DC’s Killing Fields, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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18 Responses

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    There is an on line petition to resurrect Ch'p, the Green Lantern Squirrel-thing that was run over by a yellow tractor trailer.To quote from the petition: "Thay [sic] can bring back Jason Todd, but they can't bring back a Squirrel?"http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bring-back-ch…I'm only the 66th person to sign this petition!

    • Alan Coil says:

      Ch'p was a being, a trusted friend, and a member of the Green Lantern Corps, not a "Squirrel-thing". Have some respect for the dead, please.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Well, I'm going to be the 67th. And I urge all Ch'p lovers to join me!

      • Russ Rogers says:

        "Squirrel-thing" was meant only as a descriptive term, I meant no disrespect. Ch'p was truly an "intergalactic anthropomorphic hero" in the best sense of the term! And so far, FOUR names have been added today to the petition to bring Ch'p back from the long hibernation that is DC Universe Death. Mike, I'm sorry, your name was 68th on the list! I think it's interesting to see who beat you out for spot #67.http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bring-back-ch

        • Mike Gold says:

          Not surprised that Linda got there first. She's a HUGE Green Lantern fan. Particularly Guy Gardner.Makes for an interesting marriage.

  2. Alan Coil says:

    I agree with you. But when you said "Death has no sting in the DC universe.", you were being a might unfair. Death has no sting at Marvel, either. Even long term dead people at Marvel are being resurrected. Captain Marvel (who died from cancer 20+ years ago), Bucky, and Cyclops have all returned.

    • Mike Gold says:

      I was going to add Phoenix to your list, but then I figured "what the hell, she's named Phoenix."I've criticized Marvel before; today's column was in the context of my finding six such stories within one month's solicitations for the DCU alone.

  3. Mark Behar says:

    Well, if Marvel can resurrect Jack Kirby and Joe Maneely– THEN they'll have my attention. Seriously though, I'm not surprised that DC resorts to this kind of nonsense. When you have 6-7 titles per month involving Batman and co., how can anyone expect the writers to create unique plot twists year-after-year that don't involve the threat of death to some major character?

  4. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    My main gripe with DC of late (defined as "since Identity Crisis") is not so much the number of people they've brought back, but the number they've killed in the first place. Death can be a very dramatic point in a story – most great moments of literature and cinema deal with it in one way or another. But DC has made it into its stock in trade. There are stories that Dan Didio has a list of characters that he has decided would be okay to kill off in an event book. It seems DC has decided that the best, nay, ONLY way to create drama in one of these books is to kill people off. When Barry Allen and Supergirl died in CoIE, it was a big deal. Supergirl came back, albeit a new version, shortly after, but Barry stayed dead. His death meant something. The deaths we've had in the last few years, the ones that should have ENDED a story, served as a mere bump in the road. Superman Prime BLEW UP A PLANET, and then destroyed an entire universe in Countdown. It sorta blunts the drama of him turning Pantha's head into a fine red mist in IC just a year and chenge before.Worse even than death alone, is the character that gets a MAJOR build-up, only to get killed in the end after all. Ted Kord got his best story in years, only for it to be his last. The Question was brought back from comics limbo solely to pass the torch to a new Question and die a very unpleasant (and fairly realistic) death, and new characters Osiris ad Isis got a lot of good press, only to get the big finger. And they introduced so many characters in Countdown that got taken out just at they captured the readers' attention that I won't even try to listof them (tho Jokester and his whole plotline as introduced in the Search for Ray Palmer special tops the list). There's have been endless characters that ended up far more popular after their death in dramatic history; in Star Wars alone you had Boba Fett and Darth Maul. But if you play that card too often, the reader gets gun-shy, afraid to like any new character for fear they'll just be snatched away to serve the larger plot.Judd Winick has practically revelled in death; or in his case, "trick death". He'll end a book with bodies all over, blood everywhere, thicker than ketchup, only to reveal that they're all fine, or just in a coma, or it was a clone, or whatever, completely invalidating the emotion spent by the reader. In Pro Wrestling, this is known as a "Dusty Finish", (after the man most responsible for its use, Dusty "The American Dream" Rhodes) where the ending of a major match would be undone the next night on TV by claiming a DQ occurred and the ref changed his mind, or whatever. Again, perfectly valid drmatic trick, but when used to the degree DC has of late, it renders the readers cynical. By now, when we see bodies in a Winick book, fans will all but start a pool on how it'll be undone the next issue.Ted Kord has never been more popular since he got headshotted by Max Lord. He's made more appearances after his death than in the last five years before hand. He (or at least his memory and legacy) has become a major character in the spectacular new Blue Beetle title, his return was teased in Manhunter, and he appeared in "heaven" in Gail Simone's All-New Atom. Now he's back again in Booster Gold. And the Tedfen are very happy about it, but bacause of all the death-related stories we've made it through, our prognosis for his long-term heath is not good. Not to get too far into the details of the story, most readers cannot forsee any scenario that doesn't end with Ted stepping back into the path of the bullet to fix the now-skewed timeline. So once agaibn, we're gonna be left with a GREAT story that gets more people interested in a character, only to take him out at the end. But at least well get a far better and more upbeat story for a finale than we got last time. Geoff Johns is one of the finest writers DC has right now, and if there's anyone who can pull out an ending that DOESN'T result in a dead Ted, it's him. But for right now, I have the same mindset as Betty Suarez on the delightful ABC show Ugly Betty. Her boyfriend is going to return to Colorado to marry his first girlfriend, who he got pregnant before he met Betty, and make an honest woman out of her. So Betty knows he has to leave, but she's taking advantage of the few months they have together, knowing full well it has to end, but there's still there's that tiny hope in her mind that some wonderful thing will happen so he'll get to stay. That's EXACTLY how I feel about Ted in Booster Gold. I know in my heart it'll all end in tears, but I'm perfectly willing to hope against hope that something will happen to make it all better.

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      Well said, Vin. One of the best column comments I've seen lately.I love resurrecting this subject about as much as Marvel and DC love resurrecting their characters. I think between Mike, Martha, me and probably other columnists we've talked about it at least a half dozen times since ComicMix began. Everyone has their favorite pissed-offed-ness at a character death (mine are between Jericho and Dove) and feels all sorts of justified when the writer expresses remorse (as Waid did with Ice) or when those characters are inevitably resurrected as we know they must be in order to maintain the trademark.

      • Mike Gold says:

        Martha and I talked about this yesterday. It's important to note that people have such strong opinions on the subject — way beyond what we saw on the original Crisis on Infinite Crises, when people objected to the killing of characters they didn't bother to support. Now, people are reluctant to defend the death and/or resurrection of their childhood favorites. Why bother? The success of the "event" death and resurrection has been reduced to the perceived collectibility by an ever-shrinking group of buyers.

  5. mike weber says:

    I was, shall we say, a tad ticked off when they killed Ted Kord – for ghod's sake, he was the only former Charlton character they got *right*. (Though they were closer to what Vic Sage should have been all about from the beginning in the run-up to his death in "52".)I remembera "Young Justice" story in which we see, from behoind the TV, Cissie, Cassie and Red-Tornado's-adopted-daughter-whose-name-i-forget sitting watching a video."Bang!""Wow," says the kid, "Old Yeller's dead and it's almost the end of the movie – how does he come back to life?"And Cissie and Cassie have to explain to her that movies arent't like the (DC Comics) Real World – dead people and dogs stay dead in movies…

  6. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I always thought two of the hardest positions to hold in the DCU were priest and athiest. How can you console people about death in a world where resurrection is more commonplace than double-yolk eggs? And similarly, I'm always fascinated in Mr. Terrific's adherence to a lack of an afterlife when he has fought side by side with literal servants of God, and personally knows a number of people who have come back to life.I've loved Traya's (I CAN remember her name – like being the Smith of Lancre, it is my blessing and my burden) completely skewed view of life and death as they've played it. her daddy comes back from the dead all the time – she even plans a little party when he dies again in Meltzer's JLA. She's played as such an innocent, it works perfectly.

  7. Chuck Fiala says:

    Mike, You're right on the money here. The death of all the New Gods has to be the topper for all of this.Chuck Fialahttp://www.swordandsarcasm.com/

    • Mike Gold says:

      Yeah… but I wonder why DC's releasing their New Gods action figures this month…I've enjoyed Starlin's mini-series, except for that "death of" part. It's one of the most entertaining Superman stories I've read in years.

      • Chuck Fiala says:

        Mike, I also am enjoying Starlin's series. His work is always great. But, I also could live without the "death of" part.

  8. Andrew Collins says:

    Well said, Victor, and I wholeheartedly agree. Death has no resonance in the current DCU as characters seem to go through the great revolving door of Heaven every few years, or else they show up on one of DC's '52' alternate Earths (witness the new solicitations for the JSA Annual featuring the return of Roy Thomas' Earth-2 characters, including the 'dead' ones like Jade and Silver Scarab…)To add a few more examples to Mike's list, DC's expanded July solicitations also included these books and descriptions:FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM #1, which promises to "honor the passing of a great hero who's been a staple in the DC Universe for many years." The general consensus is that Martian Manhunter is going to be the one who bites it, which will be another great Silver Age (not to mention JLI) character smeared into the dirt, only to make a miraculous comeback in a few years after a writer makes a decent enough pitch to DC editorial.Meanwhile, BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #9 features this solicit: "Don't miss the return of the former Outsider, LOOKER!" She's even pictured standing next to Batman on the cover. Another great resurrection, considering she got blown up on panel in an issue of Geoff Johns' Infinite Crisis…I liked it better when John O's Suicide Squad had the exclusive rights to gruesome deaths in the DCU…at least there you kind of new to expect it and John always handled the deaths with a great sense of realism and dignity…

  9. Russ Rogers says:

    Just an update: In just the few days since this article was posted, the on line petition to resurrect Ch'p, the Green Lantern has gotten 13 more signatures! That may not sound like much, but that's a 20% increase in one week for a petition that has been posted for a year and a half now. Obviously the groundswell is building. It's also nice to note that such luminaries as Linda and Mike Gold and Joe Staton have added their names to this petition! With star-power like that behind the cause, can Ch'p remain dead much longer? I don't think so.http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bring-back-ch