DC Comics has announced something special to commemorate the classic “Death Of Superman” storylines.
30 years ago, the company that published Superman and established the superhero genre in 1938 attempted something bold; the kind of story that had previously only been approached in a “What If?” capacity in the silver age but was never part of regular continuity by killing off the Man of Steel.
To commemorate this earth-shattering event, the company has brought back Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Louise Simonson, Tom Grummett, Jon Bogdanove, and Jerry Ordway to do what they do best, for The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1.
DC “Death of Superman” Anniversary – Who’s Involved and What Led to The Death?
DC has released the synopsis for four, brand-new stories surrounding that monumental battle with the monstrous Doomsday:
- “The Life of Superman” by Dan Jurgens (W & A), Brett Breeding (A), Brad Anderson (C), and John Workman (L) – A young Jon Kent finds out in school that his dad had died years earlier, as his parents never told him about that fateful day. In the midst of dealing with this emotional news, Jon and Clark need to team up to fight a new villain connected to Doomsday called DOOMBREAKER.
- “Standing Guard” by Roger Stern (W), Butch Guice (A), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) – The epic battle between Superman and Doomsday from the Guardians’ perspective.
- “Time” by Louise Simonson (W), Jon Bogdanove (A), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) – The story of how the death of Superman looked from John Henry Irons’s perspective.
- “Above and Beyond” by Jerry Ordway (W), Tom Grummett (P), Doug Hazlewood (I), Glenn Whitmore (C), and Rob Leigh (L) – A powerful story of Ma and Pa Kent watching their son fight Doomsday live on television and going through Clark’s photo albums with the feeling that their son always prevails.
The conception of Superman’s final battle had begun not with the preparation of death, but with a wedding. The creative team had begun a realistic approach to the decades-long courtship of Superman and Lois Lane. In keeping with the John Byrne continuity, they accomplished this feat by the grounded approach of having Lois fall for Clark Kent instead of Superman.
This was then followed by Clark, having just proposed to Lois hours before a fight with Silver Banshee, returning to her apartment and revealing his secret identity. At their annual “Super Summit” they plotted out a year’s worth of story across the four adjoining books that would climax with the wedding that fans had been waiting for.
That is, however, until then-publisher Jenette Kahn struck a deal with ABC to develop Lois And Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The plan then shifted to delaying the wedding, throwing out a year’s worth of story, until the series caught up to the comic. Unable to figure out what the next move would be, Jerry Ordway retorted his usual line when writer’s block hit: “Let’s just kill him.” Instead of dismissing it, the team began to wonder, what if they did? Sales had been dropping since Byrne left the book, and there was a sense that the Man of Tomorrow was falling out of touch with his audience.
The story was brilliantly crafted in that it would not only show the death of Superman, but what he had meant to the world he protected in the aftermath. Further, what hit the stands in November 1992 was actually the first chapter in the story.
After months without any Superman titles, the books returned, but with four new characters emerging to take up his mantle (“Reign of The Supermen”). The third chapter, after the true villain amongst these new heroes was revealed, gave the fans what they wanted with the true Man of Tomorrow’s resurrection (“The Return of Superman”). Characters such as Cyborg Superman, Superboy, Steel, and The Eradicator have since become iconic in their own right in the DC Pantheon. They and even the villainous Doomsday have found their way since into the popular mainstream media through numerous live-action and animated adaptations.
The story even served as a springboard for the fall of Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, to become the villainous Parallax and the rise of the new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. The real-world reaction to DC killing off their hero was astonishing and was even covered in an Entertainment Tonight segment.
The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special #1 is scheduled for release on November 6th, followed by The Death Of Superman Collector’s Edition on December 6th. A reprint of Superman #75, however, will precede both, on November 1st.