One Fan's Opinion: Issue #24

Thu, January 26th, 2006 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Erik Larsen, Columnist

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How many times are you guys going to fall for the whole "Spider-Man's getting a new costume that sucks and it's going to replace the old one that rocks" trick? Marvel has been pulling this one off for decades now and every time you guys take the bait-- every time.

This is not going to replace the old costume for the long haul. You will not see this costume on Spider-Man in 10, 20, 30 years-- by then he'll be wearing some other shitty costume and you'll be moaning about that.

But I've gotta hand it to 'em-- it got people talking.

Same deal with the "Death of Superman." It astounded me that there were people that actually thought that this would be a permanent situation-that he'd be dead forever. And that was followed up with that "Lightning Strike" Superman and, again, readers thought that this would be permanent.

Just how gullible are you?

Batman's back is broken-- he'll be gone for good! Somebody else is Batman-- that's going to last forever! Gotham City is a "No Man's Land"-- we're in for it now!

Hawkeye-- dead! Green Lantern-- dead! Robin-- dead! Elektra-- dead! Aunt May-- dead! Bucky-- dead! Colossus-- dead! Jean Grey-- dead! Norman Osborn-- dead! Nick Fury-- dead!

And you believed them again and again and again and again.

Don't you ever stop and say to yourself-- "man, I feel pretty stupid" for falling for yet another stunt like that?

It makes a person wonder.

When I started doing my own book over at that Image Comics outfit, one of the things I was determined to do was stop this kind of nonsense. That, really, dead should be dead.

But then, I started doing some of that same stuff, messing around and fooling readers into thinking one thing was happening when it was really something else going on. I've pulled of a couple of fake deaths along the way and it's worked out okay for the most part. The nice thing about there being one guy in charge is that I don't have some other bozo coming along and reviving characters that I killed off (poor Elektra). If I want somebody to stay dead, they stay dead.

It's actually been a lot of fun to see just how far I could go.

Destroying the Earth and having Savage Dragon relocate to an alternate reality was a pretty bold move, I thought.

The one thing that I feel strongly about is that deaths should matter and that if you revive somebody for some reason-- their death should have some impact. If Elektra is killed off and then revived by some other creative team and she looks and acts the same as she did in the past then her death really had no lasting impact. If, on the other hand, she's revived and she smells to high heaven and attracts flies and looks like a rotten corpse-- that's something else entirely. That's playing by a different set of rules.

But I don't make the rules for anybody other than me.

Marvel and DC and every other comic book company that owns their characters have a vested interest in their well-being. These characters are their bread and butter and when a Frank Miller comes along and gives them a gift like Elektra-- it's no wonder that they want to keep playing with that gift even after Frank buried it in the backyard. These corporate conglomerates can't endure if every creator that comes along decides to kill off their icons. They need their icons to peddle as movies or plaster on beach towels, Slurpie cups and Underoos.

So what we've ended up with is the "Illusion of Change." And the Illusion of Change means that they'll forever be pulling fast ones-- killing off characters and reviving them, breaking characters' backs, replacing Them, giving them new costumes and every other kind of harebrained shenanigans.

That's why I have trouble getting all that excited about the next sprawling epic from corporate comics that promises to "change the world forever" because I've seen how long "forever" has lasted before and it's not very long.

That's why a death or change in "The Walking Dead," "Gdland," "Sin City," "Hellboy," "Spawn," "Girls," "Invincible," "Scott Pilgrim," "Street Angel," "Acme Novelty Library," "Minimum Wage" and so many other books owned and controlled by their creators has so much more of a lasting impact for me-- because I know that there won't be some other creative team being shuffled into place that will negate everything that has come before and bring these books back to square one.

That's the way I like it.

But that's just one fan's opinion. You may feel otherwise.

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