Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

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8 Responses

  1. Rick Taylor says:

    Great article Martha. I agree, having lost so many people over the years I find that the comic book 'death' almost offensive. It never really happens for anything other than shock value beacuse they never really stay dead. It's done for some cheap shock value.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Losing friends and family is an inevitable part of aging, but we've lost so many exceptionally talented people in comics, each far too young: Marshall Rogers, Dave Cockrum, Neil Pozner, Archie Goodwin, Gene Day, now Mike Wieringo… the temporary comic book death cheapens these all-too real, all-too horrible occurrances.

  2. Brian Alvey says:

    Great article. It's definitely a frequent lazy writer cop out — and no one is fooled into thinking the plot demanded it or that the character is going to stay dead.The only two meaningful comic book deaths that come to my early Saturday mind are Gwen Stacy and Uncle Ben.

  3. Elayne Riggs says:

    Love the first sentence in the last paragraph. Every time someone talks about the need to make comics or TV or any kind of entertainment more realistic, I sigh. I want my entertainment, particularly my fantasy entertainment, to go beyond realism. I want things to happen for a reason, to mean things, precisely because they often don't in real life.

  4. Alan Coil says:

    After decades where nobody got killed in comics (remember the shock the first time Wolverine killed?), killing is as common as jaywalking. Even to make it more banal, there are the constant resurrections of dead characters.

  5. Adriane Nash says:

    these days there are more and more paralells between soaps and comics:nobody stays dead and murder is commonplace, used as a marketing tools (ratings=sales). No one holds the mantel of a character very long these days which is the comicbook version of recasting the role: supergirl, wonder girl wonder woman, marvel girl, jean grey, phoenix, the flash, todd manning, roman brady, clint buchanan, jessica buchanan, lucky spencer, craig montgomery, manhunter, the question….And I'm not even going to go near how people age, especially kids but I learned in Charlotte that I am now older than Batman and Wonder Woman (and Winona Rider who was dating Johhny Depp when I staritng high school). It should be noted that when DiDio put Batman at around 30 the 'then hold old is Nightwing?' grumbles were ignored.It's fine to accept that 2 years of my comic book reading can cover 2 weeks in the universe but Martha you are right, killing off folks is now passe. Its as if we have now had the little voice in the back of our head that told us our hero would make it out of this battle alive has been replaced by the voice that tells us nobody really stays dead.Yes in the real world death can be random, and comics are an escape. Therefore our response as readers to killings should never have been reduced to 'meh.'

  6. John Tebbel says:

    Perhaps we are drawn to the immortals of serial fiction precisely because we are freed from this fact of life. Whatever woes reality serves us, the book is always on the bed table, Law and Order is always on the television. I am tempted to cynically fault the owners of these characters for their relentlessness, but I can’t forget the touchingly naïve efforts of Conan Doyle to kill off Sherlock Holmes and the wonderful Misery, wherein Stephen King wisely examines the worlds of life and death and fiction and writer and audience.

  7. Patrick says:

    *Stands, Applauds* Brava!