Superheros (like governors) disappear from time to time, and while in the stories it’s a very dramatic development, we as readers have gotten plenty of experience with the usual reasons it happen. Here, then, is a list of those reasons (expanded with reader comments from the original, first posted here in June, 2009):
15. Replaced by a sidekick.
14. Transported to the future to assist the team of superheroes inspired by one’s deeds.
13. Trapped in a glacier.
12. Broken back.
11. Trapped in the phantom zone.
10. Retire rather than be hounded by an uncaring government/public.
9. Secretly kidnapped and replaced by a Skrull (Marvel) or a Durlan. (DC.)
8. Secretly kidnapped and replaced by a clone/shapeshifter.
7. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
6. Sent back to the dawn of time by Darkseid.
4. Accidentally stumbled into mirror universe.
3. Armor was taken over via remote control.
2. held captive on Paradise Island and didn’t see the need to escape.
and….finally…the number one explanation:
1. Got caught in a Zeta Beam and transported to Rann.