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Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Let's turn back the clock a little to last week's The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special, which turns back the clock a lot.
The book, if you didn't know, is an opportunity for the creators involved in that seminal event to tell additional stories related to it. Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding give us the moment Jon Kent learns his dad once died (with a Booster flashback!). Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummet show us what the elder Kents were thinking while the fight went down. Roger Stern and Jackson "Butch" Guice revisit the events of the day from the Guardian's POV (with a Booster flashback!). And Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove return John Henry Irons to the day Superman died.
As you might expect, most of those creators are very loyal to the story as it was originally told in 1992, which is what made this panel in the Simonson/Bogdanove story stand out for me:
As you can see, in addition to being a re-creation of panels from Adventures of Superman #500, it gives the credit for naming Doomsday to... Lois Lane?!
While most sources in the DCU recognize Superman for popularizing the name, every Booster booster knows the real naming honor rightfully belongs to Booster Gold (as recorded in Justice League America #69)!
Even Booster will admit that his casual aside to Superman wasn't loud enough for everyone in the world to hear, so how *did* the name "Doomsday" reach the general public? I assure you, Lois Lane didn't have anything to do with it (but to be fair to the Man of Tomorrow, Superman himself very much did).
Justice League America #69 leads directly into Superman #74, where Superman calls the monster "Doomsday" directly to its still-masked face.
By the start of the next chapter in the story, Adventures of Superman #497, everyone present for that momentous meeting is also calling the monster "Doomsday," including young civilian Mitch Anderson. A badly beaten Guy Gardner soon uses the name in front of emergency first responders, who are instructed to get in touch with Maxwell Lord. Two pages later, Superman yells the name in front of the Kirby County Chief of Police, who immediately informs his state governor.
Whether it's Mitch, the doctors, Maxwell Lord, the police, or the politicians, someone promptly reveals to the media that "Doomsday" has come, as we find out when Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane travels to the Galaxy Communications Building in Metropolis on page 16 of that issue:
The reporter who breaks the news to the general public is not newspaper reporter Lois Lane but WGBS-TV sportscaster-turned-anchor Steve Lombard!
The name stuck. By Superman: The Man of Steel #19, Lex Luthor is using it in television interviews, and Metropolis bystanders use it when calling for help. So it comes as no great surprise that John Henry Irons knew the name before the monster set off a gas main explosion that dropped a building on him (occurring off panel in Superman: The Man of Steel #19 as later revealed in Superman: The Man of Steel #22).
And it makes sense that it would be the first word out of John Henry's mouth when we first meet him — after Superman's funeral! — in Adventures of Superman #500:
I'm willing to cut John Henry some slack here. I mean, he did just have a building dropped on his head, so it's understandable that he's a little confused. But Lois Lane didn't name Doomsday.
Nope. That credit belongs to someone else.
Superman: Day of Doom #1, 2002
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