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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Swartwood-Walker

Perpetual Resurrections

As everyone knows, comic book deaths, specifically superhero comics, are never taken seriously anymore. Characters like Superman, Captain America, and Loki have all experienced their fair share of resurrections. It's a cycle that can leave fans wondering if death holds any true weight in these stories. Nevertheless, the perpetual resurrections serve a purpose, allowing fan favorite characters to be explored in new and exciting ways, and granting them a chance to evolve over time blah, blah, blah...I get it. Why have your character "die" at all then? I find it quite insulting to the reader.

There's a reason the Joker wasn't killed off in the original run: they thought they might do more with him in the future. Makes sense. Loki, is constantly being brought back and that tracks for his character. But in the end, when he definitively dies in the MCU he was still brought back by other means. When I watched his death scene in Endgame, it was sad and seemed final. But you knew he would be back somehow and of course we now have the TV show Loki. (Not to bash Loki, he's a great character and it's a great show - watch it.)

Ra's al Ghul emerging from the Lazarus Pit

DC Comics has a nice plot device for bringing back characters: The Lazarus Pit. I do like that it's not just a "well she's alive again, back to business" type of resurrection. There are consequences to using the pit, but a lot of times the person just becomes the same character they always were. There are exceptions to this like Jason Todd but there should be more. Using the pit should change them and keep them changed.

The one saving grace for this problem is Spiderman. Uncle Ben always stays dead. Gwen Stacy always stays dead (not including any multiverse or spider-verse). I do think that the finality of the deaths in Spiderman make his character more relatable and hit harder; because in his life, death means death. The events of the comics and movies are taken seriously by the viewers and readers. So when something happens you don't think "no that's not the end, they're gonna come back" you think "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" and you feel the appropriate emotions.

So from one graphic novelist and comics super fan to all superhero writers out there: If you insult the reader too many times, you'll lose your reader. So quit resurrecting characters. It's lazy.

Author and illustrator Jennifer Swartwood-Walker with her published works

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