The Death of Superman

Quite amusing:

I never read the comics involving the death of Superman. How accurate is this? Were the story twists really this lame and insane?

(via Hank and Kylie)

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Hank Fox

    I have a copy of it, and yes, it was just like that.

    But then, ALL superhero comics are sort of like this, aren’t they?

    The kids who did this were fantastic, and I was amazed at the very last scene, with Opie Cunningham. Only thing I can figure is it might have been a project for a film class taught by Howard.

    • macdhai

      The video was really amusing, but it isn’t a film school project! Max Landis (the drunken narrator) is the son of John Landis, famous Hollywood director. Max also wrote the superhero movie “Chronicle”, which is out now, and supposedly pretty good! Also, if you look closely, you may notice that “Cyborg Superman” is played by former Spiderman Tobey McGuire!

    • Val

      Oh, so that’s how he does it. Lucky so-and-so.

      (BTW, that was Frodo, not Spider Man)

    • macdhai

      You are, of course, correct. I watched the video days ago. Also, Mandy Moore is Lois Lane.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Did you notice the “Watch Chronicle” t-shirt the director was wearing? ;)

    • Val

      Yeah, after seeing Ron Howard at the end I had to watch it again immediately. During the first viewing I kept thinking “wow, that guy looks a lot like Elijah Wood” and “wow, that guy looks a lot like Simon Pegg.” Turns out I was right.
      Who is this guy, and why does he get to have famous people act out his geek rants? How do I make that happen?

    • plutosdad

      I am not sure but this guy gets some famous people to act out his fantasies as well:

      of course they are famous among geeks, but hey.

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Yup. That was pretty much it in a nutshell although I don’t remember the part about Green Lantern. I was never much of a fan of GL back then. Then again, I’ve never been much of a fan of Superman either.

    • ACN

      Curiously enough, I thought the Superman Dies arc was really lame, but the mini GL bit at the end of the series where he strolls up to obliterate Mongul, got me really interested in Hal Jordan and GL stuff :)

    • Jeremy Shaffer

      I think another point missed in the video is that, besides the reversible death syndrome common in comics now, there is also the glut of inevitable and major crisis or shake up arc that sometimes looks to be a vehicle used just to get readers to buy the comics again. In reality its improvement of the landscape is minimal at best and usually accomplishes little else than pissing the readers off.

      However, I’m not quite sure if that trend can be traced back to the “death” of Superman arc or not but the timing at least seems right.

  • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    Sperman’s Dead by Our Lady Peace – appropriate maybe.

    • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

      Erm, that is.. “SUperman’s Dead”

    • Alex

      Well, if you’re posting music videos, here’s one: Superman’s Song. This came out the year before the Death of Superman storyline.

  • Peter

    Fwiw, I was told this (abbreviated) inside story by one of the Superman writers herself.

    The reason superman was killed was solely to prevent the impending marriage to Lois Lane. Apparently the ‘suits’ at DC comics thought that a married Superman would adversely affect sales. There was a big meeting with all the writers on one side, and the suits on the other. The suits said “We have to stop this, any ideas?” and after a bit, one of the writers said, “We could kill him…”

    • josh

      I haven’t followed it, but apparently over in the Spiderman comics they had a similar concern not too long ago. Basically, the higher ups worried that the comics version of Spiderman, who had long ago married his long time girlfried Mary Jane and lived as a (comic book) adult husband, wasn’t appealing enough to younger fans. Particularly I suppose those who might be brought on board by the movies depicting a character more like when he debuted (sp?). So for some noble reason Spiderman ends up magically altering history so that he and MJ were never married, plus some other story resets. Needless to say, that ticked off some fans.

  • Chris Hallquist

    I had known most of that just from reading Wikipedia and TVTropes. Main things I didn’t realize were the connection to GL going evil, and the claim that this ruined death in comics. (Though this happened after the infamous death and return of Jean Grey.)

  • Desert Son, OM

    The reason superman was killed was solely to prevent the impending marriage to Lois Lane. Apparently the ‘suits’ at DC comics thought that a married Superman would adversely affect sales. There was a big meeting with all the writers on one side, and the suits on the other. The suits said “We have to stop this, any ideas?” and after a bit, one of the writers said, “We could kill him…”

    Reminds me of a story Andrew Vachss told about the time he was asked to write some issues of a Batman comic series.

    As background, Vachss writes about some pretty grim stuff and doesn’t pull punches.

    I’ll have to paraphrase, because I don’t remember exactly the wording, but it apparently went something like this:

    Vachss had a draft meeting with DC. DC said something along the lines of, “Well, ok, the draft is pretty good, but there’s some things we need to change. You have to drop the sex scene with Bruce Wayne.”

    Vachss paraphrase: “Really?”

    DC paraphrase: “Yeah, we can’t depict Batman having a sex life. Also the scene you wrote where he kills someone. We have to change that. Batman doesn’t kill.”

    Vachss para: “Lemme get this straight. Batman is Bruce Wayne, right?”

    DC para: “Yes.”

    Vachss para: “And Bruce Wayne is the richest guy in Gotham, maybe the world. Billions upon billions of dollars, right?”

    DC para: “Yes.”

    Vachss para: “And he’s good looking, right? Chiseled jaw? Great physical shape?”

    DC para: “Definitely. His physicality is part of what makes him successful as Batman.”

    Vachss para: “And he’s got the cool car, too? Batmobile, can do all this stuff, amazing car?”

    DC para: “Yes.”

    Vachss para: “He’s brilliant, also? I mean, world’s greatest detective, nothing gets by this guy? Mind like a steel trap?”

    DC para: “That’s right.”

    Vachss para: “And he’s faced some of the world’s worst villains, fought some despicable bad guys without hesitation? Rescued innocent citizens from heinous crimes?”

    DC para: “Indeed. A model of courage.”

    Vachss para: “So he’s got the car, the mansion, the money, the brains, the looks, the can-do attitude, the courage, he’s the most eligible bachelor in Gotham?”

    DC para: “Yes.”

    Vachss para: “And he can’t have sex?”

    DC para: “Right.”

    Vachss para: “Wouldn’t that make you want to kill?”

    Still learning,


    • HazyJay

      I went to a book signing of his about 7 or 8 years ago and someone asked him about the possibilities of there being a Burke movie. He said that all of his novels had been optioned for movies but that none of them had made it past the screen writing stage. A producer asked him to do a screen play and Vachss wrote one for him.

      Producer: “Great effort but there is one small problem. It is just like the book.”