The Death and Return of Superman (film)

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The Death and Return of Superman
Directed by Max Landis
Produced by Bryan Basham
Written by Max Landis
Starring Max Landis
Morgan Krantz
Elden Henson
Elijah Wood
Mandy Moore
Music by Evan Goldman
Cinematography Ryan Hailey
Adjacent LA
Release date
February 3, 2012
Running time
17 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Death and Return of Superman is a short film released in 2012 on YouTube, by Chronicle writer Max Landis.[1][2][3][4] The film, as its title implies, is a monologue about "The Death and Return of Superman" storyline from DC Comics over parody-like sketches.[5][6][7][8] The film was produced by Bryan Basham, creator of COPS: Skyrim.


While drinking some Johnnie Walker mixed with water, Max Landis talks about Superman and how he influenced the world of comic book superheroes until his fading popularity in the 1990s. A group of DC Comics executives had a meeting and concluded that in order for Superman to be relevant again, he had to die. Throughout Landis' narrative, he describes the birth of Doomsday and the events that set up his battles with Superman until the deaths of both combatants. DC Comics roughly shipped three million copies of Superman vol. 2 Issue #75 worldwide; nearly all of which were sold out within the first day of release.

Shortly after the death of Superman, DC Comics published the "Reign of the Supermen!" story arc, which introduced four characters claiming to be Superman. One of these was Hank Henshaw, a cyborg version of Superman who defeated the other three and destroyed Coast City, causing Hal Jordan to lose his sense of reasoning and kill fellow members of the Green Lantern Corps. The Cyborg Superman continued his reign of terror until the real Superman appeared and defeated him. It was revealed that Superman had emerged from a "healing coma". Superman's resurrection was met with outrage from fans who felt betrayed by DC Comics; as a result, sales of Superman's comics plummeted and have never recovered ever since.

As he pours himself another drink, Landis recalls a lesson learned from his father John Landis about how to kill a vampire; the elder Landis deduced that writers can kill vampires any way they want because vampires do not exist. In essence, the Death of Superman story arc did not kill Superman; instead, it made death irrelevant in comics, as hundreds of comic book characters would die and resurrect multiple times in the years to come.


  • Kelsey Gunn as young Max Landis

Ron Howard makes a cameo appearance as Max's son, and Simon Pegg appears as John Landis; Landis had done this style of video before in his web series Cooking With Comics,[12] as well as his videos Vague Recollections of Watchmen and Drunk Comic Book History: The Robins.


  1. ^ Max Landis (February 3, 2012). "The Death and Return of Superman". YouTube. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ Max Nicholson (February 4, 2012). "Chronicle Scribe on the Death and Return of Superman". IGN. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ Kirk Hamilton (February 6, 2012). "This Drunken Reenactment of "The Death and Return of Superman" is Crazed, Hilarious". Kotaku. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  4. ^ Joey Paur. "THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN - Hilarious Max Landis-Directed Short Film". Geekty Rant. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ Cyriaque Lamar (February 4, 2012). "In this semi-drunk movie about Superman’s death, Elijah Wood is Cyborg Superman". io9. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ Angela Watercutter (February 7, 2012). "Video: Max Landis’ Star-Studded Explanation of the Death of Superman". Wired. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ Caleb Goellner (February 4, 2012). "'The Death and Return of Superman' Explained Succinctly in Max Landis Video". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ Matt Clark (February 6, 2012). "Max Landis Debuts 'Death Of Superman' Short Film". MTV. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ Max Landis (February 8, 2012). "The Death and Return of Superman CREDITS". YouTube. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ Chris Hardwick (February 4, 2012). "Death and Return of Superman". Nerdist. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ Dave Trumbore (February 3, 2012). "CHRONICLE Writer Max Landis Vents About THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN". Collider. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ Caleb Goellner (June 11, 2011). "Cooking With Comics Serves Up Hilarious 'Batman: Knightfall' Synopsis [Video]". Comics Alliance. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 

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