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CSBG Archive

Gimmick or Good? – Superman #75

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1992’s black polybagged Superman #75…


Superman #75 (published November 1992) – script by Dan Jurgens, art by Jurgens and Brett Breeding

One of the most controversial and culturally significant comic books of the 1990s, Superman #75 is more popularly known as the “Death of Superman.” The release of this comic book garnered so much mainstream media attention, its shocking ending was reported by a number of broadcast news channels and national newspapers. Adding to the issue’s buzz was its packaging – special “collector’s” editions were wrapped in a black polybag sporting the iconic Superman “S” dripping in red “blood.” In addition to the comic, the bag contained a trading card, a Daily Planet obituary, a black armband, and other assorted paraphernalia. Of course, if you were lucky enough to score a first printing polybag, you would have been considered crazy to crack it open since everybody was convinced that this comic would one day be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in its pristine, undisturbed form.

In the 20 years since its release, Superman #75 has become a lighting rod for angry comic book enthusiasts who essentially blame its mainstream popularity for sinking the industry and scores of local retailers in the late 1990s. Many people really only bought a copy as a dot com-esque investment, and when they were unable to get a serious chunk of change for it, they abandoned the comic book industry altogether.

But what about inside the polybag and inside the comic?

What makes analyzing the contents of Superman #75 a tricky endeavor is the power of 20-20 hindsight. In retrospect, of course, the death of character as iconic as Superman wasn’t going to be permanent and if people really purchased 20 copies of the book because they thought it was going to be as valuable as Action Comics #1 one day, they probably deserved to get swindled. With that said, the issue is such a cultural landmark for comic book fans because it’s exemplary of the excesses of the 1990s. Despite the speculator-fueled hysteria, 20 years later I still think everyone should get their hands on a copy and read it at least once. It will only take you about 10 minutes to do, which speaks volumes about the comic’s depth.

Superman #75 isn’t really so much a story as it is a series of great-looking splash pages of one brutally bloody brawl between the Man of Steel and Doomsday. There’s certainly an audience for something like this – why else would Michael Bay movies make millions of dollars if there wasn’t a significant portion of the population that wanted to pay to see stuff blow up? If you think of Superman #75 as the Michael Bay movie of 1990s comic books, I think you’ll have a good time reading it.

Of course, looking at it more critically, there are holes aplenty. The script is incredibly shallow. There are predictable and clichéd scenes galore like Superman and Lois Lane sharing a customary last kiss before he meets his impending demise…

and, of course, Superman dying in Lois’ arms. The last block of text of the issue (which is inside a gatefold final page) is “that a Superman died” which I’m sure is designed to be a chilling finale to the character’s story, but the most cynical part of me just wants to roll my eyes after reading it.


Other sappy visuals include a despondent JLA at the scene of the battle and Clark Kent’s parents embracing as they witness Superman’s death on the television. The whole time, Jurgens is selling the hero’s sacrifice and his relentless will to do right by everyone.

What always bothers me about this issue is the fact that Jurgens and Breeding never actually demonstrate what is so special about Doomsday that he should be the character to actually succeed in killing Superman. Sure, it’s established that he’s a mindless killing machine with immense strength, but outside of heavy-handedly telegraphing on every single page that Superman is going to die by the end of the issue, I never truly get the impression that there is something that much more epic or grand about this battle. Considering this comic was sold so hard to casual readers, you would think DC would have made fewer assumptions about what people checking out a copy already knew about Doomsday and his capacity to destroy Superman.

Meanwhile, there’s an old adage in writing that says “show me, don’t tell me” and Superman #75 is certainly an example of the creative team telling readers, over and over again, that something is critically dire, without ever actually showing us in a way that provides much clarity or depth.

So, while I may advise people to give this comic book a read because of its historic nature, I certainly can’t call it a “good” comic in terms of how it was written and crafted. It’s not Grant Morrison’s infinitely more insightful examination of Superman’s final days in All-Star Superman, but it’s hard to go the rest of your life as a comic book fan without giving the “death of Superman” a read at least once.

Verdict: Gimmick


Gimmick? Definitely, but to try and condense the whole Superman/Doomsday battle to this one issue is wrong. If you want people to go back and read this issue, how about having them read the whole crossover. While Doomsday isn’t really fleshed out in Superman #75, we do get a bit more of him in the earlier issues of this series. Granted, not much, but enough to wet your appetite for this character. I mean, DC had to come up with a new character to “kill” Superman because everyone was familiar with his enemies that having them do it would have us all say, “How could kill him now when he/she couldn’t do it before?” It did a nice build up to a character that DC didn’t use enough of back in the day and setup what I thought was a great Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey series.

Hope it’s balanced with context and interpretation, not on sheer hindsight’s sake.

Perhaps it was because I liked the follow-up so much, but I can’t hate on this comic. This was generally a pretty good time to read Superman.

It’s tough to bash this for me for two reasons. On an absolute level, it sucks. But on a relative level, compared to other superhero comics coming out at this time, it was better than a vast majority, even though all of Greg’s criticisms were valid. Comics in general were so bad back then, even the ones that started out good and kept the same creative teams all seemed to be getting worse. Also, on it’s own it’s not so good but as a kickoff to what followed, that I enjoyed. I loved the four replacement Supermen storyline.

I have to echo David here. Sure, by itself, this issue doesn’t show Doomsday as much more than a big galoot. However, the preceding parts of the crossover had him surviving massive explosions, stopping the JLA, etc.–there was a much better sense as to why this thing was going to kill Superman.

What drove me batty was in the final pages, there’s a girl crying at Superman’s impending death, and she’s wearing a Bugs Bunny shirt. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that Bugs looks PERFECT–it’s not just a cheap quick drawing, but looks almost like Jurgens either traced or cut-and-pasted his face onto the shirt. So Bugs is giving you, the reader, this cartoony, “ain’t I a stinker?” look on a page that’s supposed to be incredibly smober. It drives me batty every time I look at it.

Since the issue was the last part of a story arc, bashing it for not “explaining” enough is like only watcing the final 15 minutes of a movie and then complaining there was no set up. And it only had 20 Panels because each page was a full splash or a double spread. As the story arc progresses from issue to issue, the panels per page dropped. The first part had regular panels, the next issue only had 4 per page, then 3 per page, and the penultimate issue only had two panels per page.

And going even further, this entire first “arc” was really just prelude to the meat of the story, which was the Rise of the Supermen and the Return after that. All of which was excellent serial storytelling.

The issue was both Great AND Gimmick.

When did this happen? We are only at issue 7? How the heck did issue 75 come out already?

It was a great gimmick.

Since Mark is just criticizing this issue instead of the whole event, it seems fair to judge it assuming readers just read this issue.

I agree in that the storyline was very shallow and cliche. It was the kind of comic book that people who *don’t* read comics think comic books are like. I had the same grievance with this whole thing as I did with the Knightfall crossover: I didn’t like that a new character was brought in and took down the hero the first time they fought. Had Lex Luthor or the Joker brought down their respective foes, that would have meant something. But bringing in new characters for the sole, obvious purpose of creating a big event stretched my willing suspension of disbelief way too far.

Ah, the good old times when Superman had a hairy chest and wasn’t afraid to show it even in death!

Also, add me to people who really like the post-Doomsday replacement Supermen arc. These are fun comics.

It might not have been a great stand alone issue but it was a story driven event that caught the attention of the world, not a gimmick that was looking for a story.

Of course the polybag and special cover were gimmicks, but I think the gimmick grew as the attention grew, and the attention it got at the time clouds to some extent how people look back at it.

I agree with T. I was a 14 year old that year and bought 5 of them. 4 are still sealed up somewhere—I suspect Capone’s vault.

Grant Morrison once referred to the 90s Superman stories as the time “when all the imaginary stories became true”, which I always thought was a pretty good description. These aren’t great comics, but they were consistently entertaining and showed a willingness to try new things – with the tacit understanding that we’d always revert back to the status quo eventually. The stories were gimmicky, but in a good “let’s shake hints up to attract new readers” kind of way.

You’re right this issue is valuable…I found a bunch at a con for $1 a piece. I’m pretty sure I have a few copies of this, along with some other “valuable” and “collectible” issues – All 5 covers of X-Men Vol. 2 #1, a few copies apiece of New Mutants #87 and #100, and easily 15 copies of X-Force #1, most of which were given to me as hand-me-downs. Can I pay off my college debt with these? Nope, but I can probably trade them in for a pack of gum.

The biggest faux pas of the collector boom is that something that sold millions of copies is essentially worthless. Action Comics #1 is valuable because there are less than 30 known to exist. I’m sure if the original print run was all intact it wouldn’t be anything special today.

There were some good things about the overall arc, especially afterwards (even though that did inadvertently lead to Emerald Twilight), but that issue in particular was a stinker. The problem with the idea of each part of the story having fewer and fewer panes is that the actual death issue took only about two minutes to read.

If you wanted to do a scene where Luthor is upset that *he8 didn’t kill Superman, it might have been to use another villain that the reader had some interest in (“Toyman?!? Toyman got him instead of me?!?”)

The sad thing is, this big event came immediately *after* what I think of as the best era of Superman, with the proposal and revelation to Lois plus a fun time travel story. So while World Without a Superman was decent, in my opinion a short hops in the opposite was the really good stuff. By the time I finally dropped the Superman titles, they had never fully regained that level of quality, despite some nice bits here and there.

Gimmick yes, but as a plot-point story that was a great springboard for other stuff, it was good.
In hindsight, if this book (and series of stories around it) were used as the templete to a Zelda-like videogame, you’d have a really rich world to play in. So, maybe its not the message, but the medium that need to be told and sold here?

Sonny Crockett

March 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

The BOTTOM, bottom-line was to get people who never read comics, interested in reading them. It worked and people bought this comic in droves (is it one of the best selling or THE best selling of all time?) I’m sure some folks bought many issues in the hopes that this would be worth something (90’s excess for sure, agreed) someday. Ultimately, I believe people were startled by the death an American icon had truly come to pass. Basically, everyone knows or grew up watching , reading or at the very least, hearing about Superman. It was like a death in the family (although, fans of the comic genre knew it was only a matter of time before his return). I remember reading about an aboriginal tribe that lived in the Outback and wghen National Geographic did a special on these “ancient” people, in one of the dwellings, in a place used for reverence, someone had a Superman poster tacked to the wall, along with other various articles of special meaning. Just goes to show you about the universal appeal of everything Superman is. As for the comic #75 itself….it was perfect for the story it had to tell…
Sonny Crockett

More thoughts:
Ironically, opening the bags finally became acceptable because the acids of the bags were destroying the unopened comics. Hopefully that led to copies being read that wouldn’t otherwise have been read.

Probably the biggest problem with the issue for me is that it actually took longer to open the bag, put on the armband, and put up the poster than it did to actually read the issue. In fact, once the overall story moved past those one-page teasers, it could be argued that this issue was actually the one where if you missed, you could most easily still follow the plot (you knew that Superman and probably Doomsday were going to die, so if you jumped from the chapter right before to the first part of World Without a Superman, you could still follow along pretty easily, though you’d miss a bit of the payoff in the process).

Another problem with that period of Superman, including the better written materials is that they often offered fancier/pricier covers and regular covers. Now the choice was nice, but Superman was essentially a weekly comic at the time due to tie-ins. Despite my repeated requests the dealers at the shop would often just get in the pricier covers, forcing me to pay more or read a chapter out of sequence (or try to hunt down a copy somewhere else and not get my discount).

Terrible “story”.

I don’t think it’s fair to blame Superman 75 for the ’90s speculator boom and crash as it was simply the latest (and far from last) in a long line of gimmick covers/polybags from the Franklin Mint Age of Comics. I don’t recall seeing an upsurge in long-term sales from people outside comics fandom continuing to but Superman or checking out other books, there was just the spike in interest in this one issue thanks to a slow news day.

Definitely a gimmick, though, as the entire storyline was just a protracted, boring fight (and quickly-plotted fill-in for the scrapped marriage with Lois, since the TV series called “dibs” on that story. The most interesting aspect about “The Death of Superman”, artistically, was the ever-increasingly large panels (becoming full-page splashes in 75).

As bad as the whole story was (and as dumb a concept as Doomsday was), what was good was the follow-up, “World Without Superman”.

Gimmick, yes, but one of the greatest — if not THE greatest — gimmick in comics. As a standalone issue it certainly has *plenty* of flaws, but the overall arc was actually quite impressive. #75 itself is still quite enjoyable, and really does tug at the heartstrings (ugh, did I just say that?).

Every seemingly untouchable hero has at some point been killed/revived in an effort to boost slagging sales. Batman, Robin(s), Spidey, Lantern, Flash, Supergirl, Cap, Hawkeye, Thor (hell, pretty much every classic Avenger has been through this), and in every case it’s been ridiculously gimmicky but at least with Supes it was a tad, well, better.

Shoot, it just occurred to me that this era of Superman was the original “52.” The challenge of “52” was whether a team of writers and artists could tell a continuous story in the space of 52 weeks. The “triangle” teams had been doing this the whole time–it just wasn’t unified under a single title/numbering system.

I guess this technically didn’t become a reality until SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW was launched in the mid-90s to fill in the “skip” weeks. Before that, it was 48 issues of Superman per year, or 36 before MAN OF STEEL was launched. Man, the early-to-late 90s was a great time to be a Superman reader. No wonder I completely lost interest by 2004.

Starting with the John Byrne reboot through this period and a few years after were great Superman comics for me. Even the Death storyline, while not a favorite, is better than 90% of the Superman stories told the last 10 years or so.

Ten minutes? If you linger over the art and turn the pages slowly, it might take THREE minutes to “read.” And that’s being charitable.

I guess I’ll go with “gimmick” since “piece of garbage” isn’t one of the choices. This is one of the worst comics of the decade.

I’m sorry, but what the hell is Jimmy taking a picture of? The back of Lois and Superman’s foot?


Believe it or not, around or shortly after this story, DC published a “real” issue of the DCU’s magazine, “Newstime” (an obvious pastiche of Time and Newsweek) which commemmorated Superman’s deaths. Some of Jimmy’s “phiotos” made it in there, including, yes, Lois kneeling over Superman’s body from that scene. (The cover, showing Superman’s tattered cape, was also Jimmy’s, and one of the “funeral” issues actually had him selecting it to be the cover photo.)

My major problem with the story is I always felt that while the whole thing was told as a series of splash pages, when the final death blow happens, Dan Jurgens should have switched to individual panels to “slow” time down, sort of comic book slow motion. I’ve always thought this would have heightened the drama of the moment, which I still think it needed and would have benefited from. I mean, c’mon, this *is* Superman being killed. Having it happen all at once on one page doesn’t do justice to the moment.

And considering DC knew they were going to bring Superman back, yeah, it’s a gimmick.

I was a freshman in college when this came out. I wasn’t a Superman reader (though I had enjoyed John Byrne’s Man of Steel series) and didn’t follow any DC books regularly. My grandma got my the Death of Superman trade for my birthday in ’93 or so and for want of anything else to do with it, I read the book. It was dreadful for a non-Superman reader. I knew from the start that Superman was going to die at the end, but I couldn’t ever be enticed to care. Doomsday had essentially no story value apart from fulfilling the plotpoint of Superman dies at the end. The whole book felt emotionally inert to me as an outsider. I felt far more from Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, which also seemed gimmicky but just worked a little better for me. In any case, The Death of Superman got a sale for itself but did the opposite of entice me to check out the regular series. I thought, “If this is a big Superman story, than no thanks: this book has nothing to offer me.”

Not a great story, and the following storylines – while entertaining – were not all that great either. But as early 1990s superhero comics go, there was worse.

Rene, you’re talking about Ravage 2099, aren’t you?

I dunno. This kind of got me back into DC after mostly ignoring it since Crisis. I got “Death” in TPB, as the original issues had long-since sold out. I sat out “Funeral for a Friend,” but got back into it when Superman’s ghost showed up in Adventures of Superman #500. And then it ended with four replacement Supermen showing up, and it was like, “Oh, s***, I have to keep reading this….”

So, lousy story? Maybe, but it led to “Reign of the Supermen” and seemed to influence the “kill ‘em and bring ‘em back better” mentality that ripped through Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and most other DC books until we had the mid-90s DC renaissance. By the time Morrison’s JLA came out, I think I was buying most major DC books again.

How many of you, at the time, believed the death was for real?

I know I did, and so did many of my friends, but I always wondered if my small sample size was indicative of the norm, given how underdeveloped the internet community was back then. Nowadays no one ever buysinto major deaths, and the creators themselves are halfass about selling them, but I feel like I remember this being considered something real by most people at the time. The return of Superman and the reveal that it was a gimmick all along I think is one of the single biggest turning points in the growth of comic fan cynicism. Even though I still look back on the era fondly.

Also, did anyone start Superman comics because of this story? I remember I never really liked Superman, but this story got me to try and love Superman comics for the first time ever. I remember loving the four new Superman and being super disappointed when the real Superman came back. I loved the new guys but still didn’t like him. What sealed the deal for me leaving the book as soon as Superman came back was his new mullet. For people who were too young to remember at the time, no, that mullet was NEVER trendy and cool, even during the era it debuted. Even back then it was widely reviled.

Oh, I absolutely knew the death was not permanent. I mean, c’mon, Superman was (and still is) one of DC’s main character, his likeness on every possible merchandise available. No way was the Big Blue gonna stay dead forever.

I didn’t know anyone who thought it’d be permanent either. I think my own realization that major dead characters would come back was with Jean Grey and the start of X-Factor. So when I first heard that Superman was going to die, the only thing I wondered was how long he would stay dead for. I think though that by the time Superman died, the well of superheroes had already been poisoned for me. I was still reading but I was much more cynical about the whole thing. I still kind of resent comics for doing that to me.

Yeah, I was also too old and knowledgeable in superhero comics to believe for a second Superman’s death was for real. Marvel has already tampered with their most acclaimed story ever for the simple reason to sell more of X-Factor #1. The folks I hang out with that were my age also didn’t believe it was permanent, not for a second.

Seth, Ravage 2099 was painful. Physically. Those Superman comics were just blah. That whole era of Superman comics defines middle-of-the-road superhero comics. Everything Dan Jurgens gets involved with is a 6, almost by default.

And being perfectly middle-of-the-road comics, they were already better than a lot of 1990s superhero comics. They certainly were not offensive like the early Image Comics and their imitators at Marvel.

Jurgens gets crapped on unnecessarily for his participation in this, I think. He’s a skilled artist and a solid storyteller in an era defined by splashy artists with limited storytelling skills. Yet he’s forced to deal with all of the gimmicks and silliness of the era as well.

Taken on its own, Superman #75 is basically a gimmick. Taken in context of the entire “Death of Superman” saga, with the full build-up, it holds up reasonably well, managing to tell a solid story in splash pages (a gimmick in and on itself, but something that actually works in the context of the saga).

I sold a couple of copies of the sealed special edition shortly after it came out, enough to pay for the saga and some of the funeral for a friend followup; maybe that’s why i have less hatred? I admit, I actually found the “funeral for a friend” and “rise of the supermen” stories more compelling and read Superman more consistently than I ever had. Does that make this less of a gimmick? It did let people explore some inyteresting ideas about the DCU.

I actually just read this a couple of months ago for the first time. I can’t figure out why all the 90s comics I read for the first time now aren’t nearly as good as all the 90s comics I read back then and then go back and read.

I remember thinking at the time that it was a shame that they didn’t give the big victory to Luthor or Brainiac, SOMEone more deserving than the spikey-hulklike-dude in coveralls. It would have brought a little more acrimony to their relationship when Kal eventually returned.

And I for one actually liked the Electric Blue Superman stories (except for the giant goat guy). Mostly I got through the 90’s by reading Vertigo: Sandman, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Shade, Black Orchid. Good stuff. Thanks Karen Berger!

I liked Electric Superman too. Of course I did not expect him to stay electric any more than I expected him to stay dead.

Josh, I don’t hate Jurgens. He is a good artist and storyteller, yes. But as a writer, he is perfectly average, there is nothing of him that I particularly love or particularly hate. Actually, that is extraordinary. Jurgens is like that soldier in IDIOCRACY, that is chosen for the mission because he completely average. And the 1990s superhero scene at Marvel and DC was like the world full of morons of IDIOCRACY, with the average guy being considered a genius.

I read comics throughout the 80s and 90s but felt this was a lame gimmick when it came out and skipped it. So I just read this storyline for the first time last month; I found the Death of Superman trade paperback for $1.50 at a comic shop. The cashier said it was a great price, but after reading it I felt I got ripped off! Plotless story, horrendous dialog, the foolish subplot from the Justice League crossover about Bloodwynd. Mostly it’s the dialog! I understand comics are not the highest form of art, but this was awful! The interview with Cat is probably the highest point in the trade, and it’s a string of cliches. Superman 75 in partcular was underwhelming considering how “important” this story was supposed to be. Any issue of volume one of What If with a high body count is more moving than Superman’s death scene.

I also bought the first trade of Simonson’s Thor, which was 10 billion times better in terms of storytelling, character development, and dialog (And this from a comic that felt the need to indicate in a caption in every issue for 32 consecutive years that midgard is earth).

I can’t say too much bad about this issue, as it was in chasing after it that I first went to my local shop (that I still frequent), on November 18, 1992. I am indeed a dork for remembering that. I had to order a few copies as they were already well sold out by the time I got there, and eventually got the 3rd print newsstand version.

I also recently got a copy of the black bag version for a quarter. Hells yeah! I’d actually never even seen a copy of the black bag before that, I don’t think.

I got a batch of the Superman comics from this era for cheap from Roger Stern himself, who also was the first creator I got a signature from (on the special die cut cover of his “Return” issue, which those issues will hopefully be a part of this column in the future). I like the era, it’s got good solid creators telling good solid superhero stories. Nothing wrong with that.

I wonder if the storytelling in the Death issues was … not exactly a parody, but a way of these creators saying “look, you like this Image style storytelling, and violent gory death? Here’s how it’s done with Superman, alright? Still like it?”

I’d also like to point out that not only was the main action in this issue splash pages, but the finale there becomes first a “half page” (double page splash), and then with the foldout, a “third of a page” (triptych).

It’s certainly a gimmick, but as others have been commenting, it led to (and followed, really) a bunch of really nice Superman tales.

Taken in isolation, SUPERMAN #75 was, undoubtedly, a gimmick. Yeah, I bought two copies. Still have a sealed one filed away in my collection. I have no shame…

The whole “Doomsday!” arc was pretty thin. It was, basically, a 6 issue fight scene (7 with the JUSTICE LEAGUE crossover). The other two arcs in the whole death-and-resurrection saga, “Funeral For A Friend” and “Reign Of The Supermen!”, were much better stories in terms of providing actual content. On the whole, I enjoyed the storyline quite a bit. Like many of you, perhaps, this was the only time that I was, regularly, buying all of the Superman books. So, mission accomplished, DC.

1) Part of the problem with the Doomsday plotline was it was designed to kill time when the real next major thing (Lois and Clark get married) had to be put off due to consideration of the TV show. Had sufficient time been given to developing the Doomsday storyline, perhaps more of the backstory than came out after the fact could have been revealed earlier, adding more drama and gravitas to Superman’s battle and sacrifice than simply “crazy strong monster shows, kicks Superman’s ass and they both die.”

2) The splash pages used in Superman#75 would’ve worked if there was more in the pages to look at. There were a lot of rushed looking pencils and bare backgrounds. Brett Breeding was one of my fave inkers of the time but he was not the guy to make Dan Jurgen’s full pages look better. Perhaps Trevor Scott, Art Thibert or Norm Rapmund would have pulled that off better.

I can’t find it now, but one of the Legends Revealed is about how the Death of Superman came about, and the way I read it was that while it was done because they couldn’t do the marriage yet (due to the TV show), this storyline wasn’t just thrown together hastily with no forethought as to what would happen. It was planned and plotted out at one of the summit meetings, maybe a little tighter schedule then most stories, but it wasn’t quite the “oh, dang, now we gotta come up with something” that some commenters are saying.

Maybe I’m thinking too of the neat little documentary on the animated movie Superman/Doomsday where most of the creators who were on Superman at that time were interviewed about it.

Also, this upcoming week, the Death and Return Omnibus HC is coming out, so if you wanna read this story and its aftermath, and have 100 bucks to drop, it’s out. There was also a trade of the Death storyline that came out recently with new coloring (which…eh, unnecessary, in my view).

I’m of two minds.

If you look at the Superman books from that time almost as a weekly tv series, the Death/Return storyline is basically TNG’s Best of Both Worlds for Superman. It’s like a season finale/next season opener. It happened on the heels of Lois learning Clark and Superman were one and the same so it did work dramatically to have a battle of the magnitude happen.

On the other hand it’s also a shameless gimmick capitalizing on the simple fact that the announcement of the story happened on an extremely slow newsday. There’s also the aspect that if Superman is dead or compromised people come running where they had been otherwise content to just dismiss him as a relic. That left a bad taste in my mouth in terms of the industry and the fandom.

There’s also elements that are mishandled or just odd. The conclusion doesn’t really gel with the beginning because it’s wrapped up with two villains that have nothing to do with Doomsday at all. One of which is a Green Lantern villain who destroyed Green Lanterns home city. Why is this happening in Superman and not in GL’s own title? Why not have Henshaw in league with Darkseid rather than Mongul? Also Henshaw is another odd choice. It kind of works if you had been following every single issue up to that point but for the most part it’s gonna leave anyone who is a casual reader or a new reader going “who?”

I think Doomsday needed to be given a little more oomph. Having him come out of nowhere to plow through the Justice League and then Superman seems a tad too simplistic: sure, it would be stunning for someone like Superman to be killed randomly like any other Regular Joe, but to have a random monster break free and run amok seems a tad…anti-climatic. We all knew what was going to happen. Why not give it a bit of a boost like with Bane in Knightfall? Why does Superman get the random monster that drags him right to the Daily Planet and dies with him in a day or so?

Overall, the Death and Return is an entertaining story, but Superman’s death comes off as a pretty obvious event to show an uncaring populace how much Superman means, a metafiction to test the waters to see if anybody still knows Superman still exists as a comic book character and not some icon. But that’s more a comment on ‘World Without a Superman.”

The best summary of the death of Superman:


By Max Landis (John Landis’ son, writer of Chronicle).

Does every fanboy love to note Grant Morrison? Yes, his ALL STAR SUPERMAN was solid but is it a reference point to compare insightful. all things Superman? Nope. Morrison is pretty over-hyped in my opinion.

I think this book was an OK read and the art was meh. The only reason I bought the book was for the epic event. Not the art or the writing.

In this interview with Superman #75 writer/artist Dan Jurgens, he states that he is disappointed that this comic does not get credit it deserves as a critical success as well as a commercial success. I am inclined to agree.


o-o mmmmmmm dem babies

This was one of my first comics, and I remember hating the whole splash pages. Every. Single. Page. It was ridiculous. Wasn’t a fan of it. Then they bloody did it again in a Guy Gardner Warrior issue!

2 wasted issues in my opinion.

I think the reviewer supports his point well, but I don’t agree with him. This was the book/storyline that cemented my appreciation for Superman. I couldn’t wait to get the next issue that came out the following week. A lot of fun for me and many readers that read it with me at the time.

You really can’t separate this one book from the context of the whole….even though it stands up well on its own, the rest of the books help build up to this conclusion.

I can’t entirely knock this. I had read comics as a younger child (7-10) and then I stopped. I was starting high school when this came out and seeing this on the news definitely brought me back into the fold (where I’ve been ever since). When I walked into the shop I was also greeted to the site of the first issues of Spiderman 2099 and Doom 2099. I bought all three plus an issue of Infinity War that had Doom and Kang on the cover.

But even as a newer reader I knew this wasn’t going to be worth anything in the long run. Scarcity is what created value. Clearly this wasn’t scarce (nor will it ever be). There was a stack as thick as my head on the rack. The book took me all of 5 minutes to read and when I got to the end I felt a sense of sadness. Not necessarily cause Superman was dead but because of how he died. I didn’t care for it. I don’t like Doomsday and yet I do. Visually he’s menacing and cool. But reading stories with Doomsday is very repetitive:


Whatever, Doomsday. Still, the Return of Superman was cool. I liked those four characters.

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