In a Little More Than 2 Years, Nearly Every Single One of My Favorite Comic Book Characters Has Been Killed
As a longtime comic book reader, I have my personal list of favorite characters. Everybody has one, right? Those characters that you love to read about and see pop up in new comics. For a lot of people, their favorite characters are big name superheroes, like Spider-Man or Batman. For me, I tend to prefer the smaller supporting characters. That’s just what happens when you read a lot of comics and are exposed to a lot of characters.
As such, when I started this blog back in 2011, one of my earliest Lists of Six was my top six favorite comic book characters of all-time. With the exception of one name, that list has remained pretty firm over the past eight years.
In the past two years and a couple months, nearly every character on that list has been killed. Several characters in my Honorable Mentions addendum have been killed. And a couple other characters I love have either been killed or nearly killed within this time frame.
I don’t…I don’t know what’s going on.
I don’t presume to think this is some sort of targeted attack on yours truly. I think this is just the unfortunate cost of loving minor comic book characters, the sorts of characters that can be chewed up and spit out as any given writer sees fit.
But damn, this has been pretty hard on the soul.
And I guess I just felt like listing them off, as if that would help me somehow. Let’s start with my favorite characters list:
Multiple Man was killed in Death of X #1 in October 2016.
He’s still dead. Multiple Man has returned to comics, replaced by one of his duplicates. And his character has been re-written as a feckless coward. So that’s some good salt in the wound.
The Mimic was killed in Extermination #5 in December 2018.
This one was really disappointing. He made a surprise appearance in Extermination after being out of comics for a few years. I knew from the moment he appeared that he probably wouldn’t survive the series, and I had to wait several months for those fears to be confirmed.
Phil Urich was killed in Amazing Spider-Man #797 in March 2018.
Phil was my favorite superhero as a kid, and the first comic I actively started collecting on my own, issue-by-issue. I endured years of him being transformed into an unrepentant villain before they finally put him out of his misery.
Tim Drake was killed in Detective Comics #940 in September 2016.
Thankfully, his death was a fake out. He survived and returned to service shortly thereafter. He’s even gone back to being just “Robin” instead of the far more ridiculous “Red Robin”. So there’s at least one happy ending in this list.
That’s it for my list of favorites. I listed “Robin” on that list as more of the concept of the character. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, is still alive…but if I’m being honest, he hasn’t really been ‘Robin’ in a long time. The concept of ‘Batman and Robin’ as a team is pretty dead. So does that count? Not to mention that Damian was killed in early 2013. So for a short while there, Robin was dead.
The Spot is also still alive, but he’s the one character I would probably take off my list of favorites. I’ve always been a big fan of the Spot, and will always be a big fan of the Spot, but there are characters I like better. Which is probably why he’s still alive.
How about some of those Honorable Mentions at the bottom of the page?
Mach X was killed in Thunderbolts #12 in April 2017.
The Scorpion was maybe killed in Venom Annual #1 in October 2018.
I’m not too sure about this one. It does appear that Venom kills the Scorpion, but then Scorpion has been showing up in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man recently. I may have to check and see if there’s an explanation.
Strong Guy was killed in Uncanny X-Men #12 in February 2019.
This is the most recent, and inspired this list. Strong Guy is Multiple Man’s best friend, and one of my favorite duos in comics. And now they’re both dead, and neither one particularly cares about the other these days. So just bleakness all around.
Avalanche was killed in Uncanny Avengers #1 in October 2012.
That happened a year after I started my blog and he’s still dead. The recent X-Men Gold comic introduced a new Avalanche, but I didn’t read it, and I’m pretty sure the character didn’t stick around. The X-Men have since ignored the new Pyro also, and he joined the X-Men towards the end of that comic. So that’s not looking good.
That’s the major list. Eight of my favorite comic book characters have been killed since I started this blog, most of them within the past two years or so. And only one of them has been properly ‘resurrected’ in that time. It’s just a little soul-crushing.
That’s not counting the time Stingray was nearly killed in a recent Avengers comic. Or the speculation that Simon Baz, my favorite Green Lantern, is probably going to be killed in Heroes in Crisis.
I don’t have any larger point to make. And I’m largely just whining. But c’mon. There’s only so much my soul can take. Is it really so wrong to have favorite comic book characters? Is there somebody specifically targeting me?
When will it stop?
All I really know is that Beta Ray Bill had better be very careful now that he’s a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s almost no way he’s going to survive that comic.
This was a good week for comics. My pile was lighter than I anticipated, and I thought things would be pretty calm. But then several issues really stood out to me as winners. We’ve got Silver Surfer, Harley Quinn, Astonishing Ant-Man, Power Man and Iron Fist; this is a damn fine week for the funny books. And almost any of these could have won Comic Book of the Week. I was really tempted to give Harley Quinn major props this week.
But Comic Book of the Week goes to All-New Wolverine #8! Writer Tom Taylor is really pushing Laura as a new hero in her own right, while doubling down on comic book awesomeness. I really love seeing where he takes the legacy of Wolverine, and how he uses it to empower Laura.
Although Harley Quinn has something Wolverine doesn’t: romance! At least I think so…
Comic Reviews: All-New Wolverine #8, Astonishing Ant-Man #8, Harley Quinn #28, Power Man and Iron Fist #4, Silver Surfer #4 and Spider-Man #4.
What a great week for comics! Seriously, this is one of the best week’s I’ve seen in months! Nearly every comic I read this week was a real gem…except for that one comic. The one that pains me to even mention. The comic that burns a hole into my heart like a red hot poker dipped in demon blood! Why have you forsaken me, Christos Gage?! WHY?!
I talk, of course, about Superior Spider-Man Annual #2, which takes a slight break from Goblin Nation to show what Phil Urich the Goblin Knight is up to on the side. As regular readers know, Phil Urich is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, having collected his Green Goblin series when I was just getting into comics as a wee lad in the 90s. And for the briefest of possible moments, when I heard about this comic only a few days ago, I allowed myself to believe that writer Christos Gage, who’d been doing such a great job with the Mimic recently, was finally going to tell the story where the good guy Phil shines through in light of his most recent heel turn.
But no. There was no such thing. Instead, the comic reinforced the evil bastard that Phil has become, declaring him all but lost to madness and villainy. Oh the pain to my little comic loving heart…
Fortunately, the rest of the comics this week were great! Especially the second issue of the new Ms. Marvel, which was just as adorable and awesome as the first issue.
This new series is off to a great start. Just like Phil Urich was back in the day, before…before…I’m gonna need a moment here.
Comic Reviews: Batwoman #29, Harley Quinn #4, Ms. Marvel #2, Superior Foes of Spider-Man #10, Thor: God of Thunder #20, Uncanny X-Men #19 and Wonder Woman #29.
Welcome to the new year, Henchmen and Henchwomen! I can officially say I’ve been doing these weekly reviews for more than a year. I probably should have gone back through all the reviews and picked out the best issues of the 2013, but I’ve been sick all week, and have better things to do (coughing and video games). So we’re stuck just reviewing this week’s titles, which, thanks to New Year’s Day, were short once again.
Fortunately for us, Marvel and DC put out some good titles. Hey…there’s a good New Year’s Resolution! I should start adding at least one non-Big Two comic to the pile each week. Stuff from Image, Dark Horse and all the rest. Sounds like a plan. If any of you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments. It doesn’t have to be a superhero comic either. I want to expand my horizons.
But for now, I’m more than happy for another delightful issue of Superior Foes of Spider-Man, the Comic Book of the Week! Behold, the secret origin of the new Beetle!
Comic Reviews: Aquaman #26, Batwoman #26, New Avengers #13, Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 and Talon #14.
Not that Marvel is actually using my idea, but I totally had an idea for a Sinister Six comic that explored the villains’ personal lives, you guys. I’m super serious here. If only I was a professional comic book writer, then maybe I’d get to write the series instead of Nick Spencer. Still, Marvel is going to publish the Superior Foes of Spider-Man as a series starring Boomerang, Shocker, Beetle, Speed Demon and Overdrive.
I have always been a fan of Spider-Man’s street-level villains, especially the Shocker. I love exploring the idea that these villains are still real people who have real world problems. Not all super-villains are serial kills or mad scientists or want to take over the world. Some of them are working class men and women just trying to make some money through costumed villainy. That seems to be exactly what Nick Spencer has in mind.
“A big part of this book is definitely showing you the life behind the costume. A lot of the time we spend with them, the masks are off. That was actually my pitch here: that these guys, they’re actually a lot like Spider-Man, in the classic sense of the character,” said Spencer. “They don’t have the innate nobility or the desire to do the right thing, but they’re hard-luck stories, just like Peter Parker is/was. They’re not shooting for the stars so much as trying to survive. Every time they win in one part of their lives, they lose in another. So there’s something intrinsically cool and intriguing about that mirror aspect of the relationship.”
Of course, this means I have to cross this pitch off my list of ideas for when I finally get to sit down with Marvel’s editors. Curses!