Sunday, January 8, 2012

Deadpool - "Dead" - Killing Comic Book Characters


I've been getting a ton of emails asking me what I think about the upcoming "Dead" story arc for Marvel Comics' character Deadpool, the merc with a mouth, and I have to say that I'm fine with. Comic book deaths are as common now as women in scantily clad outfits on the page. I also feel the same way about them -- they're overdone. Now I didn't set out to have this be a preaching affair about how comic book deaths are stupid and how women should have a bit more respect in terms of character, so I'm going to do it a little differently. First off, I'm going to drop the women characters argument and leave that for another post, it deserves the attention. Second, I'm going to explain why comic book deaths can be a good thing if done in a certain time frame.

When Captain America died back in the Marvel "Civil War" event it was felt by the comic community and it felt real and unforced. People mourned the death of Steve Rogers and it isn't hard to see why they did. Rogers is a character who represents the best in anyone who once had a very hard life and was given a second chance to make themselves greater than they could ever be. They left him alone for quite some time before bringing him back and putting him in a different role in the Marvel Universe. But there lies the problem -- the time frame. Marvel and DC have been notorious for "killing" a character and then bringing them back within three or four issues. Why even bother?

When Bruce Wayne died, I kind of flipped my shit. It was also crazy that despite being the most popular comic book and movie character in the world that no one realized that he had died in the books. What kind of marketing is that? Everyone should have been just as upset as when Superman died back in the nineties. Maybe they wanted to avoid the negative reaction from people who enjoy the films, I don't really know. But I enjoyed Dick Grayson's run as Batman more than I thought I would and it gave it a brand new life in the hands of writers like Grant Morrison and Peter J. Tomasi. Scott Snyder made an epic run on Detective Comics with the Grayson Batman, and now he's making another epic tale with the new ongoing Batman title featuring the returned Bruce Wayne.

Where am I going with this? Batman and Cap were each gone for a fairly long period of time. Characters like Bucky Barnes and Thor are being killed off left and right and then brought back an issue or two later. Marvel and DC could both take some cues from the Ultimate Marvel Universe and keep their characters dead if they're going to kill them. Although maybe Ultimate Comics is just a way to release that tension so that long time readers will keep buying the same characters over and over.

And now, back to Deadpool. He's a character who wants to die. He's seen too much, he's insane, and he's actually plotting his own death. I would love to see him finally get some rest from all of the killing and carnage. Will they bring him back? Absolutely. In fact, he might not even die in this story arc at all. But if he does I hope that they let the character go for a year or two. When he comes back fans will embrace him with all the goofiness and violence that he embodies. Until then, sleep well crimson prince.

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