Thursday, December 20, 2012


No, I didn't just spoil next week's Amazing Spider-Man #700. The title of this post is just an echo of thousands of fans speculating (and maybe rightfully so) on the the events of the forthcoming issue. People are angry. Really angry. So much so they're actually making death threat against series writer Dan Slott. Death threats. Over a comic book. And what makes this entire thing that much worse is that if you've spent more than, I don't know, a week reading comics, you know there's absolutely no reason to assume Peter Parker's alleged death will be meaningful for any reasonable length of time.

Here's Marvel writer Jonathan Hickman on deaths in Marvel and DC from a panel this past summer at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC:
"If you seriously think that a corporate owned comic book company is just going to let a popular IP sit around and collect dust then you're kidding yourself. Every popular character you love that's ever killed off will come back. Next question."
It's one thing for a child to get seriously upset when someone like Spider-Man is killed off. They don't know how the game is played. For them, comic book death has a real finality to it (yeah, kids are dumb). But adult fans who've lived through the death and resurrections? No excuse. Off the top of my head, here's a quick list of characters who've bit the big one only to come back from beyond the veil, some of them two or three times:

Jean Gray
Professor X
Flash (Barry Allen)
Aunt May
Captain America
Mister Fantastic
The Thing
Human Torch
Iron Man
Wonder Man
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan )
Martian Manhunter
Ant Man (Scott Lang)
Multiple Man
Adam Warlock
Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)
Nick Fury
The Punisher
Betty Ross
General Thunderbolt Ross
Doug Ramsey
Black Bolt

And those are just heroes I can think of off the top of my head in about a minute. I'm not even listing villains here.

There are legitimate things to be angry about in comics. Bad story telling, terrible art, gross mischaracterization, ever increasing prices... But character death? That shit hasn't been permanent in decades, if it ever was at all.

No, death in comics, at best, serves the story being told at the moment. When Martian Manhunter was murdered in Final Crisis, it was needed to show just how organized and brutal the villains had become. When Superman was killed in The Death of Superman, it became this story to show the world (both the DC world and the real world) just how important Superman really is. When Hercules died in The Incredible Hercules a few years back, it was to show that he'd grown as a character from being self-centered and carefree to willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the people he loved.

But in all cases, you knew they were going to get better. Or, you should have at least.

The heroes we all know and love, for the most part, exist in corporate owned universes. The majority of them were here before us and they will all be here long after we've died (with no hope of resurrection, sadly). Enjoy the ride while you can and when a character dies, take it and the emotions that follow in the context of the narrative. Trust me, it's a far richer experience that way.

Or don't. If you're really angry about a Spider-Man with no Peter Parker behind the mask, stop reading until he inevitably comes back. Seriously. It's that simple.


  1. pfft, I'm definitely getting resurrected after I die.

  2. Well, of course. I plan to come back AT LEAST a half dozen times myself...


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