Does Death Matter?
Superman died. Batman? Broken back. (might have died too, as I recall) Both seem to be in top shape now.
Do superheroes ever die? Killing off a character is a monumental decision for everyone involved, from the writer, to the artists, to the publisher.
How many characters have been killed off, in real or imaginary stories, that stay dead? Honestly I dont know. Do as many fans buy the “Return Of” book as the “Your Character Died” issue? How many times until readers don’t come back?
In times past certain characters seemed outside of the reach of death, including this articles lead ins, Superman and Batman. We have seen that even these characters are not safe from the wheels of time. New stories need to be told, new conflicts introduced. If a character dies, there is nothing to prevent an updated version of them taking their place.
Continuity plays a big part in the decision to eliminate a character. Will current fans be confused if Wonder Woman was around in stories 60 years ago? Probably not. Yet she has been recreated and killed several times; Golden Age WW, Diana, Donna, Artemis, Cassie. Some died and were rearranged in time. Some didn’t exist until time caught up. Some have died to stay that way.
Comics can be worse than the best soap opera, because they have been around much longer, and the characters are cared for much more deeply.
Comics can be worse than the best soap opera, because they have been around much longer, and the characters are cared for much more deeply. [spoiler alert]I cried when Wash died in Firefly[/alert] and I’m sure many of you did too. Firefly, sadly at that point, was known to be finite. Comics like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and many classic others stuggle against being “Never-Ending-Stories”.
Focus on Batman; if everything that ever happend to him was in continuity, he’d be at least 100. But Batman needs to always be Bruce Wayne. Superman is Clark Kent, and Wonder Woman should always be Diana Prince. “There can be only one” Highlander style. DC has done a brilliant job at making Legacy Characters, but some, like the Big Three should be allowed to remain who they started as.
Why then the continued manipulation of platform Characters? There are much better ways to generate publicity for a comic book than killing the main character. Characters may need to die at some point, sometimes, but please let them stay dead.