Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Death, Revisited

The guys in the comic book store today asked me if I was "excited to find out who dies." I just sort of looked at them then replied "have you seen my pull list?"

Unsurprisingly I don't care about which member of the Fantastic Four has or hasn't kicked the bucket. But then, I rarely care when a DC character dies either. Usually it isn't someone I care about, and if it is -- like say Batman -- I still can't muster up outrage/sorrow/interest.

I know this topic has been overdone (I almost said "done to death") but I it bears repeating again. Despite what the mainstream media seems to think whenever a comic book character dies, death in super-hero comics is not news. Death is simply another storytelling tool in this genre.

Now, we could argue on an on whether or not it's crass or clever or whatever. But the fact of the matter is that "death" is in the super-hero writer's toolbox. It's not going away and that's fine. And generally I think they use it sparingly enough for it not to get too crazy.

Still, at some point writers need to ask themselves if a major death is really the most effective tool for whatever story they want to write. There are so many tools that nobody uses any more. Just look at the Silver Age... Inter-dimensional criminals, alternate future doppelgangers, super-pets... It's a wide world out there.

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At 10:05 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Done to death indeed. In fact, it has reached the point where, I am thrilled to read a book where a character DOESN'T die! And they are becoming few and far between.


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