This is the Great Comic Book Detectives, where readers send in requests for the names of comic books that they remembered reading years ago and I try to find them for them! Send any future requests to email@example.com!
The other day, I finished counting down YOUR choices for the greatest comic book one-shots, "done in one" stories and original graphic novels (here is the master list of the results) and the top choice in the one-shots section was "For the Man Who Has Everything," a "done in one" story by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that they did in 1985's Superman Annual #11.
The concept of the issue is that Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman come by Superman's Fortress of Solitude for his birthday, only to find him trapped in the grasps of the deadly Black Mercy plant, a plant that gives its subjects their fondest desire in their dreams but then has them end up in a catatonic state while they live their perfect life in their dreams. For Superman, it is a Krypton that had not exploded yet...
Alan Moore, of course, was a big Superman fan when he was a little kid growing up in the late 1950s/early 1960s (Moore was born in 1953). He noted to Vulture once, "I will say that when I was a child, from about 7 to 12 reading Superman, comics were an incredible stimulus for my imagination. They were brilliant. They were cheap. They were readily available. I don’t think that superheroes or superhero comics of today are aimed at children anymore."
Well, reader Charles wrote in to note that he was the same age as Alan Moore and that was important because:
I mention Moore because this means that with the exception of British comics such as MarvelMan we grew up reading the same comics.I have on occasion noticed what appears to be inspiration from some of those comics in his work.For example consider his classic Superman story "For the Man Who has Everything"
It reminds me of a comic I read in my youth( It may have been a reprint in one of those old "80 Page Giants")
In both stories it is Superman's birthday and Batman and Robin (no Wonder Woman in the first one) arrive at the Fortress with a birthday gift.In the older story the gift is a super computer hat can show Superman what his life would have been like if Krypton had never exploded.At the end of the story the computer - generated kal-El gains super powers and names himself Superman. So he was always destined to become Superman.
The two stories have this in common:
Superman's birthdayFortress of SolitudeBatman and Robin with a giftA potential life for Kal-El if Kryption had never explodedIt would be interesting if you could find this story and confirm my memories.
But of course, Charles, that's what the Great Comic Book Detectives is all about! Finding the comic books of your youth!
And sure enough, I have an answer for you!