Monday, August 6, 2012

Thirty Days of Graphic Novels, Day 14: "The Death of Superman"

Man, consistently blogging every day is hard!  The keen observers amongst you may note this is my second "Thirty Days of Graphic Novel" on the same day, partially making up for a lack of posts over the weekend.  I don't know how people like Siskoid do it.

Anyway, let's talk The Death of Superman, collecting one of the most famous Superman story arcs ever, in which the Big Blue Boyscout gets killed by newcomer Doomsday.   Today, a major media-grabbing storyline like this probably would be published as its own series with crossovers from about a zillion other comics.  Here, though, only the Superman titles and a single issue of Justice League of America are involved.  I remember as a teenager anxiously turning the pages to see what happened to Blue Beetle (my favorite super hero) and being displayed at how brutally he gets beaten by Doomsday (not as brutally treated as his later being shot in the head by Maxwell Lord, but then that never happened now . . . I think).

It really is an epic slugfest that continues across six issues, and Doomsday certainly appears as an unstoppable, bloodthirsty juggernaut.  He remains completely a cypher however, with no known origin, motivation, or personality.  This gets explored later on, but at the time he's solely a killing machine; it's simplistic, but the high pace is certainly maintained.  The bottom line is it's standard super hero storytelling from the time period, just with an unusual and quite memorable ending.

I will say I love the cover of Superman #75, a version of which is used for the collection.

1 comment:

Siskoid said...

To be fair, I wouldn't be able to read a graphic novel a day to write a series like this, so we all take on our own burdens!

Obviously, I read the original issues of this and never experienced it in "graphic novel" form, but as a complete package, it really is missing an explanation for what Doomsday is supposed to be. Even at the time, it was a bit of a disappointment that the only way to kill (or "kill") Superman was to invent a new threat to do it, where the story might have been more epic if one of his nemeses had had a hand in it.

I suppose much the same thing happened with Knightfall, but Bane at least got an origin issue before going on to break the Batman's back.