Sterling Gates on SUPERMAN #700
I just remember how much it hurt.
Superman was dead.
I remember my dad explaining to me that these things happen, and nothing we say or do can stop them. I remember telling a kid in my Scout troop the news and watching tears well in his eyes. I remember wearing a black armband with a red s-shield on it to school. I remember being sad.
Superman was dead. He’d saved us all.
As fans of pop culture, we all have turning points -- moments when passing knowledge blossoms into a full-blown, all-out fandom. “The Death of Superman” was my turning point with Superman. The Man of Steel’s epic battle with Doomsday was captivating, and Superman’s eventual sacrifice to save Metropolis secured his place in my heart as one of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes. It was bittersweet to realize his greatness only after he was gone.
Then, he was back.
Superman’s return to life was a story that I couldn’t get enough of. Week to week I would tear through the next part of the “Reign of the Supermen,” desperate to find out what would happen next. By the time the “Real Steel Deal” showed up in Metropolis and proved his claim (wearing one of my all-time favorite costumes, the black Kryptonian Life-Suit!), I was officially a Superman fan for life. I mean, Superman fought his way back from the dead. Not even Batman could do that, right? (How little I knew back then!)
“The Death and Return of Superman” is, for me, one of the greatest Superman tales in the modern age of comics. As a boy, it showed me who Superman is, and as a creator I still read it for inspiration. Superman never gives up and he never gives in, not even in the face of death. He’s inspirational, someone we can all draw strength from, and he fights for everyone, down to his very last breath.
He died once upon a time, though, and a Superman fan was born. I haven’t looked back since.
Happy 700th issue, Superman. I hope I never have to wear that black armband again, but if I do, I know it will be because you went down fighting for all of us.