The Sky is Falling!

Last week a comic book character died.

Every time the opportunity presented itself, I would say to whomever I was hanging out with, “So do you wanna know what happened in comics this week?” Every time, my friend would laugh, shrug and politely allow me to continue.

The Invisible Woman died.”

“What? Are you serious?” Genuine surprise, possibly even a bit of concern as is unavoidable when speaking of even a fictional death, would roll across each face.

For some reason, the big comic companies have decided to start killing their heroes. It’s certainly not the first time this has happened. Heroes have been dying since forever, but the concentration over the past year is, if nothing else, surprising.

Last September, Captain America died. Now the Invisible Woman.

Last week was also the end of a Batman story entitled R.I.P. Batman in which the Caped Crusader bites the big one. No one (well, by now I’m sure fans have picked up the book, Batman #681) knows whether Bruce Wayne is actually taking up residence in a coffin, or if it’s just “The Batman” who is dying, but one thing that’s for sure is that it’s leading a storyline in the new year: Battle For the Cowl. It’s a story where other characters from the Batman universe, including Nightwing, Robin, and presumably others, will battle it out to take up the mantle of the Dark Knight.

The problem is that it’s impossible to believe any of these major companies. Sure, we’ve all read the interviews where the editors, writers, artists and whoever else they can get to answer questions claims “No! He/She’s actually dead! Like, for realsies!”

But we all remember when Superman died. Heck, even Batman has “died” a bunch of times.

The Avengers and Fantastic Four all “died” against Onslaught a few years back. The Flash “died” in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Supergirl also “died” in Crisis, too.

Point #1: Everyone in Marvel and DC is dying all the time.

Point #2: And they always come back.

That’s the thing. Even though fans go nuts for these Death of ______ comic events, we just don’t really believe in them anymore. Sure, they’re dead. For now. But ever since Captain America died a year ago, I’ve been looking at my watch waiting for his return. Same goes for the Invisible Woman.

Same goes for Batman.

Personally, I bet that Battle For the Cowl ends with Batman stopping whichever baby tries to put on his mask just in time to stop this silliness from getting out of hand.

So why do they do it? I really think that the most obvious answer is the correct one. Dollarz. Sure, those of us living in the premium suite of Dork Tower eat this up. But even the cool kids, the ones who laugh at the mention of “What happened in comics this week!” cared. And if the Big Two can get your $3.99 by turning comics into a Pop-Culture-Icon-Death-Of-The-Week,” you’re damn right they will.

Posted on December 4, 2008 by | Old Stuff | 8 Comments »| Tags:


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