time and is therefore not memorable for me, but it is very much so for that eras fans.

And please, do not compare COIE to Shakespeare. It is a vast disservice to Wolfman and Perez!

Supergirl´s death was very beautifully handled, mostly due to her own characterization. She was as heroic as they came at the Bronze Age (and the Bronze Age was very heroic indeed). To say that it has not aged well puzzles the heck out of my head.

Although, to be sure, the frequency and ways she has been brough back since are very anticlimatic. Particularly with the street whore fetish garb she often wears these days.

Although Barry´s death was arguably even better handled. At the time it was possibly as good as all the previous appearances of the character combined. I hope DC manages to make his return worth it.

Can I just say that Neal Adams is awesome? That’s all. That’s all I wanted to say.

I don’t know if I agree with the Year One selection… I wouldn’t say that particular page is the most memorable scene in that issue, nor do I believe it really pinpoints the beginning of the Batman/Gordon partnership.

Now when Bats (sans mask) saves Gordon’s son and then Gordon says “You know, I’m practically blind without my glasses” and tells him to get out of there before the cops arrive?

THAT, for me, was a damn powerful, memorable moment.

Great scenes, but man, Bruce is one hirsute guy.

fourthworlder

July 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Was Batman:Year One really almost 25 years ago?

[…] already cited two Flash moments: The discovery of Earth-2 (“Flash of Two Worlds”) made day four, and Barry Allen’s lab-accident origin made day […]

The Supergirl scene works in exactly the same way as Optimus Prime’s death in the 1985 animated Transformers movie.

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