Fortress of Baileytude Showcase Presents: The Death and Return of Superman 25 Years Later

Welcome to another episode of Fortress of Baileytude Showcase Presents, an irregular show here at the Fortress where I talk about something that either doesn’t fit with my other shows or is about something that I feel deserves its own dedicated special.

This time out I am celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of Superman (Vol. 2) #82.  While there was a month and a half of wrap up stories Superman #82 was the final chapter of the Reign of the Supermen storyline and saw Superman return to his original costume after a month or so of running around in a black suit with a silver S.  It was also the end of a saga that had been going on since October of the previous year, so this felt like a thing to celebrate.  More than anything, The Death and Return of Superman is not only one of the most important stories in the history of the character but it is also an important time in my own collecting life.

So, this time out I am not talking about the what happened in the pages of the comic (because I already did that with Jeffrey Taylor over on From Crisis to Crisis) but what was happening in the real world and I am not alone.  Joining me to discuss the real world history of The Death and Return of Superman is the co-founder of The Fire and Water Podcast Network, as well as being one of my best friends in the world, The Irredeemable Shag.  As some of you may know Shag managed a comic shop in the early nineties so he was there when both the Death and Return happened.  He was also a reader of the Superman books at the time, so through the course of the special we talk about the behind the scenes history of the story, where we were when we learned that the death was coming, what it was like the day the comic hit stores, our own experiences reading the saga and the legacy this story left on us and the comic book world.

You will also learn how the theater kept distracting me throughout the time The Death and Return issues were being published.

Shag and I talk about a lot of things during the course of the episode and I thought it would be worth a lark to post images of some of those things here so you can see what we’re talking about as you listen.

Here are the covers of Advance Comics (which was the ordering guide for Capital City Distribution) and Previews (the same thing, only for Diamond) where Superman #75 was solicited.

Here are a handful of the newspaper articles that were published to announce the Death of Superman.  They all pretty much keyed off of the Newsday article but used different graphics.

The bagged edition of Superman #75 contained some fun odds and ends.  Shag and I talk about these but I wanted you to actually see them.  Also included is the front of the Platinum Edition.

Superman #75 went through four printing of what was commonly called the newsstand edition.  Outside of the Roman numerals denoting which printing it was (which was a common practice for DC at the time) the logos have different colors.

Here are the various magazines and comic shop giveaways used to promote The Reign of the Supermen.  Also included is the cover to the edition of Previews that solicited Adventures of Superman #500.  Speaking of Adventures of Superman #500.

Like Superman #75 before it Adventures of Superman #500 was bagged.  It did not have the amount of goodies that issue 75 had.  In fact all it had was the trading card, but there was a Platinum Edition so…there’s that.

Speaking of Adventures of Superman #500…again.

Here are the eight pages that were not in the newsstand edition of Adventures of Superman #500.

Since Shag mentioned Bloodlines I thought I would put these into the notes too.  There was a Bloodlines trading card set to coincide with the event (because it was the nineties) and one of the hooks of the marketing was that it included the four Supermen and as a mail-away premium you could get the “One, True Superman” card.  I did not collect this set in the ’90s.  I bought an entire box for $10 and a can of soup back in 2002 and then tracked down the “One True” card on eBay for a reasonable price.

If you want to see more bits and bobs associated with The Death and Return of Superman click on this link and see all of the things posted above and more.

A huge thanks to Shag for appearing on this special.  As I said at the beginning of the show I wanted another viewpoint and he did that and I couldn’t be happier with how the special turned out.


  1. Fantastic episode gents. You brought back a lot of lost memories, and reminded me of how EXCITING it was when these comics were hitting. I had the Superman books in my pull file, and I did manage to miss a few of the chapters of the Death at first, despite coming into my shop the following week. I had to find those missing issues on the newsstand.

    One other thing I recall was the original trade was one of only three DC trades I recall showing up at my local drugstore, along with A Death in the Family, and that Secret Origins trade Michael mentioned.

    Speaking of which, the “I swept, but I didn’t cook rice” reference is one I got, since it came from that very Secret Origins trade!

    My only minor complaint is that I want a large scan of that pic of Shag reading the paper!


  2. This was a very interesting and enjoyable podcast. It is always nice to hear “behind the scenes” of a story. Thank you for the work that you put into this podcast episode.

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