Image from source, Bam! Kapow!
There's a great scene in the old Sally Field movie, Soapdish, where a soap opera writer (Whoopi Goldberg) is tasked with bringing back a character who had been killed off. The character had been decapitated. "You know what that means? It means he doesn't have a head. How am I supposed to write for a guy who doesn't have a head?" But bring him back, they did.
Just a little while ago, I wrote a post about Laura Leighton's return to the resurrected Melrose Place, as the same character she played in the nineties. Leighton's character, Sydney, was run down and killed by a car on her wedding night. In her wedding dress. It was the motivation for another character, who tried to take his revenge. But they're bringing her back (and I'm sure it will be fabulous).
Soaps are notorious for this of course, and nobody's surprised by it. But comic books are even worse. Nobody stays dead in comics, nobody. Even when we're assured that they're really, truly, completely dead. Even when twenty-plus years go by and they're still dead, sure as shootin', if they're anyone of consequence, back they will come.
Barry Allen, the silver-age Flash was dead for more than twenty years. He's back. His wife was killed off "permanently," but returned long before he did. Superman died in a very famous multi-part series. Stayed dead for a couple of months. But he came back (with a mullet). Batman and Captain America are currently dead, but they'll be back. Count on it.
We can cut them a little slack, though. Unlike soap operas, superheroes are already fantastic, utterly unbelievable. If a character can push around planets (or in some cases, eat them), why not defy the finality of death? I suppose it could be a challenge to some really creative writer out there to create a death so spectacular, so absolutely final, that another writer couldn't possibly resurrect them. But I wouldn't count on it.
Death And Resurrection In Comics
. . .Why can’t characters STAY DEAD? Well the answer is simple really. Economics. There’s money to be made in big, sloppy storylines like Final Crisis or Batman R.I.P. or The Death of Superman. There’s money to be made by killing iconic characters and just as much money to be made in the return of those same characters. Artistic integrity can just be damned. Does anyone think Bruce Wayne won’t be Batman again before the end of 2009? Did anyone think Superman wouldn’t return back in 1993? . . .
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