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It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…


superman75baggedIt’s been 20 years since The Death of Superman. November 18/19/20–whatever the actual day was, we’re at the TWENTY-year mark!

Quite hard to believe it’s been that long, but then, I have longboxes of comics that came out after that kinda prove it.

I remember first learning of the Man of Steel’s impending doom some morning from CNN’s Headline News (Michael Bailey dug the clip up on YouTube last year as part of his extensive coverage of the Death/Return of Superman).

superman75I’d just been getting “back into comics” after a bit of a hiatus that year. As we got closer to the release of the “Death Issue,” my primary local comic shop (Capp’s Comics) was taking reservations for the issue(s). From what I recall, you could order specifically just Superman #75, or the whole 6-issue story, and whatever quantity. Dad let me reserve a set, and I vaguely recall that he reserved a second as well.

Since we’d opted to pick stuff up at the end of the story instead of as the earlier issues of the arc were coming out, I blissfully went along October and early November ’92 getting other comics. I recall seeing and passing on Batman: The Vengeance of Bane in favor of Batman: Sword of Azrael #1, and I’m pretty sure Spider-Man 2099 #1 came out around this time. I also spotted Justice League America #69 with Doomsday on the cover, so picked that up. I vaguely recall reading it but having no real context (given it’s effectively chapter 2 of 7 or so).

superman75collectorseditionFinally, the day Superman #75 actually came out, I got sick at school–something that would have been mortifying if not for the extreme disappointment: being sick, I wasn’t going to get to go to the comic shop to pick up the issues. Thankfully, Dad went by himself to pick them up. I dug out the JLA issue, and had the full set.

That night, Dad let me get a head start with Superman: The Man of Steel #18, and then he joined in the reading–he in his chair, me sprawled on the floor. We read through entire story that night, and opened one of the bagged Superman #75s. I was rather entertained with all the cool goodies included in the bag–a poster, a promo card, stamps, an obituary for Clark Kent, and a black memorial armband (which Mom did not let me wear to school the next day).

superman75unbagged

deathofsupermantpbfrontA couple days later, Mom, my friend Zack, and I were part of a lengthy line at another comic shop that was releasing the issue then. As I recall now, there was a limit of one copy per customer, and word was the store had a good 700 copies or so, so there should be plenty for those in the initial line, at least.

As we filed through the store (you really could only look through the store in-passing as the line inched through) we got word of some OTHER new comic that was ALSO supposed to be a big deal: something called Bloodshot, #1. So I snagged a copy of that as well…though I never actually read the issue until a couple months ago).

superman75ivDespite getting multiple copies of the bagged edition of Superman #75, I was only able to get a copy of the 4th printing of the “newsstand edition” (aka “the standard/regular edition” to the bagged “variant” edition). I found a copy of the 3rd printing, which was at least a step closer to the original. I think I’d had an opportunity to get the first print for $5, but thought that was outrageous to the $1.25 cover price.

In the last couple years, though, I’ve found several first print copies in bargain bins…despite these recent purchases, still haven’t topped the cover price for the first print itself, total.

deathofsupermantpbback

Though Zack and I had begun to frequent Capp’s Comics, Comics & Collectibles, and the comics spinner rack at the Waldenbooks in the mall, I don’t recall going to the shop every single week until this point: going every week for the newest chapter of Funeral for a Friend was the start of “the weekly comics habit” for me.

A final note: I found it oddly amusing that–when the tpb collecting the entire story INCLUDING Superman #75 came out a few weeks later–where it showed cover images on the back, apparently the publisher did not even have access to first printings of its own issues, as several of the covers shown had the Roman numerals denoting the non-first printings. (And different coloring to the logo of the title.)

I have plenty of other thoughts related to this, but they go along with the time period in general, and I’m planning on touching on stuff more generally in coming months.

With this 20th anniversary, though…the next several years will be one continuous series of 20th anniversaries of some of the most important comics/comic-related things in my life.

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One Response

  1. Reblogged this on Collecty.

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