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"You are stronger than you think you are." a.k.a GOAT comic book panel

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Kyosaiga

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This panel. This panel right here, sums up not only why All-Star Superman will almost assuredly forever be the greatest Superman story ever told, but one of the greatest stories told period.

Why? Because Superman has never been about the man's powers. At least the classics. It's about the alien, being the most human of all. In this page, Superman, decided, out of all 7 billion people in the world, Regan, was the most important. Another blog post sums this up far more beautifully than I can:
All of page 12 is a scene full of drama and potential tragedy and it is all set-up 5 pages before that in a moment that would almost seem trivial. Superman had just saved a runaway Metrorail car from crashing. He flies away, waving to those that are cheering and thanking him. But there is one man on a cell phone telling someone named Regan frantically to not leave their apartment and that he would be on his way directly. According to the page all of this happened at 4:35PM. It seemed like a throwaway bit of dialogue the first time I read the issue and I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I re-read All-Star Superman in a collected format that I connected the dots between page 7, panel 2 and everything that happens on page 12. It never dawned on me that Superman had listened to the conversation on the cell phone. Of course he heard the situation, he has super-charged super-hearing.

So what happens on Page 12 that is so monumental and moving all at once? Well, here is the panel by panel analysis.

Page 12, Panel 1: It turns out Regan is a troubled young woman and the man on the phone was her Doctor/Psychiatrist. He wanted her to stay inside because she was suicidal. She is crying as she stands on the ledge of a building. There is no question of what her intent is as she stands crying on the ledge. This is human drama; this is a person in pain that cannot cope with the pain of life. We don’t even know what her problems specifically are. All we see is a girl, on a ledge with clear intent.

Page 12, Panel 2: Regan is taking a deep breath. This is the moment. Tear stained face, running mascara, clasped hands, possibly in prayer.

Page 12, Panel 3: He is there. A broad chest clad in blue red and yellow. He talks to her, not harshly, not yelling. My lord as you read the words put in his mouth by Grant Morrison you can almost hear the voice of Christopher Reeve calmly speaking to this poor girl. “Your Doctor really did get held up Regan. It is never as bad as it seems”. Her look has changed from despair to startled. Not a horrified startled mind you, but nor is it one of suddenly being filled with hope. It is a look of genuine astonishment that someone is there on this roof with her and that someone cares. It doesn’t matter that it’s Superman. The fact that it is, is amazing unto itself but it isn’t like Regan specifically wanted Superman to reach out to her. She really just wanted someone, anyone to show that they genuinely cared. The fact that someone did is a blessing. The fact that it is Superman, that is miraculous.

Page 12, Panel 4: The “Moment” itself, the defining moment with that pure distilled ring of truth. Regan is still in shock that someone is there and in awe because that someone is Superman. “You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me”. Here is The Last Son of Krypton, knowing he is going to die any day now, doing everything in his power to make the world a better place. Why? Because despite being an alien; Superman is Human. Human in how he was raised, human in emotion and human how he relates to people, all people, be they human or not. He believes the world can be a better place for all humanity and, because of that, he views every human life as precious. It doesn’t matter what Regan’s problems are at that moment, it’s the fact that she is someone in pain that matters to him. “You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me” is sending a message to Regan about how fragile all life is. Superman wrestling with his own mortality is one of the themes of All-Star Superman and here, on Page 12, panel 4 a representation of that mortality turns and looks him in the face. How could he not reach out and help? His message in those two sentences is that life is worth living but time is short so do not throw the gift of life away.

Page 12, Panel 5: Probably the most emotional moment in any comic I have ever read. Superman takes Regan in his arms and holds her close. Two people, both on the brink of death, opting to choose life. In one page and 5 panels Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have told this moment of human drama. It is a story all its own. Regan is relatable to any reader because so many people have been in her shoes, they’ve been that depressed, that desperate and felt that alone where they thought taking their lives was their only option. In five panels we have a story of intense drama, desperation and eventually relief. There have been writers who have spent years writing Superman and not told such a completely gripping story as Morrison and Quitely did in one page and five panels.
https://braveblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/pow-presents-the-7-greatest-moments-in-comics-1-the-girl-on-the-ledge/

Pretty much sums up the entire Comic in one fell swoop. This is why Superman is my favorite hero. Sure I'm one of the few that thinks his generic power set is pretty cool, but I mainly fall in love with his character. Nearly every other superhero wants to be dark and edgy, and that's fine, but Superman is still an honest-to-God HERO, which in a way, makes him stand out among those comic book characters who misconceive "dark"=flawed and more relatable.

Regan is the definition of a throwaway comic book character, but right then, right there, nothing else mattered to the Man of Steel. Not his problems with Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, the League, other villains, his own mortality, etc. At the moment, all he cared about was telling a young woman that life was worth living, even when he knew he had weeks, at the most, to live himself.

That to me, is why he'll forever be the greatest superhero of all time.
 

Siegcram

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I don't care much for Superman, but this panel is up there for striking right to my emotional core while reading.

It's pretty much the only reason I own All-Star Superman at all.
 

jph139

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Honestly, I don't care much for Morrison, and as a result, All-Star Superman was a resounding meh to me.

But sometimes the man hits an indisputable home run, and yeah, that page is one of them.
 

Mr. Poolman

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All Star Superman is incredible and THAT specific issue is just magical.

Superman acomplishes so much on those pages, he takes sick kids on a travel around the world, he helps the people of Kandor reach a new golden era, he even creates a "miniature earth" to watch how a world would develop without "a Superman" to help it.
Superman comes as a caring good human being, that despite on the verge of death, he tries to be a good person.

The final page is great to me, as on the "miniature earth", a hand drawing what will be the Superman comics says "this is going to change everything". And it does.
On a world where Superman doesn't exist, we create him, so we can be inspired and amazed that a force of good can be so selfless.
 

kswiston

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Legitimately the greatest panel in all of comics. I really wanted to see something like that MoS :(
MoS superman wouldn't have given a shit. He'd be too busy punching Zod through buildings. The biggest failing of that film as a Superman film is that they focused way too much on Superman's powers, and didn't really develop his sense of justice or compassion.
 

Weiss

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Remember that time J. Michael Straczynski plagiarized that part and had Superman say he would let someone kill themself?

That was great.
 

Andodalf

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All star superman is a great comicbook, and a great literary work in general. Morrison/Quietly is the GOAT combo.
 

Veelk

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It's over posted to the point that it lost any effect it had on me. Which honestly wasn't as much as some to begin the with. At the end of the day, all its actually saying is "look at what a nice guy superman is." It's not illegitimate, but it's simplistic to the point that I think it gets more mileage out of its iconic status than its actual message
 

milanbaros

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Meh, not the best.

Think it is a really simple point that doesn't need to be made. Superman is a good guy.
 

Weiss

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It's over posted to the point that it lost any effect it had on me. Which honestly wasn't as much as some to begin the with. At the end of the day, all its actually saying is "look at what a nice guy superman is." It's not illegitimate, but it's simplistic to the point that I think it gets more mileage out of its iconic status than its actual message
It's the single greatest moment in Superman history, so it's developed a wholly deserved following.
 

8bit

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Jun 7, 2004
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All Star Superman was something else from the first page though:



That's how you start a story.
 

Veelk

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It's the single greatest moment in Superman history, so it's developed a wholly deserved following.
Yeah, like I said, I'm not that mesmerized by superman just being a nice and idealistic guy for no reason than because he's a nice and idealistic guy. There's no depth to it, nothing to sink my teeth into. You just "aw...." about the heartwarming nature of it, which I can honestly do by just watching puppies videos.
 

kswiston

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All Star Superman was something else from the first page though:



That's how you start a story.
I have to go back and read the entire story in one go some day. I was reading it as floppies originally, and the huge delays during the book's second half killed at lot of the story's momentum for me. I have no doubt it makes an awesome graphic novel now.
 
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Yeah, like I said, I'm not that mesmerized by superman just being a nice and idealistic guy for no reason than because he's a nice and idealistic guy. There's no depth to it, nothing to sink my teeth into. You just "aw...." about the heartwarming nature of it, which I can honestly do by just watching puppies videos.
The fact that Superman is dying while this is happening and he's taking time out of the final weeks of his life to talk to this girl gives it quite a bit more subtext.
 

Ray Down

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I don't know anything about this comic, why was superman dealing with his own mortality or on the brink of his death? He looks young and healthy there, no comprendo.
He absorbed to much solar radiation due to Luthor, he gained new powers from it but its slowly killing him.
 

Mr. Poolman

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I don't know anything about this comic, why was superman dealing with his own mortality or on the brim of his death? He looks young and healthy there, no comprendo.
Huge spoilers for the book.

At the very beggining of the book, Superman saves a manned mission to the Sun, it turns out it was a plan of Lex Luthor to "super-charge" his cells with solar power. They literally explode, cellullar death.
He has this small time frame until he perishes, and he tries to do good with the world one last time.

At the end, he fights and artificial sun called Solaris that poisoned the Sun, and uses his powers to restart the Sun, this kinda fits into DC One Million where Superman has been inside the Sun for some millenia.
 

Mudcrab

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I don't know anything about this comic, why was superman dealing with his own mortality or on the brim of his death? He looks young and healthy there, no comprendo.
In the first issue Luthor basically finds a way to have him OD on yellow sunlight, he actually becomes MUCH stronger and all his abilities are enhanced, but his body can't handle it and he's slowly dying from cellular suicide.
 

Dalek

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Greatest superman story ever. And yes-that portrayal of Superman is what I was hoping for in the DCCU.
 

Veelk

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The fact that Superman is dying while this is happening and he's taking time out of the final weeks of his life to talk to this girl gives it quite a bit more subtext.
What's the subtext? It just means his niceness and idealism is consistent. Maybe if he had self doubt about his own death, and then when he told Regan that he was also telling that to himself, that'd be subtext. But he doesn't really have any doubts or concerns for himself from what I remember, the only concern I remember him actually having is if people can go on without him, which is still something set in his endless generosity and it's way later in the comic, having little connection to what's happening with Regan. It's consistent, and intense, but not deep.
 

Dalek

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For me personally a lot of Morrison's stuff is cold, detached and too out there for my liking, but he nailed this book-it's perfect and everyone who read it always remembers it fondly.
 

Sibersk Esto

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Yeah, like I said, I'm not that mesmerized by superman just being a nice and idealistic guy for no reason than because he's a nice and idealistic guy. There's no depth to it, nothing to sink my teeth into. You just "aw...." about the heartwarming nature of it, which I can honestly do by just watching puppies videos.
The entire issue that page is from deals with the inevitability of death and our attempt to overcome it. Posting the page without that context does it a disservice.
 

Mr. Poolman

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Greatest superman story ever. And yes-that portrayal of Superman is what I was hoping for in the DCCU.
I agree.
This would be my ideal Superman movie.
And the main reason I disliked MoS so much.

But on this very forum I've been called a Marvel fanboy for enjoying both, Marvel comics and movies.
Despise my avatar being Beppo the Super Monkey in a tribute to the cover of All Star Superman #1!


I find odd that the best Superman stories, are always "Elseworlds" books.
 

xenist

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As I live and get older I am completely shifting away from my teenage fascination with stuff like Batman and the Punisher and appreciating characters like Superman more and more.
 

Veelk

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The entire issue that page is from deals with the inevitability of death and our attempt to overcome it. Posting the page without that context does it a disservice.
Which one was it again? It's been a while, but I'm a holistic reader and read the series twice to try and get as comprehensive idea of it as possible, and I don't remember the previous issue providing much more basis for this scene to jump off of.
 

DeathyBoy

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But is it truly better than this?



Yes

Although I do strongly believe that if you find NO enjoyment in ASBAR then you really need to lighten up. It is staggeringly stupid, but stuff like 'DAMN YOU AND YOUR LEMONADE' is inadvertently amazing.
 

Sibersk Esto

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Which one was it again? It's been a while, but I'm a holistic reader and read the series twice to try and get as comprehensive idea of it as possible, and I don't remember the previous issue providing much more basis for this scene to jump off of.
Issue 10.
 

Dash_Riprock

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As I live and get older I am completely shifting away from my teenage fascination with stuff like Batman and the Punisher and appreciating characters like Superman more and more.
Its funny because essentially, Batman and Punisher never got out of puberty: They're forever depressive emo dweebs who were hurt by the world and thus shut themselves from it, lashing out at those they deem responsible for their pain and never moving on.

Superman, in contrast, is an adult who sees the world for what it is but not only accepts it by does tries his hardest to change it for the better.
 

Indrid Cold1

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It's a really great panel. Amazing.

There are a couple of Garth Ennis Superman panels I want to post but can't because I'm on a train home from work. Maybe I will edit them in later.
 

Tizoc

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GOAT page from GOAT comic book
Only read this if you can handle all the FEELS


So sad to see all the Quitely dislike-rs here though.
 

moondoggerr

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It's easy to be reductive about Superman. "This is just saying he's a nice guy."

That is correct.

It is showing that with all his godlike power the most crucial feature of Superman is that he's kind.

This is what distinguishes him from the majority of dark, "realistic," "edgy" superheroes who comprise the majority of the character set these days.

Superman has empathy. Superman cares. Superman won't snap your neck. Superman will figure out a way.

The MCU people understand the power of such a character. You can see it in every frame of the way they handle Captain America. Unfortunately the people who made Man of Steel do not seem to get what a crucial piece of the character it is. If they did get it, they would have included aspects of it in their movie. One of my favorite moments in the original chris Reeve Superman is when he rescues a cat out of a tree for a little girl. When I saw that as a child I knew they "got" Superman.

When I read All Star Superman I almost wept because the Superman I love so much was being validated.
 

Mudcrab

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So the complete reverse of ASBAR?
No because both the Story and Artwork are incredible in All Star Superman, despite what some posters would tell you.

Quitely's Clark Kent in motion is incredible. The prison issue? The Zibarro issue? Goddamn.
 
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