Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comic Book Death

Comic book death refers to the death of a comic character, but despite death being a serious subject, comic book deaths are rarely taken seriously or are treated meaningfully. You see, usually a writer will kill off a character to create dramatic tension or gather publicity, or simply they want to kill off a character they don't like. But, usually some previously unestablished plot device will "resurrect" the character. Because of this, when a character dies, the readers don't feel a sense of loss, but simply wonder for how long or what plot device will bring them back. As Prof. Xavier (of the X-Men) said "in mutant heaven there are no pearly gates, but instead revolving doors." The term "comic book death" doesn't apply to characters like Multi-Man and Solomon Grundy, who have the power to come back from the dead.
Notable Examples
The two most notable comic book deaths were Superman's (in Death of Superman) and Jean Grey (in the Dark Phoenix Saga). But whereas Superman's death was intended not to be permanent, Jean's death was intended to be permanent, but she was "resurrected", so she could join the X-Factor. Peter Parker's Uncle Ben is one of the few characters to be dead and stay dead.
In Astonishing X-Men #6, Emma Frost said "Jean Grey is dead." To which Agent Brand replied "Yeah, that'll last."
In Next Wave: Agents of Hate, two characters were talking about Magik. One mentioned how she died, to which, the other one said, "So what? The X-Men come back to life more than Jesus". In the Great Lakes Avengers, Mr. Immortal (whose power allows him to resurrect himself from the dead) dies and comes back to life in every one of his appearances. Also in the GLA miniseries, to further poke fun at comic book deaths, a character dies in every issue.
Commonly, to "resurrect" a character that "died" it's reveal something happened off-panel that creates the illusion that the character died (on-panel), or they were simply put into a coma or suspended animation. Another method is that it is revealed that the person who died was an impostor. Some times the characters really die and are brought back to life (such as when Martian Manhunter was turned into a zombie via a Black Lantern ring). Rebooted timelines or recreations of characters has been known to "resurrect" some characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment