6 Feb

The Death and Return of Superman in summary

Posted by Bryan White | Monday February 6, 2012 | Comics

Superman #75 - The Death of SupermanThis link comes from The Mysterious Troy Z, a Cinema S contributor whether he knows it or not.

It was October of 1992 and The Boston Globe confirmed some rumblings I’d heard from friends who rumored that DC was planning to kill off Superman and bring a halt to his titles. For good. Not one of us read any of the multitude of Superman titles available at the time as most of the guys were fanatic believers in the House of Ideas but a few of us had the taste to pick up a few DC books. Superman was never among them, though.

Among the punishments of living on the seacoast of New Hampshire at the time, we had one choice of comic shop within driving distance as all the shops that opened near us closed within a few months and were the characteristically dark caves of people who no idea about comics trying to capitalize on the sudden collectible status of comic books at the time. Chris’ Cards and Comics was the only one that managed to stay open – unless we decided to drive double the distance to Paperback Bazaar – and remains open to this day in the very same scuzzy strip mall in Seabrook, New Hampshire. I walked in, grabbed my sub and then swallowed hard as I grabbed a copy of Superman #75 off the special display, closely guarded by the shop’s owner, Chris, that declared that I would pay no less than $10 for a sealed copy. Let’s go over that again. Ten dollars. Books were still reasonably priced around $1.25 to $1.50 at the time so to shell out $10 for this book was kind of insane but in spite of never really following Superman, I wanted to see how they brought this all to an end and according to my friends, not one of them was going to rip their copy open since it was highly collectible. Boy, were they going to be pissed.

They actually bagged and boarded their sealed copies of the book. I ripped mine open in the car, horrifying them all, and promptly wrapped the memorial Superman arm band around the sleeve of my flight jacket, where it remained for the rest of the winter and let me tell you, winter in New Hampshire lasts a long, long time. The above video is actually pretty unkind to the death of Superman, which is a suitably epic death story. Doomsday was, in fact, pretty fucking stupid and I really wished it had been Lex Luthor that had done the job, but what do you want? It was the 90’s and everyone was still reeling from the complete lack of taste in pop culture brought on by the dread decade, the 80’s. The comic market was also feverishly trying to keep up with the demand for new books and in spite of what you may think, comic book creative teams are actually the losing team when it comes to coming up with new characters. Their parade of fly by night characters come and go far more often than heroes and villains who actually stick around. So Doomsday being a Hulk-style destruction engine with spiny-points is really no surprise. Superman #75 just isn’t that bad and I was actually a little bummed in the end. I mean, it’s fucking Superman!

In the end, the book had the desired effect. People who didn’t even give a shit about comics snatched up multiples of the millions of copies shipped and the whole thing sold out overnight. Overnight. Comics do not sell out. Like, ever. What these speculators didn’t know, however, was that they were playing a role in the destabilization of the entire comic book market. Market value for Death of Superman skyrocketed almost immediately. I know that at one point shortly after the book was impossible to find in shops, unbagged copies were selling for as much as $50 and sealed books were going for as much as $300 and then the bottom fell out. As Max Landis discusses in that video, DC pissed all over their creation and revealed their hand over the course of the next 12 months with some wingnut, hyper convoluted story about how Superman was just resting all that time. Comic fans recoiled in horror. Speculators couldn’t sell their stacks of sealed books fast enough and almost as quickly as it rose in value, sealed copies of Superman #75 plummeted to a point where they were selling a little below cover price just to get them out of storage. This stupid marketing move by DC nearly destroyed the entire comic book market.

So even though I think Landis is a little cruel to Superman #75, he’s pretty much spot on with his analysis of the Reign of the Supermen and Rebirth of Superman – which actually had the balls to ship in a sealed bag with a gimmick cover. Props for Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood and Simon Pegg. Hilarious video. I’d like to hear his thoughts on Red and Blue Superman.

2 Comments 

  1. February 7, 2012 2:25 pm

    Gargus

    Guh that guy is an absolute bore and ungodly annoying with his armchair diagnosis of superheroes and superman. I wonder if he actually put any thought into this before he started just ranting. He comes off as if he were sitting in starbucks with his chai latte tea on his ipad2 reading dialouge from kill bill 2 from the superman speach (hoping people will really think he is writing a novel) and suddenly he just blindly starts imaginging how intelligent he is and how he is going to disect superman for all us simpletons. It all comes across as him thinking “I would be so fucking cool if I got on the net and ranted about something with no real knowledge of what I am saying! Thats so original and awesome of me!” It all comes across as someone just wanting attention and seeing what millions have already and him just copying it. He doesnt even have an opinion in this, its just 17 minutes of pointing out things and exxagerating them so he can laugh at them. He has no insight, no viewpoints, no opinions or anything. Its like he read a wikipedia entry about the death of superman and then sat down and made a video of himself re-telling the exact entry but using mannerisms and tone of voice to make it sound “So wild and crazy” so he can roll his eyes and get a sense of cheap self satisfaction of acting like a douche on the net because he has a big ego and no self esteem.

    Even his outfit is this pseudo savvy and suave hipster that just makes him look like he is just one of another million guys his age that wear a tie loosened at the neck with collar open and sleeves partially rolled up, hair messed up so he looks like the slacker frat boy type that got out of bed and is “too cool to even comb his hair because he doesnt care and that makes him sexy”, sitting there holding a glass of apple juice in a burbon glass to show he is classy and sophisticated, etc etc. He just comes off as a slave to trends.

    Its funny also how he just says “Oh yeah superman had the most basic set of super powers” right after he mentions the fact he was the first. So how is it they are basic and boring powers when he was the first? Then he starts comparing other heroes like rogue and captain marvel to him when they came decades after superman. Thats like saying “Oh pffff how boring, in 1886 karl benz created the first car but please how lame is that? Even a 2012 toyota has 4 tires. Karl is nothing special for creating the worlds first car because come on, we have millions of them now”. Superman was created in 1938, they were lucky to get it printed at all in that time period and it was a different time when things were more simple and again considering he is the first mainstream superhero like this he was amazing. I bet this is the type of asshole who laughs at the fact people had horse drawn carriages 500 years ago and thinks they are lame for using them as he jumps in his honda accord mom and dad bought him.

    Pretty annoying how he over simplifies things and uses an incredibly overly sarcastic tone for EVERYTHING. Anyone can make anything sound dumb, thoughtless, stupid and wasteful when you use a sarcastic tone and then over simplify it. Like how he rips on superman for punching doomsday, thats what superman does its what he is designed for. What would be the point of having batman and superman if they were both doing the exact same thing? He acts like superman is only punching and completely ignores that while he punches stuff (again over simplifying) he also has a personality that makes him different than other punching type characters. If you talk with a sarcastic, snarky and pretentious tone and over simplify you can talk down about anything and it doesnt make you come across as insightful.

    What about making fun of the stories? So? I can do that about anything! If I put my hand over my face, laugh and say “This is crazy” and then exxagerate every detail then I can make anything sound crazy. He seems to like batman so we will do batman “He is like this little kid and see’s HIS PARENTS SHOT that shit is crazy! And then he goes home and a bat flies through his window, it wasnt even open this bat was like flying 200 mph and crashed through a pane of glass thats crazy! And then the kid decides that hey I want to be a bat and swing around the city and scare hardened criminals with my bat costume! Yeah like some rock breaker from the penn will be scared of a bat costume pffffff whatever dude!”.

    His directing ideas are basically a cross between every apple parody video with the white backgrounds, him standing there ranting and the camera always slightly in motion. The rest is him talking with another person mouting the words. He basically took the most pretentious and brainless ideas that everyone else has used to death in millions of other home made videos and just used them again.

    I hate to tell him but he isnt cool, he isnt smart, he isnt savvy, he isnt insightful or anything. Its just some hipster douche bag with a lame idea ranting for almost 17 minutes as if he is the only sane person earth. He just nit picks something to the point where none of it makes sense to everyone else but has managed to convince himself that he is really smart and insightful.

    He is also forgetting one simple thing, ITS A FUCKING COMIC BOOK. It isnt real, its fake, its fiction so who cares if it sound crazy? Star wars is even crazier and people still love it and I bet he does to (although he would probablly say he doesnt just so he can not agree).

    Sitting around and bitching about something doesnt make you cool. Especially when you are bitching in a way that makes you sound like a pretentious douche hipster college kid thats trying desperately to act like the millions of others just like you but yet still imagine yourself as special and unique.

  2. February 7, 2012 3:46 pm

    Bryan White

    Dude. It’s a comedy piece.


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