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Tear Jerker / The Death of Superman

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If the name itself didn't tip you off, then this comic is one hell of an eye-waterer.

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     1961 Comic 
  • Lois, Jimmy, and Perry are captured and forced to watch as Luthor kills Superman, ensures he's the real thing, and makes sure he's definitely dead. At Luthor's trial, Lois is in tears as she recounts what happened.
  • The story ends on a very bittersweet note, as while Supergirl is able to fulfill the same duties her cousin does and is thanked by the populace for carrying on his legacy, she takes no pleasure in the honor that's now hers.
  • While the comic was originally intended to be an Imaginary Story where the odds were a million to one that it'd never happen, later this story was retconned to take place on Earth-149, meaning in one corner of the multiverse it did happen.

     1992 Comic 
  • Look at the title of this arc and put yourself in the time. Superman, THE codifier of the entire superhero genre. The Big Blue Boyscout. America's Number One Son. The character everyone was confident could save the day. Dies. Beaten to death in a Heroic Sacrifice by the monster literally called Doomsday. Popular culture was shocked at this event, with fans writing thousands of letters to DC begging them to bring him back and holding mock funerals for the Man of Steel. It was so large of a reaction it made multiple television and printed news stations for days.
    • The story loses little of its emotional impact today. Even if you know it's not permanent, even if you know he's coming back, the comic tears every last raw emotion out of you as you watch Superman die, and watch everyone around him try to process that the impossible just happened.
  • Watching Superman's last blows with Doomsday, as his friends, colleagues, and family watch helplessly, is truly heart breaking.
  • Superman's last words are to ask if Doomsday's been stopped.
  • The image of Superman's torn cape fluttering in the breeze. It so succinctly and poignantly defines and encapsulates the entire story it's become a famous and iconic image, in-universe and out.
  • Mitch Anderson's It's All My Fault reaction.
  • Poor Jonathan and Martha can't attend their son's funeral because they'll blow his secret identity, and at first they don't believe that he is dead. All they can do is stay in their farmhouse and torture themselves with grief, and they eventually hold a private funeral for him. It's even worse when Jonathan has a heart attack and almost dies himself, especially the cover for the issue, which shows Martha running to him in the field with a cry of "JON!".
    • In issue 7 of Funeral For a Friend, flashbacks of Clark's childhood are intercut with the reality of his death as Jon and Martha are alone in their grief. The very first one, where Clark exults over a newborn calf, hits particularly hard.
    Young Clark: Thanks, Pa! If she wins, it'll be because of you! You're the one who taught me how to care!
    Martha: Jonathan? Did I hear you talking to someone out here?
    Jonathan: Nobody's here, Martha. How could I be talking to anybody?
    • Then Jon flashes back to Clark's first public appearance and how he had the idea for the costume and secret identity, blaming himself for his son's death.
  • The Funeral For A Friend storyline shows the whole world mourning Superman in their own ways, as well as the stress of the constant news cycle and Metropolis without their hero.
  • Bibbo Bibowski's reaction to Superman's death, after trying and failing to help revive him.
    Bibbo: God? 's me, Bibbo. Been a awhile since we talked... I know my pal Superman is with you... So I guess he don't really need my prayers... But the rest o' us sure do. Take good care 'o Superman... Okay, God? I miss 'im... I 'spect just about ever'body misses 'im... God? I gotta ask ya... why? Why should Superman die when a washed-up ol' roughneck like me goes on livin'? It ain't right, God... It just ain't right.
  • A cut-away to an apartment has Cat Grant's son Adam changing the channel in the middle of a live broadcast of Superman's funeral and bluntly saying that he never liked Superman, while all of the other people in the room (including many people who are friends of Supes) are aghast at his lack of respect and then the kid adds that he always thought Supes was lame.

     Animated Film 
  • Seeing Jonathan and Martha grieving over their son's death will break your heart. Especially since, unlike in the comics, they do attend the grand funeral in Metropolis. . . as just some of the thousands of citizens there to pay their respects and mourn their hero. Just faces in the crowd. And a police officer actually asks them to step back from the barricade separating the "commoners" from the VIPs.
  • Bibbo Bibbowski standing alone on the dock, lamenting how it's not fair that someone as good as Superman had to die while he, just an old sailor, gets to keep living, quoted directly (if abridged) from the equally tear-jerking comic speech above.
  • While being civil, there still appears to be some tension between Cyborg and his dad.
  • The Justice League showing they've come a long, long way from being barely tolerating each other to genuinely good friends and comrades in how they react to Clark's death. Even Batman is left shocked and saddened.
    • The fact the League members, even those who had no chance at actually fighting Doomsday head-on like Bruce, came rushing back to try and help Clark. Only to find they were too late.


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