This is the one-hundredth and eleventh in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and ten. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: A doppleganger of Superman created in a special Superman comic was originally intended to be the way for Superman to return from the dead after his death against Doomsday.
As I mentioned in an earlier installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, when Doomsday appeared on the scene and killed Superman, there was this mad rush to find out more about him, or just more about the death of Superman period.
Books became "hot" because someone theorized that they might have something to do with the death and/or the return of Superman.
One such book was 1992's Superman Special by Walt Simonson.
The comic was an homage to Denny O'Neil's Superman run where O'Neil revamped Superman during the 70s. The original comic featured a creature made of sand who stole some of Superman's powers. The character was dropped soon afterwards (O'Neil was not on the book very long). Simonson's one-shot also featured a doppleganger of Superman that was a sort of creature made out of sand.
At the end, the sand creature appeared to die, but the ending was left vague.
Therefore, the theory became that it was the DOPPLEGANGER who died during the fight with Doomsday, and that the real Superman was in hibernation somewhere.
A reader wrote to me awhile back asking if DC had, in fact, planned on doing this, after all, the comic came out in 1992, the same year Superman was killed off, and it was done by a prominent creator in Walt Simonson.
That seemed off to me, though, because when the Special came out, it struck me as though it was an old Annual, or something like that.
In any event, for the truth, I went to the man himself, Walt Simonson, and here was his reply:
I think your poster was right--there was a rumor running around at the time that the Special had some connection to the Death of Superman stories but it didn't. The Special was actually supposed to have come out at least a year earlier and it just took me a long time to do. So it wasn't timed to come out with any relationship to the Death storyline. But I do seem to remember some speculation at the time along these lines. Don't remember any more than that now.
Thank you, Mr. Simonson! And thank you poster whose name I have since forgotten (feel free to leave your name in the comments and I'll edit you in)!!
On the next page, did Marvel have a line of female superhero comics...in the 1940s?!?!