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July 09, 2007

Comments

Bill S.

That scene is why I can't re-read that book. There is something so heartbreaking about Krypto dying alone, defending his master. It's appropriate and heroic, but still... That howl haunts me.

But hey, Moore eventually gave us Radar, the Dog Supreme. He was no Krypto, but super-powered dogs, much like hyper-intelligent apes, tend to indicate fun comics.

James Meeley

You know, I got the same way over What If (vol. 2) #4, the one where the alien symbiote suit never left Spidey. Watching him freed of it, only to be left as an old man, the gut-wrenching scene where he visits Aunt May and can't even tell her who he is, and his ultimate death as his body fails him, as it will for most of the rest of us someday, it's just so emotional a tale, that I remember that the first time I read it, I shed a tear before it was over.

Even to this day, KNOWING how the story plays out, I still get a little lump in my throat as I read it. Truly the sign of a well-done work of fiction, to bring such emotions to the surface.

And don't even get me started on Aunt May's death bed scene from Amazing Spider-Man #400.... Damn emotional investment in fictional characters.... ;)

Mark Engblom

"There is something so heartbreaking about Krypto dying alone, defending his master. It's appropriate and heroic, but still... That howl haunts me."

Yeah, the "alone" part is definitely a key emotional component of the scene.

"But hey, Moore eventually gave us Radar, the Dog Supreme. He was no Krypto, but super-powered dogs, much like hyper-intelligent apes, tend to indicate fun comics."

It's interesting how the Silver Age Superman sort of "lived on" in Alan Moore's take of Supreme (as opposed to creator Rob Liefeld's angsty pin-up boy), ironic considering it was Moore himself who "retired" the Silver Age Man of Steel.

As for Radar, look for him and other super-dogs to show up as a "Cover to Cover" post some time in August (during the Dog Days of August, of course).

Mark Engblom

"Even to this day, KNOWING how the story plays out, I still get a little lump in my throat as I read it. Truly the sign of a well-done work of fiction, to bring such emotions to the surface."

Exactly, which is sort of the basis for my "Highlight Reel" series...revisiting some of those still-potent scenes that have stayed with me for all these years, and remind me of just how powerful the medium can be in the right hands.

"And don't even get me started on Aunt May's death bed scene from Amazing Spider-Man #400.... Damn emotional investment in fictional characters.... ;)"

Yeah, the nerve of those people dying! What did you think of the preposterous explanation for bringing Aunt May back? Didn't John Byrne cook up some scheme where the "Aunt May" who died was actually an undercover actress or something? Crazy.

cinephile

I read that many years later in one of those "best of superman" collections, and thought it was pretty good. What's fascinating to me is that Moore was writing that around the same time as Watchmen, which works so hard to deconstruct the very same underpinnings of silver age superman; that pairing/juxtaposition really casts new light on both (btw, if you can track it down, Moore did a brilliant miniseries in the early 90s called 1963, which is both a funny parody of, and heartfelt tribute to, the marvel comics of that period, complete with insane, 'stan's-soapbox'-style rantings from the "editor". Good stuff.

Mark Engblom

Ah, I loved Moore's 1963 mini-series, which was made even better by artist Rick Vietch aping various Silver Age art styles.

A few years later, Moore and Vietch worked on a Rob Liefeld character named Supreme, initially a dime-a-dozen Superman analog that, under Moore, became an amazing pastiche of the Mort Weisinger Superman comics. I recommend picking up Supreme: Story of the Year, the first of the Alan Moore Supreme trades. If you liked 1963, you're sure to like this

Sadly, Supreme was the closest we would get of Alan Moore ever writing Superman again (due to his hissy fit with DC Comics). I think the fact that this was Moore's last Superman story may also have something to do with its emotional punch.

You're right about the juxtaposition at work with wildly disparate works like "Man of Tomorrow" and "Watchmen" coming out simultaneously (though I think Moore's contribution to Watchmen was essentially wrapped up by the time "Man of Tomorrow" was commissioned by Julius Schwartz). Moore is an amazing, multitalented writer who can write in many "voices" and perspectives, a rare (and sorely missed) quality indeed.

Another contrast to note is another Superman "send off" that appeared around the same times as "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?". The final issue of DC Comics Presents was the supposed "in continuity" (non-imaginary) ending to the then-current Superman character. Written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Rick Vietch (there he is again!), a similar "Twilight of the Gods" theme found the Phantom Zone villains taking over the world, the destruction of Bizarro World, the death of Mr. Mxyptlk and the corpses from Krypton's Argo City raining on Metropolis...making Moore's similarly downbeat tale seem like the Feel Good Story of the Year by comparison.

Siskoid

Well it DID end on a happy note. And to me the definitive end of the Pre-Crisis Superman (of Earth formerly known as Earth-1).

As for the moment you've highlighted, what can I say that hasn't already been said? That was both sad AND hardcore. Though I think the death toll is a little gratuitous in the story (like in many "imaginary" stories), that's the one that has real impact.

That crazy broken neck Luthor/Brainiac hybrid still haunts me as well...

Mark Engblom

That was definitely one heck of a haunting image...and a great example of the horror aspects of Moore's work peeking through on occasion.

Another instance was toward the end after Mxyzptlk revealed himself to be some kind of demonic monster, then said to Superman "Did you honestly believe that a 5th Dimensional sorcerer would resemble a funny little man in a derby hat?". Frightening and humorous at the same time.

You're right about the death toll, but at least each death was done for maximum impact without it just going for body count stats. The sacrifices of Lana and Jimmy come to mind.

rob!

Krypto's death is to me the most haunting moment in a story filled to the panel borders with them:
--Superman crying, alone, with Krypto looking at him
--Supes' looking over his shoulder at Lois(even tho that part probably never happened, and Lois is making it up)
--Lana overhearing that Supes really loved Lois best
--Supes going ape-sh*t when he heard the LSV killed Lana

...ahh! best Superman story ever.

*sniff*

Jonathan Michael Reiter

Great Rao! Say it isn't so!
Krypto dead?
I can't believe it!

I was a wreck when I read those panels...

Mark Engblom

It's hard not to be affected by that scene. Alan Moore knew exactly which buttons to push, didn't he?

Jonathan Michael Reiter

Yeah... I read V for Vendetta, before I went to see the movie.
but that movie scared the bejesus out of me.
So, I definitely agree with you!

Jonathan Michael Reiter

Me, Too. I found the GN a way more scary, though...
The GN and the Movie had a similar ending, in keeping with what Moore wanted, for the movie, but didn't get. That is what put him on the outs with the Wachowski Bros....

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