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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 206

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at one of the greatest Superman stories ever told – the Death of Superman!!!

Enjoy!

While his later work is quite familiar to most Superman fans, Jerry Siegel’s later work on Superman often gets overlooked. I mean, when you compare it to, you know, CREATING the guy, that’s fairly natural. But still, during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jerry Siegel contributed a number of excellent Superman stories.

One such story is the one we’re looking at today – Superman #149′s “The Death of Superman” (an imaginary story, dontchaknow).

Siegel and the great Curt Swan told the story in three chapters.

In the initial chapter, Lex Luthor appears to have renounced his life of crime!!!

Some criminals then ask Luthor to help them kill Superman, he says no, that he is Superman’s friend now (naturally, Luthor figures Superman is keeping an eye on him, and he is correct)…

Superman gives Luthor a signal watch like Jimmy Olsen’s….

and later, a private space lab…

but one day, Luthor’s signal watch calls out to Superman…

Brutal, huh?

Superman’s funeral is well-attended, including Supergirl, who at this point in time was Superman’s “secret weapon.” So when Luthor is celebrating Superman’s death, he never took her into consideration…

His trial in Kandor was very well handled, ESPECIALLY this little insight into Luthor’s soul that we get her at the end, where he cannot believe that anyone would not be moved by their own self-interests like him…

and we end with a bittersweet ending…

Wow, what a well-told story. Like I said before, I don’t think Siegel’s later work gets nearly the acclaim that it deserves – he was an excellent story writer (for Superman, at least – adapting his style to other characters never seemed to work as well).

20 Comments

Hah! You had me going at the beginning, Brian!

I thought you meant the other Death… :-)

even though this story was before my time . still shows how the dc universe winds up with void if superman is not in it. plus nice to see one of superman’s co creators working on his creation. plus the fact that luthor proves like a leopard he will never ever change his ways and give up trying to off super man.

Wow, that was really, really good, especially the dialog given the age of the piece.

I could not agree with you more, Brian. Siegel gets written about like a Lotto winner that was tricked out of his prize. It does him a real disservice as a writer. From what I can tell, Siegel was the best scripter in Mort Wesinger’s stable. That is a remarkable achievement in its own right.

Also, this is a fantastic story, assuming you can look past the thought bubbles, benday dots and its old-fashioned feel. Lex Luthor seems legitimately brilliant with his triple bank-shot of a plan. Siegel has a great command of Superman’s voice. I love the “I make a better friend than foe, eh?” line. Alpha dog types tend to talk a lot of trash, but you could see where that cocksure attitude might get under someone’s skin.

As always, Curt Swan is an absolute master. The victorious Luthor panel is so … pathetic. It feels like a murder. Great stuff.

There are a lot of things to love about this story, but my favorite aspect is Luthor’s casual brilliance. You gotta love a master plan that starts with “Step One: Cure Cancer”.

Pete Woodhouse

July 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

Thanks Brian, it’s nice to read some of this famous story at last.
“While his later work is quite familiar to most Superman fans, Jerry Siegel’s later work on Superman often gets overlooked.” – Should be “While his earlier work….” ?

It’s awesome that they are shocked by the front page headline from the very newspaper they work for.

Zor-El of Argo

July 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Someow, I’m not sure that melting a live grenade is the best way to go about disposing of it. Otherwise, excellent story!

I like the sign on the museum- ‘To Be Demolished At Some Future Date- Seriously, No Rush.’

Oh, well played, sir. Because calling that OTHER “Death of Superman” one of the greatest Superman stories ever told would really be a stretch. Notable, sure, but great? Not so much.

Weird, what’s with the page numbering?

“Now that you’ve changed, let’s be friends…”

Haha! I missed the humor of them reading the headline the first time around. Perry White can’t believe the headline on the newspaper he edits!

I think that Superman story is the inspiration for Clark Kent being a gullible twit in “Smallville”.

no one has mentioned that Luthor has a Super XXX-ray!

What is the internet coming to?

DFTBA

“choke” … this is such a great story!

The end of this story was so strange and chilling. “JK LOL! Superman will be back next week even though that story was soul-crushingly sad!”

Also, I would buy all 50 volumes of “Adventures of Superman: The Complete Curt Swan Collection,” so get on it DC!

one of the best superhero stories in the history of comics.

makes “watchmen” and “dkr” look like embarassingly adolescent sturm-and-drang exercises.

I love how Krypto doesn’t seem that thrilled about being owned by Supergirl.

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