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"The Death of Superman" is a 1992 comic book storyline that occurred in DC Comics's Superman titles. The completed multi-issue story arc was given the title The Death and Return of Superman.

In the story, Superman engages in battle with a seemingly unstoppable killing machine named Doomsday in the streets of Metropolis. At the fight's conclusion, both combatants die from their wounds in Superman (vol. 2) #75 in 1992.

The crossover depicted the world's reaction to Superman's death in "Funeral for a Friend," the emergence of four individuals claiming to be the "new" Superman, and the eventual return of the original Superman in "Reign of the Supermen!"

The storyline, devised by editor Mike Carlin and the Superman writing team of Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, and Karl Kesel, met with enormous success: the Superman titles gained international exposure, reaching to the top of the comics sales charts and selling out overnight. The event was widely covered by national and international news media. The storyline was adapted into a 2007 animated film, Superman: Doomsday.


The story of The Death of Superman's conception goes back to the 1985 crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. Following that event, DC Comics rebooted their continuity and relaunched the Superman character with the miniseries "The Man of Steel", written by John Byrne. However, due to disputes with DC, Byrne left the Superman books and was replaced by Roger Stern. While the stories continued from Byrne's revamp, sales slowly dropped. In an effort to attract female readers, the Lois Lane/Clark Kent/Superman love triangle, in place since 1938, was changed. In a development based on events in Byrne's revamp, Lois was already falling in love with Clark Kent, rather than with Superman. In a story arc titled "Krisis of Krimson Kryptonite", Clark proposes to Lois; she accepts. Although the road was set for the marriage of Lois and Clark, an unforeseen event would change these plans.

Warner Bros., the owner of DC Comics, had cancelled the Superboy television series produced by Alexander Salkind (Salkind produced the first three Superman films starring Christopher Reeve, as well as the Supergirl movie). Warner Bros. created their own Superman television series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, premised upon a romantic relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. One of the ideas that arose during production was the wedding of Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. Warner Bros. learned that DC Comics was planning a similar plotline in the Superman comic books, and as a result DC, Warner Bros., and the Superman writing staff came together and reached an agreement: the Lois and Clark wedding arc in the comic book would be put on hold, to resume once the Lois & Clark TV show reached its wedding episode.

With the original storyline set aside in the comic, an original event was needed to replace it. According to a documentary on Superman: Doomsday, the Superman writing team members were miffed at having a year's worth of story planning put aside, and flustered for ideas. At the end of one meeting, Adventures of Superman writer Jerry Ordway suggested, jokingly, "Let's just kill 'im." The joke became a running gag in story meetings, but eventually gained traction with Superman group editor Mike Carlin. In the documentary film Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman Carlin states: "the world was taking Superman for granted, so we literally said 'let's show what the world would be like without Superman'."



On the last page of several comics prior to Superman: The Man of Steel #18, a gloved fist is shown punching a steel wall, accompanied by the caption: "Doomsday is coming!" In that issue, Superman fights the Underworlders while a hulking figure in a green suit rampages through a pastoral field. This marks the first of seven issues in the "Death of Superman" story proper, which would continue through all four of the Superman books at that time, and one issue of Justice League America, before culminating in Superman (vol. 2) #75.

The Justice League (Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Maxima, Fire, Ice, and Bloodwynd) responds to a call from a smashed big-rig outside of Bucyrus, Ohiomarker, and follows the trail of destruction which leads them to a confrontation with the mysterious creature. It systematically takes the team apart, finishing by punching Booster Gold into the stratosphere. Booster Gold is caught in mid-air by Superman, and declares "It's like Doomsday is here", thus providing the monster with a name.

The Man of Steel arrives on the scene, having cut short a television interview with Cat Grant in Justice League America #69. He and the able-bodied League members follow the threat to the home of a single mother and her two children, where their battle with "Doomsday" destroys the house. The League attacks Doomsday with all their energy-projection powers; the only discernible effect is that much of his bodysuit is blasted or burned off. Doomsday again defeats the League, causes the house to explode into flames, and then leaps away. Superman follows, after saving the small family. Superman throws Doomsday into the bottom of a lake. After Doomsday escapes from the silty lake bed, he and Superman tear up a city street. Maxima then reenters the fray. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are sent to cover the battle for television, while Lex Luthor II dissuades Supergirl from joining the fight. The fight continues at a gas station, where Maxima rips a light post from the ground; the sparks from the wiring ignite the leaking gasoline and the station is destroyed in a huge explosion. Guardian arrives after Doomsday leaves, finding Superman and Maxima, and offers his aid.

Superman then follows Doomsday's trail of destruction, waiting for an opportunity to attack. With the monster's rampage drawing closer, Lex Jr. convinces Supergirl that she's needed in Metropolis while Superman is fighting elsewhere. While demolishing an appliance store, Doomsday sees a TV commercial for a wrestling show being held in Metropolis, and after seeing a road sign for Metropolis, heads in that direction. Superman engages him and throws him in the opposite direction, where he lands on the mountain housing Project Cadmus. They brawl throughout Habitat, a living forest connected to Cadmus, bringing most of it down. When the superhero Guardian arrives, Doomsday knocks him down and leaps toward Metropolis.

Doomsday is driven below ground, where he ruptures gas and electrical mains, leveling Newtown, a large section of Metropolis. Supergirl goes to Superman's aid, but a single punch from Doomsday knocks her to the ground, her form destabilized. Professor Emil Hamilton and Bibbo Bibbowski, Superman's allies fire a laser cannon at Doomsday, but it does not harm him. The local police open fire on Doomsday, but again, he is not harmed. Superman returns to the fight.

Superman and Doomsday lay into each other with everything they have. They strike each other so hard that the shockwaves from their punches shatter windows. At the struggle's culminating moment, each fighter lands a massive blow upon his opponent. The two titans collapse and moments later, in the arms of a frantic Lois Lane, Superman succumbs to his wounds and seemingly dies. Jimmy, Ice, and Bloodwynd are also present at the end.

The climactic event happened in Superman (vol. 2) #75. The issue only contains 22 panels, and every page was a single panel, which was a structure building on the previous issues - Adventures of Superman #497 was done entirely with four-panel pages, Action Comics #684 with three, and Superman: The Man of Steel #19 with two. The entire story was immediately collected into a trade paperback and titled The Death of Superman.

Funeral for a Friend

The funeral that followed featured many of Superman's fellow heroes and friends, including most of the Justice League of America, and a mausoleum was built in Metropolis in honor of the Man of Steel. During this time, every hero in the DC Universe sported a black arm band featuring the S-Shield logo. Some time later, Project Cadmus stole Superman's body from his mausoleum. It was hypothesized that they were attempting to clone him. The body was recovered by Lois Lane and Supergirl.

The stories after the funeral often dealt with the emotions felt by the general public as well as specific characters entwined within Superman's world, including Lois Lane, Clark Kent's parents, and even a number of supervillains. Also, the (then) President of the United States, Bill Clinton and wife Hillary were included in a scene during the funeral. With Superman gone, crime rises up again and the costumed heroes of Metropolis rise to fill in as protectors. Supergirl, Gangbuster, Thorn, and even Team Luthor, a Lexcorp-sponsored team, all tried but were not sufficient. Meanwhile, Jonathan Kent took the death of his adoptive son the hardest and as a result suffered a heart attack. At this point, all Superman comic titles went on a three-month hiatus.

The story was also collected into trade paperback form. Rather than using the banner title Funeral for a Friend, the title used for the collection was World Without a Superman.

Reign of the Supermen!

Following a three month hiatus on the Superman titles, all of them were relaunched. Four new heroes emerged in Superman's place, one in each title, each claiming in some way to be Superman. The story of Adventures of Superman #500 followed Jonathan Kent into the Afterlife. In a possible hallucination, he convinced Superman's soul to come back with him to the living. The only "evidence" that this was not a hallucination was the fact that shortly after Jonathan reawoke, four individuals arrived in Metropolis claiming to be Superman. This storyline was known as Reign of the Supermen!

Each of the Supermen were designed with ideas taken from some of the monikers that Superman is often associated with. The four new heroes were:
  • The Man of Steel: John Henry Irons was an ironworker and ex-weapons designer for the military who wears a suit of armor and wields a hammer. He did not claim to actually be Superman, but rather to represent the spirit of Superman and continue his legacy. Steel appeared in Superman: The Man of Steel starting with #22. He later changed his name to just "Steel".
  • The Man of Tomorrow, also called the Cyborg Superman, arrived with augmented Kryptonian technology. He was scientifically proven to be Superman, but claims amnesia in explanation to his part-mechanical nature. The Cyborg Superman appeared in Superman (vol. 2) starting with #78. He later became a major supervillain.
  • The Metropolis Kid, who hated being called Superboy, is a reckless teenage clone of Superman. This Superman appeared in the Adventures of Superman starting with #501. He is the result of the brief time Cadmus attempted to clone Superman. He later had a career as Superboy.
  • The Last Son of Krypton was a visored, energy-powered alien who dealt with criminals lethally. The Last Son of Krypton appeared in Action Comics starting with #687. He claims to have the memories of the original Superman, but his emotional distance makes Lois uncertain. He later was discovered to be the Eradicator, a reformed Superman enemy.

The first issue for each of the new heroes featured a cardstock cover and a poster of the new hero.

The first half of the Reign of the Supermen! story focuses on each of the Supermen “resuming” his duty as protector of Metropolis and gaining acceptance from the public. Of the four, the reader very quickly learns that neither the cloned Metropolis Kid nor the John Henry Irons Man of Steel are the real Superman (though with the latter it was hinted perhaps Superman's soul had migrated into Irons). The Cyborg Man of Tomorrow and the Last Son of Krypton were easily bought in by the people as the possible real Superman, since Lois questioned both of them, and both recalled memories which Clark Kent had. Cyborg was even tested by Dr. Hamilton who stated that the Cyborg appeared to be the real Superman.

In actuality, the Last Son of Krypton stole Superman's body and put it in a regeneration matrix in the Fortress of Solitude, drawing on his recovering energies to power himself, as bright light blinded him. It is revealed that the Last Son is the Eradicator, an ancient Kryptonian weapon, and the Cyborg is the deranged consciousness of Hank Henshaw, which used Superman's birthing matrix to create a physical duplicate of his body.

The one, true Superman, in his Black Kryptonian suit, returns.
Portion of a page of Adventures of Superman #504 by Tom Grummett.

The regeneration matrix broke open, and the original Superman emerged, greatly depowered, but alive. Meanwhile, the Cyborg helped Mongul destroy Coast City, believing he killed the Last Son in the explosion, and captured Superboy, holding him in Engine City, a towering construct erected where Coast City once stood. Superboy escaped and flew back to Metropolis to get the Man of Steel to help him fight the Cyborg. Before he could tell the whole story, however, an overbearing Kryptonian Battlesuit rose out of the harbor, and the two heroes attacked it. After suffering heavy damage, the suit opened, revealing a still-weak Superman, who had used it to walk all the way back from the Fortress of Solitude. Despite his weakened state, he quickly joined the other Supermen in defending Coast City. Upon his revelation, he acknowledged himself as the real Superman (the fifth person at this point to claim that title). When asked by Lois Lane what made him any different from the other Supermen, he responded with "How about... To Kill a Mockingbird?" (Clark Kent's favorite movie, and something he shared with only those closest to him). Though she remained hesitant, Lois mentally acknowledged that this was something only the real Clark Kent would know. During the battle of Coast City, the Cyborg launched a devastating missile at Metropolis, with the intent of destroying it and putting a second Engine City in its place. Superboy managed to grab onto the missile as it launched, riding it all the way to Metropolis, which he narrowly saved from destruction.

Green Lantern Hal Jordan had returned from space to find his hometown destroyed. He immediately attacked Engine City and fought Mongul, shattering the Man of Steel's hammer across his face. Meanwhile, the Last Son/Eradicator joined the fight after recovering in the Fortress, and blocked the Cyborg from dousing Superman with lethal Kryptonite gas. The gas interacted with the Eradicator as it passed through and into Superman, returning his powers rather than killing him. The Eradicator's body degenerated into a lifeless husk, and the Cyborg looked for Superman's body in the debris and Kryptonite mist. Superman blindsided him with an attack using his super strength, and he punched a hole right through the Cyborg. He destroyed his body, but his consciousness survived. Supergirl used the remnants of the black Kryptonian suit to recreate Superman's traditional costume, and the group returned to Metropolis.

Again, like the previous two storylines, the collected edition of Reign of the Supermen did not use its original title; DC Comics instead chose to use The Return of Superman.



During the time Superman spent in stasis recovering in the Fortress of Solitude, his hair grew to shoulder length. Even after reclaiming his title as the one true Superman, he kept his hair long and this was how he was depicted for much of his appearances in the 1990s comics. Before his wedding with Lois, he cut his hair.

Up until the Death of Superman event, DC Comics writers lived on a fixed set of rules when it came to how the post-Crisis Superman's powers were portrayed. This was changed upon his return. The change could be traced to when the Eradicator transformed Kryptonite energy into something that would repower the revived Superman. In a battle with Lobo, Superman discovered he could survive the vacuum of space indefinitely, something the post-Crisis Superman could not do before his death. He also noticed his strength had increased. Although this was part of a subplot involving Superman's powers growing out of control as he absorbed too much solar energy, the depiction of his power was not as consistent as before.

The Surviving Supermen

Superboy (who turned out to be only a partial "clone" of Superman) and The Man of Steel (whose name became simply "Steel") went on to become recurring characters in the DC Universe, each eventually getting his own monthly title. Superboy was a member of The Ravers, Young Justice, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Teen Titans, before perishing in Infinite Crisis. He was brought back to life in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds. Steel appeared as a character in the DC animated universe, as well as his own film, and became a member of the Justice League; he also briefly became a true superhuman, no longer relying on outside sources (i.e. the armor) to provide his powers, and somewhat of a scientist figure and fatherly figure for the also artificially empowered Infinitors, powerless again but able to provide counseling, technical expertise, and support. The Eradicator became leader of a new team of Outsiders and his status is currently unknown after the events of Infinite Crisis. The Cyborg Superman becomes a recurring nemesis in the Superman and Green Lantern titles, leading and upgrading the former cybernetic patrol organization known as the Manhunters and joining the Sinestro Corps as a field officer, hoping to be rid of his immortality.

Supermen of America

The character, Mitch Anderson, was introduced during the The Death Superman arc. Originally a huge fan of Guy Gardner, The Man of Steel saved his family during Doomsday's rampage which led the teen in favor of the Kryptonian over the ring bearer. He also befriended with Jimmy Olsen and Bo "Bibbo" Bibbowski during Superman's funeral. After Superman's returns, Anderson gathered survivors of Doomsday's rampage at the site where the creature first emerged to share their experiences through the internet, which Superman also responded. The Man of Steel answered Mitch and other survivors of his experiences with the murderous creature along the details of Doomsday's origins to them. Mitch later developed a metahuman power of magnetokinesis and became the superhero Outburst. Desired to follow Superman's examples as a way to return the favor to the Man of Steel, Anderson formed a superhero team Supermen of America, although the fate of the team hasn't been revealed after they were attacked by OMACs during Infinite Crisis

Death in comics

Superman's death-like manner set into motion a series of resurrections in the DC Universe. Green Arrow, Donna Troy, Elongated Man, Hal Jordan, Metamorpho, Jason Todd, Batman, and others have experienced comic book deaths and resurrections. These events have been attributed to the door between life and death being kept open since Superman died.

As a Kryptonian, Superman's alien genetic material enables him to absorb sunlight and perform superhuman feats. Superman survived his death by entering into a hibernation-like state, and the Eradicator's use of him as a 'conduit' by which he could absorb solar energy 'restarted' Superman's body.

A later encounter with a villainous sentient sun from the future known as "Solaris" would reveal a future where Superman is still alive approximately 83,000 years in the future, leading him to speculate that death may never come for him.

Jonathan Kent himself, during his near death experience, explained to Clark's soul how being a Kryptonian he could never die, or at least, die only after much more grievous injuries than a "simple" beating: he merely accepted his death because his human upbringing instilled in him a strong sense of human mortality, and conformed to it accepting his fate. Once he accepted and embraced his alien makeup, he was able to refuse death and lead his father back in the land of the living.

Emerald Twilight

The consequences of the destruction of Coast City in "Reign of the Supermen" would in turn lead to DC Comics revamping Green Lantern. After an issue that established the fact that several key members of Hal Jordan's supporting cast had survived the destruction of Coast City (due to them being out of town helping Carol Ferris save her estranged mother), DC moved directly into the controversial storyline "Emerald Twilight". Emerald Twilight saw Hal Jordan have a complete mental breakdown after his attempt to rebuild Coast City with his power ring resulted in him being ordered to return to Oa for punishment for breaking the rule of using his power ring for personal gain. In response, Jordan would destroy the Green Lantern Corps and absorb the power of the Corps' Main Power Battery into himself, becoming "Parallax". This in turn would lead to the introduction of Kyle Rayner, as Hal's replacement as Green Lantern and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, which featured Jordan as the main villain.

The Wedding

Even after Superman had returned to life, plans for Lois and Clark's wedding took some time to develop. The relationship between the two became rocky, and for a time they separated. Finally in 1996, tying into the wedding of Lois and Clark in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman television program, Lois returns to Metropolis and rekindles her romance with Clark. The two set into motion their plans for a wedding and are married in Superman: The Wedding Album.


In the three issue miniseries Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (1994), Superman journeys to Apokolips and Calaton to find Doomsday's body. Assisted by Waverider, he confronts Darkseid and Hank Henshaw, and finds that his killer is still alive and discovers the details of Doomsday's origin. In Superman: The Doomsday War (1998), Doomsday's mind is under the influence of Brainiac and Superman fights two of his most powerful enemies, in order to rescue Lana Lang's newborn child.

"Day of Doom"

Writer/penciller Dan Jurgens, with inker Bill Sienkiewicz revisited Superman's battle with Doomsday in the 2003 miniseries Superman: Day of Doom, exploring how the event affects those who knew the fallen hero, and introducing a new villain, Remnant. This dark tale is reprinted in trade paperback.

In the days before the anniversary of Superman's death, Ty Duffy, The Daily Planet's staff reporter, retraces Superman's cross-country battle with Doomsday; Duffy resents the assignment. During the investigation, a mysterious figure also follows Doomsday's cross-country path, and commits a series of murders and destructions along the way. Duffy discovers that many of Superman's rogues have claimed to have created Doomsday, and many survivors of Doomsday's rampage and Coast City's destruction he interviewed express hatred for The Last Son of Krypton. He ultimately comes face-to-face with the Man of Steel himself and reveals to Superman that his father committed suicide because of losses suffered connected with the battle with Doomsday. Duffy reproaches Superman, telling him that thousands have died due to his battle with Doomsday. Although Superman disagrees, he carries considerable guilt over the deaths.

On his way home, Duffy is kidnapped by Remnant, who wishes to show the world that Superman is evil. He intends to stage terrorist acts at the locations where Doomsday rampaged, including The Daily Planet, by planting a bomb within a van parked on the exact spot where the battle ended. Superman rescues Duffy, along with Perry White, who was also captured by the villain, and the building. Despite the victory, flyers announce that Superman is not a messiah, but rather the devil incarnate; the villain disappears. Superman approaches Duffy, and challenges him to not back off from the tough questions. The Man of Steel tells Duffy he will be waiting for the conclusion of his article, and also asks him another one; if Superman wasn't around, would there be fewer Doomsdays (monsters seeking to confront Superman) or more Coast Citys (a disaster that only happened because Superman wasn't there). Within the shadows, Remnant stalks The Man of Steel.

Superman (vol. 2) #175

After the Imperiex War, Doomsday has evolved intelligence, and intends to kill Lex Luthor. Without any aid from his allies, Superman defeats the monster on the anniversary of his original defeat of the creature at Washington D.C.

The Doomsday Protocol

Batman, with the aid of Superman, devised a measure made after The Man of Steel recovered from his first battle with Doomsday, that, when the Justice League or any other superhero groups encounter a Doomsday Level Threat, a group of heroes, authority, and military forces would contain it within a proximity after clearing all civilians within it. If Superman and the rest falls, the Doomsday Protocol, which is a dimensional projecting bomb, will commence by sending the threat to the Phantom Zone after detonating it.

Infinite Crisis

The Golden Age/Earth-2 Superman, Kal-L, fought and defeated Doomsday alongside the modern Superman during the Battle of Metropolis.

Legion of 3 Worlds

During the Legion of 3 Worlds storyline, Superboy is resurrected in the 31st Century by the Legion of Super-Heroes using the same regeneration matrix that resurrected Superman.

Audience and media response

The Death and Return of Superman storyline brought in millions of readers to DC Comics, despite the entirety of the story being intertwined through numerous different comic series, including Action Comics, Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel, and Adventures of Superman, among others. The cover of Superman (vol. 2) #75 (shown above) became an iconic image: Superman's tattered cape wrapped around a pole, marking a makeshift grave. Superman's creator, Jerry Siegel himself, who in 1961 had predicted the Man of Steel's death in an "imaginary story" met with then Superman editor Mike Carlin to tell him that he was very impressed by his version of it.

Certain prints of Superman (vol. 2) #75 contained a black armband with the familiar "S" symbol adorning it.

The Death of Superman took place months before the breaking of Batman's back in the "Knightfall" storyline. Some critics praised DC for boldly and innovatively drawing in more readers. However, others were critical, citing the two concurrent storylines as publicity stunts, since it was unlikely that DC would ever eliminate its most popular characters. Some years later, Chuck Rozanksi, owner of retailer Mile High Comics, would pen a controversial essay in the Comics Buyer's Guide which blamed the Death of Superman promotion for playing a significant role in the collapse of the comic book industry in the late 1990s.

Initially, the Death of Superman storyline was a huge success - comic book fans that had never previously read a Superman title snatched up the issue en masse.


Roger Stern adapted the Death of Superman storyline into a novel, entitled The Death and Life of Superman, in the summer of 1993. It was released in hardcover form and then in paperback a year later. (Hardcover ISBN 0-553-09582-X, Paperback ISBN 0-553-56930-9) A young adult version book was written by Louise Simonson under the title Superman: Doomsday & Beyond and released at the same time as the hardcover of Death and Life. It features cover art by Alex Ross, his first sale to DC.

Also in 1993, Dirk Maggs produced an audio dramatization of the story for BBC Radio 5, entitled Superman: Doomsday & Beyond! (retitled Superman Lives! in the U.S.), featuring Stuart Milligan as Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El & the Eradicator, William Hootkins as Lex Luthor, Lorelei King as Lois Lane, Vincent Marzello as Jimmy Olsen, Garrick Hagon as Jonathan Kent, Kerry Shale as Connor Kent/Kon-El/Superboy & Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman, Eric Meyers as Guy Gardner, Denica Fairman as Maggie Sawyer, Liza Ross as Supergirl, Burt Kwouk as Doctor Teng, and Leon Herbert as Dr. John Henry Irons/Steel with original music by Mark Russell.

A scrolling beat 'em up video game called The Death and Return of Superman was released by Blizzard Entertainment and Sunsoft for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Mega Drive.

In 1994, Kenner released an action figure series based on the Death of Superman era. This featured the first action figures of characters such as the long-haired Superman, Superboy, Steel, Doomsday, Conduit, and the ToyFare exclusive Eradicator. It also corresponded with the Legends of Batman collection, which was largely based on Batman Elseworlds and the Knightfall saga.

Saturday Night Live

Around the same year when the Death of Superman storyline was occurring, Saturday Night Live parodied this in the style of a funeral. Attendees of the funeral were Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Perry White, Lex Luthor, Batman & Robin, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Hawkman & Hawkgirl, Penguin, Catwoman, characters from Marvel Comics (Mister Fantastic, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Storm) and others. When Green Lantern asks why Lex Luthor is at the funeral, Lex Luthor states that Superman was a worthy adversary even though he is glad that Superman is gone. Batman & Robin, Perry White, and Hulk (alongside Mister Fantastic and Spider-Man) were the speakers at the funeral. Black Lightning (portrayed by Sinbad) tries to enter the funeral, but no one knows him even though he claimed to have taught Superman how to fly. After the characters from Marvel were done speaking, Jimmy Olsen takes the stand stating that he had heard from the Chief of Police that the Legion of Doom was attacking Metropolis Civic Arena and thinks that this would've been a job for Superman.

Superman Lives

By the time The Death of Superman hit the newsstands, Warner Bros. had gained the rights to produce a fifth Superman film from Alexander Salkind. The studio selected Superman's death as the storyline for the film, and Jon Peters came in as producer, following the success of the Batman franchise, which he had also produced. From 1994 to 1998, projected film adaptations of the The Death of Superman storyline faced numerous problems with the script process. Writers proposed major changes to the character, including the absence of the Superman costume, and the lack of the power of flight. One of the writers, Kevin Smith, said, "The thing that bothered me about [writer] Greg Poirier’s draft: they were trying to give Superman angst. They had Clark Kent going to a psychiatrist at one point. Superman’s angst is not that he doesn’t want to be Superman. If he has any [angst], it’s that he can’t do it all; he can’t do enough and save everyone...Batman is about angst; Superman is about hope."

Superman Reborn, retitled Superman Lives, was slated for release on July 4, 1998, directed by Tim Burton and with Nicolas Cage to portray Superman. However, following the box office disappointment of Batman & Robin, the project was scrapped.

Justice League adaptations

The Bruce Timm animated series Justice League has an episode entitled "A Better World, Part One", in which the Justice League was tricked and captured by the Justice Lords, who took their place. At the same time, Doomsday arrives from outer space in a meteor. In one scene, both the Justice Lord Superman and Doomsday punched each other out at the same time, resulting in a shockwave which destroyed several buildings. However, this did no damage to Doomsday and only nearly knocked out the alternate Superman. In the end, alternate Superman used his heat-vision to lobotomize him, parodying the Death of Superman storyline much like the Bane episode of Batman: The Animated Series had done with Knightfall.

In the episode "Hereafter" (written by Dwayne McDuffie and directed by Butch Lukic), Superman is sent into the future by a device of Toyman's, only to wake up to a red-sunned Earth populated by giant bugs, mutant wolves, and Vandal Savage. This was, in all intents, an adaptation of the comic story "Under the Red Sun" (one of Timm's favorites). However, since Toyman's device looks like it disintegrates Superman into nothingness, the first half of the two-part episode deals with Superman's funeral, and it takes some direct elements from the Death of Superman storyline, such as the memorial statue, Batman watching Superman's funeral procession from the rooftops, and the wearing of black armbands by other members of the Justice League.

Superman: Doomsday

At Comic-Con '06 Bruce Timm announced that he would produce the Death of Superman story as a Direct-To-DVD (or DTV) project, which was titled Superman: Doomsday, with Adam Baldwin as The Man of Steel, with Anne Heche as Lois Lane, and James Marsters as Lex Luthor.

During an interview with, Timm explained that the story would cover the entire trilogy of The Death of Superman, World Without a Superman, & Reign of the Supermen. However, it was necessarily simplified since the film runs only 75 minutes.

A trailer released in June 2007 showed a slightly altered animation style from that of the DC animated universe. Lois and Superman have a relationship, but The Man of Steel hasn't revealed his identity to Lois until the end of the film, even though she already knows. Changes and differences include the absence of Lex Luthor II and Supergirl in the film; the presence of a similar Lex Luthor to that of the post-Crisis version - the corrupt tycoon of LexCorp; the fight between Superman and Doomsday occurring at night (instead of during the day, as it did in the comics); and fewer Supermen.

The film was screened twice at the San Diego Comic-Con '07 as a special sneak preview on Thursday, July 26. Both reactions and reviews were well received.

The DTV film was released on September 18, 2007. It made its U.S. broadcast premier on the Cartoon Network Saturday July 12, 2008 at 9:00 pm EST.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

While not present directly in The DTV film Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, it is alluded to at one point, where Batman tells Superman "It's your funeral", and Superman says he already had one.


The trade paperback The Death of Superman received the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Novel or Album for 1992. The storyline of The Reign of the Supermen won the Comics Buyer's Guide Award Favorite Comic Book Story for 1992.


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