Thursday, February 02, 2006

In comics, why doesn't dead mean dead?

I won't call it a trend, because it's been going on forever, like when Bat-Man thought Hugo Strange was dead more than once in the 30's up until the multiple resurrections of Phoenix (get it? Ugh.) today. In comics, death doesn't really mean squat.

I suppose it can be attributed to the nature of company owned comics where you will never have the same writer/artist team forever, but all too often it's just done for shock value. A beloved character is killed to spike sales, and then inevitably comes back to appease fans. Wiser folks than me have said "don't give readers what they think they want".

I don't know why it bugs me, because if it's a good story, it shouldn't matter. In those cases, I suppose it doesn't. I really enjoyed the last multi-issue story arc in Captain America which focused on the return of Cap's sidekick, Bucky, who hasn't been around since the 40's. If rampant resurrection didn't happen as much, the reader base probably wouldn't be as apathetic when a character does die. DC Comics seems to be addressing this, by having certain of their mystical characters reveal that the door between life and death has been wedged open since Superman came back, and has now been closed. Time will tell if dead really means dead though.


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