By Todd Allen
When you send out press releases and lead with a story in the New York Daily News, I can’t call this a spoiler. Marvel’s killed off another character in a big crossover event and sent out a press release about it ahead of time to try and juice casual sales. And yet, people seemed shocked. You shouldn’t be. This is now a standard tactic that will likely continue until the mainstream media declines to cover it.
As reader, I’m getting really bored with all the temporary deaths. Once upon a time, a character dying packed a little more punch. The various heroes dying off in Crisis on Infinite Earths had some impact. Peter David had an early hit writing Spider-Man with “The Death of Jean DeWolf” arc. The death of Gwen Stacy was a big deal. The original death of Phoenix that accidentally started off this Avengers Vs. X-Men theme was a huge.
Now killing off characters is run of the mill and a little bit boring. Off the top of my head, here’s what I’m remembering. The character gets an asterix if they’re still dead.
- Robin (Jason Todd) – A Death in the Family
- Superman – The Death of Superman
- Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)8 – Countdown to Infinite Crisis
- Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) – Emerald Twilight
- Hawkeye – Avengers Disassembled
- Scarlet Witch – Avengers Disassembled
- Ant-Man (Scott Lang) – Avengers Disassembled
- Jack of Hearts* – Avengers Disassembled
- Giant-Man/Black Goliath* – Civil War
- Captain America – “Death of Captain America” / Civil War
- The Punisher – Dark Reign (yes, he was killed and then reassembled as Frankencastle)
- Wasp* – Secret Invasion
- Human Torch – “Three”
- Spider-Man (Ultimate Peter Parker)* – Death of Spider-Man
- Thor – Fear Itself (albeit very briefly)
- Captain America/Winter Soldier – Fear Itself (a hoax, but they tried to sell it for a couple months)
- Professor X *- Avengers Vs. X-Men (we’ll see how long this lasts, relative to all the other times he’s died)
In addition to all that, Dark Reign left Tony Stark/Iron Man briefly brain dead until the uploaded his brain with a backup copy. (That read better than it sounds.)
All that is just off the top of my head. I’m probably missing a few deaths.
Notice an awful lot of deaths (very temporary, faked or otherwise) associated with crossover Events? Notice several media press releases associated with those deaths?
A bit over a year ago, Marvel’s David Gabriel made what may or may not have been a quip about getting so much press coverage for the death of the Human Torch, they’d kill somebody off once per quarter. Um… maybe?
Axel has teased that the Marvel Now relaunches lead into a Spring Event. Place your bets now on who gets offed in it. Also place a side bet on which mainstream media outlet gets the next exclusive. (It might be the NY Post’s turn again.)
I haven’t touched AVX since the second issue, so maybe this has more meaning in context. Popping open the computer and reading about, I just rolled my eyes. It’s done to death, pun intended.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.