In many ways comic books are a reflection of reality: they are inspired by culture, tradition, mythology and things in our everyday lives, so it is no wonder why when Marvel Comics first began developing their superhero line of books, creators Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby looked to things they already knew, things that already existed, like Norse and Greek mythology, for example, and injected them into their stories. The result was the introduction of characters like Ares, the God of War from Greek mythology and Thor, from Nordic tradition, to name two. These characters were brought into the Marvel universe and, although different, maintained many of the same characteristics of the concepts from whence their creators drew their inspiration. So what makes them stand apart from regular comic book characters? Looking at God like characters in comics (Marvel in particular), aside from being very powerful characters, what is it that makes them Gods?
If were were to remove this idea that mortals once worshipped these omnipotent beings; there would really be nothing that sets these characters apart from other powerful characters who aren't considered "Gods." Gods, like any other characters, are able to die. In fact, looking at the current THOR: GOD OF THUNDER, this happens to be exactly the premise for the current story line. In this series by Jason Aaron, the Gods are being murdered by Gorr, also known as "The God Butcher." The focus is on Thor in three different periods of his life: as a young man, in his middle years, and as an old man who is nearing death and in each period he is being stalked by Gorr, who has made it his goal to kill each and every God that exists. Though, if Gods can be killed, what sets them apart from omnipotent characters like Hyperion and the Sentry? The answer is, nothing.== TEASER ==
In fact, during SIEGE, after being manipulated by Norman Osborn during Dark Reign, the Sentry managed to not only kill Ares, the God of War, but also Loki. After Bob succumbed to The Void, the Sentry made it his mission to eradicate Loki. In this moment, in their final battle, Loki stood absolutely no chance against him (the Void). Now, sure, Loki has since return and taken other forms (he is currently a much younger version of himself), but should Loki and Ares have been killed in the first place? Doesn't the death of God characters make them just like any other character? I mean, if they can be killed (and really very easily, too, as we all saw during SIEGE) then what is the point of calling them Gods at all?
Death itself as a concept in comics is something of a contentious issue, never mind the deaths of God like characters. Once something that was very rarely used in story lines, death in comics have become as common as a superhero's insignia! Character deaths have become a trope: something so commonly used that it's become the norm. As a result, I think many of us (unfortunately, myself included) have become a bit numb to the idea of death in comics. Very rarely do we find ourselves reading a death in comics without almost immediately thinking "well, that character will be back." And although each character death should be significant, are they? In fact, this issue is such a hot topic that we recently asked various creators to sound off on whether or not they felt that comic book character deaths should be permanent during Emerald City Comicon. Because the deaths of regular superheroes (and their imminent returns to comics after being killed) are so common, it is no wonder why the death of Gods in comics are really not that big of a deal. If Gods in comics (Marvel, specifically) were unable to die, and were truly immortal, their deaths would not only be more significant, but they would (as characters) be seen as more powerful. These characters are, after all, "Gods."
What do you think? Do you think there should be less death in comics? Do you think God characters should be written to be immortal and not so mortal like the people that supposedly worship them? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.