Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Event[ually] We All Grow Up

As I'm writing this, the 20th anniversary of “The Death of Superman” event has just passed.  Through the lens of time maybe this event doesn't matter anymore, and was just another in a long line of deaths and rebirths of super hero characters. For me as an adolescent, this event was shocking and formative. I remember the anticipation I had leading up to it, the dread and the fear as the buildup to the end took place. I mourned with the nation as we had our funeral for our friend, and rejoiced when out of the ashes our hero returned.

Shortly after Superman's death, all hell broke loose in Gotham. I voraciously bought every issue of Knightfall and felt the agony of Bane's knee, myself, as the Dark Knights' back was broken before our very eyes. I was so shocked and enthralled with this run of Batman as a child; it’s forever burned into my psyche.

When people talk about great comic book events, for me these two are ingrained into my memory. I'm sure they aren't the best, or the greatest, but so many comics, music, movies that stick with you over the years are so dependent on the time of life you experienced them. This made me wonder.  Are these "major" events as powerful anymore? Will children now be talking in 20 years about the death of Professor X? As I’ve talked about in the past, I don't read many Marvel or DC super hero books these days, about 8 total on a monthly basis. But this doesn’t change the power and impact they had on me growing up. I have so much love for these characters and wonder if that same love is being fostered in youth of today. I don’t have an answer but I wonder if children will find that same power in modern comics, or if the magic and naïveté of my youth is lost on the iPad generation.


  1. after reading some of the before watchmen books, I was just thinking, sure they can be good, or even great, but will they impact the comic world like the original 12 issues did.

    Can any story in the last dozen years (and the next dozen years for that matter) can any story ingrain it's self in the comic book collective mindset?

    1. Well we know the mythos of comic book characters are part of our society, but individual stories I dont know. Their longevity seems international. But at the same time these powerful stories get reused, like take for example the recent batman movies. They draw from classic story arcs to make a new story, so...maybe?

  2. I was 9 when DC had their first Crisis. Superman carrying a dead Supergirl on the cover of Crisis #7 really stuck with me. Another big one when I was a kid was "Death In The Family" when they killed Jason Todd with a 900-number call-in vote. I was 11 and was shocked to no end that DC would kill a Robin. Were those events (published more than 25 years ago) any different than AVX or MARVEL NOW? I guess time will tell!

  3. How old were you when you read the Death of Superman arc, Aaron?

    I ask because I have a pet theory that the "golden age" of everything is "twelve."

    My own strongest comics memories are from the 1974-1978 period when I was an adolescent.

  4. in early '92 i was 13 so pretty close! Its very true, I think that 8 - 14 age range is probably the golden age of comics for people.