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Top 10 Shocking Moments in Comic Book History


Good comic books can often times outshine the best book, song, film, or television
program.  The in-depth story details, accompanied by amazing illustrations give comics
their own identity.  Many influential characters have been born through comic strips,
including a long list of famous superheroes. 
The first comic book appeared in the U.S.
in 1934.  Despite their name, comic books are not necessarily only humorous.  Many
modern comic books tell stories in a variety of genres.  In the U.S. the super-hero genre
dominates the market, although many other types of comics exist in Japan and various
European nations, including the widely popular samurai series.  I have composed a list
of 10 of the most shocking and influential moments in the history of comic books.

10. Spider-Man Kills the Burglar


The Burglar is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe, left unnamed in most of his
appearances.  He is best known as the first criminal faced by Spider-Man and the killer
of Ben Parker.  The burglar first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962).
After the murder of Ben Parker, Spider-Man tracked the Burglar, beat him, and sent him
to prison.  Years later the Burglar was released from jail and joined forces with
Mysterio.  The duo concieved a plan to take May Parker captive.  Spider-Man discoverd
the plan and tracked the criminals.  The
Burglar died after suffering a fear-induced heart
attack when Spider-Man revealed his true identity as Peter Parker, Ben Parker's nephew.
he true identity of the Burglar has been debated.  We learned that he has a daughter
Jessica Carradine and Captain Stacy revealed that the burglar's full name was
Dennis Carradine in Spider-Man 3.

9. Ozymandias Drops "Alien Menace" on
New York


Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book series created by writer Alan Moore in 1986.
The story takes place on an alternate Earth where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and
1960s to help the United States win the Vietnam War.  As the story begins, the country
is edging close to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.  Freelance costumed vigilantes
have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the
government.  It is considered by many the greatest single story in the history of
comics.  Watchmen has an ending that will shock you, when Ozymandias drops an alien
invader on New York, causing it to release a psychic shockwave that kills millions of
people.  He claims to have been acting in the interest of mankind, as people needed to be
prepared for an inevitable alien invasion.  The invasion would never come. Ozymandias
ended up being the true villain in the story.

8. The Joker blows up Jason Todd


Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983) and became the second Robin,
sidekick to the superhero Batman.  The initial sidekick to Batman was Dick Grayson,
who went on to star in The New Teen Titans under the name of Nightwing.  In 1988,
DC comics decided that the audience would be attracted to the opportunity of
influencing the comics storyline.  They created a telephone poll via a 1-900 number that
would decide the fate of Jason Todd.
The vote was set up during the four-part series "A Death in the Family," that was
published in Batman #426-429 in 1988.  In a close vote, readers decided 5,343 votes to
5,271 to kill Todd.  The following issued portrayed the death of Jason Todd.  He
took  complete beating from the Joker and awoke
in time to find his mother at his side,
right next to a ticking bomb.  The two died in the explosion. 
No event has scarred a
superhero like the death of Jason Todd.  In 2004, Jason Todd was resurrected as an
enemy of Batman, eventually becoming the second Red Hood and assuming a new role
as an antihero.

7. Magneto rips out Wolverine's adamantium


The X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Comics Universe that first appeared in
The X-Men #1 (September 1963).
  In the beginning of the series, Magneto and the
X-Men had been waging a psychological war with no serious injuries.  In X-Men #25,
Magneto unleashed an EM pulse from space that knocked out power on a good chunk of
earth.  The X-Men came looking for Magneto and a legendary fight ensued between
Magneto and Wolverine.  The pair became instantly confrontational.  While Magneto
distracted by the combined telepathic assault of Prof. X and Jean Grey, he was
attacked by Wolverine, who cut an "X" shape right into Magneto's chest.  Magneto
grabbed a hold of Wolverine with his magnetic powers and tore the adamantium from
his body.  Adamantium is the metal surrounding Wolverine’s bones.  Wolverine was
literally being ripped apart from the inside.  He
nearly died from the shock and spent
several years traveling the country with bone claws.

6. Green Lantern - Green Arrow Heroin


In the early 1970’s, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams created the legendary Green
Lantern/Green Arrow series.  It was a relatively short lived collaboration, but was
acclaimed for dealing with a variety of social and political
issues in which Green Arrow
spoke for radical change, while Green Lantern was an established liberal figure, wanting
to work within existing institutions of government and law.  Shortly after the Spider
Man issue #96-98 LSD comic, DC decided to
publish the infamous story in which the
Green Arrow’s Ward and Sidekick Speedy gets addicted to Heroin.  It was printed in the
Green Lantern vol. 2, #85-86.  Despite earning a congratulatory letter from the Mayor
of New York, John Lindsay, many felt the mature topics were not for children’s eyes.
Ultimately, it led to the cancellation of the book by issue #89 in 1972.  It was a ground
breaking event in comic book history.

5. Revolutionary Comic - Lone Wolf and Cub


This entry is not really a specific comic book moment, but a ground breaking series.  The
moment might be in 1987, when the story was brought to America and became
internationally revolutionized.  Lone Wolf and Cub is a well-known manga created by
the writer Kazuo Koike and the artist Goseki Kojima.  It was first published in 1970
and chronicles the story of Ogami Ittō, the Shogun's executioner who uses a dōtanuki
battle sword.  Disgraced by false accusations from the Yagyū clan, he is forced to take
the path of the assassin.  Along with his three-year-old son, Daigorō, they seek revenge
on the Yagyū clan and are known as Lone Wolf and Cub.
It is an extremely powerful and epic samurai story and is renowned for its stark and
gruesome depiction of violence during Tokugawa era Japan.  It was the fist comic book
of its kind and is highly regarded for its historical accuracy.  The story spans 28 volumes
of manga, with over 300 pages each (totaling over 8,700 pages in all).  Lone Wolf and
Cub was initially released in North America by First Comics in 1987, as a series of
monthly, square-bound prestige-format black-and-white comics containing between 64
and 128 pages. 

4. Bane Breaks Batman’s Back


Knightfall is the umbrella title to the trilogy of Batman storylines that ran from 1993 to
1994. They consisted of Knightfall, Knightquest, and KnightsEnd.  The plot of the
story starts with the master criminal Bane freeing all of the maximum-security inmates
of Arkham Asylum, a notorious psychiatric facility in Gotham City.  Bane’s plan was to
weaken Batman by making him deal with the escaped deadly villains simultaneously,
including The Joker, The Scarecrow, and the Mad Hatter.  The plan works and Bane
eventually discovers the identity of Batman.
He attacks Bruce Wayne at Wayne Manor, where he is most vulnerable as his alter-ego.
The historic fight between Bruce Wayne and Bane is detailed in Batman #497.  The
battle ends with Bane breaking Wayne's back over his knee.  Bruce Wayne was seriously
injured.  Bane assumes control of Gotham City's underworld and takes over several
illegal operations within it.  It takes a long time for Bruce to heal and he ends up asking
Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael) to take up the mantle of Batman, so that Gotham has a

3. Action Comics #1


Action Comics 1 is a comic book that was published in April 1938 by National Allied
Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics.  It is widely considered the first
true superhero comic and the first appearance of Superman.  Action Comics was started
by publisher Jack Liebowitz.  The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies, although
sales of the series would soon approach 1 million per month.  Jerry Siegel and Joe
Shuster were paid $10 per page, for a total of $130 for their work on this issue. They
eventually signed away millions in future rights and royalties.  After the release and
success of the first Superman movie, the pair began to receive a month annuity of
$30,000.  Today, Action Comics #1 has become one of the most famous and collectable
comics every created.

2. The death of Gwen Stacy


Gwen Stacy was the first true love and girlfriend of Peter Parker, also known as Spider
Man.  She first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December 1965).  In The
Amazing Spider-Man
#121, the Green Goblin takes Gwen Stacy captive and transportes
her to a tower on the George Washington Bridge.  Spider-Man arrives to fight the Green
Goblin and the Goblin throws Gwen Stacy off the bridge.  Spider-Man catches her by the
leg with a string of web and initially thinks he has saved her, but when he pulls her back
onto the bridge he realizes she is dead.  Peter is unsure whether the whiplash from her
sudden stop broke her neck or if the fall killed her, but he blames himself for her death.
Spider-Man nearly kills the Green Goblin in retaliation.  The Goblin would later die
when he is impaled by his own goblin glider in an attempt to kill Spider-Man, and would
not return for nearly three hundred issues.  However, Gwen Stacy would never return
and she became the first loved one of  a superhero ever to die.  Mary Jane Watson was a
close friend of Gwen and would eventually become Peter Parkers second love.

1. The Death of Superman


Superman met his demise at the hands of Doomsday in 1992.  It all played out in issue
#75 of Superman
(vol. 2).  The storyline's premise was compelling, Superman engaged
in battle with a seemingly unstoppable killing beast from ancient Krypton named
Doomsday.  It all went down in the streets of Metropolis and the battle was
strength versus strength.  Doomsday had the intent on destroying Metropolis.  The last
son of Krypton put every ounce of strength into his final battle.
  At the fight's
conclusion, both combatants died from their wounds. 
Superman died in Lois Lane's
It was a surprising defeat, as Doomsday was an unknown character before these
issues.  The Death of Superman, which was a multi-issue story, was one of the best
selling graphic novels of all time.  After the Man of Steel’s death, a crossover depicted
the world's reaction to Superman's death in "Funeral for a Friend."  In the story four
individuals emerge to claim to be the "new" Superman. The original Superman
eventually returns in "Reign of the Supermen!" 


Selke - January 11, 2010
I'm kind of surprised by the lack of the Dark Phoenix Saga on here.

The Dark Phoenix Saga (1980)


The Dark Phoenix Saga is an extended X-Men storyline.  It revolves around Jean
Grey and the Phoenix Force, ultimately ending in Jean Grey's apparent death.  The
story began in 1976 with the Phoenix Saga, X-Men [vol. 1] #101-108.  In the
Phoenix Saga Jean Grey repairs the M’Kraan Crystal and garners an assumption of
power.  In 1980 the story continues with her corruption and ultimate demise.  It is
one of the most well-known and heavily referenced stories in mainstream American
superhero comics, and widely considered a classic. 

Bathala - April 23, 2010
Where's Hal Jordan's Zero Hour?  Emerald Twilight?

Emerald Twilight (1994)


Emerald Twilight is a 1994 comic book story told in Green Lantern (vol. 3) #48-
50.  The story caused a bit of outrage among comic book fans because it
transformed the well-established silver age super-hero Hal Jordan into the super
villain Parallax.  The story introduced a new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, who has
gained a significant fan following.  The entire story was released as a trade
paperback collection in 1994, which is known as Green Lantern: Emerald

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994)


Zero Hour is a five-issue comic book limited series that followed the story of Hal
Jordan.  It was released five months after Emerald Twilight.  In the story, Parallax
(Hal Jordan) attempts to destroy and then remake the entire DC Universe.  The
crossover story involved almost every DC Universe monthly series published at
the time.  Eventually, the collective efforts of the DC superheroes managed to stop
Parallax from imposing his vision of a new universe, and the DC timeline was
recreated anew.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted August 12, 2009