Death of Characters

There will never be a Superman, Captain America, Batman, Thor or Human Torch (Johnny Storm) that will flat out die. They have all have thought to be dead, but come back. Characters that have died especially in Marvel make reappearances like Jean Grey, Captain Marvel, and Thunderbird. The problem with all of this is there is no surprise or threat that a character may actually be lost forever, and thus give the book more weight and that character more value.

Yes, it is hard to kill off a character that people read because it brings in money, but when is Captain America ever going to give up his shield and retire? Probably never, thus his character will have to die at some point. The gravity of death and lose in the super hero community is quite sad, and not in the normal sense. It's sad because everyone just goes about their business and in the back of everyones mind they will be back. Nobody breaks the rules or loses it or even can't do the job for a couple issues because it is the norm. The supers that do die aren't even given the peace to be mourned most times.

Captain America is an exception with a funeral and a five part mini series dealing with grief, but then HE'S ACTUALLY ALIVE. Wow, nobody saw that coming did they? Finally a legendary character sent off in style, an outdated hero (he fought Hitler aka the time before computers, so yes outdated) sent off properly with characters mourning him and comics devoted to his loss. There is a statue of him for crying out loud! What happened when everyone found out he was alive they just took it down. Also, what happens when he actually dies? Is Tony Stark going to actually say something this time? Will all the bad guys stop fighting for a day so the heros may gather and mourn, again? Will he still be the hero he was or just an old man who outlived his friends, partners, and anyone who could recognize what he went through. This is just one example and it is bothersome.

Its hard to kill off a money making character. Its hard making most characters relevant to modern times. Retirement is almost impossible for most considering they have nothing else. Take Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, they have a CHILD!! Another life but no, not even they can walk away because it isn't THE way.

I must admit DC you've saved yourself once again. (Think back to Superboy Prime punching a hole in the universal wall, for the first time). The New 52 is original and the buildup of combining all the DC universes gives you a good place to start fresh. Most people who were around to see the start of Superman and Batman can't tell you what they were about because they don't know can't remember. BUT none of the old DC universe characters really died off, or if they did it was so close to the New 52 that it doesn't matter.

Why can't a great story be written to end a life of a iconic character? Most graphic novelists do it like Alan Moore. The Comedian and V both died, but their character status wasn't necessarily harmed, and in V's case it actually fit into the theme and character's development well.

It is probably also hard for the writers. They grow up reading a character only to find them die before they can get their hands on the story line and do what they want. Of course the writer will bring them back just to say what they've always wanted to. Personally, I would bring Icarus back as the new angel because of Archangel's apocalyptic issues. BUT Icarus is dead, and there's a 99.99% chance he will never come back unless someone in the higher ups in Marvel actually reads this.

Where does a lack of permanence to death in comics lead us? What can it say about the characters morality if they never die? What does it say about the one's that do?

Start the Conversation