Monday, 1 October 2012


24 Panels returns this week with the beginning of the "Value of Superman" series! Kicking things off, Dru and Dave will be taking a look at the 2007 DTV film Superman: Doomsday!

Superman: Doomsday is an adaptation of the infamous Death and Return of Superman storyline, which ran in the Superman comics between the summer of 1992 and the fall of 1993. Comprised of three distinct story arcs – The Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, and The Reign of the Supermen – the initial arc became a major news sensation as word of Superman’s impending doom spread, drawing millions of readers to the comic.

The Death of Superman involves Superman confronting the beast Doomsday, an unstoppable killing force trapped in an underground prison on Earth until it finally frees itself and begins a spree of destruction and death. In the end, Superman is only able to stop Doomsday by sacrificing himself, and the fallout from his death is covered in the follow up arc, Funeral for a Friend.
Reign of the Supermen concludes the storyline, and follows several characters who claim to be the real Superman restored to life, but who each miss a key component of what made Superman who he is: Superboy, a clone of Superman; the Eradicator, a Kryptonian weapon and former Superman villain; and the Cyborg Superman, who turns out to be a villain bent on destroying Superman's reputation. The storyline introduced Steel (see our first ever episode here for more about him!), set Green Lantern Hal Jordan on the path to becoming a villain,  and ends with the return of the real Superman, though with a new mullet hairstyle.
While the story received mixed critical reactions, the comics were a major commercial success, and soon after attempts were made to adapt the storyline to film. James Hrivnak provides an in-depth look at the film that was almost made based on the death and return storyline here, but in short, the project at various points involved Tim Burton, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Smith, and Jon Peters amongst others.
While a live action film never came together, the death of Superman as a plot element did work its way into the 2006 film Superman Returns.

The failure of a film to appear didn’t stop the story from making into other media. In 1994. Blizzard Entertainment released The Death and Return of Superman, a side scrolling video game which covered most of the major events of the comic epic. Players were allowed to play as both Superman and as his four replacements that appear following his death.

The radio division of the BBC also produced an adaptation of the play, titled Superman: Doomsday and Beyond! While I have not listened to the play, it does feature an appearance by former Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor), so it is inevitable that I will end up listening to it at some point in the future.
In the Bruce Timm produced Justice League animated series, Doomsday appears in two episodes. In the first episode, Doomsday arrives on Earth and meets an alternate universe Superman. Their first meeting doesn't exactly go as Doomsday planned:
Doomsday also appeared in the live action television series Smallville, where the creature is the creation of General Zod, frequently being referred to as "Zod's son." Doomsday is not exactly a mindless beast however, but is the monstrous, Mr. Hyde-like persona of human being named Davis Bloom, played by Sam Witwer. The pair are eventually separated, leading to this TV-budgeted showdown:

Superman: Doomsday is produced by Bruce Timm, and is the first title in the series of original DTV animated films based on DC Comics. The film is written by Duane Capizzi, a long time writer and producer of animated television. Superman: Doomsday is not Capizzi's first experience with the Man of Steel however, having also written the 2006 animated DTV film Superman: Brainiac Attacks:

Yeah, we'll get to that one sooner or later, no matter how much Dru tries to veto it.

So how does Capizzi's second time around with the Last Son of Krypton fair? Subscribe to the show in iTunes today and find out when the next episode of 24 Panels Per Second drops!

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