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Top 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History: #5-1

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. Here is a link to #15-6.

And now, here is #5-1!

Enjoy!

5. Death of Supergirl (Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Jerry Ordway)

(click on images to enlarge)

Superman’s cousin received an extremely heroic, heartfelt send-off in this touching moment from Crisis on Infinite Earths.

4. Baby Superman speeds away from his dying home planet in a rocket ship (Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster)

One of the most iconic visuals in comic book history, courtesy of Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

3. Barry Allen makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the Multiverse (Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Jerry Ordway)

(click on images to enlarge)

As dramatic as the death of Supergirl was, to kill off the superhero who more or less got the Silver Age started was even more dramatic. And to have him go out by RUNNING HIMSELF TO DEATH TO SAVE THE UNIVERSE!?!?! That’s awesome.

2. Superman dies (Superman Vol. 2 #75 by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding)

(click on images to enlarge)

Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding provide one of the most dramatic images of the 1990s in comics in one of the highest-selling comics of all-time (and certainly one that gained some of the largest mainstream attention ever).

1. Joker shoots Barbara Gordon (Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland)

(click on images to enlarge)

You don’t get much more shocking than the sight of the former heroine known as Batgirl getting shot in the gut by the Joker in front of her father, Commissioner Gordon. You don’t have to LIKE the scene to appreciate that it has become etched in the memories of fans everywhere.

Okay, that’s the list! I hope you had fun voting Congratulations to DC on a great 75 years filled with memorable moments! Here’s to another great 75 years!!

88 Comments

That’s a strange top 2, in my opinion.

Three deaths,
One crippling,
One Birth.

Well, I guess now we know why DC insists on killing or maiming a character in every issue these days.

Jimmy Olsen’s position in that final panel always bugged me. His photograph capturing the moment would have Lois Lane’s back in the center of the frame, and it’s doubtful admist all that debris Superman could even be seen at all. Not really front-page Daily Planet material..

YES! Superman is beaten by babs. I can’t believe people thought barry was more memorable than Kara though, shame on you!

Jimmy was taking a pic of Supes’ tattered cape blowing in the wind. It was the cover of “Newstime”

with all the moments in The Killing Joke, how come Commissioner Gordon telling Batman to bring the Joker in “By the Book” not on here? That is probably his finest moment.

Yeah, I agree with Dave. As a photographer, Jimmy chose a terrible angle to take his picture.

As for the top 5, I got no complaints. I love the Killing Joke, and that scene is as memorable as it gets.

There is a small mistake to the list. The number one and two choices should be switched. The paralyzing of Barbara Gordon is significant because she is still paralyzed to this day but the death is much more emotional.

Three major characters dead. That did have a lot of impact on the DC Universe. Well, Wally was The Flash immediately after Crisis ended and he was wearing the red suit so that didn’t change much. And Superman came back after a couple months. And since they re-invented Superman that Supergirl never actually existed in continuity so she became kind of a moot point.

Maybe stop retconning the crap out of everything?

yeah, these feel a little anti-climactic to me. I get that this is “memorable moments” not “greatest/ signature moments”, and that there was no ranking. But still. There are a half-dozen moments each from Dark Knight, Watchmen, or Sandman that I’d rank ahead of 2 or 1. And while I certainly remember that one-page Superman origin with the bugs, when I remember Superman’s origin it’s got the words “Krypton” and “Jor-EL” in it, and the Silver Age Krypton aesthetic

Looking at these selections altogether: Crisis was more creative than I’d remembered with panels/ layouts/ etc. And it’s pretty striking that neither Moment gets a splash page or even a half-page panel.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!?

I don’t feel Supergirl’s temporary “death” was dramatic. Or memorable. Neither was Superman’s temporary “death”. Both stories reeked of editorial manipulation. Instead of flowing organically from the mind of an inspired writer, both stories stank of editorial mandate.

Instead of feeling emotion when I read them, I remember thinking, “Oh, now the writer and artist want me to feel emotion.” It’s kind of like the difference between having sex, and having someone describe it to you.

But I remember I definitely felt emotion the FIRST time I saw Superman die, in Superman #149 from 1961 — though I didn’t get to read it until around 1980. Is that comic on this list?

I’m extremely surprised at #1. It’s memorable, sure. But #1? Weird.

One Birth.

I feel obliged to point out that more people are implied to die on that page then on the other 4 pages combined, by many orders of magnitude.

Remember, one death is a tragedy. A planet’s worth of deaths is a statistic.

(Also, I agree that it’s a weird choice for number 1. I blame the voters.)

Apologies, the anonymous comment above this one is me.

I would’ve probably put 4 and 3 as the top 2 with 1 and 2 being after that. Barbara becoming Oracle after Joker paralyzing her was memorable and so was Superman’s death but I don’t think they compare to the creation of Superman or the death of Barry Allen (which for an entire generation or 2 is the most important and memorable thing of Barry Allen next to his meeting with Jay Garrick)

[...] Top 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History: #5-1 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) [...]

I am really surprised at the top spot. Reading that made no impact on me when I read the Killing Joke. Of course, I wasn’t into Batman comics, so I didn’t get her importance. For me, the main scene in Killing Joke is when Batman and Joker share a laugh.

The ranking of Kara’s and Barry’s deaths are severely undermined by their recent retconning or undoing.

And THE KILLING JOKE is, IMHO, the most over-rated comic ever.
Nice art, though.

You know people complain so much about all the violence and death in DC comics…well just look at 4 of the 5 most memorable moments (heck even the superman one involves the death of an entire planet of people).

Other people have already posted this, but I’ll toss it out again:

“Most Memorable Moments”

Not “Greatest Moments”, or “Best Moments.”

I’d argue there’s plenty of room for debate about what should be where on this list, but it’s human nature to remember tragedy more strongly them triumph or joy.

Well, violence and death is supposed to be dramatic, when used sparingly.

Some pointed out the irony of Supergirl’s death and subsequent reshuffling of Superman mythos to make her disappear, that it fitted perfectly the treatment of the character so far, she becomes a focus of attention with a heroic death and is immediately forgotten afterwards.
That’s our Kara, the patron saint of supporting acts nobody cares about.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Personally, I’d thought that # 5 would be # 2, and # 2 would be # 100 or # 5.

The death of Supergirl seemed to invoke a more emotional response in me than the death of Superman.

I guess it was mostly because Kara was never really used again in that incarnation, and Kal-el was obviously going to be brought back later.

But if the people voted this way, Que Sera Sera.

For me the death of Supergirl is the single most memorable comic event ever, and it was the first time I had a genuine emotional response other than laughter to anything I’d read. I’m not arguing with Barbara’s placement, that is an extremely memorable moment for me, too, but for me Supergirl’s death will always be number one on any list it is relevant to.

“Well, I guess now we know why DC insists on killing or maiming a character in every issue these days.”

And why I don’t buy new DC. It’s sad what they’ve done to that company and characters.

No ‘Mazing Man?!?!

Told ya the top moment would come from a Batman book. Though I wouldn’t have guessed it would be THAT moment.

I agree with those who say the top two are overrated. Or over-voted-for, to be precise.

Some food for thought… of these moments, I think only the Superman ones are memorable to the mainstream public. You have to have been an avid comic reader to know about the other 3 (well, maybe the death of Supergirl is mainstream enough due to the famous iconic cover).

Of course that isn’t what anyone was caring about when choosing which moments to vote for, but still… Superman truly is a cultural icon and you can’t say these moments are not in the minds of everyone that knows the character exists (as in, memorable!), while a lot of people probably know Batgirl but have no idea the original was shot or a lot of people only know Wally and not Barry.

A couple of caveats. #1- I haven’t read the rest of the list so forgive me if what I’m about to say has already been covered and #2 I do understand the thinking behind this list so I’m not slamming anyone in particular. BUT!…

It’s a shame that Barbara’s moment that is considered memorable is being shot and not the moment she becomes Oracle or she learns Escrima. Instead of focusing on a woman overcoming her new disability and becoming a hero in her own right separate from Batman, the focus is on her being shot and paralyzed. I don’t mean to imply any kind of malicious thought on the part of anyone, I’m instead just amazed by the fact that that is what made it. Heck the last issue of “Hunt For Oracle” would be great cuz there she takes out all those gangsters without anyone’s help. It’s something worth thinking about in my opinion.

I have been hohumming this list, just looking to see what people think. Now I am a former make mine Marvel kid, who has dabbled in DC comics through mini series like the Wierd and Graphic Novels like Watchman and Dark Knight. And now you will more likely catch me reading Fantagraphics. So in that context my opinion is that I have found more interesting DC comics not yet read in other posts. But I have to say I am happy with No. 1. I obhore violence against women, but with these 7 panels it would be hard to find a more compelling moment in DC Comics. I have always thought of Marvel’s characters to have human flaws to DC’s Superhuman heroics. The Bat stories have been the acception to the rule. And while Marvel has crazy flawed heroes, DC here and elsewhere answers with, “yeah, but we have the king of Psycoes, the Joker and this is what our heroes are up against.” Barbara sacrifices heroics to prove DC can take Marvel’s metaphoric humanity and raise it a horrific tragity. Pretty serious cartooning, not to mention told well with intimate silent panels cleanly and beatifly exsicuted.

Diarmaid Dineen

August 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm

… bit of a let down, oh well, life goes on, how about the top 75 marvel moments? please!!! i have no shame in admitting my incorrigible allegiance to marvel

I have no probs with the list.. after all it was a public vote… but I do find it ironic that a bunch of maimings/deaths head up the list…

Speaking of death, I will bring this up only because I know some of the more informed DC fans here could come up with a valid answer:

I thought Barry’s death was intrinsically tied to the ending of the “Crisis” and that the mere act of resurrecting him would unravel the Multiverse. Same with the Anti-Monitor… Was this issue addressed by any of the DC Cosmic books? And did you think it was answered as best as possible?

I guess everyone else has already said it. I’m surprised by the list, too.

CNN covered Superman’s Death. It’s impossible for that to NOT be #1. This entire list is extremely flawed but an admirable attempt none the less.

And why is everyone surprised that death is memorable. It’s a death! DUH! Who wouldn’t remember that? Deaths are impactful sometimes.

A baby in his diapers lifting the furniture. You gotta love baby Kal-El….

Although babs is a strange choice for no 1, i can understand somewhat in that its the only moment here that still has some relevancy to the current dcu -though personally for me it would be supergirl.

Superman’s death should be number one? Why? Because it was on CNN? Because the “mainstream public” knew about it? But anyone with a brain always knew it would be temporary. And the mainstream public would be hard pressed to think of 10 (much less 75) memorable DC Comics moments. That’s why we, the readers of this website, voted for them. It’s not a surprise that what’s memorable to Average Joes isn’t our criteria.

I’ve got no problem with the number-one choice. I click-voted for it (although I wouldn’t have ranked it in that top slot, had we ranked them ourselves in the voting). But here’s the thing: Discounting “Watchmen,” which is a story unto its own and not part of DCU continuity, the crippling of Barbara Gordon is the one big death/maiming moment from the top 15 that isn’t part an origin story and that hasn’t been undone. All the other deaths — Superman, Barry Allen Flash, Supergirl, Jason Todd Robin — were temporary (as was the crippling of Bruce Wayne). But Barbara is still in a wheelchair — and she’s a much better character for it. Talk about heroism!

I agree with what Michael says about the importance of Barbara’s evolution as Oracle, but those later developments are all part of what makes this moment so pivotal. The others might’ve had impact at the time, but none of them lasted. This sequence has even stronger meaning now than when it first appeared 20 years ago because it DID last.

The deaths of Supergirl and Flash, and the crippling of Batgirl, are memorable to those who read them new because they happened at a time when there was no expectation of the events being undone. Sure, characters had been “unkilled” in comics before, but those deaths always left the possiblity of survival. It doesn’t matter if it’s a comic book or soap opera or whatever, if someone falls off a cliff or is in a building when a bomb goes off and there is either no body found or not enough to make a positive ID then you know you’re going to see that character again eventually. But the way Supergirl and Flash were killed left little room for doubt, and the promise of change that COIE was supposed to represent solidified the belief that they were really gone. And they were. It took more than twenty years for Barry Allen to return and a new Kara Zor-El to be introduced.

Maybe that negates the impact of those deaths for the new generation of readers, but for those of us who were there these events remain extremely memorable.

kind of a gruesome top five. three deaths and the most evilest moment ever in dc history. mainly the joker proving why he is comics and fictions greatest pycho sociopath shooting barbara even though she became oracle still always thought that moment was gruesome. the deaths figured supes would be here since its memorable for no fan ever figured dc would ever kill one of the big three. flash and super girl their deaths showed that the original crisis was changing the dc universe. that the stakes were really high in crisis. not to mention barry stayed dead for twenty years.

Moments I liked:
[65 - 56] 61.
[55 - 46] 54, 52.
[45 - 36] 40, 39.
[35 - 26] 34, 28.
[25 - 16] 23, 16.
[15 - 6] 10, 8, 7.
[5 - 1] 5, 3, 2, 1.

Moments I didn’t:
[65 - 56] 58.
[55 - 46] 53.
[15 - 6] 9. (This ruined Guy as a character forever!)

DC Comics: Crippling the Bitches for 75 Years.
The top one is memorable indeed, and probably if the events could be ranked by the voters, few would have picked it as the top moment…but apparently almost everyone considered it memorable. And why not: it hasn’t been written out of history, it is an (or perhaps the) iconic moment also for the biggest villain of DC, it has generated a good deal of commentary and criticism and even the behind-the-scenes editorial discussion leading to the scene has become stuff of legends.
Oh, and that’s one beautifully crafted page too.

Meanwhile, death of Superman had “media event” written all over it and while it did break into mainstream news, the hype actually lessens the impact.

I’ll have more to say in a bit, but something I’ve mentioned in the course of this countdown: how did the Joker know that Jim wouldn’t answer the door?

I was also surprised by #1 at first, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. This was one of the key moments in comics becoming more ‘adult’, and the fact it’s one of the few DC hasn’t retconned out of existence gives it lasting power – Barbara, and by extension the reader, had to live with it every day from that point on. You could say that, boiled down to their essence, superhero comics are all about violence, and violence doesn’t come much more raw and potent than this.

@ Travis Pilkie: I’ve always assumed the Joker knew Barbara’s schedule, and that she’d be waiting for Colleen – from his point of view, it’d be a very good bet she’d answer the ring.

Forgot to mention – on a lighter note – how much I love the “scientific explanation” of Superman: he has the proportionate strength of a grasshopper!

Alice, I do like that explanation for the Joker knowing Babs was there. In fact, it makes sense because to me, the Joker is at his most cold and calculating in Killing Joke.

And just to point it out, it’s Pelkie, not Pilkie. It’s ok, though, cuz the LCS owner had it that way for several years too. Comics people want to spell my name PIL! Usually people want to have KEY at the end, but then again, I figure it’s hard to spell so I usually just spell it out to begin with.

I think the Crisis 7 cover is more memorable, really, even though there was a Wizard “article” a few years back showing how the cover pose has been used a lot in comics over the years (before and after). I thought the cover to the GL/GA Speedy’s a junkie issue was more memorable too.

I thought I had voted for 58 moments, but find only 7 on my list (yes, I wrote it down, yes, I am a nerd) that didn’t make it. The only one that kind of disappoints me is the WE3 moment, because that is a great great book.

Notice this, too, that in the top 15, the newest moment is Bane breaking Batman’s back, and the second newest is the Death of Superman. And as much as I don’t want to think about it, those are over 16 years ago. I feel old. But my point is that these top 15 are obviously standing the test of time, and nothing has supplanted them just yet.

See, I would have guessed the Death of Superman would have hit #1. I remember the date the book came out, November 18 1992. It’s also the first time I went to my LCS. I’d been only collecting for a couple years, and I think I knew they weren’t keeping him dead, but I was swayed by the collector mentality back then. I do wish I’d gotten one of the black bag issues, though. I only got, I think, a third printing.

Great list overall Brian, and it led to some great debates. Hey, I even got the Living Tribunal to rule in my favor on one thing!

And I meant that the Crisis 7 COVER more memorable than the DEATH INSIDE. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. Same deal with GL/GA.

I told Brian in an email I’d do this if he didn’t want to post it. I thought that this list was good, of memorable DCU moments, but let’s also take a look at memorable moments for DC the company.

So here’s a list, approximately chronological, of DC memorable moments.

First off, since it’s the 75 th anniversary, 1935 is when New Fun Comics first came out. Obviously, your first publication is a memorable moment.

Then, of course, Siegel and Shuster’s Superman getting published in Action 1. The reason that DC is around today. (I doubt they would have survived on Detective alone.)

The intro of Batman in Detective 27.

The intro of Robin, and the start of kid sidekicks. (Det. 38)

The start of the JSA. The introduction of super-teams.

Wonder Woman’s intro. Not only the first super female, but (probably) the first comic hero written by someone with a prestigious job (Marston was a renowned psychologist at the time, right? I believe that he was on some “board” that DC created to make it appear that their comics were getting a seal of approval from psychologists, and Marston was one on the “board”.)

The intro of the Fleischer Bros Superman cartoons. The first (?) foray into other, bigger media for super heroes. (I may be wrong on that, a bit)

Other Superman merchandising (the fan club stuff and so forth started appearing fairly early on in from when Action 1 first came out. It makes you think, because Superman wouldn’t have become SUPERMAN if it hadn’t been for the business backing of DC, but Siegel and Shuster still got screwed over.) (also, even in early comic books, there were mentions of merchandise and wanting to get the newspaper strip in papers, etc. DC really pushed the character in other media right out of the gate)

The Superman TV show. The first comic character on TV (right?), and the show was actually pretty good.

DC wins the lawsuit against Fawcett, putting its biggest rival out of business.

DC buys up other companies — Fawcett, Quality, later on Charlton, even later on Wildstorm. If you can’t beat them, buy them. They integrated all of these characters/companies into the DCU to some degree, and with COIE, made them all part of one world.

The comics code. It changed what kind of stories they would do, and neutered Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to a degree. But it also kept the comics alive in a time when many parents would have been happy to see them go away.

Julius Schwartz helps usher in the Silver Age by introducing a new Flash, using an old name for new purposes. This led to all the other “reboots” of Golden Age characters, and arguably to the continuation of DC into today. It also probably led to the creation of Marvel-as-we-know-it. And the “new characters, old names” was reused, to lesser success, with Tangent. Also, the Silver Age led to the need for Multiple Earths, and we all know what a Crisis that led to…

The Batman TV show. It defines “comic books” for a generation that doesn’t read them.

Neal Adams gets DC more colors. (This is from Following Cerebus 9, the Adams issue. forgive me, I don’t remember details) Apparently, DC wasn’t getting some shades of yellow available to them. Adams badgered the head of DC to call and complain, which this guy was reluctant to do for fear it would cost more money. He did call, and through that call (someone pointed out that Marvel had the extra shades, and they weren’t paying more), DC got more colors to work with, without it costing them more.

Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil on the GA/GL Hard Travelin’ Heroes. Tackling social issues head on, the run STILL divides people.

Neal Adams working with Siegel and Shuster to get them rights and credits. Due to the announcement of the Superman movie, Adams worked to get S&S more money and credit for the gigantic cash cow that DC got from them very cheap. A triumph for creators’ rights.

The Superman movie. They got Marlon Brando to get involved. That was big time then. (snark: so was he!)

Somewhere in there, not sure when, Time Warner buys DC.

Jeanette Kahn as Publisher. Definitely the first woman in that position in comics, she helped build DC as a strong company throughout her tenure. Some things she may have been prudish on, but overall a great tenure.

(The prudish thing: I’m thinking of Gaiman not being able to use the word “masturbate” in Sandman, and the kibosh of the Veitch Swamp Thing meets Jesus story, and the “threat” of the ratings system that led Alan Moore and Frank Miller to go away from DC for awhile. There were other things she did ok, though, like stuff in Moore’s ST, so it’s a mixed thing.)

Camelot 3000, DC’s first direct sales only series (I think, I may be wrong there). A significant step in the change in how comics are distributed.

Early to mid 80s (and beyond) invasion of British talent: Brian Bolland was probably the first, but Gibbons, Moore, Gaiman, McKean, Delano, Ennis, Ellis, and numerous others (that I can’t think of right now) led to a creative renaissance within the company.

Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, which eventually led to:

Vertigo: the “adult” line that gave us Swamp Thing, Sandman, Doom Patrol, Shade, then later Preacher, Books of Magic, Invisibles, and later still, Scalped, 100 Bullets, Fables, and so on. Karen Berger was allowed to get the best talent and let them run wild. Comics, I think, are the better for it.

It also led to other, less successful imprints, like the manga line (CMX, iirc), Minx (which was good stuff, really), and Helix, which gave us Transmet.

Crisis on Infinite Earths, and all the reboots after that. Good or bad, it was a trend setter. The attempt to clean up continuity, create new continuity, was actually well done. (and on time, wasn’t it?) And it gave us 2 major deaths that held a lot of impact, Supergirl and the Flash.

Crisis also led to the nearly annual company wide crossovers (that led to the current NONSTOP company wide crossovers…), like Legends, Invasion, Millennium, Eclipso, Armageddon 2001, Zero Hour, and so on.

Crisis also created the need for both Alan Moore’s wonderful “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” and led to John Byrne’s reboot, which got major media attention.

Also getting major media attention around 1986 were Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Rolling Stone covered it, Time, Newsweek, they were everywhere.

The Batman movie of 1989. That thing was HUGE! Everyone knew about it, everyone talked about it.

Robin’s phone-in death. It garnered massive media attention and made Denny O’Neil realize that he was, as I believe he put it, the “guardian of the mythology”. He was getting death threats!

Superman’s death. Even bigger. There are people who STILL think Superman is dead, that’s how much it permeated the national consciousness. (and personal note, I remember November 18, 1992, the day the death issue came out, and how it was the first time I went to my LCS. Good memories)

Batman getting his back broken and being replaced. Not quite as big media wise, but still a major development. Hey, if the biggest icon can go, why can’t #2?

Batman the animated series showed that you could do a (semi-) serious look at a character that was revered for kitsch factor in the mainstream, and did it oh so very well.

AOL and Time Warner coming together, and the rise of the internet in fandom.

The mainstream media attention to Identity Crisis, for good or ill. It got lots of ink (and pixels, I suppose) for showing how “real” things could get for heroes. It also was one of the first big books by a writer who started more in other media (Kevin Smith’s GA was before this, Rucka started more in prose, Heinberg, Lindelhof, and others who were TV/movie writers, and so on).

Also, I think the proliferation of DC related shirts and tattoos is a sign of how iconic the company is. The S-Shield (for men and women), the Bat chest symbol, I think even the GL symbol gets play with “the kids”.

That’s my list, mostly from the top of my head, but I hope other people will add on things I forgot.

@ Travis – profuse apologies for mis-spelling your name: this happens to me all the time in my IRL identity, so I know how annoying it can be!

Travis, that’s a very good, well thought-out list.

As for myself, following this list and the voting somewhat sporadically, and given the high quantity of death, beatings, maiming, and even rape (and, it seems to me, the general frequency of violence against women), I now feel compelled to share one of my personal favorite and truly quite memorable (for me anyway) DC moments: it was in that second run of Mr. Miracle, not sure which issue (& can’t look it up b/c I don’t have it any more), when Barda got “mugged,” and on the phone later with Scott she tells him a mugger attacked her, and his response is something like, “Oh my god! Is he all right?!” That never fails to make me chuckle out loud every time I think about it…

Wow if I was a creator who had ever worked at DC I’d be pretty depressed at number 1… hell if I was Alan Moore and someone said that was the most memorable thing I’d ever done while working at DC I’d be pretty depressed.

I don’t know how the list was compiled, but I would assume that #1 had the most people who clicked on that bubble, #2 had the second most, etc. With that assumption that means that someone didn’t click on Superman’s death on a list of “memorable” DC moments. I seriously doubt that there is a reader of this website that would be old enough to remember that moment and doesn’t. I could understand not having ever read The Killing Joke. After all, there are lots of really good books that I’ve just never gotten around to reading. But to not have read/heard of Superman 75 is unbelievable in a literal sense. Whoever took this poll and didn’t click that, I simply don’t believe you.

@ David I guess I am the spoiler. I read it when it came out and I remember the hype. Both the quality if the work and the fact that it was very likely a stunt, I was not impressed and still am not. To be honest it was not that memorable. The Killing Joke was about the Joker and this moment as #1 reflects a time when violence against women in comics was not as grossly out of control (some may blame this moment for that). The combination of craft, the time it was done and the horror of the act obviously made it memmerible for more people including me.

It’s a shame Superman didn’t stay dead.

Oh, no I didn’t!

Re: The Killing Joke, maybe this has been discussed already (I haven’t read all these threads) but nothing in the story mandates that Barbara Gordon be permanently crippled as a result of the bullet.

Even if you maintain that the story is in continuity, subsequent Batman writers could have shown her in a hospital bed for a while and then doing physical therapy and eventually making a full recovery, much like when Batman’s back was broken. (Remember that?) Hell, it’s comic books, they could have just zapped her with Wonder Woman’s purple ray or something. Barbara Gordon was kept in a wheelchair by subsequent writers and editors, not by Alan Moore.

where is Sixpack defeats Darksied with a broken whiskey bottle??????

[...] Comics Should Be Good, uno de los blogs de CBR, se han marcado una lista con los 75 momentos más memorables de la historia [...]

And that is why I’m a Marvel Zombie!

I’m a little surprised that Action Comics #1 wasn’t #1 purely for the fact that this list wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for that epic moment. Although I think Barbara Gordon being shot easily deserves to be in the top 5, it was a big deal and people (maybe just myself) are still annoyed with it.

Overall I can’t argue with most of Brian’s list. There are a lot of great moments and all of them memorable for sure. I may have ordered them in a slightly different order, but this is what happens when we the people vote on things. You never know what we’re going to find more important.

I did read that correctly? This list was done off of voting?

I like Travis’s list for DC as a company on a whole as well.

All of these moments were pretty memorable for me and I’m not very good at numbering stuff like that. Barbara getting shot was big, but my shock and anger at Batman LAUGHING with the Joker at the end of that over-hyped albeit good story was definitely more memorable. I’ve rarely been that annoyed with a story.

I would put Supergirl’s death up there. I remember it being a big emotional impact on me. Not so much Barry’s death and certainly not Superman’s death. Superman’s death was so obviously temporary it had no meaning whatsoever to me. Ted Kord and Max Lord’s deaths had a bigger impact to me. They weren’t needless, they made sense and made a big impact for the story.

Well folks, all I can say is if these are the five most memorable moments in the long and glorious history of DC, then this company is surprisingly lacking in comic book magic. Not to reignite the age-old flame war, but if we were to make a similar list of Marvel’s most memorable moments (I assume this is coming soon?), I would expect to be much more moved by the magical moments therein. I can’t really explain my lack of love for DC comics, given all the incredible talent they’ve had through the years, but somehow the creative magic of Lee/Kirby which forever established the Marvel style just leaves DC comics feeling heartless and hollow by comparison. So please, CBR, bring on the Marvel list ASAP!

hmmm

I would have put the Superman origin at No. 1. Definitely would have put Death of the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El about the death of Barry Allen. It had more emotion and meaning, plus that version of Kara Zor-El will probably never return (I like the current Kara, but she’s not quite the same).

Colonel Deklin Iceland

August 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

So when people think of DC, they first think of Barbara Gordon shot and crippled?

Validus is revealed to be Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad’s kid? Not on the list?

Travis Pelkie above mentions Wonder Woman as the first super female. This is a common misconception. There may have been other obscure female heroes that predate her, I have no idea. But it’s clear that Shiera Sanders had already been introduced and assumed the identity of Hawkgirl and functioned as Hawkman’s partner before Wonder Woman premiered. Shiera first appeared alongside Hawkman’s first appearance, Flash Comics #1, almost two years before WW — Jan 1940 vs. Dec 1941.

Babs getting shot is more iconic than a bat crashing through a window?

It’s be interesting to see these ranked on the basis of quality rather than “eventiness.” Superman #75 was awful. Those two pages of Crisis #8 — Scott McCloud could write volumes just on the sophistication and power of the storytelling technique at work there. And they do it in 27 visible panels! So much for needing full-page spreads to communicate powerful, dramatic moments.

I for one am glad DC at least hasn’t “cured” Babs. I personally would think it offensive. There’s nothing wrong with her being in a chair plus it gives the disabled community someone to relate to. It’s odd but there used to be this group of people I’d run into online who were actually kind of campaigning to get her “cured” thru the Lazarus pit or something.

Not to go off topic but this is why James Cameron’s Avatar was the first movie to actually offend me. I felt his statement was that there is something inherently wrong with not having 2 functioning legs (not just the villian stating it but he showed it when the “hero” couldn’t even save himself without his able-bodied girlfriend and then he ends up in a body with the 2 functioning legs.). I would see it the same way I think with Babs. The tv series “Birds of Prey” seemed not to be able to let it go that she wanted to walk again. I always think Babs has come to see herself as more than her body and thus doesn’t think about it. I spoke to Paul Dini once about this at Wizard World Dallas and he said the producers never could figure out what they wanted to do with her , or the series.

So to a degree I’m really grateful to Alan Moore for the scene though I know he wasn’t pointing her to where she ended up.

The Ninjinister

August 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Really? NOTHING from Blackest Night/Brightest Day? Those series are chock full of nothing but memorable moments. You’d think at least one thing would hit the list.

“Validus is revealed to be Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad’s kid? Not on the list?”

Yes, this was one of the greatest masterstrokes of LSH’s entire publication history. The impact was like a ton of bricks.

“Validus is revealed to be Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad’s kid? Not on the list?”

This is a joke, right?

#4 should’ve been #1. The first appearance of Superman trumps EVERYTHING. Come on.

[...] Continue reading here: DC Comics News: Top 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History: #5-1 – Comic Book Resources [...]

Nothing from Hitman, sadly. No “Of Thee I Sing”, no “Closing Time” finale? Serious bummer there. It may never have been a giant book for DC, but Garth put some great stuff in that book.

Does nobody read Jonah Hex? I would’ve thought the moment when he got his notorious scar would’ve rated a mention, as well as the classic story when he’s killed and stuffed, but still manages to beat the bad guys.

@ Travis, love the list.

I suspect as someone else mentioned Wonder Women is not the first female comic book superhero, just as Superman is not the first. But thier influnce is unmatched. Marston was an interesting defender of comics, his role in the senate hirings is legend. But he had a complex role in the history of Feminism (Wonder Women was to be a feminist figure) and perhaps as a paradox sexuality in American culture (he and his wife had relations with an employee of theirs and bondage was an element. It is no mistake that Wonder Women was always tied up and released herself, a symbolic gesture to his sexual fantasies and to his feminist ideals).

Your list is poinisnt, not all memorable moments, but all hidtoricly important. Thanks.

@Ben: Marston and his wife had a full-fledged relationship with the onetime employee, a woman named Olive (if I recall correctly). She lived with them, and they raised their children together. Marston died while he was still middle-aged, and the two women remained together into their senior years, until death did them part.

Thanks to everyone that liked my list. It honestly was made during lulls at work, and entirely from memory. I’m THAT big a geek.

I’m not sure what Ben Cohen’s last line is saying,but thanks? Considering what a similar relationship to Marston’s that Alan Moore had, it’s too bad Moore never wrote much WW.

And I’ll grant kentonindy that WW may not be the first female superhero (I thought I had put in a “maybe” of some sort in there [and I see I didn't, oops]). I’ll say that she’s the first female superhero that’s not a derivative of a male hero, how’s that?

I think Adam Weissman points out an interesting point with the layouts in Crisis — Perez was doing a lot of interesting things in that (he HAD to, to fit everything in).

And don’t worry about it, Alice. I just found it interesting that you happened to misspell it the same way my comic shop guy did. Apparently I’m a Pill in comics!

Well, I actually agree that these ARE the most memorable moments of DC’s history (at least from the list we were given to choose from.) On the other hand I’m disappointed that Barbara’s crippling (or rather, the fact it was The Joker who did it) is thought of being more memorable than the heroic sacrifices of Superman, Supergirl and The Flash.

[...] Comics Should Be Good, uno de los blogs de CBR, se han marcado una lista con los 75 momentos más memorables de la historia de DC. Parece que no han tenido en cuenta nada de Vértigo, que es la [...]

“Well, I guess now we know why DC insists on killing or maiming a character in every issue these days.”

Because DC doesn’t understand why those events are memorable.

Barbara getting shot isn’t memorable because she is getting shot. It is memorable because it is the first time in a long time that the Joker has actually hurt someone. Oh, sure, he hurt nameless extras or bit characters who were created for him to kill. But, Barbara had been around a while. People who were not regular readers of Batman who read this knew who she was. This was taking the threat of Joker to a whole new level.

Superman’s death was a media event. No two ways about it. This isn’t memorable because a flagship character died. This is memorable because it is an event that got the attention of the average man. Just as people who didn’t regularly read Batman knew who Barbara was, people who never read a comic book in their lives knew who Superman was.

Flash’s death, again is not memorable because he died. It is memorable because it is the establishment of the Legacy Hero. Oh, sure, there had been other Flashes, and other Green Lanterns, and there were Imaginary Tales and Future Stories where Robin became Batman. But, this was the first in-continuity example of an A-List character dying and passing his mantle to his sidekick.

And, Supergirl’s death is memorable because it established the stakes of Crisis. It wasn’t just a continuity reboot. It wasn’t a resetting of the game board. It was a whole new game, with new pieces. When Flash died, readers knew there was a Kid Flash who could step up and take his place. There was no one to replace Supergirl. There was no reboot for her. (At the time.)

Unfortunately, I think that DC looks at these and doesn’t see the individual reasons why fans remember them. They see the common thread: death or maiming of a major character. And, so they continue in that fashion. Sometimes they get a good one like Death of Superman. Sometimes they get one that is unliked but still memorable like Identity Crisis. Sometimes they get one that is quickly forgotten and ret-conned like Wargames.

I think that if DC focused more on the game changing aspects of these Top Five rather than the death evident in four of them (I’m counting #1 as the death of Batgirl even though Barbara lives on as Oracle) then they would produce more comics that I find enjoyable.

Theno

Theno I pretty much completely agree with that. But I fear they will need new blood for DC to change course. I think DiDio will definitely have to go before it happens. Geoff Johns too. Maybe even a couple people at WB. I don’t know about Jim Lee. Then they face the next challenge which would be convincing readers that they get it. That will be harder. Right now I only ever skim the DC solicitations for all-ages stuff or stuff that is out of mainstream DCU because everything else looks like it’s going to just be more endless bloodshed. One of my favorite movies of all time is Pulp Fiction. A movie that can hardly be called “non-violent” or “bloodshed-free”. In fact, violence is one of the things it’s known for. But if you take a good look you realize that the bloodshed isn’t all that prevalent. There’s so much intelligent writing and character development that you get engrossed in the lives of these people. THAT is what DC is missing now.

What? #1 undoubtedly should have been when Dr. Light zapped Flash in 1967, paralyzed him, and made him look like a piece of the sidewalk so that everybody would walk on him.

Seriously. Dr. Light did that.

And then, at #2, Superman’s origin.

They should add Damian Wayne’s death.

This list is way too Batman-heavy. And if death tops the list, what about the death of Ferro Lad, a true comics first? Much more shocking at the time. And that reminds me, this list is way too biased towards comics in the last 10-20 years – J

How can they be memorable events if they have since either been reversed or retconned out of existence? If they have no permanent impact then they are just a fart in the wind.

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