August 14, 2019

The Last Superman Story

For many years, I've been of the opinion that Crisis on Infinite Earths, the sprawling mini-series that sought to streamline the DC Universe, was a tragic mistake, a prime example of trying to fix something that is not broken. At the time, of course, I snapped up each issue as soon as it was available, right off the spinner rack at my local drugstore.

Marv Wolfman's story and George Perez's art were top shelf, but the premise itself was wrongheaded. I was not confused by the proliferation of multiple universes and their inhabitants, and I suspected that even new readers could catch on fairly quickly. I kinda figured the onus was on new readers, if they wanted to be regular DC readers, to do their homework and catch up on what had happened prior to their arrival. Wasn't that part of the fun anyway?

Eventually, the concept of multiple universes would come back. To be sure, DC has continued to publish great books by talented creators in the last three decades. But to me, some characters have never recouped the prestige of their pre-Crisis versions. Especially Superman.

To that end, let's have a look at Matt Draper's video essay on what I still consider the last story featuring the Superman I knew and loved so much. Even though it was billed as an imaginary story - aren't they all? - "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow," written by Alan Moore and pencilled by Curt Swan, gave Kal-El an emotionally-charged sendoff that I doubt could be bested.

Look, up in the sky...


ShellyS said...

I hated Crisis on Infinite Earths. I never read the ending. I stopped reading when Supergirl was killed. She and I kind of grew up together. I boycotted DC for a decade, and since DC was all I read at that time, I effectively stopped reading comics until the mid-90s, when I go curious about them. I started back with Nightwing. I don't think I ever really felt Superman was back until Rebirth. I'm glad the multiverse returned -- it always made sense to me that new universes would be created -- but I always worry they'll do away with it again.

John Glenn Taylor said...

ShellyS, the death and destruction in Crisis was gratuitous, to be sure. I also was fond of Supergirl, especially the Silver age stuff. It's interesting to read how Crisis directly affected your comic buying habits. Thanks for writing!

ShellyS said...

Death is part of life, but I wish comic book creators understood what killing someone's role model means to that person. I was only a couple of years younger than what I assumed was Supergirl's age in the '60s. We overlapped in high school. We were in college at the same time. She felt like a friend.I actually wrote LoCs to her comic in the '70s, had a few published.