3. THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN (1992-1993)

Writers: Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, and others
Artists: Jon Bogdanove, Dan Jurgens, Curt Swan, Walt Simonson, and others

What it’s about: Death is usually a time for mourning, but for DC it’s a time for raking in the cash. And there is no bigger publicity stunt to pull than to kill off its most venerable character, Superman.

After dying in the middle of an epic encounter with Doomsday, the Man of Steel is mourned by his friends and family. In the wake of his death, four misfits (Superboy, Steel, the Cyborg Superman, and even one of Superman's enemies, the Eradicator) show up looking to claim the Superman mantle. While none of these other "Supermen" seems like a permanent solution, it is a strange ride while it lasts. 

Why it’s Earth shattering: They killed Superman, for god’s sake! There isn’t anything more Earth shattering than that. And while most fans knew that the real deal Man of Steel would be back eventually, it was still a stunning story to read. This was an important story for comic companies because they realized you could slap the word "Death" on any book and see sales spike.