By sora_thekey 14 Comments
Greetings Comic Vine readers! Welcome to the twenty-second "Roundtable User Discussion"! [Applause]
- "But what is a Roundtable User Discussion, Self?"
- "I'm glad you asked, Voice Inside My Head!" (The voices in the host's head are for entertainment purposes only. Yellow boxes are sold separately)
Well you see, a couple of CV users virtually met up to talk comic books and other comic-related topics. That conversation has been posted here for you guys to see, read and enjoy. Be sure to comment below where you can submit your own opinions after reading ours. Also, go back and read our past conversations (Here) and share your thoughts. Even if you disagree with us, we like comments.
I am Geo, known to the internet as sora_thekey and I will be moderating this discussion and giving my amazing insight along the way. Don't worry the voices in my head will not interfere because in reality I'm not crazy (I think).
Please welcome the participants of this Roundtable (RT): For the first time welcome Decoy Elite (Decoy), thanosrules (TR) andThe Impersonator (Imp). Also give a warm round of applause for the amazing Icarusflies (Icarus) making her RT comeback. Wave to the crowd puppets... I mean, poppets.
Icarus: No Mr. Bond….I expect you to die. >strokes guinea pig<
O_o Uh….I mean…this isn't a death ray! It's a…a new shower fixture! :D
>_> / <_<
Decoy: Hello, I am Decoy Elite, the ultimate distraction. Master of all things webcomics... except for the things I haven't read.
Imp: Alright! It's good to join the club. WHOO!-HOO! :D Now where are the drinks? :P
Ooops. I forgot to introduce myself. I was just drinking the Molson Canadian beer. :P By the way, I'm the Impersonator who likes to impersonate anyone. It's nice to meet you all. CHEERS! :P
TR: Hello, my name is thanosrules, and I'm a comiholic. I surround myself with comic related items. They are my yellow sun, green lantern, power comic? ;)
Imp: Nice to meet you, thanos and a good username too. Can I have one of your infinity gems? :P
TR: Nice to meet you Impersonator, but apparently you forgot, I gave you the Time gem, you messed things up and I had to go back and change things back. ;)
Imp: LOL! yeah, I did kinda messed up with time. Sorry about that. :P Well, it's time for the discussion. :P
This should prove to be an interesting discussion with all of you here. Today's topic of discussion is DEATH! (Cue dramatic music and lightning). But before we begin talking about this controversial subject I want to know what you have all been up to.
Right now I'm working on catching up with some comics because I've been gone for some time: Avenging Spider-Man in one hand and Ultimate Comics X-Men in the other. Plus a new Batman: The Black Mirror HC is calling me out as I write this. Oh and I've been drawing, a lot, I just haven't posted any of my drawings for the past few months. Right now I'm working on a interesting Loki and Scarlet Witch image.
What have you been reading, writing, watching or drawing that is comic book related?
B.P.R.D: Hell on Earth: Russia
Justice League International
My Greatest Adventure
Let’s Be Friends Again
Hark! A Vagrant
The Punchline is Machismo
Featuring Talking Guinea Pigs
Hyperbole and a Half
Rare Candy Treatment
Whoa that's a lot of comics Icarus!
Imp: Well, I was busy writing Wolverine fan-fic series. The series is titled, Project X: The Birth of Wolverine. So far I wrote 65 chapters. It's been a lot of work which I have done in the fan-fic forum lately. I never thought I had the full energy to do it. Man. that was quite a healing factor there. But for now, I'll be taking a break and enjoy the snowy ashes of winter. :P
On the other hand, I'm also reading other user's fan-fics. Their stories were brilliant. Most of the writers I find talented are KisserNe, TypingKira, and Mechanical_Ape.
On the TV side. I watch Naruto Shippuden episodes in crunchyroll. :)
TR: Hmm... what have I been up to? Well... buying comics, reading comics, reviewing comics. Yikes. This was a big week on top of all that - massive purchase on Wednesday (relatively). I just read/reviewed Magneto: Not a Hero #2, I have The Shade #3 up next and was going to listen to the CV Podcast once I had some free time. In fact, I have been listening to all the back podcasts for a while now, taking forever to catch up (I just joined CV on October 7th, 2011). The rest of my current read/review list is here.
I am not sure I can list all the other comics I am trying to get in, but my near term plans include all of the following issues:
- What If? (both series, and all the one-shots)
- Civil War (trades and related tie-ins)
- Fear Itself (non-tie in issues)
Recent notable purchases:
- All 10 Starman Trades
- All available Walking Dead Trades
- All available CHEW Trades
- All available The Boys Trades
- Both Cowboy Ninja Viking Trades
You see, I have been out of the comic game for 15 years now... I am just catching up where I left off. I have A LOT to catch up on. Comic Vine FTW!
Finally, on a very long drive from Illinois to Texas last night, I thought up of a new character I want to start writing about. :)
Imp: Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention that Icarusflies is a talented writer too. Since she's already with us at the roundtable. Right, Icarus? :P
There are also other talented writers in the fan-fic forum. Amazing work! :)
Man! Everybody has been busy!
Decoy: Honestly I'm not current with any print comics right now, but I've been reading lots of old stuff. I actually just finished Sandman, blasphemy to take this long I know. Also, as usual, I've been reading lots of webcomics such as Gunnerkrigg Court which stands out amount them just because it's plot is starting to move a bit more again.
You know, I've never read Sandman...
Decoy: You should. It's one of the few times I've liked Death in comics. ;)
Nice segue Decoy!
Fine lets get on topic then. Like I mentioned before today we are going to talk about comic book deaths so I want to know what you all think about them.
Q1: We all know that comic book deaths are a big deal in comics and that in most cases death is not a definite ending point to a character. What is your perception of comic book deaths?
Decoy: I don't like Comic Book deaths, mostly because they're either pointless or a waste of a character. There's a few exceptions for the most part, but overall Comic death is just all-around a bad idea.
TR: Thanos says, "Don't get any ideas, Death is mine!"
On a more "serious" note... Because I have been off of the comic tread-mill for so long, I was surprised to hear of all the "deaths" over the past few years. It wasn't like when Captain Marvel died and the first "Marvel Graphic Novel" was born. Now, it feels like a "last resort" plot device, meant to churn advertising and interest. My comic fan heart does not want to admit that many of the recent deaths have been a marketing ploy, but it does feel that way at times. It also feels like "comic deaths" are way more important to the "big two" publishers...
Icarus: Comic deaths have two tiers: Major and Minor. Major character deaths tend to be worthless, reversed, and pointless. HOWEVER, it's all about the story with those. If one can write a good death AND resurrection the death is worth it. If not, it's just a money-making scheme.
Minor character deaths are often not reversed and make the more dedicated fans sad.
Imp: Comic book deaths are really necessary. Well, not most of the character deaths. If you think about it, it does have an impact on their friends, heroes, or whatsoever. But a comic book fan might not like the fact that their favourite character is dead. How will she or he react? But it depends on the story and where it's going. To me, a death could be temporary if a certain character has to return. If not, then its permanent.
So would you say you like them Imp? Or are you just giving us an elaborate "depends"?
Imp: I wouldn't say I like the character deaths. If the character dies, I would accept it since it's part of the story.
Decoy: I wouldn't accept it because if they're a major character they'll be back in a month. I mean, just look at Captain America.
As for minor characters, well my rage over the death of Stilt-Man is well documented.
TR: I accept them for what they are. If they are a good and necessary part of the story arc, then so be it.
It seems like the prominent reaction is negative.
Q2: Can you think of a comic book death that made you evoke some emotion? Whether it'd be positive or negative?
TR: I have to say, Silver Surfer Requiem did make my heart sink a bit...
Imp: Hmmmm. Interesting question. I would say the recent death of Batman. I felt mad about it at first, I thought he was totally killed by Darkseid. I mean, he never gets killed or beaten down (Well Bane did break his back though). Because he's Batman.
Icarus: I have cried SO HARD over several comic deaths.
Sue + Ralph Dibny.
Agent "!"... and did I mention Ted Kord?
Imp: Ted Kord was a gruesome death to watch. I can't imagine a superhero like him gets shot by none other than Maxwell.
Icarus: Oh, and I did kinda cheer over the deaths of Magog and Libra. >_>
And probably some other people I'm forgetting right now.
TR: Also notable for me, the death of Thanos in Annihilation - awesome. I was impressed. Happy for Drax, happy for Thanos, and I loved his reaction. "Interesting."
For me it would have to be the recent Death of Spider-Man. That was very well handled story arc.
Decoy: I didn't like Ult Spider-Man's death because even if it was well written it had gimmick written all over it.
Decoy: When it's done right I actually love comic deaths, they can be a great goodbye to a character or a fitting end for a villain. But more often than not it's just a cheap gimmick or the writer throwing a character "no one" know about under the bus. Which I find really, really annoying.
Icarus: I think writers have been a bit better about not killing characters I actually care about recently…so no.
Please keep in mind that since I'm a big DC reader there's been more character RETCON than character DEATH as of late.
Imp: I'll be back, guys. I'm going to make some tea. :P
Bring me some!
TR: Because I am catching up on years of stuff, the older ones are what I have "fresh" in my mind. The rest I hear spoilers about, like Human Torch, Nightcrawler and even Spidey. Because I have not caught up to read those stories, I hear about them and I am like "wow, really?" So sadly, I do not have more of a comment on recent deaths.
Even Thor's "sacrifice" to ensure the death of the Serpent generated no more than a "meh, he will be back" - and there he is, still in the comics, fighting giant whales in the afterlife. ;)
Decoy: See? Deaths have just been so badly handled for so long that at this point they're just pointless. At least when it comes to the big two. Marvel seems to be the worst offender, with writers openly admitting they brought in a newish character just to kill him off.
I guess because he's a god then death is handled differently, but we'll talk about Gods later. I keep mentioning Ultimate Spider-Man's death because like Decoy mentioned, the story was well handled but it seemed like a gimmick from the start.
Q3: There are some cases where the return of a deceased character is very well handled, how do you feel about those deaths then? (Like Fantastic Four #600 or when Bucky became the Winter Solider.)
Icarus: As I mentioned earlier, the resurrection is just as important as, OR MORE IMPORTANT THAN the death. Superboy's death and resurrection, for example, were masterfully handled, and lead to stories that actually expanded him as a character.
TR: PROPER resurrection is critical a death/resurrection story arc. It will define whether or not the reader feels cheated (or if the death was just a marketing ploy by the publisher).
That said, I am embarrassed to say that I have not yet read about the resurrection of Thanos for the Thanos Imperative, but I like the idea of it. This, due to how Thanos has always "transcended" physical death and how he has an actual relationship with the "idea" of death. Resurrecting him makes him angry, because it takes him away from his love. In a way, it is a nice play on the concept, close to breaching the fourth wall in terms of how the reader may conceptualize the concept of death as a character and an event.
Imp: I'm back!
Now to answer that question about being back :P, I felt it's important to bring those characters from the dead. Because there bound to be stories to tell about them. It may be a long time to see that they have been dead for ages. For Jean Grey, I can't say for sure when she'll be back. But who knows? She may appear sometime in the future. It could be a surprise for all we know. Right? And we'll be like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?
Decoy: Not to be morbid, no not in our death discussion here, but for me it depends on how warm the body is. Bring back a character after years then I still can view the death as meaningful, bring them back in the same issue and I'm going to be calling the writer some very bad words that I can't say on this site.
Icarus: I have to agree with Decoy on that. An issue-long death doesn't really count. Give some time for impact, and then make fans exuberant when…SURPRISE! They're back!
The EXCEPTION being with death-based characters whose powers could easily bring them back…(ready for a mandatory Umbrella Academy reference?) The Séance for example.
Decoy: I just wanted to add that they death and resurrection also needs to be done well. Although that probably goes without saying.
So wait are you two actually saying that the return of a dead character doesn't bother you unless it is handled right and there is a significant amount of time in between?
Icarus: Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying.
Decoy: Yup. Simple as that.
Okay then, follow up question(s) for everyone.
If the resurrection of a character is well handled and there is a significant amount of time between the death and the return, does that mean that Captain America, Cable and Batman had enough of that time in between to make their deaths significant? Does that mean that Nightcrawler has been dead for long enough? Does this mean that it applies for Jean Grey?
Decoy: I would motion to say Batman was never really dead.
Cap, I felt seem to have enough time, but maybe that was just because of how sloppy and pointless his death felt. Cable, eh, not really. But Time travel can help with that.
Nightcrawler...I want to say yes, but honestly it's only because I really like Nightcrawler. They should wait a bit longer, assuming they're going to bring him back..which they totally are.
Icarus: Well Sora, I think with those characters it's a somewhat different matter: everyone KNEW they would be back. And I don't think most of the resurrections OR deaths were handled well with most of them. Batman's barely made sense (I liked it anyway. >_>). I don't even know how Captain America came back. Cable is lame and is being written by Loeb.
Nightcrawler is adorable and needs to be brought back. Jean Gray just needs to STAY DEAD ALREADY.
TR: I guess it also depends on HOW they died.
Captain Marvel has been dead for a LONG time. He died of cancer. His death had meaning, both to the story and socially.
I am not sure how you come back from that. He wasn't put in a time capsule or frozen "until there was a cure". I guess someone could time travel and kill Nitro before he caused any issues for Cap, but then again, someone could just go kill Death and no one will ever die again. ;)
Imp: I don't think Nightcrawler has been dead long enough. It doesn't apply to Jean Grey since she's dead a long time ago. But since Nightcrawler AoA version is crossing over to Earth 616. I would say Nightcrawler's death is permanent.
I felt like it was the right time to bring Cap back since Bucky doesn't prove to be the next Captain America. Because Steve is always the Cap.
For Cable, I can't say for sure if he can die. Time travel has a lot of ways to bring this X-character back.
TR: Anyway, to answer specifically for those characters:
- Batman - he was just misplaced in time right?
- Jean Grey - Phoenix is another word for "crying wolf"
- Nightcrawler - he died to protect hope (literally I guess), he should come back, and there are many plot devices that can be used to make it "feel right"
- Captain America - no comment
Decoy: Hasn't Jean Grey only been brought back once? I never understood why she got so much flack. I think Captain America has been brought back more times than her.
Jean Grey is not dead! She's alive somewhere in the universe! (Phoenix: Endsong) But anyways, there's another type of death we haven't talked about.
Q4: How should gods' (or god-like creatures) deaths be handled? Thor and Loki died but their stories didn't end the moment they died.
Icarus: Depends on the character. I think the way the Endless die and are replaced is a good example. Don't want to give spoilers though.
Decoy: Gods deaths should be handled as a big deal and maybe not even possible.
Personally I liked how The Sandman dealt with the possible death of abstracts, not going to spoil it, but it was pretty awesome in my opinion.
Icarus: Copycat. xP
Do you guys think gods should even die?
Decoy: Depends on the situation and the God. I think guys like Thor can, I mean his death is embedded in Norse Myth itself.
Icarus: [I say] Yes. When they outgrow their usefulness and become obsolete.
Decoy: Outgrow their usefulness? How does a character even do that?
Icarus: Gods are created for specific purposes. Once man ceases being afraid of the dark, moon gods become useless, for example.
However, I don't think this is common in comics, AT ALL, the only real exceptions being the Sandman and Lucifer series. Just kinda Neil Gaiman's thing.
TR: I do not think gods or god-like characters actually die. I think their characters are either "put on pause" or immediately seen in an "afterlife" (like Thor).
Counter-Point: We do see Aegis and Tenebrous actually get absorbed by "The Crunch" at the end of Annihilation... and they were as powerful as Galactus, so I guess they do not fit my statement above... unless of course their "physical body" is really just a manifestation of energy which could be re-formed at a later time (thus "put on pause").
I guess it does depend on the character and the circumstance. But that is another conversation entirely - then we have to talk about power levels, physical composition, relationship to death and the afterlife, etc.
In a way I say most of the comic book characters who die are "put on pause".
Imp: I don't think the Gods should die because they're supposed to be immortal. They do have some weakness though. For example, the Golden Hind can kill the Greek gods. For the Norse mythology, a mistletoe can kill the Norse gods. But then what's the point of calling them Gods if they can die. Right? :P
Decoy: It really is just a varied mess when it comes to Gods. :P
Rule of thumb seems to be that they should only temporarily "die" most of the time. Helps with the whole resurrection thing in comics.
Okay then, lets move away from the immortal and move toward the mere mortals of the comic book universe.
Q5: Are secondary character's deaths more meaningful because there's less of a chance that they will resurrect the same way a primary super-powered character would?
Icarus: YES. >cires< I MISS MY SECONDARY CHARACTERS!!!
This is what I was talking about earlier. They don't come back usually, so their deaths are meaningful and sad. :(
Decoy: Secondary characters do have more of a death impact, assuming they're established well, but you can still screw that up. Pointlessly killing a secondary character is in many ways worse than killing off a hero. A certain little girl comes to mind when I think of doing a secondary characters death badly.
TR: Yes. They are the REASON for the existence of many characters, as we know them.
Secondary Character deaths often occur to strengthen the primary character's character. Where would Batman be without the death of his parents? Spider-Man without the death of Uncle Ben?
Interesting input. I just have one last question for all of you:
Q6: Is there a story, that involves death, you would absolutely recommend?
A story that makes you say: "Everyone needs to read this!" You don't have to spoil who dies in the story just mention the title, issue or story arc.
Icarus: Um…hm, that's a hard one. I think that Infinite Crisis is definitely a must read.
Decoy: Sandman: The Kindly Ones and Sandman: The Wake (I can't read one without the other, ever.)
Icarus: Ooh, also what Decoy said.
Decoy: Haha, Sandman is just getting so much love in this RT.
Icarus: I know, it really is. Don't care though, because Sandman DESERVES it. It is just THAT GOOD.
Fine I'll read Sandman!
TR: I can't imagine that people haven't already read Annihilation, but it is certainly worthwhile.
Maybe a better choice is the "Life and Death of Captain Marvel" - it is a classic story and very meaningful to the Marvel Universe.
Imp: I would say the death of Spiderman arc in Ultimate U. I was surprised that Spidey actually dies in a comic book. Poor Ultimate Spidey. May Ultimate Spidey rest in peace.
I love Death of Spider-Man. Did you ever watch the fan-made motion comic of this arc? Everybody should watch it!
In my case Gwen's death will always be my favorite death because of the emotional effect on Spidey.
Anyways we need to take this Roundtable to Rest In Piece... (Get it?)
Bring it home Roundtable-ers!
Imp: Now, it's time to swing out! Bye, folks and see you next time. :D
Decoy: Good bye everybody hope you enjoyed Round-table discussions: Death/You really should read Sandman, seriously read it.
TR: Thanos here... I have a date with Death. See you later Comic Viners!
Icarus: Oh no! Mr. Bond has escaped! Clementine, fire the moon laser!
PEW PEW PEW!!
I guess I have to go attend my own funeral now, but before I go I have a question for you the reader...
Reader Question: Time to ask a question to you. Yes you, the person who is reading this post! As weird as this question my sound, what is your favorite comic book death? Be sure to comment below and let us know.
So, if you liked this Discussion and would like to join future Roundtables please let us know in the comments below or PM me.
This is Geo/sora_thekey signing off...
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey