A Daily News writer was privy to the most recent Marvel retreat where the events of Civil War 2 were hashed out, and while a Iron Man Captain Marvel conflict was revealed, the sausage making got very explicit, as the group mulled over who to kill off.
After hours of occasionally heated debate, Bendis and Alonso reveal they had a eureka moment during a 10-minute break and came up with the perfect superhero to sacrifice and an even better candidate to murder him. The answer actually gets a loud ovation from the crowd.
“That’s like an epic,” says Robinson. “I’m genuinely shocked.”
Comic fans, though, are cynical about publishers killing off their heroes. Once-dead heroes like Captain America and Spider-Man have made miraculous recoveries. Rival DC made headlines in 1992 by killing off the mostly indestructible Superman – and then promptly brought him back in a single bound a year later.
“The death is the marketing hook,” admits Buckley. “The thing that’s really compelling is whether or not there’s a story afterwards that’s going to connect with readers and sustain it.”
It’s sort of refreshing to see this honesty about the marketing value of death—which as we always know, is temporary in comic book land. The title of this post refers to a reported comment by Marvel’s marketing and sales vp David Gabriel that they would kill a main character every quarter. Marvel has fallen a bit behind on quota, so it’s about time for a muted funeral scene.
The group assembled for the retreat included Ta-nehisi Coates and G. Willow Wilson, along with Marvel staffers Sana Amanat and Emily Shaw, so at least there was a bit more diversity than in the past. While one might call this baby steps, having different sorts of people in the room is at least a start.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.