In the early ‘90s, John Byrne left the Superman titles and sales of the comic were beginning to slump. While the writers planned to boost sales with a wedding between Lois Lane and Clark Kent, those plans were put on hold due to an impending Superman TV show that was in production. This left writers and editors at DC with a huge hole to fill, so, naturally, they decided to kill him off just to spice things up. In 1992’s The Death of Superman, the Man of Steel was killed during a violent battle with a muscle-bound alien force known as Doomsday, and comic books were never quite the same.

The world looked on in horror as Lois Lane cradled the bloodied, battered body of the Last Son of Krypton, and for a time the DC Universe was left without its savior—until he was revived a few months later. Though it may seem a bit melodramatic now, The Death of Superman was a landmark storyline. It may have been just a publicity stunt in retrospect, but it broke sales records everywhere and caught mainstream attention, which really was the whole point.

The Death of Superman and its sequels became the model for subsequent comic book events, such as the Knightfall saga and The Death of Captain America storyline.