The 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History #75-1

We provided a series of memorable DC moments for you to vote for, we also gave you the chance to nominate other moments (which you then also voted on to get them on to the "ballot") and then you came out in droves to vote for them all! I think it was our biggest turnout yet (as it turns out, more people will vote if they just have to click buttons to vote). So now, here is the master list of the Top 75 most memorable moments in the first 75 years of DC Comics, as voted on by you, the fans!!! Do note that spoilers will almost certainly be present in these moments, and some of them could have come from comics that were intended for mature audiences only. So be forewarned!

Also, as an additional note. Do note that DC Comics almost specifically went out of its way to AVOID "memorable" moments during their first 40 or so years of existence, choosing instead to go with the idea that since reader turnover was so high, you wanted to make sure that readers didn't have to, well, remember stuff. It was only in the late 1960s or so that DC has adopted a stricter sense of continuity and really more during the 1980s that things began to change in such a fashion that it is only reasonable that more and more "memorable" events have happened in the last third of DC's first 75 years than the previous two thirds.


75. Is Batman a man or a fiend from hell? (Batman #244 by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano)

The first Ra's Al Ghul "saga" was one of the most popular Batman stories of all-time, resulting in numerous reprint collections (including a treasury edition of the story, which did not happen for many storylines) and many sequels.

Ra's' reaction to Batman's seeming return from the grave is one of the most memorable moments from this very memorable storyline.

74. The Doom Patrol is defiant until the end! (Doom Patrol #121 by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani)

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Comic history is made as Drake and Premiani kill off the lead characters of the strangest superhero team around, the Doom Patrol. When the first series ends with something this unexpected and dramatic, it certainly set a tone for the "anything goes" atmosphere of the later volumes, including the acclaimed Grant Morrison run on the series.

73. Heads roll as Superboy Prime gets mad (Infinite Crisis #4 by Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning)

This was a major turning point in the Infinite Crisis series. Up until this point, Superboy Prime could almost be seen as a well-intentioned, if a bit petulant, person. But that went out the window when he over-reacts to the intervention of the Titans with a punch heard round the world. The next page is even gorier, but the shock of the initial attack still stands out the most. Poor Pantha.

72. Swamp Thing and Abby get better acquainted (Swamp Thing #34 by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben)

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Swamp Thing was already a ground-breaking series BEFORE they delivered this breathtaking endeavor where they showed Swamp Thing and his girlfriend, Abby, becoming intimate. Practically the entire book is filled with moments like I feature above, so I just sort of picked one moment from the issue to stand-in for all of them.

71. Lucifer locks up hell and gives Morpheus the key (Sandman #23 by Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones and Malcolm Jones III)

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In this stunning scene from Sandman: Season of Mists, Lucifer quits being in charge of hell, and hands over the empty gates of hell to Morpheus, in what I suppose you would best call "the long con," as he knows it can bring Morpheus nothing but trouble.

70 Lex Luthor refuses to believe Superman is Clark Kent (Superman #2 by John Byrne and Terry Austin with Keith Williams)

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This dramatic twist early in John Byrne's Superman run gave us a very good insight into the mind of Lex Luthor - he cannot fathom someone NOT using their power all the time, so how could Superman be that weakling Clark Kent?!? Clever ending by Byrne, and certainly one of the most memorable moments from his popular Superman run.

69 John Stewart dooms an entire planet (Cosmic Odyssey #2 by Jim Starlin, Mike Mignola and Carlos Garzon)

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In the pages right before this, John Stewart was bragging about how his Green Lantern ring could pretty much do anything. In fact, he was so confident that he sent Martian Manhunter away after the pair engaged a defense mechanism involving fire. However, when Stewart arrived, he discovered that the bomb had been made yellow specifically to counteract him. The planet of Xanshi was destroyed because he was overly confident/unprepared. This became pretty much THE defining plot point for John Stewart in the comics ever since.

68 Mogo is revealed (Green Lantern Vol. 2 #188 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)

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In this back-up in Green Lantern #188, a bounty hunter heads off to kill the mysterious Green Lantern Mogo. Well, years into his mission, he cannot find Mogo. Finally, after years of charting the planet and checking out maps, he realizes that those odd bits of scenery are something else entirely...

67 Batman...lives! (Batman: The Dark Knight #4 by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson)

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After the dramatic conclusion to the conflict between Superman and Batman at the end of the series, this was a brilliant little reveal, handled beautifully by Miller and Janson. I particularly love the way that they humanize Superman at the same time they turn the series' ending from dour to hopeful (although I love the joke one commenter made - "Couldn't someone have told Alfred that they were all FAKING their deaths?").

66 Animal Man can see you! (Animal Man #19 by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood)

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Grant Morrison got meta when he had Animal Man surprise the reader by revealing that he could see you!!! From this point on in the series, Animal Man was very much a work of metafiction, and one of the more popular and more blatant examples of metafiction in comics.

65. Batman strikes a pose (Batman #251 by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams)

From the pages of one of the most famous Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams issues of Batman, the Joker's Five-Way Revenge, we get this full page splash of Batman racing across the beach to catch the Joker. This picture was so memorable that it was turned into a cover just a few years later for a Treasury Edition. It's been used in many other posters, pin-ups and covers over the years (one of DC's "The Art of Neal Adams" hardcovers uses this as the cover). More recently, John Cassaday homaged it in his Planetary/Batman crossover - it's THAT recognizable of a shot that just drawing Batman in this pose will make people realize what Adams drawing you're referring to.

64. Joker's first victim appears (Batman #1 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson)

Joker's trademark way of killing people, with their faces stretched into a disgusting grin as they die, is probably the most iconic method of killing people of all supervillains, and it made its debut right here, in the first issue of Batman's titular series!

63. Batman discovers the Hyperclan's secret (JLA #3 by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter and John Dell)

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This issue was pretty much the introduction of Grant Morrison's "Bat-God" take on Batman. This JLA run had already gotten off to a great start, but this scene really took it to the next level.

62. Krypto dies (Action Comics #583 by Alan Moore, Curt Swan, Kurt Schaffenberger and an uncredited Murphy Anderson)

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In one of a number of dramatic sacrifices in the final part of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Krypto kills the Kryptonite Man to protect his master, and the Kryptonite Man dies stunned, as he can't fathom how anyone, let alone a dog, would be willing to die to save someone else. Swan and Schaffenberger absolutely nail the pathos of the scene (not that Moore's script was not filled with pathos itself).

61. Batman accepts a new Robin (Batman #442 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo)

Tim Drake made his debut in the Lonely Place of Dying and quickly stood out from the previous Robin, Jason Todd. This Robin, Tim Drake, was clever, intelligent and very respectful to not only Batman, but to Dick Grayson, as well. So when Batman concedes the point that maybe he DOES need a Robin above, Dick's smile really says it all.

60. Batman summons the bats (Batman #406 by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli)

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One of the most famous sequences in Batman: Year One is when Batman is surrounded by Gotham's SWAT team in a rundown building. Batman takes them down one by one until he needs one last big gambit, and it involved using a device to call a ton of bats to his aid (the scene was later roughly used in Batman Begins).

59. John Constantine outsmarts a trio of demons (Hellblazer #45 by Garth Ennis, Will Simpson and Tom Sutton)

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In what has become pretty much the most famous Hellblazer story of all time, Garth Ennis has John Constantine cheat death itself, as a dying-of-cancer Constantine cons a trio of demons by selling his souls to all three of them separately. So if Constantine dies, the demons would have to wage a terrible war against each other, which does not serve either of their interests at this point. So they cure Constantine of cancer (note that he goes right back to smoking upon being cured) and he gives them the finger. This was loosely adapted into the Constantine film.

58. The very first "Bwah Ha Ha" (Justice League International #8 by Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon)

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The Justice League became "International" in issue #7, so in #8, they began setting up embassies in different International cities. Blue Beetle, Booster Gold And Black Canary were in charge of the Paris branch. While getting lunch in their civilian identities, Beetle and Booster encounter a striking woman who Booster tries to pick up - when he fails miserably, we soon get the most famous laugh in DC history (only because Joker's laughs aren't consistent).

57. Captain Marvel saves the day...kinda (Kingdom Come #4 by Mark Waid and Alex Ross)

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Captain Marvel had been manipulated by Lex Luthor into becoming basically a lap dog. He uses his magical lightning to hurt Superman repeatedly while Superman's allies are in a pitched battle with the super-powered beings that Superman and friends have been locking up for some time now. At the same time, however, the United Nations authorizes dropping three nukes on the various super-beings to just be done with them once and for all. Batman and Wonder Woman stop two of the three, but the third passes by untouched. Superman manages to finally break Captain Marvel free of Luthor's influence (by forcing him to turn into Billy Batson), then lets Billy decide - does he want to let Superman stop the bomb or should he just let it fall? Billy transforms into Captain Marvel and takes matters into his own hands as he flies up to the bomb and detonates it with his magical lightning. He dies (as do a bunch of super-beings), but the bomb's blast is dulled enough that there are survivors where there normally would be none.

56. Morpheus and a demon have a contest (Sandman #4 by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg)

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In this early issue of Sandman, Morpheus goes around and re-collects his magical items that he had lost in his years of imprisonment. To regain one of his items, he has a contest with a demon from hell. This exchange was so famous that it was even turned into an online political ad in 2008 (with Obama taking Morpheus' lines and Hillary Clinton taking the demon's lines).

55. The opening page of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow (Superman #423 by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and George Perez)

Alan Moore delivers one of the coolest opening lines to a comic book story ever. The background art by Curt Swan and George Perez was dropped for the collected edition, for some reason, and replaced instead with a plain blue background with Moore's text written in a larger font. I get that Moore's words are the key to the beginning, but it still seems like a slightly odd idea to make the change.

54. Sue Dibny is raped (Identity Crisis #2 by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales and Michael Bair)

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Brad Meltzer and DC editorial felt that they needed to have something awfully bad happen to compel the Justice League to put them into a position where they would actually mess with a supervillain's mind. What they settled on was having Doctor Light rape Sue Dibny years ago when her husband, the Elongated Man, was a member of the "satellite era" of the Justice League of America.

53. Superman flies into the sun to save it (All Star Superman #12 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely)

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In a lot of ways, the entire 12-issue epic series by Morrison and Quitely was leading up to this moment, where a dying Superman flies into the sun to save it...after having a nice goodbye scene with Lois, of course.

52. The first woman in a refrigerator (Green Lantern v3 #54 by Ron Marz, Darryl Banks and Romeo Tanghal)

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The new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, had just been introduced a few issues earlier when writer Ron Marz came up with his own sort of "Uncle Ben getting shot" moment for Kyle (who was, in a lot of ways, a 1990s version of Peter Parker as a Green Lantern) when he had the sadistic Major Force viciously murder Kyle's girlfriend, Alex DeWitt, after Force had been sent to retrieve Kyle's ring.

51. Swamp Thing makes a discovery (Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben)

The Moore/Bissette/Totleben creative team quickly made a name for themselves in this dramatic reveal that Swamp Thing was not, in fact, a transformed Alec Holland, but a mutated plant creature that THOUGHT it was Alec Holland. One of the most legendary "game-changers" in the history of comics.

Go to the next page for #50-26!

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