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Post By
Evil G:DR

In Reply To
The Black Guardian 
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Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 25,760
Subj: Re: Someone always has to die. That's the law around here.
Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:14:18 pm EDT (Viewed 75 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Someone always has to die. That's the law around here.
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 07:21:44 am EDT (Viewed 84 times)

Previous Post




    Quote:
    But even back in those days, there was still the notion that you could kill off a lower-tier superhero and they might actually stay dead. If you killed off a civilian supporting-cast character, they were probably going to stay dead. And, looking at the characters you named, Cypher was killed in response to fan-demand. Magik died because her story could only really end one of three ways; she becomes a monstrous villain, she 'fixes' herself and in doing so loses everything that makes the character who she is, or she dies.

I disagree completely. She could easily have transcended that and become a better character for it.


    Quote:
    And so she 'died', with her 'death' being a negation of her timeline, reverting her to a child

Except, as the story even stated, her timeline was not negated.


    Quote:
    The trouble with resurrecting characters for those purposes is that you have to put in all the time and effort to bring the character back, for the sake of them being able to star in a book that isn't likely to last long, with or without them. Was there really any point to the Necrosha crossover beyond "bringing back Cypher so her can be in New Mutants"? (and of all the dead characters we saw again in Necrosha, surely everyone here can think of at least 10 other characters we'd rather have back. Even if you just listed Maggott ten times, you're still right).

I'm no Cypher fan, but he would still have probably made my Top 10 characters to deserve a resurrection in 2009.


    Quote:
    Can anyone truly argue that the last New Mutants book would have tanked sooner without Magik and Cypher? It's like bringing Jean back because the X-Factor lineup needed her, taught everyone the wrong lessons about bringing characters back, and subjected us to resurrections not many people were vocally demanding, and of characters who would often be right back in limbo within a year or two anyway, so may as well have been dead still.

X-Factor taught us no such thing with Jean. People had been demanding Magik and Cypher back for decades. Heck, Doug's death in the first place earn Simonson a lot of "fanemies."


    Quote:
    I'd go as far as to argue that Colossus and Nightcrawler both probably could have stayed dead. It would have been in defiance of fan-demand, but Colossus had hardly done anything of any note since 1994, while since he left Excalibur in 1998, the only times Nightcrawler mattered were in storylines where they were actively trying to make him suck (or that one thing that was so bad it was good. You know what I'm talking about). A team book is an ensemble cast, and ensemble casts have certain characters that remain essential, and others that they can go on without, and not noticeably suffer.

No question Nightcrawler had gone down some horrible paths. Colossus too. The correct response to this is for writers to stop doing it, not killing the characters.


    Quote:
    The fact that we didn't need Colossus back is probably best shown by how, once the initial "nostalgia pop" was over, we'd run through re-tellings of him doing his old routines like "throwing Wolverine" and "getting back together with Kitty like it's still 1982", no-one really knew what to do with him, leading to a series of bizarre and drastic status quo shifts to try and make him more interesting. He's been a Juggernaut, a Phoenix, and one of Cable's paramilitaries, all in the space of about 3 years.

Writers not knowing what to do with him doesn't suggest he wasn't needed back.


    Quote:
    The X-books in particular seem to have forgotten that if you insist on using this "death and return" formula, a key element of it is making the readers feel like the dead person is mourned and missed. And the more and more that the X-Men just lurch around from one fight to another without stopping to breathe, the less and less each death matters, because no-one's taking the time to stop and care.

Agreed there.


    Quote:
    When the Spider-Man books brought back Aunt May in 1998, despite no demand for it, and her death being an acclaimed and beloved issue, I think that really marked the point where, if even civilian characters could come back from being Very Dead, and if Marvel were bringing back characters that the fans wanted to stay dead, we were living in an era where "death in comics" was utterly meaningless. With that in mind, yes, you have a strong argument for not bothering to kill anyone.

    But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it?

Apparently not. Aunt May's return proves this.


    Quote:
    But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it? And if no-one ever died and there was no sense that anyone was in any actual danger, there'd be no sense of threat, nothing really at stake in any of the super-battles. So it's not "stop doing that", it's "do better".

That's never been a good argument, but yes, "do better" and that means "stop doing that." Other, better writers do.

> > But even back in those days, there was still the notion that you could kill off a lower-tier superhero and they might actually stay dead. If you killed off a civilian supporting-cast character, they were probably going to stay dead. And, looking at the characters you named, Cypher was killed in response to fan-demand. Magik died because her story could only really end one of three ways; she becomes a monstrous villain, she 'fixes' herself and in doing so loses everything that makes the character who she is, or she dies.

> I disagree completely. She could easily have transcended that and become a better character for it.

And in turn, I disagree with you completely. It would be like taking away Blade's vampirism, Nightcrawler's unhuman appearance, or Rogue's inability to control her powers (........wait a minute...), if you fix all of a character's problems either their story is over, or you have to find them new problems to keep them interesting, and the new ones are less likely to be as compelling.

> > And so she 'died', with her 'death' being a negation of her timeline, reverting her to a child

> Except, as the story even stated, her timeline was not negated.

OK, poor choice of words, but you knew what I meant.

> > The trouble with resurrecting characters for those purposes is that you have to put in all the time and effort to bring the character back, for the sake of them being able to star in a book that isn't likely to last long, with or without them. Was there really any point to the Necrosha crossover beyond "bringing back Cypher so her can be in New Mutants"? (and of all the dead characters we saw again in Necrosha, surely everyone here can think of at least 10 other characters we'd rather have back. Even if you just listed Maggott ten times, you're still right).

> I'm no Cypher fan, but he would still have probably made my Top 10 characters to deserve a resurrection in 2009.

Over everyone else who showed up in Necrosha? Really?

Cypher being the only one to come back is a slap in the face to every fan of Caliban, Maggott, Banshee, Fabian Cortez, Unus, Thunderbird 1 and Fat Harry Leland.

That the Necrosha crossover just randomly decided that Shinobi Shaw and a load of the Acolytes had just died off-panel some time ago, and they're not coming back either, just made it even worse.

> > Can anyone truly argue that the last New Mutants book would have tanked sooner without Magik and Cypher? It's like bringing Jean back because the X-Factor lineup needed her, taught everyone the wrong lessons about bringing characters back, and subjected us to resurrections not many people were vocally demanding, and of characters who would often be right back in limbo within a year or two anyway, so may as well have been dead still.

> X-Factor taught us no such thing with Jean.

It taught us that if you're going to go to the lengths to bring a dead character back, giving them a starring role in a book that's going to last more than 2 years goes some way to suggest that there was a need for them to be back, because they were an important part of all those stories that someone had wanted to tell. That _IS_ an important lesson, and no-one really learned it.

> People had been demanding Magik and Cypher back for decades.

There was demand, yes, there always is when a character is killed off, but in those two cases, it had died down long ago, there was no huge vocal demand for it, and they'd both been gone so long, and the world had carried on without them, that there was no pressing need or demand for it.

See also: Marvel bringing back Blink after fan-demand for it had died down.

At the absolute least, it would have made sense to launch the New Mutants book first, see how it sold, and see if there was demand amongst the readers to bring back the deadies, before doing so, rather than treating them being back as a necessity before the book could even start.

> Heck, Doug's death in the first place earn Simonson a lot of "fanemies."

Well, that death seems to have been a predecessor of the 2004 Hawkeye death, in terms of "a lot of people vocally started caring about him only after he was killed off", with added funny irony over the fact that he'd been killed off because the fans that were writing to Marvel vocally hated him enough to convince them to kill him.

> > I'd go as far as to argue that Colossus and Nightcrawler both probably could have stayed dead. It would have been in defiance of fan-demand, but Colossus had hardly done anything of any note since 1994, while since he left Excalibur in 1998, the only times Nightcrawler mattered were in storylines where they were actively trying to make him suck (or that one thing that was so bad it was good. You know what I'm talking about). A team book is an ensemble cast, and ensemble casts have certain characters that remain essential, and others that they can go on without, and not noticeably suffer.

> No question Nightcrawler had gone down some horrible paths. Colossus too. The correct response to this is for writers to stop doing it, not killing the characters.

Well, yes, "stop writing crap comics" is always a good plan. But I stand by the point that if a character has been a mainstay in a team book for years, but either a) no-one's done anything of note with them in years, even decades, or b) the only things of note done with them in many years, were all terrible, then that probably IS a character you can kill off, or at least "retire", and get away with it.

> > The fact that we didn't need Colossus back is probably best shown by how, once the initial "nostalgia pop" was over, we'd run through re-tellings of him doing his old routines like "throwing Wolverine" and "getting back together with Kitty like it's still 1982", no-one really knew what to do with him, leading to a series of bizarre and drastic status quo shifts to try and make him more interesting. He's been a Juggernaut, a Phoenix, and one of Cable's paramilitaries, all in the space of about 3 years.

> Writers not knowing what to do with him doesn't suggest he wasn't needed back.

Needed? Don't confuse "you miss him" with "he's needed". Iceman's one of my favourite X-Men, and he's also had years of just...being there, and I wouldn't for a moment delude myself that they couldn't go on without him, or that he'd be "needed back" if he was gone. What had Colossus brought to the table over a couple of decades of just being there, that was suddenly absent from the X-Men once he was gone? Of all the charges you can hurl at the Casey/Morrison/Claremont books of 2001-4, "Colossus wasn't there for any of it" isn't really going to make the list.

> > When the Spider-Man books brought back Aunt May in 1998, despite no demand for it, and her death being an acclaimed and beloved issue, I think that really marked the point where, if even civilian characters could come back from being Very Dead, and if Marvel were bringing back characters that the fans wanted to stay dead, we were living in an era where "death in comics" was utterly meaningless. With that in mind, yes, you have a strong argument for not bothering to kill anyone.

> > But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it?

> Apparently not. Aunt May's return proves this.

Not really. I don't remember many people really warming up to the idea of her being alive again until about 4 years later when JMS had her learn that Peter was Spidey. Until then, the sum total of "things done with her to justify her coming back" were "Aunt May gets a new haircut".

> > But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it? And if no-one ever died and there was no sense that anyone was in any actual danger, there'd be no sense of threat, nothing really at stake in any of the super-battles. So it's not "stop doing that", it's "do better".

> That's never been a good argument, but yes, "do better" and that means "stop doing that." Other, better writers do.

In terms of "ongoing serial fiction where people are fighting all the time and trying to kill each other, but no-one actually ever dies", the writers who are doing that would presumably be working on children's cartoons. Stopping all deaths in comics would be absurd.


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