Superheroes die and are shortly resurrected all the time now in mainstream comic books and when I say mainstream of course I mean Marvel and DC. Characters are usually killed after laying down their lives to stop some cosmic threat from destroying the time/space continuum and in the aftermath tears are shed, curses hurled into the ether, and message boards deluged with angry missives, pro and con, about said death or deaths which is all for naught because the heroes are resurrected in short order after a respectful period of mourning and pick right up where they left off fighting the forces of evil.
Rather that used to be the way it was because comic readers have now gotten wise to the stunts publishers have been using to entice them into reading their various infinite invasions chronicling earth-shaking events. The only ones who seem surprised now when a cape bites it temporarily are mainstream talking heads who don’t know Ms. Marvel from Mary Marvel.
It used to be different though back in the antediluvian days before the rise of the internet and grim and gritty. In the late 70’s, early 80’s, if a major character was killed, it almost seemed as permanent as dying in the real world because stunt deaths were unheard of and unneeded to sell books. Bucky, various Legionnaires, and Green Lanterns did not get over a dose of mortality because Lady Death was called upon sparingly since creators and editors knew if every fictional character died then none of them truly did.
That being said though there were times when superfolks passed on in the line of duty that caused tremors in the reading public that vibrated down through the years and even decades. This is a list of the top five superhero deaths in this writer’s opinion with the various impacts explained because I have come to praise the heroes not to bury them.
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This article was first posted on July 1, 2012