Did DC Pulp a Superman Comic Over a Tragic 9/11 Coincidence?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fifty-fifth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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DC pulped an issue of Adventures of Superman because of a tragic 9/11-related coincidence in the issue.



After the last legend, which was about how a Star Wars comic was recalled and then destroyed for a strange reason, it reminded me of something that I often get asked about over the years for Comic Book Legends Revealed, namely the confusion that revolves around comic books being recalled/pulped/destroyed/whatever.

One of the most confusing examples was Adventures of Superman #596, which I've had people asking me about since 2007, when reader Ken B. first wrote in to ask if it was true that DC pulped the comic book because of a terrible coincidence involving the release of the comic book and the tragic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

You see, in 2001, DC had a crossover that originated in the Superman titles called Our Worlds at War, where Superman and the heroes (and villains, even, as Superman had to team-up with Lex Luthor, then the President of the United States in the DC Universe) of Earth had to fight back against a massive invasion by the villainous Imperiex (Imperiex was so evil that Superman ended up deciding that he needed to kill the villain at the end of the storyline).

Anyhow, the heroes won, but not without Earth suffering a tremendous amount of damage. Adventures of Superman #596 came out in September of 2001 (written by Joe Casey, with art by Mike Wieringo and Jose Marzan Jr.) and it was about how Superman had to fight the impulse to just fix all of the damage by himself...

Basically, it was one of those "I can't just be the nursemaid for people, they have to do things for themselves, or else it will just be a sort of tyrannical state." Joe Casey was ALL about interesting philosophical discussions during his highly underrated run on Adventures of Superman.

Anyhow, at one point, Superman surveys Metropolis and sees the damage done to the Lexcorp building (i think it's the Lexcorp building, at least) and, well, clearly the page reminded people of the recent destruction of the World Trade Center and its famous Twin Towers in New York City...

I mean, goodness, that's freaky as all hell, right? It has the impact marks and everything. That's super eerie.

Anyhow, the confusion comes from the fact that DC quickly made the issue RETURNABLE.

ICV2 had the info back in 2001, "DC Comics announced today that the Adventures of Superman #596 would be returnable. The issue shipped to stores last Wednesday, the day after the horrific attack on the twin towers of World Trade Center in New York City. Due to an unfortunate coincidence the Superman comic features a scene in which Metropolis's twin LexCorp Towers have sustained damage due to events in the 'Our Worlds at War' storyline."

In other words, if people were offended by the comic book, DC was willing to take the book back, but they did NOT issue a recall on the book, which makes sense, since obviously any offense would have inherently been unintentional, as DC couldn't know that their fictional story would suddenly seem very real to people around the world.

So no, the book was never recalled/pulped/destroyed/etc. by DC Comics.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Why wasn't there a Grey Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

OK, that's it for this week!

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