Let's dispense with the cheap deaths in comics

James Whittle
James Whittle |

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It seems that comic book writers' favourite go-to device to revitalise a comic that has become stale these days is to kill off the title character and replace them with someone new. We saw this start to be a popular trend about 20 years ago with Superman, who was supposedly killed in an epic battle with the monster Doomsday. Over the years, Batman, Captain America and others have also supposedly died, but they were eventually resurrected and acted as if nothing had happened.

Resurrecting characters now seems commonplace. The most recent victim of "comicide" is Spider-Man who, after being mind-swapped into the dying body of his arch nemesis Doctor Octopus, dramatically passes away in soap opera fashion. He's replaced by The Superior Spider-Man series, in which Doc Ock decides to turn to the light and be a better Peter/Spidey than the original. It won't work; Peter Parker will come back to reclaim his body and everyone knows it. And will anyone care? When Clark Kent quit his job as a reporter for the Daily Planet, it made more international headlines than Spidey's death has.

This device is now a joke and is nothing but an easy out for writers. It's on par with "amnesia" and "being in a coma" in soap operas. Comic book writers, you really need to get a new playbook.