Silver Age September – The (First) Death of Superman!
After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period, without any “enjoyably goofy” aspect to them. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!
We begin with the first “Death of Superman,” from 1961’s Superman #149, by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan
and Sheldon Moldoff (interesting match there).
This imaginary story was told in three chapters.
In the initial chapter, Lex Luthor appears to have renounced his life of crime!!!
Superman even speaks on his behalf at a special parole hearing after Luthor cures cancer…
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). So Superman gives Luthor a signal watch like Jimmy Olsen’s. Superman later builds Luthor his own private space lab and one day, Luthor’s signal watch calls out to Superman…
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…
There is then a bittersweet ending with Supergirl and Krypto carrying on in Superman’s name.
What a well-told story. And remarkably chilling for a comic book at the time. I can only imagine how a kid in 1961 would have handled this comic book.