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Comics

  • There isn't one interpretation of the Kents' discovery of baby Kal-El that doesn't qualify as a CMOH.
  • Superman's first meeting with Lois, in Action Comics #1: "You needn't be afraid of me. I won't harm you." Made all the better when Alex Ross painted it.
  • There's a bit in the Chris Kent storyline in Superman, when Chris and Clark visit the Batcave. Clark's adopted son is impressed, in classic little-boy fashion, by Robin's acrobatics and begs to learn. Keep in mind that this is a kid who can fly. It's just adorable.
  • In one Superman/Batman issue.

 Superman: You fight against Joker, against Two-Face, against Catwoman. But this...

[Indicates Smallville]

This is what I fight for.

  • One story revealed that Superman's father, Jor-El, had met Batman's father, Thomas Wayne. Jor-El explains that Krypton will explode soon, so he is trying to determine which planet would be the best candidate to send his infant son to. He has already interviewed people from several other worlds, and Thomas is the latest one. I will paraphrase this part, since it's been a while since I read this.

 Thomas: I have to warn you that Earth people are not perfect. We have a tendency for misusing our gifts for war and personal gain. But I assure you, if I find your son, I will raise him and love him as my own along with my own son.

Jor-El: (smile) That's what I was waiting for. (the other candidates had offered knowledge, glory in battle, living like Gods... but never mentioned anything about love)

  • During the "Funeral For a Friend" storyline in the early 90's, Ma and Pa Kent are unable to attend Superman's funeral in Metropolis, so to say goodbye to their son, they bury a box containing items from his childhood (including a blanket and a teddy bear) in the crater made by his spaceship.
  • A lot of "Funeral For a Friend" was full of Tear Jerkers and CMOHs, but I found the related subtle Red Skies Crossovers in the other titles to be even more heartwarming -- the death of Superman was such a huge loss that it was basically treated like a Crisis Crossover. Special props to a moment from Batman during the nightmarish lead up to the Knightfall event, where a morbidly depressed Bruce Wayne wallows in despair in the cave, and it's revealed that he's still wearing one of the JLA's Superman-Shield black armbands, reminding the reader just how miserable and hopeless Bruce's world is right now. Because he can't even call up Clark to help him, either with his problems or with emotional support, just when he most needed it. Awww...
    • Let's face it, the entire point of "Funeral For a Friend" was to show how much Superman was loved by the entire planet and a great tribute to the character.
  • By the end of The Death of Superman, Lois Lane is an emotional wreck. She's gone through the trauma of Clark dying in her arms, has had to deal with his four would-be heirs, and even when the real Superman initially comes back she won't allow herself to believe him despite some very compelling (and very personal) evidence. After Supes takes down the Big Bad with a little help from his friends, we cut to Lois in her apartment, lying in bed fully clothed in the middle of the afternoon, possibly hung over. She hears a tapping on her window and assumes it's a bird, a call back to a scene much earlier in the arc. She flings open the drapes to reveal a great big "S." The next scene is a full-page panel of Lois and Superman kissing in midair. Text reads, "There isn't a doubt in her mind. She's in his arms... faster than a speeding bullet."
    • The issue after that shows Superman rescuing a young boy and girl (presumably brother and sister) from a disused Civil Defense shelter where they've been trapped since the battle with Doomsday, a couple of months at least. The kids have been living on the food and water supplies they found - they're malnourished and dehydrated, but they're alive. The little girl tells Big Blue that she kept reassuring her brother that no matter how long it took, Superman would eventually come and get them - he wouldn't let them die. Superman replies that he would rather die himself. And we believe him, because he did.
  • There's a Superman arc wherein we gain a glimpse into Krypto the Superdog's thought processes (which are mostly along the line of "Man throw stick! Krypto get stick! Make Man happy!"). During this arc, the supervillain Atlas, backed by a secret group within the United States military, has all but defeated Superman and his allies in battle... until Krypto appears, and he's not happy. He withstands both Atlas' strength and the weaponry of the military to fight Atlas and buy Superman some time, all out of loyalty to Superman. Then, when Atlas is dealt with, Superman delivers a speech about how Krypto isn't just his dog, but belongs to Metropolis -- and as the city celebrates Krypto and his master pets him, we get this thought from Krypto.

  Krypto: Happy.

  • I am heartwarmed anew every single time someone tries to induce a Heroic BSOD on Superman. It never works, but seeing Superman demonstrate just why he's Earth's greatest hero always brightens my day.
  • Near the end of JLA/Hitman #2, when Superman flies up above the atmosphere to gaze down at the earth, musing about its beauty and his landing there as an infant. He pauses, deep in thought, and then:

  (To the entire planet Earth): If you knew how you were loved, not one of you would raise a hand in rage again.

    • No line before or since has more simply and vividly captured just how insanely much Clark Kent loves his adopted planet.
  • In the issue where the Eradicator Program's manifestation of Kem-L accosts Clark in his apartment and tries to "disinfect" him of human influence, telling him to leave earth and embrace his Kryptonian heritage, arguing that humans are unworthy for a race as superior to them as Kryptonians to live with and constantly calling him "Kal-El". Clark's counterargument is rather simple:

  "My name is Clark Kent. Get out of my home. Get off my planet."

  • From Superman Adventures #36: Superman's busy day.
  • Another one from Superman Adventures, this time #41: "While You Were Sleeping".
  • In a 90s Superman Christmas issue, Lois asked Superman if he would be willing to put in an appearance at the Daily Planet's annual charity Christmas party for a Metropolis foster care center, to take the kids' minds off the fact that the Planet couldn't afford to buy toys for the kids due to budget cuts (Metropolis had been nearly leveled by Lex Luthor in an earlier arc). Superman had a better idea: he convinced Professor Emil Hamilton (this was years before his most recent Face Heel Turn) to dress as Santa Claus and cobble together a quick sleigh, borrowed some reindeer from the Metropolis Zoo, and called up a friend of his in Gotham City, who was happy to contact a Metropolis toy-store for toys and have them give him the bill. Superman, in a solid black body-stocking so he wouldn't be noticed in the night sky, carried the sleigh and reindeer to the Daily Planet roof, where Professor Hamilton gleefully distributed the toys.
  • During the Brainiac arc, just before Superman flies off to track down Brainiac he has a chat with Pa Kent. Pa shows Clark a whole bunch of mementos from Clark's childhood (such as a baseball Clark knocked clear across Smallville). Now, this is heartwarming enough on its own, but what clinches it is Clark engraving World's Greatest Dad on a horseshoe and giving it to his adoptive father before he goes.
    • Which makes Pa's death at the end even more of a Tear Jerker.

Film

  • The scene where Jor-El and Lara prepare to send their little boy off to Earth. The music, the dialogue, even the costumes and sets. I mean... damn. But even before that...

 Lara: He'll be isolated. Different....Alone.

Jor-El: (takes a deep breath, and holds up a single green crystal) He will not be alone. He will never be alone.

  • The conversation between Superman and Jor-El after Superman's first night as a superhero in the extended cut of Superman: The Movie. Numerous examples in Superman Returns, a rare 21st century film that is unapologetically sentimental and free of cynicism.
  • Clark's last heart to heart talk with Pa Kent before he dies.

 Pa Kent:"There's one thing that I do know for sure, son. And that is, you are here for a reason."

  • The scene of young Clark telling Ma Kent he has to leave Kansas while standing in the majestic waves of grain.
  • The scene where Clark Kent tells Mr. White to arrange for half his salary to go to his Mom back home. Even the jaded Lois is impressed.

 Clark: Uh, Mr White, I'd be grateful if you could arrange for half my salary to go to this address on a weekly basis?

Lois: Your bookie, right?

Clark: What?

Lois: Don't tell me -- he gives his money to his sweet grey haired old mother.

Clark: Actually, she's silver-haired.

Perry White: (snatches the address) I'll see what I can do.

Clark: Oh, um, uh, thank you very much, um, Mr White.

Lois: (bashfully) Any more like you where you come from?

Clark: Not really, no.

  • When Superman tells us everything we really need to know about him:

 Lois: Who... are you?

Superman: A friend.
 

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