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Wednesday, February 02, 2011 

Canada's National Post sensationalized comic book deaths

In this National Post article, published a couple days before Johnny Storm's unjust "death" in the Fantastic Four, they began with the headline, "how cool is the death gonna be?" And the paragraph within that really leaves me with a bad aftertaste here is:
"Most of the readers, their attitude is, 'Whoever dies is going to come back years down the road,'" says Rob Spittall, co-owner of the Comic Book Shoppe in Ottawa. "For us as diehard comic fans, it's, 'How cool is the death gonna be?' as opposed to actually believing it's going to last.
If that guy really said that, I'm disgusted. Death is not something to celebrate or jump for joy about, and it makes little difference whether this involves a fictional story or not. If we start treating fictional death as a matter of celebration, how will we deal with death in real life? I think there's a very bad influence and example set in this article, and it gives diehard fans a bad name too.
"The major way death is used is to market a book," says Doug Mann, a professor of media studies with King's University College at the University of Western Ontario. "The only way you could prove it's not a cynical ploy is you kill them in a storyline where it's meaningful and then you keep them dead for at least 10 years."
In reply to this, I have to ask: why is anyone asking for deaths in comics at all, or even tolerating them? Why is nobody objecting to the overuse of death as any kind of a storytelling gimmick? Years ago, even during the Golden Age, it wasn't every superhero story where death of innocents, specifically, was emphasized. I figure that if you tried to market a direction for superhero comics today that was similar to The A-Team, where only a handful of innocents (and villains) ever went to the grave, it'd be rejected, as today's audience allegedly can't handle a story with a lighter approach.

If nobody stands up and says that this overabundance of stories emphasizing deaths - particularly ones that don't stem from natural causes - is just what's destroying superhero comics today, the failure to do so is exactly what'll finally bury them. Unfortunately, we can't expect the MSM to convey those opinions.

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That's a really excellent point Avi,
however there are fans such as yourself. Who are standing up and saying enough

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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