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.
I’ve decided to give Gwenpool a try. I had very little use for that weird Gwen Stacy fetish that popped up a couple years ago, but all of the clippings I’ve seen of the Gwenpool comic have seemed pretty amazing. So the first tpb is on order! I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Meanwhile, in regular comic land, it’s a pretty sad week. We must say goodbye to two of my favorites, Hawkeye and Iceman, the latter of which earns Comic Book of the Week! I’ll miss them both!
Marvel’s Countdown to Infinity kicked off this week and I couldn’t care even a single iota. I didn’t read the issue and I keep skipping all these single page “Where is Wolverine” bits that show up at the end of comics. Just like Civil War II, this reeks of being a slapped-together event to tie into the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie. I don’t care.
I do care about Kelly Thompson’s Rogue & Gambit mini-series, which remains awesome! I hope they keep her around the X-Men franchise!
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #797, Batman #42, Hawkeye #16, Iceman #11 and X-Men Red #2.
I’m not too worked up over this. Maybe once upon a time, I would have mustered some righteous comic fan anger about one of my all-time favorite comic book characters getting killed…but eh. Death is meaningless in comics these days, for one thing. And for another, Phil Urich has been dragged through the mud for awhile now. It was foolish to hold on to hope that he could be redeemed.
I mostly just want to mark this occasion.
For those who don’t know, Phil Urich was introduced to Spider-Man comics in the 1990s as a heroic Green Goblin. He was a teenage kid in the classic Peter Parker vein, and had a 13-issue series about his attempts to use stolen goblin gear to be some kind of free-wheeling 90s superhero. I loved the comic. It was the first comic book this burgeoning young comic book fan bought continuously, rushing to supermarket comic book stands in search of the newest issue.
Phil Urich was my Peter Parker.
The series didn’t last and Phil went into comic book limbo, popping up now and again, like all good limbo characters do. At one point he was turned into a bad guy.
Then Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott turned him into a badass new Hobgoblin, of which I own the action figure.
Sadly, the badass Hobgoblin phase didn’t last and Phil was reduced to the knock-off Goblin Knight role. When that storyline ended, he became an even more pathetic Goblin King and basically just became a total loser villain to the upteenth degree. It was not a good time.
And in the new issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Dan Slott finally drives the final nail into the coffin and has Phil jobbered to the newly re-villainous Norman Osborn.
Just like that, my favorite superhero from my childhood is dead…
…At least until Marvel Comics hires me to write something and I establish that Phil escaped Norman and rushed to the hospital! Or, since he’s a goblin, then he survives by whatever means kept Norman alive or Harry back from the dead or even that time Roderick Kingsley came back. And considering Dan Slott once killed another favorite character of mine, the Prowler, only to bring him back shortly thereafter, maybe there’s some kind of hope.
What’s with Dan Slott killing all my favorite Spider-Man supporting characters? I’ve always been a huge supporter of his!
Anyway, just wanted to mark the occasion. Felt like somebody should.
I still need to go see Black Panther for a third time…at any rate, I’ve got some solid, quality comics to hold me over!
Can you say Amazing Spider-Man? What about yet another new issue of Tom King’s excellent Batman? Or how about Harley Quinn? I’ve got them all! Including the Comic Book of the Week, Mighty Thor!
In other comic book news, did you see that Marvel is pushing for another big all-enveloping change in May? New Avengers focus, new #1 issues shortly after their big renumbering brouhaha. Big everything. I don’t care. As long as they keep making good comics, I’ll keep reading. Though Jason Aaron handling the Captain America, Iron Man and Thor reunion on a main Avengers title sounds like a cool idea!
Comic Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man #796, Batman #41, Harley Quinn #38 and Mighty Thor #704.
This was another great week for comics! I am loving so many books these days. Most of them are Marvel, but I’m really trying to branch out into other comics. But those other comics are going to have to wait, because this week it’s all about great Marvel Comics!
For the first time ever, I’m splitting Comic Book of the Week between two issues: Power Man and Iron Fist #2 and Spider-Woman #5. Both were amazing comics, and both offered a new revelation to me: a lived in, casual Marvel Universe. Both comics tell a very down-to-Earth story about their characters and the hero and villain-populated city they live in, with gossip, friendships, dance clubs and more. Both issues were a true joy to read.
David Walker and Sanford Greene’s Power Man and Iron Fist is already shaping up as the Comic Book of the Year, and we’re only two issues in.
Comic Reviews: Astonishing Ant-Man #6, Captain Marvel #3, Power Man and Iron Fist #2, Silk #6 and Spider-Woman #5.