Can Someone Just Stay Dead?

As the last days of summer shroud themselves in the burning hills to the north of Los Angeles, I guess it makes some sense that I find myself thinking about things dying. Indeed, as the web gets all a-twitter about Disney buying Marvel for a cool $4 billion, there as many people thinking, “What are we going to lose? What will die?” as there are thinking, “We have so much to gain! So many things to produce!”

So, when I read Rich Johnston’s article about the possibility of Bruce Wayne coming back as Batman in 2010, and  glance over at Captain America Reborn #2 over there on my shelf, next to Adventure Comics #1, I can’t help but think to myself, are we getting anything out of death these days?

Now I admit it, I am not a comics history expert and I haven’t been reading comics all that long so I know there are a few folks out there going, “That’s the whole point! Death in comics is just a great way to bring characters back!”  And I get that, I do, and I know there are probably hundreds of articles out there talking about how bringing back a character too soon after his or her death cheapens the event. I realize, too, that some characters who are coming back have indeed been dead for many years…possibly a few years too long.

It is interesting, though, that there is so much killing and rebirthing going on over the past year or so.  It is telling to watch how the editors have been handling all of these sacrifices.  We had Superboy (can we say that now?) come back, and I know his death was particularly sad for a certain segment of readers, but I daresay most of us can agree he came back too soon.  I mean, you compare it with the return of Barry Allen, and Conner Kent’s basically spent a few years abroad studying French and working at a bakery.  But, compared to Conner, you have heroes that basically just went to get milk down at the store. Captain America Reborn should be called Captain America “Wake from Sleep” and if Bruce Wayne does indeed come back next Summer, we can call it “Batman: 1st in Queue.”  I will resist complaining about the “biggest opportunity to waste what could have been a really important death” with Ultimate Spider-Man but, to be fair, he wasn’t necessarily dead–he just got caught up in an explosion and dropped his mask.  

I don’t mean to be snarky and I don’t mean to rehash the whole discussion about how creative decisions must oftentimes be limited by marketing and financial imperatives, but I do admit that, as a reader, I am beginning to feel a bit ripped off, when big transitions are just reversed so quickly. And it’s not just the death of characters, it is often the death of an ideal, too. Witness the unmasking of Spider-Man during Civil War. This was a big deal, it was a difficult decision for Peter Parker, and the implications of his decision were going to be mighty.  I, as a reader, was dismayed by the decision, but I was also going to stand by and live through those implications with him by continuing to read the book. Yes, it was going to be crap, but I was going to stand by my character, no matter what.  Then that decision was reversed and I was left standing there, all ready to commit to this new paradigm, by myself.  Yes, Brand New Day is great. Yes, it was probably a bad decision to unmask Peter in the first place, but honestly, don’t we learn as much, if not more, from bad decisions than good ones?  Like, wouldn’t it be amazing to see creators and audience deal with this mistake together, probably making some really amazing stories while we hung in there?

It gets even more complicated when the status quo shakeup actually works really well. I thought it was totally lame how Batman died. Like, I don’t even really remember how he died, but I know it was lame and I miss Bruce Wayne.  And I bet I am feeling the same way most of the other heroes in the DC Universe feel.  But you know what? I think Dick and Damian are kicking ass right now, and I am really enjoying reading their story, because I share that story, I share that pain and frustration of not having Bruce around but I know Gotham needs a Batman so I support Dick doing his best to live up to that mantle, that cowl. I know as a reader that eventually Bruce will come back, but wouldn’t it be freaking awesome if it took ten actual years? Wouldn’t it be such an incredible surprise, after all these years, to see Bruce Wayne come back from out of the blue?  An old friend literally coming back from the dead.  Wouldn’t that struggle to decide who really is Batman be epic, if it happened in 2019 and not next summer?

I basically feel exactly that same way about Captain America, by the way, and, even as I write this, I wonder if it is truly coincidence that these two icons from competing publishers died around the same time or just bad luck. I don’t know what it was, but I will just have to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I don’t want to derail this paragraph–but still…if Steve Rogers is coming back so soon…well, what is the point?

Right, I hear some readers muttering, as they look to their stacks of comics, “to sell more books.” Sure, okay, fine. If we go with the “sell more books” thing then we have to basically admit that these stories are nothing less than tricks designed to separate us from $3-$4 a month.  With some advertising thrown in for good measure. 

Of course, they are more than that. These books are our modern day mythologies, with stories and characters that reflect what is going on in our world, to give us characters whose struggles we can identify with.  We’ve been told time and time again that death is part of life, that it is death that makes living so vital.  I will always remember when I found out that Barry Allen’s wife, Iris, was killed.  I was pretty young and I remember being really upset about it and never, for a second, did I think, “Well, it’s not that big of a deal–she’ll be back in a few years anyway.” As painful as it was, that comic book character’s death made me realize that relationships are fleeting, that love is important, that, truly, each day becomes more and more precious.

I am not suggesting that because a character dies and comes back soon that readers are not intelligent enough to get those same themes, but still, absence and time are powerful storytellers. This addiction to the status quo, that everything in the books really needs to line up just in case a movie comes out, is not good for comics. Yes, there is power in keeping the “classic” stories alive, and there are wonderful out-of-continuity books that keep those stories going (I am always talking about what a relief it is to go back to Superman/Batman, for example).  But this cycle of death just to get everyone hyped up, only to bring the characters back a year or so later–it’s like the comic book company who cried wolf.

If death doesn’t mean anything to these heroes, if they keep coming back, then where do the stakes go?  I only half-jokingly ask, Have we learned nothing from the Cylons?  Maybe I am thinking about it too much, but that’s kind of the whole point of a comic book discussion site in the first place, right?  The status quo need not be a static quo.  We keep talking about how comics are not only for kids, that the stories are more mature, more compelling, more relevant to people’s lives…if a writer is going to make the decision to kill a character–whether it is a good decision or not–let’s just stick with the ramifications of that decision awhile, at least in the main books.

How about you all? What do you think about these characters coming back so soon? What comic deaths have affected you? Did those characters come back, and if so, was their return fulfilling?

Mike Romo is an actor in LA and is checking to see if his insurance has a “resurrect next summer” option should he hits some kind of Final Crisis.  For the time being, you can reach him via email, facebook and twitter.


  1. Love the ongoing discussion about death in comics.  I would point to DC’s Blackest Night as something else that is continuing this very discussion.

    As far as ‘absolute’ deaths, the only ones that I would bet on are Uncle Ben and Thomas and Martha Wayne.  And that is only because their deaths are completely necessary to the background/origin of their children (or nephew).  

    Also THANK YOU for bringing up the unmasking of Spidey.  I did not have much of a problem with the idea of OMD (the execution is a different story) as I understood where they were going and why.  But when Spidey got unmasked Quesada flat out lied when he said that it ‘would have lasting repercussions.’  And that still kinda irks me as a consumer.

  2. Can Someone Just Stay Dead? – Easy answer: Nope

  3. I was unaware of the Johnston article or that Bruce Wayne was likely to come back next year.  The fact that he never died (at least in Final Crisis) kinda raises the question of how exactly his example ties in with the others.  (I believe Batman of Earth-2 died and has never come back.)

    I think Blackest Night is going to have something interesting to say about the constant deaths and returns.  

    I have absolutely no problem with books killing or bringing back characters IF there is a good story to tell.  If the death/return is simply done for shock value or for financial reasons, then I would prefer that authors find a more interesting way to shock me. 

  4. Batman isn’t dead, He’s in Arizona.

  5. Thank goodness Wonder Man never stays dead…

  6. Captain America died in issue #25 and the lasat issue of CAP to come out was #601…so he’s been dead 551 issues…right?

  7. Good article. It is worth noting that back in an issue of Teen Titans right before Infinite Crisis (so still penned by Johns) Kid Eternity shows up and claims to know why people are coming back from the dead, but he never gets around to explaining it. I take this to mean Johns has been planing Blackest Night since at least then.

  8. I agree with you Mike that while they may come back, they come back far too soon. It seems that things like the unmasking of spider-man or the death of a character offer up a gold mine of stories that go mainly untapped. I like the idea that these characters and the universe change, but when all you have is change you seem to lose a little of what makes that character mean something. When it comes to Cap it has not been long enough for me, but if he must come back I would really like to see Steve come back but minus the Super Soldier serium, where he would be weak and scrawny but will the years of experience. He could be a mentor to Bucky cap and you would delve into the idea of how does steve come to terms with being his old self after so long a time with that power. Would he be like a some one who lost a limb and how would he deal with that frustration, and in reading how he deals we would see what make Steve Rogers such a icon and true hero.

  9. @Prax. I just read that run this summer and I knew I was forgetting something important. Dammit. He plans things sooooo far in advance.

  10. oh oh! Can I be the first to drop the wet blanket comment of "Hey this is a BUSINESS people, suck it up-they are in it for the money!!" yay!

  11. Noticeably absent from this discussion was the killing of the Wasp.  Sometimes they might kill off a character only to bring them back bigger and better.  Addition by way of subtraction.

    Great article Mike.

    @Stuclach:  Sometimes shock value makes a good story, see Walking Dead.

  12. I prefer finality in characters dying over them constantly coming back.  I wish they’d kill off most of the X-Men in the regular universe like they did in Ultimatum. Let the newer and younger X-Men take over for a while.   

    I prefer Bucky Cap and Dick as Batman.  I think it should stay like that, but I’m no decision maker. 

    One of the main reasons that I like Vaughan is because he doesn’t bring characters back and the same goes with Robert Kirkman (exception being Atom Eve).  I just wish that next generation characters could take the mantle and everyone would be happy.

  13. @ato220 – I agree that shock value can be part of a good story, but I enjoy Walking Dead for the realistic human response and emotions.  The shocks only accentuate that excellent base story.  Shock for shock’s sake is rarely enjoyable, in my experience.

  14. thank you for this article.  i think i am going to spam it to dc.

  15. You know who’s staying in the earth much more steadfastly than I anticipated?: Jean Grey.

    It’s quite a tightrope to walk. Marvel’s Captain Marvel has stayed dead (as it turns out) since I was six or seven years old… and as a result I have next to no idea who he was or why I would care about him. I’m not sure whether any part of his life or death is even in print anymore, and that doesn’t do anyone any good.

    Colossus was dead for a good stretch, but his death always sounded like a cheap mistake to me. (See also: The Wasp.) Should I as a reader have to live without the character for a decade because of Scott Lobdell and the Legacy Virus?

    Like MisterJ, the only thing that bothered me about the Spidey unmasking was looking back on the timeline after it was over and realizing that, even as Marvel was talking about its far-reaching implications, they had already plotted its undoing. I’m glad it’s undone, but there were good (and ultimately untold) stories to do in the meantime, and there was no reason to put the lie out there.

    I agree that death has been cheapened, but I think the way to rehabilitate it is not to stop bringing people back; it’s to stop killing them in the first place.

  16. I must admit that when Buck was revived from death that I didn’t like it.  But because it was well don and the fleshed out the character greatly it turned out to be a good thing.  The flaw in both publishers logic is that they are wasting a "death" story on charcaters who in now way will stay dead.  Batman? no. Superman? no. Green Arrow? No.  The only exception has been Flash/Barry Allen and that is working becuase they left him alone for 24 years.  Marvel has teased the return of captain Marvel but havent done it yet, the Civil War book that appeared to have done so was really a skrull.  This shows me that publiserhs are wasting time by "killing" a main character, but a B or Clist person if they remained dead for several years coould be revived sucessfully if done correctly

  17. @Jimski: The plausability of death often makes stories more interesting.  I would say that if you stopped killing characters you could get bland stories.  I do agree that the "OH SHIT" factor has been greatly decreased because of overuse.  I would say that just as in the Golden Age the trope was always the Hero will win but the story is in how, now the case is the hero will probably die eventually, here’s some stories about how they lived.

  18. @KickAss – (Not to speak for Mr. Romo, but) I think this is intended to be constructive criticism.  In my opinion, complaining (as the term is being used in this setting) is giving unconstructive criticism and is not worthwhile.  As fans of the medium, I think it is important that we provide feedback that helps improve the product we love.  I would argue that iFanboy is a site that excels at highlighting strengths and weaknesses (with suggestions for improvement) through discussion.  Many other sites don’t do that as politely as this one.

  19. @Jimski  My theory is that Marvel thinks keeping Jean Grey dead gives them some kind of integrity no matter how many other stories that they reverse.  I think this is ridiculous for any number of reasons, but there you go.

    I’m pretty blase about resurrections, personally; I think revolving-door death gives companies some license to play.  I mean, I sympathize with wanting Dick to stay as Batman or Bucky to stay as Cap longer, but realistically those deaths would never have happened in the first place without an escape hatch.  Those are franchise characters and I don’t just mean that in a financial sense.  Part of the appeal of superhero comics is being able to revisit familiar characters.

    Though Vic Sage and Gwen Stacy need to be left alone.  Anybody else is fair game!  Your mileage my vary ;).

  20. Vote with your wallet.

  21. Steve Rogers is a tricky situation. I know what a talented writer Ed Brubaker is and I realize he has been laying hints and building to Steve’s resurrection this entire time, but Reborn still feels very trite and hackish.

  22. It’s funny.  I love Mike and his enthusiasm, but this article, much like the Superman article previously is talking about something that isn’t bothering me at all.

    Maybe I’m much more disconnected from the characters and the idea of "doing right by them" than many readers, but largely I’m sated from caring about the meaningfulness of the death since I’ve got generally good stories to read.  

  23. "Why won’t you die!!??"-Austin Powers

    Great article Mike

  24. Yeah, I’m no longer bothered by the characers being brought back.  I used to be, quite a lot actually.  But now I’ve just accepted that they will eventually return and that the point of their "death" is to tell a great chapter in the story of that character’s life.

    Though I will say that the most recent death to hit me like a sack of potatoes was the latest character to bite the bullet in Invincible.  I really really loved _______ 🙁

  25. Max Mercury’s return was the last straw for me with Flash: Rebirth.  Everybody in the book has died and been resurrected.  What’s the point of doing these stories if both they and the audience knows that there are no stakes?  That’s why few of these "events" move my needle.  I’d rather read something like Y the Last Man or Scalped any day.

    Get ready for Martian Manhunter: Rebirth next year!  Yawn.

  26. Lately, this really kind of thing really hasnt bothered me like I thought it would. I’m fine with them bringing everyone back, except maybe Steve Rogers. I really thought Brubaker was doing a great job with Bucky as Cap, and I thought that it was good for the entire Marvel Universe, so thats probably the only one that I really have problems with.

    Other than that, its really just more about the stories for me. If you can make their death a really good comic, and their rebirth into a really great comic to read, then by all means, do it. As long as it feels interesting to the reader and is not just done to sell issues then I think it is fine.

  27. @stuclach- You’re comment doesn’t make any sense.  Who are you replying to? 🙂

  28. @drakedangerz wasn’t he like in only 7 panels?

    Also, Superboy wasn’t killed because they wanted to kill him. He was killed because of legal troubles. Of course, Johns killed him by bringing back another Superboy. The legal guys must have been fuming. We have book by Francis Manpul doing regular work, so I am not complaining.

    As for death in comics, that is what you get with corporate characters. They’re properties to be utilised, so they have to use the character. And you can’t use a dead character. Unles he’s Deadman.

  29. I would like to see a good 10-15 years of the Dick & Damian pairing. Though, I’d really like to see Bruce come back after Damian takes the cowl. I think that would be have some interesting possibilities..

  30. @muddi900-No, they’ve been in it since the very beginning.

  31. I don’t think they should bring back Bruce Wayne for like two years.  One seems to short.  Three seems to drawn out.  Let’s see how long all these new Bat-titles last, and how good they sell before we even think about bring back Bruce.

    Speaking of death, my little brother used to cry at the end of Godzilla 1985 when Godzilla falls in the volcano.  I assured him that Godzilla could never die, and I was certainly right because he came back in 1989 with Godzilla VERSUS Biollante.  Then again that version of Godzilla actually died in 1999 in Godzilla VERSUS Destroyah but it didn’t seem nearly as sad that time because it was time for Godzilla Junior to take over.  They never made anymore Godzilla movies of that version of the character after that.  They tried to reboot him like five times and most efforts were pretty weak after Godzilla 2000 and the one with all the bugs that turn into a big brute of a monster at the end.  Megaguirus or something.

    I wish somebody would start putting Godzilla comics out again but not Dark Horse.  They do enough fucking up on Star Wars!

  32. @KickAss – The comment was still there when I wrote the response (I think). No offense intended.

  33. Other then Steve Rogers coming back I’m fine with people coming back and forth from the grave. Geoff Johns is sorta exploring that with Blackest Night as it seems like Death itself is pissed about the constant ressurections.

    I’m only upset about Steve coming back because it’s been way to short of a time to bring him back. It’s been only a couple of months in the Marvel universe when you think about it. So we mourn for his death over and over in the comics but then he might sudden reappear quickly? Boo-urns.

  34. "I wonder if it is truly coincidence that these two icons from competing publishers died around the same time or just bad luck."

    I think the DC writters jut have some sort of magic power to borrow other people’s story ideas with out realizing they are doing it. 

  35. anyone notice all the founding members of the justice league and several of the first recruits have all died except for wonder woman and black canary?


  36. Laurie came back to rick in the walking dead…. But he was crazy/ delusional.
    -Let the dead rest.

  37. I’d never claim to be a huge x-men fan, so the frustration of Jean; with all the dying and coming back, the dying and coming back, I always just assumed that was inherent with the whole Phoenix thing.  Is that wrong? 

  38. I thought the Jean problem was that we just think the kept killing her and bringing her back a zillion times.  we get our wires crossed with all the movies, toons and mulitverses time travel and clones.  And you have a point about what a Phoenix does.

  39. The thing that bothers me about bringing both Cap and Batman back, is what happens to their replacements? Dick is great in the cowl. Bucky is a great new Cap. Do we end with two of each? Do the sidekicks return to being sidekicks? Cap’s death was well handled and I don’t mind him coming back, but Batman’s death was so muddled that I don’t know if I wanted it taken back or kept as is.

  40. I think the tide of criticism against death and rebirth is unfounded in general. I enjoyed your smart and thoughtful argument againts it, but… really. Isn’t it about the stories? If they tell good stories then I will not complain. Where I agree with you in that the trick is being overused far too much in the last decade and certain professionals in the idustry have accused Marvel and DC in particular of being somewhat one trick ponies when it comes to their variety in story telling. I guess it is what it is and if I like the story I will read it, if I do not… I won’t.

  41. I really hope they leave Bruce gone for longer than a year.  The bat books are more exciting than they’ve been in quite some time, and maybe its just me, but its about darn time they gave Dick his due.

  42. Meh, I’ve been reading comics so long it’s really not an issue for me anymore.  As long as a ‘death’ issue is written well then bringing them back a few months later doesn’t make that enjoyment I had months earlier disappear.  It’s just part of the genre we enjoy… it’s just doesn’t bother me.

  43. Do a good story and I don’t care if the character was dead 1 issue or since the 50s. The sidekicks are the big example.

    Jason Todd was done badly and I don’t believe anything good so far has come of his resurrection. Poor story telling when it could have been a good story about Bruce Wayne and his inner conflict. Bucky was done excellently and I believe great stories surround him constantly. 

    Just think it through and do a good story, if it involves resurrection cool beans. 

  44. Oh and Bruce Wayne isn’t dead so it doesn’t count.

  45. Big $$$ or a movie deal can bring a hero back quicker than you can say Barry Allen as the Flash.  



  46. Death and resurrection is as old as comics themselves. If they didn’t bring people back from the dead half the fan-favorite characters wouldn’t be around.

  47. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for keeping a character dead as long as the death was advertised and stretched to it’s full potential. By that I mean if a character dies and their death had some sort of meaning then great! Keep them dead by all means; HOWEVER, should a writer possess a more effective role in the stories to come as a live character, then by all means bring them back, but please don’t half-ass it. I just want writers to do the best they’ve got at what’s handed to them. I’m not asking for anything more and I won’t settle for less. I’m sure whatever kind of role DC has for Bruce Wayne it will be substantially significant and that the writers are doing the best they can to stay true to the character. Trusting the writers is all we can really do. Then we purchase the product, and we harshly nitpick the shit out of it, but with love… with love.

  48. @Conor

    But you may have 50% more new characters which ar fan favourites! 🙂

    But yeah, I couldn’t care less.  I have more problems with trade releases and the publishing side of things, as long as a story is good I buy it, if it isn’t, I don’t.

  49. @KickAss: What was the essence of your first post (the one that apparently has been deleted by the censorship police?) I think your comments are usually spot-on, so I’m curious what you had to say…

  50. I’m all for bringing chracters back, but I think in the case of Batman and Captain America, it’s all just too soon.  While I’m happy Steve Rogers is on the mend (because I love the character), I was enjoying Bucky Barnes’ time in the role.  It’s the same with Dick Grayson as Batman.

    The only thing we can do is hope that the creators, editors, and such behind the books are capable of doing all these things smartly and doing them well.  Then, I don’t know if we’ll all be so worried. 

  51. I agree with Mike.  In the case of Cap it’s been over two years since his death but in "comics time" that isn’t very long to tell enough stories.  With long story arcs being the norm we have only got to see the new Cap emerge as Captain America and fight Skrulls and go back underground.  I do disagree about Superboy.  He wasn’t  dead for long but his death has a mistake in the first place.  He was killed by editorial because of the legal battle over his name. DC could call him superboy so they decided to kill him.  So bringing him back after that issue was resolved was fine by me.  I love the characters Bruce Wayne and Steve Rogers but there are plenty of good stories waiting to be told with their successors.

    I also agree with Mike about the Spider-Man unmasking.  I stopped reading Spider-Man years ago because it was the same tired stuff.  When he was unmasked in Civil War it was great to see his enviroment change and watch how Peter was dealing with his new life. Then BAM change it back.  I know that BND has revitalized Spidey somewhat and I happy his not the same sad boo woo my life sucks Peter.  I would have liked to see them shoot MJ instead of May to get rid of the marriage and still have his identity outted while on the run witht the New Avengers.

  52. its an interesting discussion. I personally feel that characters should stay dead as long as possible.

    Ressurection is fine in general because it ties in with the fantastical nature of superhero comics. However, comics are always seeking more legitimacy in wider culture, which I think is a good thing, and constant ressurections weaken the whole genre from the outside looking in.

    People, in general, want meaningful stories and cheapening death is the ultimate in removing meaning. The Death of Captain America made headline news around the world and, one would hope, garnered much interest and new/returned readers. When the world learns that Steve Rogers is back I for one cant imagine a reaction other than, "Typical comics, meaningless non-sense" or words to that effect. It seems like a short term gain which ultimately damages the industry moving forward. If Steve Rogers came back in 5 or 10 years time then I feel it would be an event to rival his death, in terms of global attention. 

     It is a tight rope walk, using character death effectively. I feel that its misuse is a contributing factor, in admitedly a long list of reasons, for why comics are not taken seriously as an artform or worthy literature. 

  53. It’s pretty well documented at this point that Steve Rogers was only supposed to be ‘dead’ for a few issues, and the death was extended to make an event out of it.  If you want to get annoyed at anyone, get annoyed at marketing.  I think it would have been a lot worse if the writer had been told he had to ditch his original story completely in the name of some kind of arbitrary principle.  And I don’t get the "what happens to the replacement character when the old hero comes back?"  The same thing that always happened to them, I suppose?  The only way you’re guaranteed not to get stories about a character is if they’re not available for writers to use, ie, if deaths are permanent. 

  54. Some good posts in regards to this. I do think that when you ‘kill’ a character, you should leave them dead for a while. A year or so at least. It lets the story about the death and its consequences mature and grow as well as priming the fan base for the return.

  55. " But this cycle of death just to get everyone hyped up, only to bring the characters back a year or so later–it’s like the comic book company who cried wolf."

     And yet you’ve gotten issues and issues of great stories of Dick dealing with being Batman.  Stories that would never be told without the death conceit.  And when Batman returns, there will be cool stories of how  that’s good news/bad news for the characters that have stepped up.   And it will be a whole new turn for the Bucky/Cap dynamic when Cap returns.  All potentially great stories that can’t be told without the return of the original icons.  

    Fans should learn to appreciate the "now."  Reject Previews!  Permanent death belongs in finite storylines.  The American superhero medium is a soap opera with all the deaths, resurrections, evil twins and amnesia included. 

  56. Funny how this article comes out one day before Supergirl Annual #1 where Superwoman is back in the game now.  I still think Supergirl Annual #1 is going to be my Pick Of The Week even though it doesn’t explain how Lucy Lane is back from the dead.  It is still a beautiful fucking issue.  The creative team is going places.

  57. Is Uncle Ben still dead?

  58. The last death that really hit me and they haven’t gone back on was Alex DeWitt, kyle’s first girlfriend in Green Lantern

  59. @RoiVampire  Why isn’t she a Black Lantern?

  60. Captain Marvel stayed dead.  I remember his appearance in "Civil War" faked out the iFanboy’s hardcore!  Some other podcasters at the time got so overly bitchy it was hilarious to listen to, if not a bit disturbing.

    Anyway, my point on the original article was, the complaining doesn’t help anything.  The characters die, they don’t die.  In the end, it’s fiction, take it or leave it.

    @jjcolin- If Uncle Ben was a DC character, he’d be back as a Black Lantern about now! 🙂

  61. hi guys-

    I have been swamped at work so I haven’t been able to participate in this discussion, which I regret, because some great points have been made. I would hasted to explain that oftentimes my articles hope to propel some kind of discussion…I don’t sit up and night and stew about this stuff; it’s more like I see certain things happen and if others are noticing.

     I agree that marketing needs a certain amount of continuity for fans, new and old, to get a chance to experience the characters in their "true" form. My complaint, oddly, is almost the REVERSE of my Superman frustration–where I wanted, badly, for the status quo to return. So, I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite, to some extent. 

    However, I do think that, for the most part, it is (seemingly) impossible for publishers to deviate from the status quo for too long…and the amount of time they can deviate depends on a whole host of other factors, depending on if there are movies, videogames, underoos…I dunno.  I just was surprised to hear about Bruce coming back (and yes, I realize he is not truly dead, but everyone thinks he is, you can’t pick up an "in continuity" book explaining how detailed his cave painting has become, so he might as well be dead) and it just struck me as unfortunate.

     As far as complaining not doing anything, I guess I would hope that my piece, while yes, starts off as a complaint, but tried to explain the complaint in terms that I hope would make some sense and, hopefully, resonate with the iFanbase. As a few of you have said here and in other places, iFanboy is a place for discussion, and complaints tend to kick off discussion. For me, iFanboy is like a really large comic book shop, where we can get our books and hang out and talk about stuff. A lot of us don’t have a shop where we can do that, you know?  Yes, it’s a fiction, but it’s fiction that we keep returning to, so we obviously have some emotional connection to the story, the characters and the book’s history and it’s great to listen to people’s takes on these kinds of things. But if we were just going to go, "Whatever, it’s just fake, anway," then what’s the point of any of this? Yes, it’s a fiction, but it’s stuff we care about and enjoy caring about.

    That being said, I think an Uncle Ben Black Lantern would be just about the most awesome thing ever.


  62. Very good points all around Mike Romo.  Nice.

    Except the part about it being "awesome" if Uncle Ben were a Black Lantern.  You just don’t get it Mike, do you?  You don’t get what it is to be a Spider-Man fan.  You don’t.  🙂

  63. My beef with Captain America coming back is that his ghost haunted the last 25 issues of his title and it doesn’t feel like he was really gone.  With Bruce, I think him being gone is great right now and it’s chaotic fun.  I’d love to see him gone for ten years and then come back…..Unfortunately, …..*sigh*…WB has movies to sell and they made 1/2 billion dollars on the last one so of course, they are going to bring him back.  Just out of curiosity, how long was he gone when frenchy filled in??  Real time, not comics time….

  64. I have a quick question, if a "magic time bullet" threw Cap back into time, how did (I believe) Thor commune with the flag draped ghost of Rogers?

    I will say I do enjoy them having the beats of the return of a superhero down, before killing them, that way it makes more sense then retconning details. 

  65. gahh morrison is writing batmans return count me out

  66. @ohcaroline: Good question.  I think the death/fridge think stirred up to much controversy that they may not touch it. Plus it looks like the dead g/f focus is going to Jade.

  67. The simple truth is that DC and Marvel do not care about their characters. They’ll do to them whatever they think will get them to sell- or whatever satisfies their price writer’s whims, logic be damned. Which they have a perfect right to do, of course- the problem is that they are showing that they don’t care for *the fans* of those characters either. It incences me when they talk all about how they’re doing these changes "for the quality of the story" or when they complain that "the fans don’t get it" when neither thing is what they care about. The story implications of deaths (and ressurections) are just one of those facts they rarely bother with. Heck, DC’s "Blackest Night" crossover might be the ultimate expression of this "screw you" to characters and fans. Though that will depend on how it ends.

  68. After years of reading comics, I think I’ve become numb to the fact that characters come back from the dead. Sure, I will give the notion an eye roll or two, but as long as the resurrection is written well, it can be just as meaningful as a death scene.

  69. I mean, hell, its not like Captain America just comes back from the dead by walking through the door and says "Hey guys, I had the weirdest dream!"

  70. @JesTR  That makes sense — God knows, Kyle has dead girlfriends to choose from, and Jade was certainly a more developed character.  On the other hand, I find it kind of funny that a story that’s purporting to be an examination of how death works in comic books would skirt around a major controversy about death in comics that is explicitly tied to the GL books.

  71. @Sijo. The point of good writing is to take a character and drag him through the mud, forcing him to develop and change. Story comes from conflict, not static events.  I guess I don’t see a reason for their to be a "respect" for the characters like most people think it. "Respect" the characters by expecting more and taking risks, not by maintaining the status quo. The fan entitlement thing has always bothered me. I’m not trying to call you out or argue with you or start a flame war. I agree with you that there needs to be a "respect" for characters, just in a very different way. Sorry. It’s also late, so my tone probably comes off as way more agitated than it’s meant to be.

  72. @English. That’s an awesome story idea. It’s a shame we won’t see anything like that. I really doubt Marvel would let Brubaker take a risk like that.