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Top 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History: #15-6

We provided a series of memorable DC moments for you to vote for, we also gave you the chance to nominate other moments (which you then also voted on to get them on to the “ballot”) and then you came out in droves to vote for them all! I think it was our biggest turnout yet (as it turns out, more people will vote if they just have to click buttons to vote). So now, we begin the countdown of the Top 75 most memorable moments in the 75-year history of DC Comics!!! Do note that spoilers will almost certainly be present in these moments, and some of them could have come from comics that were intended for mature audiences only. So be forewarned!

Here is a link to #75-66. Here is a link to #65-56. Here is a link to #55-46. Here is a link to 45-36! Here is a link to #35-26. Here is a link to #25-16.

And now, here is #15-6!


15 Batman and Joker share a laugh (Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland)

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While quite a few folks were put off by Joker shooting Barbara Gordon in the Killing Joke – the end of the book was possibly even MORE divisive! The two men standing in the rain laughing at a silly joke was intentionally provocative, but certainly memorable.

14 Batman takes down Superman (Batman: The Dark Knight #4 by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson)

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The beginning of this fight is also quite memorable, where Batman first punches Superman, but the ending is the most memorable part of the fight.

13 Abin Sur finds a replacement (Showcase #22 by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella)

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Here is the iconic origin of Hal Jordan of Earth, the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814!

12 Bruce Wayne loses a window, gains an identity (Detective Comics #33 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff)

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.

11 The Waynes take a night stroll (Detective Comics #33 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff)

The parent death that pretty much all parental deaths are measured against. Bill Finger actually only wrote the first two pages of Detective Comics #33 (Gardner Fox wrote the rest) just so he could deliver this origin story. Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff did the artwork. It is fitting that these two moments came back to back (although oddly enough, this one beat the other one by over 40 votes).

10 Bane breaks Batman’s back (Batman #497 by Doug Moench and Jim Aparo)

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Doug Moench and Jim Aparo deliver what is effectively the climax of Knightfall in this tragic tale.

9 “One Punch!” (Justice League #5 by Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon)

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For the first few issues of the Justice League relaunch, Guy Gardner had been giving Batman a hard time. In this famous scene, Gardner finally gets what’s coming to him.

8 Jason Todd is beaten nearly to death by the Joker (Batman #427 by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo)

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This is one depressing moment. Jason Todd is looking for his mother, but she sells him out and he is beaten nearly to death by the Joker. His mother is then betrayed by the Joker and left with the nearly dead Jason. He manages to awake and struggle to get them both to safety, but the bomb goes off before they can make their escape.

7 Green Arrow’s ward is a junkie?!!? (Green Lantern #85 by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams)

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Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams had this story worked out BEFORE the famous Spider-Man drugs issue, but DC was wary about putting it out against the Comics Code. Luckily, the Spidey story led to the Code changing and this issue was released, and it was a much stronger anti-drug storyline than the Spidey one.

6 Ozymandias’ plan goes into effect (Watchmen #11 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)

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Forget Watchmen, the “thirty-five minutes ago” line is one of the most famous lines from comics PERIOD.

Beautiful work by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Here is #5-1!


So, remember that time I mentioned that there were 4 moments that were absolute locks and didn’t need to be nominated? Three of them are in positions 8-10 (and the last one is almost certainly in the top 5.)

Wow suprised the Bane breaking the bat moment ranked so high…

Yeah, I think the whole Bane vs. Batman thing was important at the time (I guess, it didn’t speak to me at all, nor did the death of Supes actually) but has little historical weight. Can’t believe it or the others in 8-9-10 rank higher than the coolness of the two panels in #12…

“Criminals are a supersticious, cowardly lot…. I shall become a BAT!.”

Those two lines have to be in the Top 5 all time comic book lines along with

“with great power comes great responsibility”
“It’s a bird. It’s a plane. …”
and probably
“I did it thirty five minutes ago”

simple, powerful, instantly recognized (tho maybe not the Watchmen quote by the general popluace)

er, “superstitious”

Knightfall was one of the most atrocious moments in Batman chronology. It’s just bad. Bane is a one-dimensional character that was literally saved by Gail Simone (which proves that no character is intrinsically bad, it’s just badly rendered). Great art by Jim Aparo though.

Huh. Just read wikipedia’s Bane entry to figure out what happened between the end of Knightfall and the Checkmate/ Suicide Squad/ Birds of Prey appearances that reminded me he still existed. That’s a weird history, especially for a character who was as shallow as Doomsday when he first appeared.

Yeah, yeah, I know, these are supposed to be the most MEMORABLE moments in DC Comics history, not the NICEST, but watching them doesn’t reassure me of the notion that modern DC comics don’t suck. :(

“One Punch” still makes me laugh 20 years later, and “35 Minutes Ago” still sends a chill up my spine 20 years later. Now THOSE are good comics…

It would be interesting to be able to find out if this had been ranked voting if things like Bane breaking Batman’s back would rank this high. I voted for it, because it’s certainly very memorable in my opinion. But if I was ranking them it would have ranked pretty low. I wonder if it’s one of those things that would have been towards the bottom of a lot of lists, as opposed to the top of fewer lists.

Not that I’m complaining about the way this poll was done. I liked just clicking on my selections to vote. Just thinking out loud, basically.

Knightfall > War Games.

Well, I have to agree with david here, but then, ANYTHING was better than War Games.

I had Watchmen spoiled for me years ago by a Wizard article similar to this feature.

Well, unless I’m way off on the last 5, some of my fave moments didn’t make it. Dang. But overall, this is a pretty good list.

And I don’t know how I would have voted if we had to do a ranked ballot. I don’t know how I would have picked what I picked. I checked off 58 moments, and assuming all of the top 5 were on my list (I think they must be), 50 of them made it. But ranking? Dunno.

nice to see a dark knight return moment where it should be on the list. in fact this whole set had more batman monets on it. also glad to see where green arrow discovers Roy is a junkie wound up ranking and figured joker beating jason with a crowbar from death in the family would finaly pop up in the top part

One punch has to be my all time favorite moment in comics, just like Andrew it still makes me laugh to this day.



Having been 13 or so when the whole back-breaking thing happened, I gotta say I still get chills at that moment. I think it depends on context. I find resonance in the other moments, but as I came of age, they were repeated again and again, so by the time I read them, they had lost something.

Personally, I wouldn’t have included the Bane back-breaking scene at all, since I don’t find it memorable.

Really, is it any memorable or as important then, let’s say, when the Hulk returned from Secret Wars with a broken leg?

NOW- had Bruce Wayne become wheel chair bound, much like Barbara Gordon, after this, then yes, it would be an incredibly memorable moment. But anyone reading this comic KNEW that this would have no effect on the character. It was no different then any other battle injury.

And that Watchmen moment! Man, what a great piece of dialogue! What really helps sell the scene is the following panel. Gibbons’ choice of reaction shot by Nite Owl & Rorshach is so subtle. The words they heard took them so much by surprise, that they’re so completely stunned, if rendered by an ordinary artist, we would probably see an over exaggerated facial expression. Another reason why this series is so well down and worth reading.

It’s well past “tomorrow”, where’s the top five?

Does anyone else find the linking on this site to be kind of awkward?

Over to the right is recent posts: it’s right up top.

On top of the page is the blogs tab for CBR, and you can choose CSBG.

I guess if you have an older browser, the linking isn’t the best, because I do notice a difference at work vs at home, but it isn’t that bad.

The whole selection and ranking process is interesting but of course is still so subjective to a person’s reading habits and enjoyment. For example, I can clearly remember a story, “The Phantom Jimmy Olsen”. It was a typical weird Olsen transformation story, but it included a nice bit of characterization when Jimmy refused to ferret out Superman’s secret identity, despite the urging of the Phantom Zone villains to do so. Both JImmy’s speech and Superman’s reaction to it was very well done (for the time) and is something I remember, probably because in those days I had time to read and re-read everything.

Watchmen on the other hand never resonated with me, so many of its ranking entries did not evoke any memories. I know I speak sacrilege not to bow down to WM, but it just wasn’t there for me.

Y’know what’s always bugged me about Hal’s origin? If Abin Sur is a GL why is flying a spaceship instead of just flying around like every other GL?

“Y’know what’s always bugged me about Hal’s origin? If Abin Sur is a GL why is flying a spaceship instead of just flying around like every other GL?”

It bugged Alan Moore, too, so much that he addressed it in a story.

[…] The problem with John Stewart is that he may have the least defined personality of any of the Green Lanterns. Hal Jordan is the cocky pilot whose response to an alien invasion is to grab a plane and fly towards it. Kyle Ragner is the artist with the ring that makes his imagination become real. Guy Gardner is the douchebag who got knocked out in one punch by Batman, in what is widely considered one of the best moments in any DC comic. […]

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