To the editors:
Just a quick note to thank Geoffrey Johnson for his December 4 cover story, "Love, Death, Superman." It reaffirmed that I had not slipped into senility two years shy of my 40th birthday.
When word of Superman's recent demise began to circulate, my memory dredged up a day in the early 1960s. Sitting in my pediatrician's waiting room, I picked up one of the handful of tattered comic books always on hand and read of the Kryptonite killing of Superman. A final image burned in my mind--the Man of Steel lying green-faced in a glass coffin, mourners weeping, and (I swear to God) Superman's ghost waving good-bye from the clouds of heaven.
For the life of me, though, I couldn't find anyone to validate this memory. I scanned the press reports of the day but could find no mention of our superhero succumbing decades earlier. No friend or colleague of my generation seemed to remember the issue either. Perhaps, I offered, it came out around the time of the Kennedy assassination--an overly psychoanalytical assessment of the comic book world, I guess, but I thought that would jog some memories. Alas--choke--those I asked generally gave me those looks you reserve for guys who argue with the air on the el. Self-doubt bloomed.
So--sigh--imagine my joy when I saw the first few paragraphs of Johnson's story. So it was 1961, not 1963. And so I missed the caveat lector about the imaginary nature of the tale. But my basic memory was validated. I rushed to show one coworker who'd listened patiently when I told of my childhood memory. He was impressed.
Now, if I could just remember where I put my keys.