What Were They Thinking- The Death And Rebirth Of Superman

This week, I'd like to talk about a quite contentious subject, something I like to call the Jesus Effect. Of course, we all know that comic book characters don't age like we do, but apparently they don't die like we do either. And the blame for this I lay squarely at the feet of Superman.

Now, don't get me wrong, his was not the first rebirth. It happened as far back as 1963, when Lightning Lad from the Legion Of Superheroes managed to die in January and then be resurrected in September (only for that to be reteconned as some-one else using his form, gotta love DC continuity), but after extensive research, I can only find four others who have died and been resurrected prior to the death of Superman story in 1993. These being Lex Luthor, who died in a plane crash but was then later revealed to have cloned himself to escape death by cancer and faked his other death (?), Iris West Allen, who was killed by Reverse Flash but resurrected in the 30th century, Alfred Pennyworth, who was crushed by a boulder but then returned to life using a regeneration ray (Holy WTF Batman!?) and Kang The Conquerer, who, let's be honest, has so many alternate forms it doesn't really matter when he dies.

However, if we look at the list of characters resurrected post-DoS, the list is alarming (and consists only of DC and Marvel characters I might add). 69 for DC, 102 for Marvel. Now that is just ridiculous. When a list contains a fairly decent Avengers team, the big 3 of DC, 3/4 of the Fantastic Four and Aunt May from Spider-Man, you kinda have to admit things have gotten out of hand. It's the ways these deaths are removed as well, some of them are clumsy at best (see Captain America) were as some they just couldn't be bothered (Graviton I'm looking at you there).

I know all characters are valuable intellectual property, and killing them in an event is a good way to boost its sales, but this is getting ridiculous. When even a long forgotten character like Barney Barton (died 1969) can be brought back to life (resurrected 2011), I think it's time to take a step away from that big red reset button and say "Hold on, I think this one has been over done before, maybe we should think of something else."

Sorry about the rant. Just had to get it off my chest.

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9 Responses to What Were They Thinking- The Death And Rebirth Of Superman

  1. WillyPete says:

    What *really* bugs me is not “The Death of Superman”… We KNEW that was going to be a fake from the moment the announcement was made! {“If the Universe didn’t have a Superman, it would have to create one…”}
    I AM really tired of all the “Who are we going to kill today?” and “Who are we going to bring back from the dead?” story lines, especially the ‘repeat offenders’, yes. When you stop to think that the much-heralded death of Captain America was the FIFTH time they’d killed him off in the last ten years (!), that goes beyond “just a little silly”, and into “What kind of chump do you think I am?” territory…
    But what REALLY got under my skin was what they did to Cap just before they killed him off!
    Okay, so “The Living Legend of World War II” gets sucked into the whole, terrible, “What the HECK were they thinking?” Civil War plotline…
    That part makes sense, as there’s just NO WAY that Cap would ever go along with the Nazification of America (and it is to Marvel’s deep and abiding shame that they had ANY of their characters go along with it, at all!). But, to have Captain America SURRENDER? Cap NEVER gives up! (Of course, this isn’t really Cap, this is a clone of Arnim Zola who’s running around in a body cloned from the Real Captain America, but I digress…)
    And WHY does he give up? Because the collateral damage was just too great!
    Stop and think about that, a second…
    The Living Legend of World War II gives up because the Collateral Damage is too much? This is a man who saw what Hitler did to France, and then what the Allies did to Germany…
    How much damage are you going to have to do to get him to say something like THIS?
    Of course, since then, the entire Human Race in the Marvel Universe has been exterminated and brought back, so I guess nothing matters any more…

  2. Katmir says:

    I thought it was called the Jean Grey Syndrome because that was her gimmick… But you’re right… I thought it sacrilege to the motivation of Spider-Man and Captain America when Marvel ressurected Peter’s parents and Bucky. Tell me they did the same for Bruce Wayne’s parents.

  3. Herr D says:

    Plot devices overused is one of the easiest proofs that not enough new writers are hired, not enough writers with seniority are fired or ‘given sufficient breaks.’

  4. barbario says:

    you forgot jean grey’s death and resurrection. the numerous times joker has come back from seemingly being killed. xavier did it in the original xmen comics. heck it even happened to sherlock holmes.

  5. JR19759 says:

    @barbiaro- didn’t both with Jean Grey, because that’s her whole deal really since the 70’s, it’d be like putting Solomon Grundy or Resurrection Man on the list. I will concede I forgot about Xavier (he wasn’t on the list I had made which was stupid) and Joker (his very first appearance he died and came back to life). Technically Holmes doesn’t count though.

  6. Keric says:

    In response to The Death And Rebirth Of…(and really this applies to all of them, ) I say,” Yawn, Next!” {I mean it REALLY just doesn’t matter!}

  7. Lordgrimm01 says:

    How about when they use to swear they weren’t gonna resurrect Bucky and Jason Todd (and Ben Parker)

    And then they did…Red Hood and Winter Soldier.

    Next Peter Parker will make another deal with Mephisto to resurrect his Uncle Ben.

  8. CKnap says:

    I completely agree, its WAY over done. I honestly think that some characters like batman should of been dead a lot longer than he was. I dont mind bringing him back but c’mon wait 5 years or something that way we can all kinda move on and forget then BAM its batman! That way Dick could of taken up the mantle properly. Same thing with the flashes i dunno how many there are now. Superman well thats a tough one as much as i like him I dunno im gonna stay off that one. But the big one in my eyes is Captain america, i remember his death after civil war being BIG news it was all over tv and everything. Then next thing you know hes back as some shield guy. He should of stayed dead and left bucky to remain the new Cap. They honestly need to change their tune and throw us that curve ball where they leave heroes AND villains dead at least for more than a damn year haha.

  9. Calvary_Red says:

    It’s not just comics, this is so over done in general characters’ deaths just fail to register with me anymore (unless Joss Weadon’s at the helm, but he adverts this hard). i’ve seen some beautiful death scenes that should be emotional, but all i feel is “see you next episode.” Though, the fact that i grew up on Transformers and Dragon Ball Z really doesn’t help this.