Dennis O’Neil: Resurrection
The grass is riz
I wonder where the boidies is…
No matter that if you live in the midwest there may be snow on the ground, and if there isn’t, there was recently. It is, dammit, spring! What you gonna believe, Skippy – your eyes or the calendar?
And to herald spring, here comes one of my favorite holidays – Easter. You know the story: humanity’s savior gets crucified, chills in a tomb for three days, comes out and starts a religion. If you’re into comparative mythology. you can find that similar things happened to earlier deities, including Adonis, Osiris, and Mithra. The myths, and their attendant holidays, celebrate something real – the emotions,including hope, that we desperate humans experience when the long gloom of winter goes away and life returns to the Earth. Our ancestors tended to give phenomena they didn’t understand names and identities. Maybe that tendency still exists in their descendants.
Do we feel that you can’t keep a good god down?
Then what about comic book characters? They seem to have difficulty staying dead, too. I have personally participated in the demise of four that I can immediately remember, all of whom popped out of the afterlife in one form or another, and they’re only a few entries in a rather long list that includes some of the biggies: Superman, Captain America, Robin the Boy/Teen Wonder version two. And then there are the lesser but still prominent characters, including Cap America’s young pal Bucky, Elektra, and one of my personal favorite supporting cast members, Batman’s butler Alfred. (Full disclosure: Alfred wasn’t really dead, only, you know, deadish. For two years.)
And why do I feel compelled to include a spear-carrier who died and stayed dead? We’re talking Larry Lance, the detective husband of the original Black Canary. We gave him a one panel funeral in Justice League of America, sent his widow off to another universe and sweet love with Green Arrow, and forgot about him. Maybe I’ve given Larry a paragraph as a service to serious trivia freaks.
But Larry wasn’t even a superheroes and superheroes who die are our subject, so back to them. DC Comics has recently killed two prominent costumed good guys and raised a bit of a stink in the doing. The (late) characters are (were?) yet another incarnation of Batman’s youthful sidekick, Robin, and, evidently, John Stewart, the African American Green Lantern. What’s notable about the Robin is that he is (was) the first of his ilk who was Batman’s biological son. John Stewart? The stakes are a bit higher: he was one of the earliest of comics’ superdoers who wasn’t a white guy and for a time, he was pretty much the only Green Lantern in the DC Universe. I’d say that as fictional beings go, he’ll be missed. (The Robin? No idea.)
But will John (and Robin?) stay deceased? Well, they’re not gods, not exactly (though they are first cousins to the mythological deities). Will they return? History may be nodding its head yes, but I’ll content myself with a shrug.
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman