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Death of Superman

An 11-issue DC Comics crossover saga in which Superman is killed by Doomsday.

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The Death of an American Icon

  • Feb 15, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
In 1992 DC Comics killed off the superhero who brought comic books to their glory days. In a similar fashion, the death of Superman brought thousands upon thousands of new readers to the genre since Superman had become an American cultural icon. While short lived, this collection of comics represents a turning point in the comic industry, where no superhero was safe any longer. Shortly thereafter, DC Comics pulled a similar "stunt" with their other flagship hero, Batman, with the Knightfall story arc. Regardless, what transpired in the pages of these comics would be talked about for years.

Introduce Doomsday, a mysterious and sinister alien killing machine, with one thing on his limited mind: destruction. After escaping from being buried beneath the Earth's surface for who knows how long, Doomsday stages a one man mayhem show across half the United States.

Doomsday first faces off against the Justice League of America, quickly leveling them to nothingness, rendering them obsolete with his power and strength. Their combined powers do little to stop Doomsday, who time and time again proves he cares nothing for anything, killing birds in the palm of his hand and strangling a deer for no reason. What happens next would be the fight of the century against this beast and America's cultural icon, Superman.

The Death of Superman story arc is long in the action scenes and short in the storyline.
Absolutely no information is given about Doomsday at this point and the only focus of the remaining storylines is stopping him from destroying Metropolis (and everything else in his way). There are a few brief moments of reflection among minor characters about how Superman saved them or what Superman means to them. The virtue of the mysterious nature of Doomsday is appreciated, since it adds to his allure as a supervillain; similar to the recent movie, The Dark Knight, and the villain Joker. The reader is absolutely unaware of any motivation, making Doomsday that much more treacherous. Readers wouldn't find out about the history of Doomsday until the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey story arc published in 1994.

While Superman is one of my personal least favorite heroes, this collection is a must read for the same reason it sold out overnight with a starting number of published issues that had never before been dreamed. With Superman being such a cultural icon, watching his fall is a must anyone. The action is unparalleled as it had to be since the stakes had never been higher. How do you create a monster worthy of killing a Superman? The satisfying answer is in the Death of Superman.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

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May 12, 2010

You know, I never bothered to read this. For me, so much of what I love about comics sort of faded from view in the early '90s, which is odd because the '80s were so revolutionary. What ultimately hurt the industry and the artistry of comics was they way in which they over-estimated the collectors market and under-estimated the actual readers. There was a huge decline in the quality of storytelling and far too many publicity stunts, alternate covers, special editions, etc., which only made the medium seem more childish and gimmicky to outsiders. I don't know whether printed comics will be around 20 years from now, which makes me sad, and I blame the greed factor of the '90s that burnt out the number of readers.

In terms of storytelling and art, "Superman" has never been a favorite of mine, despite my love of the characters and respect for the iconography. I always related to what Dennis O'Neil said about him when he explained, "When you have a character who is virtually invincible and possesses such immense power and integrity, it's hard to introduce human drama or personal conflict there."
I think this storyline tried to deal with that problem, but not very well.
 
February 15, 2010
Great review. From what I understand, Supes 75 began the over-speculation and over-publication of the 1990s comics and crashed the industry. Hate that. Hard to believe that 1990 was 20 years ago. Maybe those comics will start to be worth something. This story arc also introduced other people who would later cause problems for Green Lantern and others.  Did you see the DVD version that was released a few years ago?
February 15, 2010
Superman # 75 copied the style of THOR # 380 (splash pages) that has THOR against the World Serpent.. Jurgens still says that up to this day, Simonson kicked his ass. This story arc I believe was originally published in 1992.
February 16, 2010
Damn, I have Thor 379 and 381. eBay time. :(
February 16, 2010
The comics in question (and those that followed were definitely over produced. Have either of you read Chuck Rozanski's essay "Death of Superman" promotion of 1992? It is pretty critical of DC and claims the Death of Superman storyline was the downfall of the comic industry. I doubt the comics around this time will ever be worth anything since the market was super saturated.
February 16, 2010
Yes! It was in Comics Buyers Guide, I believe (I haven't looked at your link yet). To digress, I'm buying up silver and bronze stuff from when I was a kid. Might as well get stuff I liked back when they were 12 to 50 cents each. :)  Nearly 20 years ago there were several comics shops I know of that are all shut down thanks to that!
February 16, 2010
I meant to say that I love splash pages, especially when coupled with well placed and timed smaller frames from outside perspectives, or narrations. I've always been a fan of illustrations, and nothing beats a well designed, well scripted splash page.
February 16, 2010
Very true!
February 16, 2010
Scotman - one of these days I'm going to dive headfirst into buying some of the classics. I just haven't convinced my wife yet!
February 16, 2010
Find when the next comics con is in your area, get in there and grab a bunch, then keep them in a drawer at work. Hey, why not?
February 16, 2010
Haha. Consider it done!
 
February 15, 2010
I collected this story arc in its original incarnation, while the action was fun, it was overstretched and should've been contained in 4 issues rather than 5 or 6. nice work on photos and review.
February 15, 2010
I agree about it being too long, but I think in other areas. I think a lot of the JLA could have been cut, at least after their initial whooping; but I guess that is what happens with a publicity stunt, so to speak. I was fond of the duration and magnitude of the Superman/Doomsday brawl since I imagine it would be quite a time consuming spectacle to take down the Man of Steel (and conversely Doomsday). The only problem I saw (and neglected to mention in my review) was that the internal dialogue of Superman was a little repetitive while the extended fight transpired. All things considered, there is only so much "if I don't stop Doomsday nobody will" that is necessary; but I suppose it could be that mental attitude that kept Superman going. A last ditch reminder to keep his head in the game, so to speak.

About the images: it is surprisingly hard to find good images of Doomsday from any of the original comics in this arc online. Perhaps my Google-fu is not as strong as I thought.
February 15, 2010
I agree with you. I guess maybe the reason why the redundant dialogue was overplayed is because the story-arc were done by different script writers, no excuse since it should be the job of the editor in chief to catch those. Great catch on the JLA thing.
 
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Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Whens the last time a comic made news headlines? A couple of years later though Superman was back.
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Wiki

The Death of Superman was a 1992 stunt that turned out to be DC's bestselling Superman comic ever. The massive 11-issue crossover among four different series (Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel, Action Comics, and Justice League of America) introduces an unstoppable alien named Doomsday who creates a path of destruction on his way to the heart of Metropolis and whom Superman must stop at any cost. It's of interest as a milestone of the Superman mythos (though of course the outcome didn't last), but casual fans might be underwhelmed by the unfamiliar villain and the unfamiliar Justice League (with Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and other minor heroes rather than the traditional lineup), the drawn-out story (by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern), and the ordinary art (by Jurgens, Jon Bogadanove, Tom Grummett, and Jackson Guice).-
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David Horiuchi--
This text refers to the Comic edition.
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Tags

Books, Dc Comics, Graphic Novel, Superman, Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, Doomsday

Details

ISBN-10: 9990006520
ISBN-13: 978-9990006520
Author: Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson , Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern
Genre: Superheroes, Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Dc Comics
Date Published: 1993
Format: Graphic Novel
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