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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default When did comic book deaths become meaningless

    Obviously, when they became over used and there were fakeouts and actual resurrections as a consequence of too many deaths of deaths of too-important characters. I know it was 1980s for Jean Grey when she turned out not to be dead, but did she set a trend for non-belief in deaths or did that take longer? I'm not asking why - I'm just looking for a certain year or certain event that changed reader mindset.

    I started reading comics in 1994. Marvel at the time. Reed Richards was either lost or supposedly dead, but I never considered it would last, and neither did anyone I saw post about it online. By time I got into Spider-Man, Mary Jane had miscarried, but there was some discussion on message boards of people who didn't buy it. So when did the day come when no believed death without hard evidence (and even then didn't think it would be permanent)? Certainly, these examples were both after the Death of Superman. And I can't think anyone expected that to be permanent. To be fair, he's an absolutely major character, so did the same rules apply to B-List heroes then? The idea that dead didn't mean dead forever?
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-18-2019 at 04:58 PM.

  2. #2
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Let's keep this thread DC-related, guys.
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  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Post Under the Red Hood, I believe, is when dead characters began popping back up. Especially in stories like "Brightest Day".

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    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    Post Under the Red Hood, I believe, is when dead characters began popping back up. Especially in stories like "Brightest Day".
    Ironically dead was meant to be stay dead at the end of Blackest Night...

    But I think the real sign of the revolving door of death was when Barry came back.

  5. #5
    Incredible Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Jason Todd and Barry Allen are way too late, IMO.

    Alfred was much earlier, but he didn't start a trend.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-18-2019 at 05:33 PM.

  6. #6
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Jason Todd and Barry Allen are way too late, IMO.

    Alfred was much earlier, but he didn't start a trend.
    Alfred's return was also due to the television show's utilization of him, rather than the DC managerial whims and/or publicity stunts that we have been immersed in in more recent times.
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  7. #7
    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Jason Todd and Barry Allen are way too late, IMO.
    But they were also the "sacred" deaths, Barry specially.

    There was a revolving door already in place, for sure, but I'd say that those 2 were the ones where Dc went "screw it, no death matters"
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    Let's keep this thread DC-related, guys.
    For this specific question I dont think it matters. Whichever company did it first - readers were either going to buy heavy or reject it and whichever way it plays out the other company will be watching like a hawk

  9. #9
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iron chimp View Post
    For this specific question I dont think it matters. Whichever company did it first - readers were either going to buy heavy or reject it and whichever way it plays out the other company will be watching like a hawk
    Well, it matters in regard to the forum this thread inhabits, so this conversation needs to stay on the DC road almost exclusively.
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  10. #10
    Boisterously Confused
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    The Metal Men?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Obviously, when they became over used and there were fakeouts and actual resurrections as a consequence of too many deaths of deaths of too-important characters. I know it was 1980s for Jean Grey when she turned out not to be dead, but did she set a trend for non-belief in deaths or did that take longer? I'm not asking why - I'm just looking for a certain year or certain event that changed reader mindset.
    fFF
    I started reading comics in the late 60's/early 70's (DC for the very most part). At the time, there was only one current-day "hero" who was stated to have died which stayed dead, which was the JSA's Mr. Terrific. Also, there was in the LSH, Ferro Lad and later Matter Eater Lad. None of these characters were "resurrected" until many years later and a least one, if not a few Crisis's, later. Dead really meant dead. Yes, there were some "fake-out" stories, like the mini-series within a series of Batman supposedly "dying" and a "trial" being held to determine which of his main villains did it, only to turn out that Batman was masquerading as Two-Face (the prosecutor) and proving that none of them had done it (sorry, I just remember Ra's al Ghul as the "judge"... Still cracks me up), but the hero was always shown to be alive by the end of the story. Even up until COIE, and for a few years afterwards, dead meant dead... Even when they brought a "name" back, it wasn't the same character (eg. Kara Zor-el Supergirl versus Matrix Supergirl). I would have to say it was sometime in the late 80's/early 90's when things became a bit more of a revolving door.

    I do think there was a bit of a creeping feeling of "death not really meaning dead". Yes, there might have been one, then maybe two, characters that came back, and people were like, "okay... There's an explanation... etc.". But it seems to me that as the first or second ones were accepted, then the companies felt more and more that, "oh, okay, we brought that one back, let's bring this one back". And after awhile, it became more acceptable. So I don't know if there's one particular character resurrection that you can point to. I actually think that there are several of the currently accepted trends in comics nowadays that have been overplayed that never would have been really acceptable a few decades ago. (For example, the "everything you know is wrong" trope... It drives me nuts. Yes, it worked in the Anatomy Lesson from Swamp Thing (though that was an extremely well structured and logical one... which is a true example of what retroactive continuity should be, and not what the various "ret-cons" you see currently are).

    But I just don't know if there's one particular death/resurrection that you can point to that is indicates a definitive start point to this trend.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    So leaving Marvel out of it, it would have to be the Death of Superman. It's the first event in DC's history which the whole purpose was to glorify a major character's death knowing full well it wasn't going to stick.

    Alfred's death was reversed but that was relatively low key and based on the popularity of the television show.

    There were villains that would *appear* to die at the conclusion of a story (Joker was famous for this in the 70's) but since they always indicated the villain would return I would't think that counts.

    So yeah, definitely the Death of Superman.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    By Alfred's death do you mean the one in Pre Crisis? Because most people don't even know that one. The big ones are Barry, Jason, and Clark. Outside comics people only know Clark. So I'd say in general it would be Return of Superman where people started to go "wait, really?" and then even though they don't read comics, they may hear about Jason, Bucky, and Barry, but for me personally is when I notice people start coming back after a year.

    I don't mind Jason or Barry coming back that much because for them it's been a while, but when I noticed Batman's back in a year even though he's not technically dead, Peter Parker's back in a year, and then I counted others... Damian's also back in a year...

    So I guess for me it's right after Damian. Damian himself wasn't it for me because I don't think Morrison killing him is fair for writers who have been developing Damian so far, even if he's the creator, Damian no longer belong just to him, and with Damian's status as the only biological son of Batman that DC kept promoting I 100% convinced he's gonna come back in a year, judging by how long the others stay dead.

    When Wolverine's death was announced I was like "sure" and when Tim was revealed even though he's not technically dead I was like "okay, a year" then when Daredevil was announced I was like "Oh my gosh"

    I don't know which one's first, Wally and Roy or Daredevil, but either way, I was like "This is a waste of time"
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 07-18-2019 at 10:34 PM.

  14. #14
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    By Alfred's death do you mean the one in Pre Crisis? Because most people don't even know that one. The big ones are Barry, Jason, and Clark. Outside comics people only know Clark. So I'd say in general it would be Return of Superman where people started to go "wait, really?" and then even though they don't read comics, they may hear about Jason, Bucky, and Barry, but for me personally is when I notice people start coming back after a year.

    I don't mind Jason or Barry coming back that much because for them it's been a while, but when I noticed Batman's back in a year even though he's not technically dead, Peter Parker's back in a year, and then I counted others... Damian's also back in a year...

    So I guess for me it's right after Damian. Damian himself wasn't it for me because I don't think Morrison killing him is fair for writers who have been developing Damian so far, even if he's the creator, Damian no longer belong just to him, and with Damian's status as the only biological son of Batman that DC kept promoting I 100% convinced he's gonna come back in a year, judging by how long the others stay dead.

    When Wolverine's death was announced I was like "sure" and when Tim was revealed even though he's not technically dead I was like "okay, a year" then when Daredevil was announced I was like "Oh my gosh"

    I don't know which one's first, Wally and Roy or Daredevil, but either way, I was like "This is a waste of time"
    Yes, I'm referring to Alfred's pre-Crisis death.

    With Barry and Jason, they remained dead well after death became all but meaningless in comic books.

    Superman's death is the first example I can think of in which a major character was killed off with the sole intention of creating publicity, as well as knowing they were always going to bring him back.

  15. #15
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingaliencracker View Post
    Superman's death is the first example I can think of in which a major character was killed off with the sole intention of creating publicity, as well as knowing they were always going to bring him back.
    You wold be surprised how many people actually thought Clark was gone for good.
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