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CSBG Archive

The 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History – Day 9

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!

47. Bruce Wayne loses a window, gains an identity (Detective Comics #33)

Batman’s origin is so awesome that it actually merits TWO moments – his parents getting shot and then later, the idea for naming himself after a bat. Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff deliver the tale.

48. Herr Starr finds that getting ahead is not always a good thing (Preacher #27)

(click on images to enlarge)

As the series went on, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (who had already had Herr Star sodomized and had his ear blown off) would subject Herr Starr to a great deal of indignities, to all of which he would reply with some variation of a pause and then “shit.” But his discovery that Jesse Custer had left his head looking like a penis was the first and most notable of them all.

49. The Legion mess with Superboy a bit (Adventure Comics #247)

Otto Binder and Al Plastino give us the iconic introduction of the Legion, as they mess with Superboy’s head a bit.

50. Doom Patrol is defiant until the end (Doom Patrol #121)

(click on images to enlarge)

Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani make comic book history by having the Doom Patrol sacrifice their lives in exchange for a small fishing village. Killing off all the characters in a book was not something you would see every day!

51. Heads roll as Superboy Prime gets mad (Infinite Crisis #4)

Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez definitely got everybody’s attention when Superboy Prime, who, to this point, could be seen as almost well-meaning, went a whoooooooooole other direction when the Teen Titans gather together to fight him. The next page is even more bloody, but this initial punch of Pantha’s head is the moment everyone remembers.

52. Swamp Thing makes a discovery (Saga of the Swamp Thing #21)

Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben quickly made a name for themselves in this dramatic reveal that Swamp Thing was not, in fact, a transformed Alec Holland, but a mutated plant creature that THOUGHT it was Alec Holland. A true game-changer.


That Infinite Crisis scene still gives me a tummy ache.

Origin of Batman….Awesome.

Original Doom Patrol Gets Blowd-Up-Good….(sad) but classic Awesome.

Teen Titans/JSA/Doom Patrol vs Superboy-Prime….Awesom-er.

Swamp Thing….Crescent Fresh.

(I should get around to reading Preacher)

To be nit-picky, it’s Alec Holland, not Raymond. I’m enjoying this feature a lot though!

To be nit-picky, it’s Alec Holland, not Raymond. I’m enjoying this feature a lot though!

Not nit-picky! That was a silly goof. Fixed now!

You reminded me of the ultimate legion super-dickery, the splash page when they reject Bouncing Boy. Horrific and hilarious. Wasn’t there also a letters page back then where Weisinger tells a young kid to lose weight?

Wow! I did not expect to see this Legion moment.

I am still trusting to see the origin moment (Look out! They’re going to kill Mr. Brande)

I’d love to see Saturn Girl take down Ultra Boy and Mon-El in the Universo Project, and the Progenitor kill Monstress in Legion Lost, And Duo Damsel crawling through that tunnel from the first Mordru story, but I’m not really counting on it.

So, who wants to round up the usual suspects of parodies of the “I shall become a Bat” moment?

I love how in like…three panels Bruce Wayne goes from “young billionaire deep in thought” to “guy dressed like a giant bat standing on top of a building”

“So, who wants to round up the usual suspects of parodies of the “I shall become a Bat” moment?”

My fave, sorry everyone…


Matter-Pooper Lad

July 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm

That Superboy-Prime story still disgusts me on every level. It’s simply rude and inconsiderate to take a long-established hero and have him “go bad”. Whether it’s Superboy, Green Lantern, or Iron Man, it’s an easy plot for a crappy writer who is inconsiderate of all the folks who grew up reading and loving that hero.

that infinite crisis scene is still creepy and messed up for it shows super boy pycho willing to even behead some one. doom patrol dieing a head of its time since back then the heroes never got killed off like that. plus lit left the possibility they could have some how survived. the bat in the window leading bruce to become batman still chilling and cool. the legion revealing they know about super boy classic.

I disagree with the IC moment. The moment I remember better is the one right after that it when he rips that guy’s arm off. But that’s probably more because he ripped the other arm off during SCW.

-I disagree that Batman’s origin needs to be split in two. Without his parent’s death he would never have become Batman! And conversely without the Batman ID it’s just a tragic moment.
-I’m not even going to bother discussing why the Starr thing is pathetic. Next!
-Geez, was EVERYBODY in the Silver Age Superman books a dick? (answer: YES) Still, the Legion’s introduction is worth a mention (now don’t be cute again and split in two by saying that the moment they trick Superboy into thinking he didn’t pass the test also counts! It’s ONE story!)
-Here’s the thing that has always bothered me about the Doom Patrol’s sacrifice: was it really a noble sacrifice? How did they know that these EVIL people would keep their word and not just destroy the town AFTER they accepted to die? In fact, you’d think they would do it out of spite! Still, a pretty famous comic book moment.
-Enough has been said about how dumb, unnecessary and pathetic Superboy-Prime’s killing rage was, so I won’t repeat it here. Just mark it as another (sadly) remarkable moment.
– I never liked Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing stories- way too disturbing for my taste. However, they WERE supposed to be horror, so I won’t condemn them for it- and in fact, he introduced many cool ideas like the whole Elemental Parliament mythos. So I’ll agree that this memorable.

Preacher is what got me reading comics again after a long hiatus. I had forgotten about the penis head bit actually. I need to read it again.

Hooray, Swamp Thing!

I was wondering which specific two pages you’d pick from the climax of “Anatomy Lesson”. These ones are great.

(another possibility to me was “I have read the file…” followed by Sunderland’s weak “Do you like it?” and then the scream…)

What a great issue.

Zor-El of Argo

July 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

@Matter-Pooper Lad,

No one grew up reading Superboy-Prime. He was introduced in a Crisis On Infinite Earths tie-in, didn’t appear again until the final battle of the Crisis at the end of which he left the DCU with Superman-2, Lois-2, and Alexander Luthor, not to be seen again until Countdown To Infinite Crisis roughly 20 years later.

Having Superman-2 be evil instead of just mislead would have been a travesty, but Superboy-Prime was fair game. The whole battle scene against every Teen Titan and Flash to date was awesome.

I dont think id count the preacher moment.
Superboy prime maybe for being memorably bad.

47. It is hard to think of a more stinging rebuke to the notion of progression than these 9 panels. Batman is the enduringly popular superhero and the least changed.

48. I haven’t read PREACHER yet, so I will refrain from comment.

49. When I read the LoSH Showcase volume, it amazed me how many of their earliest stories took place in the 20th Century. Every (failed) relaunch of this title has taken place entirely in the 31st Century. Not sure what that means, but it is interesting.

This sequence is great, because it hammers home the essential creepiness of the Legion’s relationship to Superbiy while staying light & funny.

50. When I was a kid, DC didn’t come with nearly as much back-story baggage as Marvel. This moment was the exception. It got referenced a fair amount. It gave the Doom Patrol a ton of credibility in my young mind. It was awesome when Grant Morrison paid all that off in his amazing run.

51. This is a reasonably well executed action sequence. I agree with Zor-El that Superboy-Prime was essentially a blank slate and was fair game for Geoff Johns to define. For better and worse, Prime really is his signature character.

52. I always forget how scary Moore, Bissette & Totleben were on SWAMP THING. After all the dozens of game changing, “did I blow your mind” twists in the decades since, it is easy to forget Moore did it first to scare us.

The Infinite Crisis scene was shocking and is really the only part of the whole Superboy-Prime arc that’s been done since then to be at all believable, in my mind. It’s wildly inconsistent with most of the rest of comics, but in a way it makes perfect sense that a Kryptonian level powerhouse who is immature and not in control of his temper might accidentally kill someone in a battle. By the end of that issue, if I recall, Superboy-Prime was off to some nether-dimension and I remember thinking, “Great! At least I won’t have to read about him again!”

Unfortunately he came back to be the big bad of IC, and then kept showing up constantly being a big bad in one story after another, to be one of the most tedious and annoying characters ever.

The only other moment that I actually liked with him was his “defeat” in Legion of Three Worlds, where he punches himself out of existence. “What an idiot” being spoken by Braniac 5 just before he did that is one of MY most memorable DC moments.

I have problems with IC as a whole, but I thought this issue specifically portrayed SB Prime as a more or less tragic and sympathetic figure. The whole fight against the Titans comes off as one horrible mistake just snowballing into more horrible mistakes. As XBen noted, it makes sense that someone with the power levels SB Prime has, but without the maturity or control, would end up doing more harm than good at some point. Since this issue he’s become more of a straight up villain and I’ve been fine with that since I had no affinity for the character to begin with. I can understand people that have a problem with his character after this issue. But in this issue he definitely comes off as just an extremely powerful teenager that doesn’t know what he’s doing, and it leads to bad results. Not an out-and-out villain.

Zor-El of Argo

July 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

Agreed, Superboy-Prime was sympathethic and tragic here, at least to those us reading. To those in the story he was an unbeleivably powerful threat on a rampage. All the Titans and Flashes knew was that he had attacked Conner, thier Superboy, without cause and beaten him.

Afterward, instead of taking him under hiswing, Superman-1 treated him like a bloodthirsty villian setting SBP permanently on the path to evil. Absolutely everyones actions reguarding SBP was understandable under the circumstances. Geoff Johns told the story of a good boy who lost his way, never getting the breaks he needed to find his way back. SBP is essentially what Superman could have become were he not raised by the Kents. I have issues with Infinite Crisis but feel that Superboy-Prime’s story was very well done.

That Preacher moment is great, but I think the Saint of Killer’s “Not enough gun.” line is generally considered even more memorable. Still, I’m glad you chose that one, as it was funny as hell when you first read it.

Wait, so the Legion invented superdickery? Their smart-assedness would’ve been a mite more convincing if they didn’t feel the need to write their “secret identities” on their uniforms…

This is the first time I’ve seen the Doom Patrol sacrifice – it would be a lot more affecting without that stupid fourth-wall breaking at the end.

I was totally unimpressed by Infinite Crisis, and thought this scene was just more unnecessary gore.

So the winner here is definitely Swamp Thing – that issue is just full of choice lines, all of them delivered by the estimable Dr Woodrue (“…there will be blood. Lots of blood. Blood in extraordinary quantities…”)

I understand that Superboy was out of control and that yes, someone that young and that powerful would be dangerous in that situation. But many (of us) just didn’t like the events of that story and found them unnecessarily violent and taking a step too far into dark and disturbing. That superhero’s head just got torn off and bounced across the panel. Lots of people just don’t like to see superhero comics go there.

Yeah, well, I actually agree, Ethan Shuster – even though I felt like the scene made sense in a certain way, it doesn’t mean I enjoyed it or anything. I think the same point could have been made without the decapitation, surely, even if it was silhouetted.

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