The Big Picture: Dumbsday, Part 1 - The Death of Superman

MovieBob

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Dumbsday, Part 1 - The Death of Superman

For his 200th episode, MovieBob takes a look at the (in)famous DC Comics series that killed off one of the most iconic heroes (albeit temporarily).

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Evonisia

Your sinner, in secret
Jun 24, 2013
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Obvious padding by re-using the Comics in the 90s - What Happened? episode's content aside, this was pretty good. There was probably not a better way to show that scene's dumbness (even if that Man of Steel scene used to criticise it pisses me off).
 

Burnouts3s3

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Jan 20, 2012
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Were the comics at least better than the movie "Superman: Doomsday"? I thought that movie was a bit lack-luster, to be honest.
 

Verlander

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Apr 22, 2010
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I unironically enjoy it to be honest. It's dumb, but it's what a lot of people wanted to see (even if they didn't know they wanted to see it) - Superman going toe to toe with someone he can't beat.

When your character is as black and white as superman, you're going to have a hard time putting him in a moral dilemma like Cap, and when you have a whole Justice League and team of superheroes, it would seem mad that Superman would die saving the planet or whatever. No one would accept that an existing foe could beat him, because that's not how the stories play out. It had to be someone new.

I dunno, love ya Bob and watched all of your Big Pictures, but I reckon your dislike of the 90's is showing through here. It's fun, even if it was published cynically.
 

ZZoMBiE13

Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
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Congratulations on the milestone Bob.

I hated the Death of Superman arc, but it's not like Superman comics of that day were all that great to begin with. Those books were weak sauce. Nothing against Superman as a character, I just didn't care much for the DC of the day during that time.

But I went out and got my copy just like everyone else did. It felt exciting that some kind of shake-up was going on. Then you got around to reading it and just went "ugh".

I did like Knightfall though. Sure, it had many of the same problems. But Bane's attack plan on Bruce was far more fun to watch play out.
 

sageoftruth

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I remember reading that comic. Being a little kid and being and unfamiliar with DC canon, I had no idea what was going on the whole time.
 

Hiramas

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Aug 31, 2010
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Thank you, Bob, for 200 Episoden of Background, Spekulation and enternteinment.
 

tzimize

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Mar 1, 2010
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Congrats on the episodes. I gotta agree, I never really cared for the death of superman either.
 

i4njw

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Congrats on 200, Bob! You deserve it.

If anyone wants another entertaining video about this stupid, stupid event, watch Max Landis' "The Death and Return of Superman" short film. It's hilarious.
 

Sylocat

Sci-Fi & Shakespeare
Nov 13, 2007
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Wow. Has it really been almost four years? Yikes.

Anyway... quite an appropriate topic, as it mirrors the letdown of having a completely pointless story for such a seminal event.
 

MovieBob

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Gotta disagree with bob here. Death of Superman was actually not that bad at least it had impact. See Superman was up against an uknown and worse an unknown that he simply couldn't overpower or pull a new power out of his ass to defeat. He was up against someone who could actually hurt him... badly.

Now it's one thing to be heroic when you know you're bloody well invulnerable but when facing a situation where your invulnerability is negated...that is where a hero is tested, It's one thing to shield someone from a bullet when you know the bullet will bounce off... it's another when you know that bullet will not only probably kill you but that there's still a chance it'll go through you and kill the person anyway.

Supes faced in that scenario, did what he always did... he fought on, not out of hope of winning but out of desperation to stop the beast before it destroyed everything he held dear. He died for that.

heck even the replacement hero arc wasn't so bad... we got to see how some heroes tried to fill the void that come with a great loss. Steel made no pretense of being the next superman but was just trying to continue the good work. Superboy saw it as his chance to step up and out of the shadow of the original to make a name for himself... and the other two okay.. that sorta sucked.

The problem with the death of superman is that he came back. Heroic sacrifice is ruined by the sacrifice being rendered null. I.e. there being no actual sacrifice. Plus the 'how' of how he came back has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in comics... and I've read a lot of X-men comics.

Seriously, The idea of superman going down to stop a rampaging monster... great... bringing him back afterwards... sorta killed whatever impact the death might have had and it further damaged the industry's credibility. Death means nothing in comics... everyone comes back... or is replaced by someone who is fundamentally the same as the person that died.. Bucky and Jason Todd live..

I swear I actually feel sorry for death in the comic verse , he must be the most depressed entity in either the DC or the marvel cosmos. I mean one someone dies he probably goes. 'Why bother?' he does it anyway and of course they come back to life and Death goes to empty another case of bourbon.
 

V4Viewtiful

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Feb 12, 2014
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You're a little too hard on the event, most of it is right but you a little too hard on the splash pages as it was a gradual thing from all for Sup titles, as the story went on the panels got bigger. That's a cool idea and it looked it too.

I don't think it mattered whether or Superman died for a just cause or not I mean if the threat is big enough it doesn't matter but I'll tell you this, the fight was more interesting than anything in MOS where nothing but a neck snap happened.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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I loved that comic when it came out. Doomsday is a force of nature that could not be spoken to or reasoned with - something Superman has never faced. Most of it was a desperate fight to stop Doomsday getting to Metropolis. It was good to see Superman struggle like that, made him more human. I think they added abit of Doomsdays character into Zod in the MoS movie. A straight "i want to kill everything and nothing will deter me from my path" mentality. Maybe a better ending would have been that Superman survived but had a new understanding being that he was pushed to his limits and had to go against everything he believed in to save humans. But then all heros die and come back. But i liked Eradicator Superman and the Cyborg were interesting. The Doomsday back story was good also. But over time they ruined him after that.

The idea if having a known villian kill Superman is stupid, he has fought them all many times. Its lame. Doomsday was an unknown quantity. Neither Superman nor the fans reading the book knew what the hell Doomsday was. An thats awesome.

I think now you cant do "death of" stories because we all know they are not permanent so they lack the sense of loss. But if you really want stupid isnt there comics were a character punched reality? Wasnt it Superman Prime who did that? Comics are silly, and im glad for that because its fun and escapism.
 

Vivi22

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BigTuk said:
Gotta disagree with bob here. Death of Superman was actually not that bad at least it had impact. See Superman was up against an uknown and worse an unknown that he simply couldn't overpower or pull a new power out of his ass to defeat. He was up against someone who could actually hurt him... badly.
The problem with this is that there's no shortage of bad guy's in the DC universe who could go toe to toe against Superman and stand a reasonably good chance of killing him. Instead of using one of those guys (or preferably someone not that powerful like Luthor) and building up to something actually meaningful and interesting, they had Doomsday come to Earth on a spaceship and he and Superman beat each other to death.

Superman was killed by some nobody villain no one had ever heard of before, and it happened because they just stood around punching each other to death. There is so much that is wrong with that. His death may have had some slight impact, but his death really had next to no meaning. It wasn't some final climactic showdown with a long time enemy where he died because they managed to outsmart him. It was a street brawl where he died because none of the other heavy hitters showed up to lend a hand (in other words, because the writers wanted him to, not because it made sense).

So sure, it had some slight impact, but it was not a fitting way to kill off one of the most well known superheroes of all time. It'd be like making a James Bond movie and killing off Bond by having him choke on a piece of steak.
 

Osaka117

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Feb 20, 2011
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Superman wasn't killed by one of his classic villains and his death had no overall greater meaning, and that automatically makes it bad? The only way I'd agree with that is if the death was permanent, no more superman comics, nothing. DEAD dead. Of course that will never happen and I'm sure nobody thought that was the case at the time, so I really can't see any major complaints here, it was just an excuse to build up hype and see the most invincible comic book character be defeated (temporarily). I really see no harm in that.
 

Kenjitsuka

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Been here from the start, and will stick around to the end.

Btw, if anyone wants to make a smart investment, you should buy the first episode off me and make *billions* in 30 years! ;)
 

Jacked Assassin

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Jun 4, 2010
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If MovieBob makes fun of Steel (John Henry Irons) I expect Jim Sterling to defend Shaquille O'Neal.

....

Or maybe my expectations are too high.
 

twosage

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Oct 22, 2013
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I have two memories of the Death of Superman. The first happened a few years after the comics themselves came out, and a friend of mine who as trying to convince me to give Superman a chance offered the trade paperback for me to read at school. I read the first few pages, asked him "do they ever explain who Doomsday is and where he came from?" and he said: "not really" so I laughed in his face and gave it back to him.

Years later, I was going through my old long boxes and found several "Reign of the Supermen" comics, some still in those plastic bags that the "special" comics got sold in. Never opened, never read. I must have bought them off the shelf and forgot about them almost immediately (maybe I thought they might be worth something one day, who knows).

So, you win this round, DC!
 

bdcjacko

Gone Fonzy
Jun 9, 2010
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But without out the Death of Superman, we may have never got Shaq as Steel. Wait, I think I may have done that wrong.