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Heartwarming / Superman

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"That right there is worth more than any superpower."

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The Animated Series




  • There isn't one interpretation of the Kents' discovery of baby Kal-El or Superman's discovery of his cousin Kara that doesn't qualify as a CMOH.
  • Likewise, Superman's love, respect and gratitude towards Jonathan and Martha Kent is nothing short of this.

Golden Age

  • Superman's first meeting with Lois, in Action Comics #1: "You needn't be afraid of me. I won't harm you." Made all the better when Alex Ross painted it.

Silver Age

  • Not seen so much any more, but it used to be a stock ending in Superman stories to see Clark back at the office with his friends, after the day has been saved and the world is safe again. Lois or someone would say something unintentionally lampshading Clark's secret identity, and he would turn to the reader, smile, and wink. Maybe it's corny, but it feels good every single time.
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  • Silver Age Superboy had some touching moments. One of the most notable was when Superboy has a dull day and is convinced that he didn't do anything noteworthy. All he did was save a toddler from a dry well, help keep a teenage girl from being humiliated at a party, and rescue a reporter's briefcase. As it turns out, the toddler was Jimmy Olsen, the girl was Lois Lane, and the reporter was Perry White.
  • In the late 50's Superman had lost his adoptive parents and his relationship with Lois was a running gag, so he was really and truly alone. Then, in Action Comics #252, Superman happens upon a Kryptonian girl who has made it safely to Earth... and who happens to be his cousin. Happy that he's got his family back, he hugs Kara.
  • Similarly, Superboy #80 features both cousins discussing Kal's loneliness back in Smallville and Kara's current friendless state. So Supergirl decides to fly back in time to meet Superboy, and both cousins spend several days playing together.
  • In the story "The Lady and the Lion", Superman gets transformed into a humanoid lion after rebuffing Circe's proposal of marriage. Supes considers himself ruined, but Jimmy insists the new look doesn't matter; they'll always be friends, and Lois invites him to attend a play with her to prove her feelings haven't changed. When the play (Beauty and the Beast) touches a nerve with the transformed hero, Lois impulsively kisses him. At the end, after finding a way to transform back, Superman gives her a kiss as his normal self in thanks.
  • In Action Comics #270, Superman dreams he is stuck in the future world, in which Supergirl — now Superwoman — is the world's greatest hero and he is a decrepit, powerless has-been. Although he feels frustrated about being forgotten or treated as a silly old glory, he is happy about his cousin having acclaim and praise. And later he meets Lois, and it turns out that she never forgot him and always waited for him.

Bronze Age

  • In pre-Crisis days, the rare occasions when Luthor would get a Pet the Dog moment, and Superman would smile and Lex would look embarrassed, and you'd realize that the nice kid Lex used to be and Clark's old friend is still in there somewhere, and that Supes has never given up hope for his old friend's redemption. These often double as Tear Jerkers, since in the long run, they usually wind up as Ignored Epiphanies and he stays a villain. Note that these start in the Silver Age and continue into the Bronze.
    • The original Lexor story by Otto Binder, when Lex passes up a chance to defeat Superman in order to help a dying civilization (well, at least to get out of the way and let Superman help them). The Lexorians hail Lex as a hero. The most heartwarming part? Superman brings a jailed Luthor a photo of the statue the citizens built of him.
      Luthor: It was worth coming back to prison for.
    • The time travel story when Luthor gets into a fight with Superboy in the nineteenth century, and realizes too late that he's accidentally prevented him from stopping John Wilkes Booth—making Lex indirectly responsible for the death of Lincoln. He's aghast, and leaves Superboy alone and returns to the present, badly shaken.
    • His efforts to keep his sister Lena and her son from learning their relationship to him, because he doesn't want them to suffer the burden of knowing they're related to a universally hated super villain.
    • In "The Galactic Golem," Lex believes he's accidentally wiped out all of humanity when a scheme of his went out of control, leaving him the last man on Earth. He's horrified. When he learns everybody's fine (of course Superman saved the day), he stretches out his arms to take in the beautiful sight of ordinary people going about their business, overwhelmingly relieved, and says he doesn't even mind Superman carting him off to jail, as long as everyone's okay.
    • In a What If? story, a D-list villain has killed Lois, and then returns to further torment Superman while he's grieving. Luthor and Brainiac show up to catch the villain and hand him over to Supes, saying when all's said and done, they respect him too much to watch what this scum was doing to him.
    • The last Lexor story, when Lex returns there to raise a family, and sincerely tries to put his past behind him and go straight... leading up to a huge Tear Jerker when it really, really doesn't work out.
    • "The Einstein Connection,'' when Superman realizes that Lex's hero is Albert Einstein. Lex passes up a chance to escape so he can rescue a drowning child—because he just can't bring himself to be a Jerkass on Einstein's birthday. Instead of taking him straight back to jail, Supes flies him to the Smithsonian's Einstein exhibit — a place Lex has always wanted to go, but never could because it's so public, and he's a wanted man. Deeply moved, he looks up at the Einstein statue and says, quietly, "Happy birthday, sir." When Superman finally does take Lex back to prison, Lex says, "Thanks for everything."
  • In Action Comics #555-Supergirl (1982) #20, Superman throws a surprise party to celebrate Kara's arrival's anniversary. The scene is poignant, all the more since Supergirl would get killed off two years later.


  • Post-Crisis Superman had a crossover with Captain Marvel where they bonded over having similar powers and ends with Captain Marvel's friend dying due to a hit squad when he's Billy Batson and then storming the police station the hit squad was in custody at. Superman calls him out on it and then finds out the truth about Captain Marvel being a 10 year old boy. Superman naturally calls out the wizard who gave Billy his powers and identity as Captain Marvel and the wizard asks Superman to help guide him. Clark Kent meets Billy Batson who is living in a rundown building and reveals his secret identity so Billy has someone to count on.
  • There's a bit in Last Son, when Chris and Clark visit the Batcave. Clark's adopted son is impressed, in classic little-boy fashion, by Robin's acrobatics and begs to learn. Keep in mind that this is a kid who can fly. It's just adorable.
  • During the "Funeral For a Friend" storyline in the early 90's, Ma and Pa Kent are unable to attend Superman's funeral in Metropolis, so to say goodbye to their son, they bury a box containing items from his childhood (including a blanket and a teddy bear) in the crater made by his spaceship.
  • In "Funeral For a Friend" the death of Superman was such a huge loss that it was basically treated like a Crisis Crossover. Special props to a moment from Batman during the nightmarish lead up to the Knightfall event, where a morbidly depressed Bruce Wayne wallows in despair in the cave, and it's revealed that he's still wearing one of the JLA's Superman-Shield black armbands, reminding the reader just how miserable and hopeless Bruce's world is right now. Because he can't even call up Clark to help him, either with his problems or with emotional support, just when he most needed it.
  • The entire point of "Funeral For a Friend" was to show how much Superman was loved by the entire planet and a great tribute to the character.
  • Just the title, "Funeral For A Friend." To the world, he may be Superman, Man of Steel... but to the JLA, he's nothing more or less than a friend.
  • By the end of The Death of Superman, Lois Lane is an emotional wreck. She's gone through the trauma of Clark dying in her arms, has had to deal with his four would-be heirs, and even when the real Superman initially comes back she won't allow herself to believe him despite some very compelling (and very personal) evidence. After Supes takes down the Big Bad with a little help from his friends, we cut to Lois in her apartment, lying in bed fully clothed in the middle of the afternoon, possibly hung over. She hears a tapping on her window and assumes it's a bird, a call back to a scene much earlier in the arc. She flings open the drapes to reveal a great big "S." The next scene is a full-page panel of Lois and Superman kissing in midair. Text reads, "There isn't a doubt in her mind. She's in his arms... faster than a speeding bullet."
  • The issue after that shows Superman rescuing a young boy and girl (presumably brother and sister) from a disused Civil Defense shelter where they've been trapped since the battle with Doomsday, a couple of months at least. The kids have been living on the food and water supplies they found - they're malnourished and dehydrated, but they're alive. The little girl tells Big Blue that she kept reassuring her brother that no matter how long it took, Superman would eventually come and get them - he wouldn't let them die. Superman replies that he would rather die himself. And we believe him, because he did.
  • In The Coming of Atlas we gain a glimpse into Krypto the Superdog's thought processes (which are mostly along the line of "Man throw stick! Krypto get stick! Make Man happy!"). During this arc, the supervillain Atlas, backed by a secret group within the United States military, has all but defeated Superman, Supergirl, Superboy and Steel in battle... until Krypto appears, and he's not happy. He withstands both Atlas' strength and the weaponry of the military to fight Atlas and buy Superman some time, all out of loyalty to Superman. Then, when Atlas is dealt with, Superman delivers a speech about how Krypto isn't just his dog, but belongs to Metropolis — and as the city celebrates Krypto and his master pets him, we get this thought from Krypto.
    Krypto: Happy.
  • Every single time someone tries to induce a Heroic BSoD on Superman. It never works, but seeing Superman demonstrate just why he's Earth's greatest hero is enough to brighten one's day.
  • Near the end of JLA/Hitman #2, when Superman flies up above the atmosphere to gaze down at the Earth, musing about its beauty and his landing there as an infant. He pauses, deep in thought, and then:
    • No line before or since has more simply and vividly captured just how insanely much Clark Kent loves his adopted planet.
    • Additionally, earlier in the story, in what would be his last meeting with Tommy Monaghan, Superman, powerless and shaking after having been possessed by an alien parasite, confronted Tommy after having learned he was a hired killer (albeit one who tried to live by a code), when in the past Tommy had managed to lift his spirits when he was in a dark place.
      Tommy: I think I told can't help what people are going to believe about you. Somethin' like that. I guess you can't help who's going to believe in you, either.
    • All of the above being written by Garth Ennis, who vocally hates superheroes more than just about anyone else in the medium... with, as one might gather, one notable exception.
  • In the issue where the Eradicator Program's manifestation of Kem-L accosts Clark in his apartment and tries to "disinfect" him of human influence, telling him to leave Earth and embrace his Kryptonian heritage, arguing that humans are unworthy for a race as superior to them as Kryptonians to live with and constantly calling him "Kal-El". Clark's counterargument is rather simple:
    "My name is Clark Kent. Get Out! of my home. Get off my planet."
  • In a 90s Superman Christmas issue, Lois asked Superman if he would be willing to put in an appearance at the Daily Planet's annual charity Christmas party for a Metropolis foster care center, to take the kids' minds off the fact that the Planet couldn't afford to buy toys for the kids due to budget cuts (Metropolis had been nearly leveled by Lex Luthor in an earlier arc). Superman had a better idea: he convinced Professor Emil Hamilton (this was years before his most recent Face–Heel Turn) to dress as Santa Claus and cobble together a quick sleigh, borrowed some reindeer from the Metropolis Zoo, and called up a friend of his in Gotham City, who was happy to contact a Metropolis toy-store for toys and have them give him the bill. Superman, in a solid black body-stocking so he wouldn't be noticed in the night sky, carried the sleigh and reindeer to the Daily Planet roof, where Professor Hamilton gleefully distributed the toys.
    • In the same issue, Superman reunites two sisters who had been separated since the days of Auschwitz during WWII.
  • In Supermen of America #5, an Alien comes to Earth searching for what the meaning of perfection is. When it gets to Clark, what does it see? Clark's idea of perfection is just hanging out on the Kent farm with his Pa.
  • In Action Comics #850, Supergirl has to take over her cousin's body to save his life. Before leaving, she uses her heat vision to write on the wall: "Hang in there, big guy. You're not in this alone."
  • During Superman: Brainiac, just before Superman flies off to track down Brainiac he has a chat with Pa Kent. Pa shows Clark a whole bunch of mementos from Clark's childhood (such as a baseball Clark knocked clear across Smallville). Now, this is heartwarming enough on its own, but what clinches it is Clark engraving World's Greatest Dad on a horseshoe and giving it to his adoptive father before he goes. It makes Pa's death at the end even more of a tear-jerker.
  • The last issue of the Superman titles before the Flashpoint Continuity Reboot. It gives distant finales to most of the comic's loose ends, and then assures us that, in that timeline at least, Superman and Lois stayed married and got to live happily ever after.
  • In Action Comics #867 -part of the Superman: Brainiac storyline- Kara glomps Clark while she tells him she is terrified of Brainiac. He hugged her back to reassure her.
  • This beautiful scene from Superman: Grounded. Which leads to this quote:
    Superman: If you honestly believe in your heart of hearts, that you will never ever have another happy day — then step out into the air. I’ll keep my promise. I won’t stop you. But if you think there’s a chance no matter how small — that there might be just one more happy day out there — then Take My Hand.
    • The final panel. The formerly suicidal woman chose to step into Superman's arms and he gently strokes her hair as he reassures her.
  • During Day of Vengeance, with magic destroyed, Mxyzptlk was reduced to a barely functioning, mortal homeless man who couldn't get his brain to function properly. Clark meets him in the rain and, without any hesitation, embraced Mxy and pledges to help him.
  • In Superman for Earth, Superman and Lois discuss the fact that they may not be able to have children. Later, Clark visits the Kents and talks to them about it, telling them that he hopes they didn't have their hearts set on being grandparents. They reassure him that it isn't a big issue, telling him they've always considered themselves lucky just having had a chance to be parents.
  • In Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2, a stranded motorist desperately keeps waving to other cars in the vain hope anyone might stop in the middle of a December blizzard to help him. Desperate, and succumbing to the cold, he gives up, writes an apology, draws a revolver and prepares to end it all. And then someone softly taps on his window. Superman is there, and quietly helps the man repair his car and gently guides him to the realization of just how much he still has to live. Satisfied the man has gotten the message, he provides him with directions to a nice homestead where he can get a Christmas dinner. The vignette ends with the shards of the broken revolver falling before the sign of the place where the motorist had been stranded: Smallville.
  • Just the fact that, as demonstrated by The Nail and other "what if" scenarios, that he's The Heart of the DCU, and one of the reasons why costumed heroes are loved in that universe as compared to the suspicion and sometimes outright hatred they are treated with in Marvel canon. Ma and Pa Kent raised a seriously good boy.
  • Convergence: Superman depicts Superman and Lois still Happily Married. Lois is even pregnant with Clark's son. In the second and final issue, Clark and Lois name the boy Jonathan Samuel Kent.
  • A really Heartwarming Moment in Superman: The Man of Steel #101 during the Critical Condition story arc where Superman was poisoned with Kryptonite and is slowly dying from it. At some point previously, Lois had gone missing and Superman despite being severely weakened and in pain does everything he can to find her. After he tries to infiltrate Lexcorp and is almost killed by Luthor's defences and agents, be barely managed to escape and plummet out of Lexcorp tower to the ground bellow. After falling and dazed from the impact, he looks up and sees Batman who had been notified about his situation. Bruce helps Clark get out of the streets and vows to help Clark stating that they will find Lois.
    Batman: You look worse than I'd been led to believe.
    Superman: Batman...How..
    Batman: A mutual friend expressed some doubts as to your investigative abilities.
    Superman: Bruce—Lois is...Lois is...
    Batman: I know. Don't worry. We'll find her.
    • Several more heartwarming moments that also overlap with funny. The first being when Batman confronts a bar full of scary bikers to find out information on several other missing people that disappeared along with Lois. After starting to square up and teach the bikers not to mess with The Goddamed Batman, Superman walks in begging everybody to stop and just help them find the missing people while struggling to hold himself up in the doorway. What happens next isn't shown but the conversation in the Batmobile gives you a pretty good idea.
    Superman: I'm sorry. I know you told me to wait in the car. I know that could have gone wrong, but...
    Batman: They're never afraid of you are they? Glowing Green. Seeping radiation. You could break this planet in two..And yet when they see you hold yourself up in a doorway...They trip over each other to help you.
    Superman: You could try asking nicely.
    • Later, when they finally close in on the location where the missing people are being kept, Superman is so week that Batman has to carry him up the side of a cliff. Superman has just enough power to make himself lighter so that he's almost weightless and Batman's inner monologue starts heartrendingly though ends a bit funny and definitely heartwarming.
    Batman: He's much lighter than I thought he's be. He's helping, I know...Using what little power he has left to shift his mass...But he's so light and frail. A misstep will break him in two...Break that heart of his in two...10:13PM...and for no apparent reason...I suddenly miss Alfred...Damn you Clark.


  • The relationship between Superman and Supergirl was rather strained and uneasy during The New 52 era. Then, in Action Comics #52, Clark seeks his cousin out to ask her to consider taking up his mantle. When Kara admits she's unsure of herself, Clark gives her a "You're better than you think you are" speech. Then he gives her the key to the Fortress and states even though he's gone he'll be always there for her:
    Supergirl: But I am not sure that I can deal with all their... expectations...
    Superman: It's not about us, Kara. It's about them. It's about paying it forward so people can see it. A tangible example of what's right and wrong. Be the stone, Kara, because it's the ripples that change the world. You can do this. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Sure, our family shield can be a target, but it's also a badge of honor that I know you wear proudly each and every day.


  • Superman (Rebirth) #1:
    • After realizing that there's no way now for him to come back, the pre-Flashpoint Superman helps Lana bury the New 52 Superman beside his parents. Then, he erects a statue of him in the Fortress of Solitude before declaring that all tomorrow needs is Superman.
    • It's revealed that the New 52 Superman created a statue of Ma and Pa Kent mimicking the iconic one of Jor-El and Lara holding up a planet. Pre-Flashpoint Superman is amazed as he never even considered doing the same and adds the statue of the dead Superman between his Earth parents. Hope is returning indeed.
    • Supes telling Lana that "two young Clark Kents on two different worlds were very lucky to have Lana Langs in [their] lives".
    • For those who notice such things, it can tug at the heartstrings seeing Superman wearing the iconic and unaltered "S"-shield again, given that between such things as the New 52, Man of Steel movies, etc., the shield itself had been undergoing subtle but noticeable redesigns.
  • Action Comics #958 has Superman actually think twice about Lex Luthor when he throws himself at Doomsday to give Superman a chance to save civilians in danger by the beast.
  • Superman (Rebirth) #2 has Clark and Jon bonding together as Superman and Superboy. Jon also reveals what happened to his cat and opt to give it a proper burial.
  • The Action Comics: Rebirth arc Men of Steel shows that Luthor still totally resents Superman, but it's a very different reason than it used to be. According to Luthor, humans are a complex ball of emotions, thoughts, and history, impossible to definitively categorize But Superman? Superman's "just good."
  • In Revenge, Cyborg Superman puts together a "Superman Revenge Squad", but all allies of Superman come together to fight alongside him. And at the end, a panel shows the entire family -Clark, Lois, Kara, Jonathan and Krypto- standing closely together.
  • Good Night Moon is just pure and utter heartwarming mixed with Tearjerker.
    • Superman, after a fight with the Demolition Team, sees that his battle ended near a cancer ward for children. He decides that he wants to do something special for them. So does he just meet them? Maybe give a speech? How about having Green Lantern create a space shuttle to fly them to space (so the kids can experience weightlessness) and then take them to the watchtower to meet the justice league before finally getting them each space suits so they can walk on the surface of the moon.
    • The rest of the League doesn't slack off either. Green Lantern makes the shuttle and flies the kids around. Flash uses his super speed to push kids in wheelchairs around so they race about the watchtower. Cyborg shows kids how his tech works. Aquaman takes them swimming in his private pool. Wonder Woman removes her bracelets and lets the kids try them on and then lets them play with her lasso. And even stoic Batman shows the kids how all his equipment works to the kids delight.
  • Action Comics #1000. After being lambasted and the butt end of every joke from here to the sun, Superman finally gets his famous red trunks and gold belt back. But this isn't done with the intention of trying to undo all the changes that have gone in the last 7 years. Rather, Superman has both returned to his roots, but still keeps with the changing times, symbolized by the cuff links on his wrists that were holdovers from his last suit in Rebirth. And the promise that Jon and Lois remaining by his side was a PERMANENT fixture.
  • In the new Superman ongoing series written by Brian Michael Bendis. Issue # 2 has Superman thinking about a time when Green Arrow asked him if having super hearing is hell as he can hear the screams for help of billions of people everyday and can’t shut it out. Superman reveals that yes he can shut off his super hearing anytime he wants but chooses not too and says he never will why? Because that same sentence that while he confirms that he can constantly hear the ignorance, hatred, and cruelty of humanity on a daily basis along with the daily cries out for help. He also can hear what comes after those screams: people go out and help a lot of times before he can even show up whether it be fire fighters, police, EMTs and etc. People do help and while he points out that it doesn’t happen all the time it happens enough. Goes to show for just how much people look up to Superman he looks up to the compassion and the ability to do the right thing when it counts of humanity.
    Superman: Green Arrow once asked me in a private conversation if my life was hell. “Hell?” I asked. “Actual Hell! Because you can never turn off your super-hearing. You can't not see the madness of the world with your super-vision. You can't stop seeing and hearing all the horrors of the world." First of all...yes, I can. I can turn it off anytime I want. I don't. I never have and I never will. But I can. We all can. I could leave the planet and never come back, and yes some days it does feel like madness. The screams for help never stop. The hate never stops. Oh and the ignorance sometimes never stops and it just breaks my heart. But what a lot of people don't get to see or hear is what I get to see or hear...what happens after the scream. People help. People reach out. More times than not, a scream—and someone nearby helps before I can even lift a finger. People do their jobs. It's stunning to see. Beautiful, really. The police, firemen, EMTs, politicians, even. Nothing is perfect, and it never will be, but...the world works."
  • In Superman #18, by Bendis, Superman decides to reveal his secret identity to the world. Before he does so, he privately reveals his identity to Perry first in his office. In a page with no text to show the reader what they are saying, we can nevertheless see that Perry's reaction is to sit up and go hug Clark, without the slightest hint of anger. He knew that Clark kept his identity hidden to protect those closest to him, including Perry, and is completely understanding.


  • Just for fun, Elliot S! Maggin wrote a prose short story called Starwinds Howl about all the adventures Krypto the Superdog had in space before coming to Earth. As it should be, the story is told absolutely straight—from Krypto's point of view, and without depicting his thoughts as speech. The scene at the end, when Superboy is unexpectedly reunited with his childhood pet, is wonderful.
  • In Godspell, Jesus himself wears a Superman t-shirt.



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