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  1. #16
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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.

  2. #17

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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.

  3. #18
    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.

  4. #19
    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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  5. #20
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    The Metal Men?

  6. #21
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilee View Post
    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.
    Thanks very much for the insight. Makes since there's no one moment, but rather a creeping sort of normalization of it.

    I very much agree with you on the "everything you know is wrong" trope, too.

    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
    I agree with that, more or less. Unless there's a specific point of one company differentiating itself from the other over the practice, and in this case, there isn't.

    Oh, and I guess I can add Iris Allen in as another reversed death. I have actually read that issue, and I still don't really "get" the explanation for her and Barry back in the future (since sperm donor was his only purpose, it was just stupid). I like Iris, and was glad enough to have her back. But the entire story, done in service of introducing Bart (whom I adore), doesn't really work that well for me. Just sort of has to handwaved away. Really, his connection to the Allens is all handled a bit clunkily. But not for this thread.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-19-2019 at 06:06 AM.

  7. #22

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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.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Thanks very much for the insight. Makes since there's no one moment, but rather a creeping sort of normalization of it.

    I very much agree with you on the "everything you know is wrong" trope, too.
    Yeah... This topic has just made me reflect on a lot of old stories that makes me realize why I really dislike certain trends. For example, I should mention one of the earliest stories I remember about the whole death/resurrection line, which then later ties into the ret-con trend, where I realize some of the reasons why I really dislike both of these trends, which is the original death of Lightning Lad story from the 60's. (I will note that this story was written in 1964, which is before I was born by a couple of years, so I didn't know about it for probably about 8 or 9 years after it was published). When I did eventually read it in the 70's, I didn't like it, and then in the 80's, there was a ret-con attached to it that I liked even less.

    The whole idea was that Lightning Lad died sacrificing himself in a battle with Zaryan. A number of issues later, Mon-El reveals that there's a way to revive him, using a technology to transfer a life force from one being to another. Needless to say, after a bit of convoluted identity switcheroos and such, it is revealed that Proty, Chameleon Boy's sidekick/pet, had sacrificed himself to save Lightning Lad. Fine, whatever, selfless act and such (though, should be noted, Proty did this more for Saturn Girl than Lightning Lad). Again, story was actually published before I was born and I was coming to it after being exposed to the LSH and its characters for a few years. Very silver-agey type of story, and Proty, while very cute, was not a main character in the LSH.

    But than later... The ret-con came in the 80's (so a couple of decades after the original story) that it wasn't just the life-force of Proty that had transferred to Lightning Lad, but that Proty's actual consciousness and such had been transferred, and that Garth Ranzz had actually never been revived and that the Lightning Lad that I had been reading since the early 70's was not "Lightning Lad" but was "Proty" and such and my eyes were rolling back into my head and I thought "well, this is really stupid". I don't know why, but this ret-con, even though it actually fell into the true definition of what retroactive continuity should mean and such, really bothered me.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent, but this topic just made me think about some of the reasons I got out of reading comics a few years ago, after reading them for decades. Both the "revolving door of death" and the "everything you know is wrong" tropes/trends are way over-used and frankly, have gotten a bit ridiculous in their applications. I just roll my eyes more than I enjoy the stories.

  9. #24
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    But than later... The ret-con came in the 80's (so a couple of decades after the original story) that it wasn't just the life-force of Proty that had transferred to Lightning Lad, but that Proty's actual consciousness and such had been transferred, and that Garth Ranzz had actually never been revived and that the Lightning Lad that I had been reading since the early 70's was not "Lightning Lad" but was "Proty" and such and my eyes were rolling back into my head and I thought "well, this is really stupid". I don't know why, but this ret-con, even though it actually fell into the true definition of what retroactive continuity should mean and such, really bothered me.
    I actually read about that one and disliked it a great deal, even though I haven't ever read the actual stories.

  10. #25
    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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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    You wold be surprised how many people actually thought Clark was gone for good.
    If memory serves (and it doesn't always), they were planning to marry Clark and Lois. Then someone decided that the wedding in the comic book should coincide with the wedding on the tv series Lois And Clark.

    Since that wedding was a good while away, the decision was made to kill off Superman and have a long storyline before bringing him back and then having the wedding. They pulled it off magnificently IMO.

    Who knew they would sell that many comic books just to wait around for a tv show?

  12. #27
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    You wold be surprised how many people actually thought Clark was gone for good.
    I wonder if I would've believed it or not. I was a kid at that time, but by the time I found out that Superman died, he already came back.

    Death and Return of Superman, the video game. That's how I found out.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    For me I think maybe when it was revealed that the Joker had survived the ending of "Death in the Family." (and then Jason Todd coming back really sealed the deal)

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by BohemiaDrinker View Post
    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"
    I agree. There were always characters who would come back soon after dying but Barry's death always kept the immersion for me that characters COULD stay dead. I don't think there's as high a profile death that stuck as long as his. I love Barry but part of me wishes we still had that streak going.

  15. #30
    Fantastic Member mikelmcknight72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Güicho View Post


    A whole event was built on how meaningless Death already was in comics.
    While Superman was certainly not the first character to die and return, he was undoubtedly the highest profile character for whom it had happened. As such, there were a few things that came of it.

    1. It made DC a boatload of money.
    2. They got a lot of publicity on it. I don't know of any comic book stories before it that were written about in newspapers and discussed on the news.
    3. No reasonable person thought it could be permanent. I remember buying the issues as they came out, so that isn't a hindsight observation.

    Even with all of that, it was a fun ride. You just had to sit back, pick up your comics, and enjoy the story. Given all of that, it is no surprise that DC did what all companies do: take what worked once and run it into the ground until it doesn't work anymore. Then run it into the ground some more.

    Unfortunately, the "death" stories still work in all the ways that the publishers want/need them to work.

    This would be my guess for DC as well. I remember reading this as it came out, and there was no question in my mind that it was a temporary thing. It was obviously a cash/publicity thing, and it may be the first modern comic story that got brought up in the mainstream media. Nevertheless, it was a fun ride. Its success likely played a big part in DC and Marvel both diving headfirst into the "death is cheap" trope.

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