Comic book deaths...something that has become an annoyance to readers today. It used to be a character would die and it would be surprising. How could the publisher actually kill off a popular character?
How many times have we seen beloved characters finally make that ultimate sacrifice in trying to vanquish evil?
What makes it bothersome today is the death rarely means anything. We have had some well-written stories involving a character's death but they're not as shocking as they used to be.
Often we'll see the emotional fallout when the those closed to the deceased try to cope with their loss. They just shouldn't be too sad. We all know the character will return someday.
It may seem sad for those characters close to the dying hero and it might be unfortunate if the character on the chopping block is a favorite of yours but dying is actually good for comic book characters?== TEASER ==
"What? Are you serious?"
I know, I may be risking the ire of many readers that have become exhausted with all the deaths and comeback but hear me out. What still happens when a character, especially a major one, dies? These days, comic book deaths are getting more and more attention in the news and other media. When Jean Grey first died, readers were shocked but that was about it. She never made national news over any of the sacrifices she made.
When Captain America and Batmandied, there was a little more coverage. The death of Johnny Storm and upcoming death of Ultimate Spider-Man have received more coverage than I would have thought possible.
Simply put, comic book deaths are good for the characters reputation and standing among readers. Unless they die an embarrassing death, they will be commended for their sacrifice. They will gain the attention of people that might never have read a single comic. Johnny Storm could be a cool character but there wasn't much depth to his character. Reed had his brains and desire to try to fix everything, Sue is the most powerful member of the team and mother to Franklin and Valeria and Ben is just way too cool to be killed off. With Johnny being the one that died in Fantastic Four #588, he's gained a new level of respect. He took the bullet so Ben and the FF kids could live. He was always the immature member of the team that rarely showed any growth. Now he has a noble death to add to his resume.
Let's not forget how much attention Superman got back in 1993.
The problem with a character dying and gaining appeal is they are out of the picture for a little while. Writers and editors have to plan each death and return carefully. Publishers aren't looking to kill off characters that could be potential franchises in their own right. In order for a death to be meaningful, there has to be the right amount of time until their return. Coming back too soon will only make readers angrier. Taking a longer time will make readers long for their return but could also make the character lose some popularity. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Captain America and Batman were dead for close to two years and that worked. Readers were ready for them to come back. Jean Grey has been dead for seven years now. Isn't she overdue to return? Mockingbird's life is currently on the line in the pages of New Avengers. Could she possibly be facing another death? She just came back from the dead in the pages of 2008's Secret Invasion and another death might be a bit much. But it could get people talking if she does die.
I would like to make it clear that I am not a fan of the comic book death. Yes, there can be some really great stories involving death and the repercussions afterwards. I don't need any more death issues. I would like to see other things happen if a shake up is needed for a character or title. A dead character is bound to return but it took Barry Allen 23 years to come back. There are better ways to have a character get popular besides a big death event. A comic book death will put them in the spotlight but if they continue to happen so frequently, even the mass media will get tired of reporting them. Unless it's the death of a character that's really lame. Then I would okay with them disappearing.
Log in to comment