iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #103 – Death and Comics

Show Notes

The death of a superhero is a bit of a misnomer, because all comic book readers know that, given enough time, they will return from the grave. There are so many characters who have been killed and been resurrected that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them.

But there are great stories about superheroes biting the big one, such as The Death of Captain America, The Death of Captain Marvel, or Batman: A Death in the Family.

When does it work? When is it just a stunt? Ron, Josh, and Conor go over some of the more memorable deaths, as well as the more ill-conceived variety.


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  1. Wow…A little late there for the Sopranos parody arent ya?

    Everything you guys have talked about death in comics, immediately thinks Marvel dropped the ball for Wasp. Her death is not going to effect anyone but Hank Pym and it isn’t going to resonate with the entire Marvel U. All it did was just remind us how Bendis, just like with Hawkeye, haphazardly wrote the end of Secret Invasion and it felt like he needed to get some type of death in there to make the event work.

    Also, no love for the Martian Manhunter death for Final Crisis? I think his death and the Requiem one-shot will be remembered as one of the greatest death and tributes in comics since….well since Captain America.

  2. Don’t forget they also killed Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Yeah she’s back now but it was a big deal when Crisis came out.

  3. @IronCladMErc: Sure, but not as big as Barry’s death.  That’s the one that still reverberates through the DCU.

  4. Awesome ending.  Haha.  

  5. One death that had an awesome resurrection was ….COLOSSUS. He sacrificied himself to find a cure for the mutant race(legacy Virus) and Whedon and Cassiday did an outstanding job bringing him back! My favorite X-man, and was the launching point for some great arcs within Astonishing X-men.

    @TheNextchampion, I totally agree Martian manhunter was around since for ever and had a gruesome death at the hands of Libra et. all, showing they really meant buisness

  6. So was Moby saying he’s like Captain Marvel?

  7. I wouldn’t say it’s so much that they keep killing Pa Kent off insmuch as that Superman’s been in a lot of media and in a lot of it (Superman: The Movie, Smallville, All-Star Superman, etc) they show him dying.  So it feels like he’s always dying.

  8. fun show guys.  Can we have a celebratory show once they actually kill the Sentry?

  9. Pa is a drama queen…

  10. Dont forget the resurection of green arrow, I love the idea he came back to life as Halls final act at playing god before he died

  11. Gwen died in the 70’s

    Captain Marvel died in the early 80’s

  12. you gentlemen forgot one of starlin’s early kill offs, Adam Warlock.  Now that’s one character that gets resurrected as part of his identity.  But the first kill off seemed real.

  13. Most random episode ending ever. Great episode, though.

  14. Didn’t cap die in WWII?  Hilarious ending 

  15. Cap did not.  Technically, I guess he did, but the point where the reader was aware that Cap was thought dead was after the point where the Avengers found him alive.

  16. I do love Conor saying you could bring back Captain Marvel now "because the Fuehrer already happened."

    That stupid Adolph was always bringing Mar-Vell down.   What a jerk. 😉

  17. Great episode but I cant believe you guys didn’t mention the death of Elektra, it was a very defining death in Daredevils life and it happened in one of the greatest runs in comics.

  18. I’ve never really thought about it, but Jim Starlin does kill a lot of people and GODS!

  19. You’re not wrong about Elektra.  There was a big list of important deaths we didn’t get to.

  20. @josh – Rocks fall and kill Hawkeye from New Avengers.  Clint reclaims the title. -Fin

    you can send me fifty cents sometime. I also can’t wait for the Hawkeye hardcover to come out this spring.  It makes me happy.

  21. Greatest Ending Ever.

  22. In all fairness, Elektra came back in less than a year after she died.  On the flip side, the death of Karen Page is defining Daredevil as a character right now.

  23. @ Jesse1125, Colossus coming back was handled awesomely, yes.

  24. Actually, Elektra assaisen came out less than a year after she died, but it was not revealed that she was alive until  a little over a year.  What I love about the death of Elektra is that Frank Miller recieved death threats for killing her.

  25. Well, she died in 181 at Bullseye’s hand and we were shown she was alive again via Daredevil and Stone’s actions in 190 so unless it was scheduled late, it was about nine months apart, give or take.

  26. To those hoping for the Sentry’s death, I am not sure that you will get your wish as asked.

    If you read the Age of the Sentry series, there are hints as to the reality or unreality of the Sentry. I think that the Marvel writers and editorial staff are getting a kick out of the giant continuity SNAFU created by the Sentry. The idea that the Sentry was around at the same time as the other Silver Age characters but was forgotten for several decades (comic time) using some form of psychic power beyond that of Xavier, Dr. Strange, et al is almost ridiculous.

    In the Age of the Sentry stories, there are interludes in which it seems clear that there are breaks in perceived reality in which the Sentry gains insight into his true nature. And it just may be that the Sentry is not at all from the mainstream 616 Marvel reality.

    My guess and hope is that the Sentry will at some point learn the true nature of his existence, and that will lead to his disappearance from the Marvel everyday. A guy can hope!

  27. @Gabe: Cap never died in WW2, that "flashback" where he and Bucky tried to stop Zemo’s bomb plane was first shown in Avengers #4 1963. (oddly enough, Zemo was never a Cap villain in the war ether. He first appeared in Avengers #6 and wasn’t even mentioned in the original flashback.) Cap’s original run lasted well into the 50’s, with both he and Bucky fighting communism. In order to give Stan Lee’s flashback credibility without debunking the original run, it was later explaned that the 50’s Cap and Bucky were replacements who took an unstable Super Solider serum and had plastic surgery to look like Rogers and Barnes. When they both went insane from the drug, they were decommissioned.

    And thus was born Retroactive Continuity.

  28. I am somewhat torn by killing Sentry.

    On one hand, if you have a good writer on him you can make him work. Paul Jenkins did a great job introducing the character, but didnt bog down the continuity of the man like Bendis did. Although it wasnt that bad of a story when you get the entire story in your mind that Bendis did for Sentry. It seems like Jeff Parker and Tobin are doing a decent job with Sentry, but then again I’ve heard mixed feelings on the title but I’m not sure.

    On the other hand, Sentry has become a continuity and whiny bitch as of late. Him screaming ‘NO!’ and leaving Secret Invasion in basically two panels signified almost to everyone on how useless he is as a main character. Maybe he is great as an out of continuity character, but people like Bendis and others kinda show that he is too difficult of a character to write in main titles. Also, again, he is too scared and whiny of a character to be that much important of a person. But of course he is a Dues Ex Machina when Marvel needs him….which is highly frustrating.

    So maybe I am leaning more to killing Robert Reynolds then keeping him alive; but if someone could make him work in-continuty with the rest of the Marvel U…..then I’m all for him staying.

  29. Speaking of Marvel’s big S, what happened to the Sentry after he went off into space crying during Secret Invasion? And what happened with the Void and Sentry’s wife?

  30. @Josh – Stop trying to kill Kate Bishop. There can be two Hawkeyes and she’s an awesome character.

  31. Actually, I like Kate Bishop.  I just don’t want her to be called Hawkeye if Clint’s around.  I like how she got the name and all that though.  But you can’t have two Hawkeye’s, so she’ll have to go with another name, and I don’t think anyone will be happy with Hawkingbird.

  32. What about Mockingeye?

  33. How bout Ronin?…..Oh wait..

  34. Kill Clint!

  35. Hawkgirl?  No, wait!

  36. Elektra did appear to be alive at the end of issue 190 but to Matt, for all intents and purposes of trying to resurrect, she remained dead. Im not exactly sure when it was that he found out she was alive though but her death was a very defining moment as it left a big impact on Matts life.

    And i felt Karen Page’s death didn’t carry the same weight as Elektra’s death, Bullseye kills another of Daredevils girlfriends, maybe it was because Karen is a junkie and not a bad ass ninja like Elektra, but it simply was not as shocking as Elektras death

  37. @Josh

    Alright I guess I can let you off the hook a little then. I assume this show was taped before Ron got you that awesome YA hardcover and you just didn’t know how awesome she really was. We should just call her Girl Hawkeye. (I’m mostly joking)

  38. Sooo… the Jean that died at the end of Dark Phoenix was a clone of Jean Grey? Does that make Jean less heroic since her sacrifice at the end of DF was that of her clone?

  39. Ah!! I said to myself "is that ‘Journey’?" you guys got me!

  40. My Favorite episode in long time. Thanks for what you do.  And Josh, I agree there can only be one  –  Highlander …I mean Hawkeye.

  41. @davegraham_ Nope, still heroic. They explained that the clone had copied everything about Jean: body, mind, personality, the works. (this is why Prof X couldn’t tell it wasn’t her) So her sacrifice was just what Jean would have done.

    But, the fact that it was a clone does bring up another good point, because this means the real Jean only died once!

  42. Guys come on now, you forgot the most tragic death in the last couple of years:


    (sniffs) It hasnt been the same Marvel Universe ever since Punisher shot a rocket launcher at his face.

  43. The highlight of Civil War for me was when Venom killed Typeface with a bus.  God, I hated that character… which reminds me that if there’s ever a group of characters that are always dying and coming back, it’s villains.  Forget Jean Grey, the one X-Character who won’t stop dying is Magneto.

  44. I love that Jason Todd is wearing a domino mask under the red hood. Can never be too careful.

  45. good show

  46. I’m reminded of my first encounter of superhero death when Steranko had Cap jump into a hail of bullets in front of Rick Jones.  The impact was lessened with his return in the middle of the next issue….

    …and the fact I didn’t realize that Marvel Super Action was a reprint series. Hey.  It was new to me.

  47. Just finished the entire Sopranos series in one, blood-saoked, expletive-filled month (Merry fuckin’ Christmas and a happy fuckin’ new year, BTW) and have to say that while I stand by my earlier comment vis-a-vis this episode, your ending implies you subscribe to the "Tony got whacked" school of Sopranos interpretation.

    That school is wrong.

    Tony does not die when the music stops. Tony’s life goes on, and that’s all the punishment he’ll get for now. Living with a son who’s a complete fuck up, a wife who barely tolerates him but will never leave him, and a once-promising daughter who’s probably going to marry right back into the mob life she’s obstensibly been trying to escape. Indictments are pending, his business is in dissarray, and his best friend is in a coma. And to top it off, every single time a door opens he has to look because it could be someone coming to kill him. He can never again relax, never let his guard down. He can never again be just a regular guy. He’s living his hell right now, on earth. The only thing that happened when the music ended was Meadow coming through the door. But as innocent an even as that was, it was torture to Tony, for all the reasons above.

    Oh yeah, you forgot Elektra too. 

  48. We didn’t forget Elektra, we just didn’t include her.

  49. Yeah, Conor, that was a joke. 🙂

  50. Also, gotta love Ron’s hammy acting in the cold opening.

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