Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So there's a petition to save J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, from being killed in an upcoming crossover.

To say I think this is stupid is probably pretty obvious.

First off, there's the fact that he's a fictional character, and his death will have ZERO consequences in the real world.

Then there's the fact that, even in the DC Universe, his "death" is unlikely to be anything permanent. He's a brand character with forty years of history, a role in the justice league (sage advisor) that just isn't filled by any other character, and a huge fondness with fans and creators alike.

Plus he's an alien, shape-shifting, psychic. Which is three plausible resurrection strategies right there. Add in non-character saves like time-travel and clones, and you're looking at a guy who just won't stay dead.

All of which is besides the point. The point is this is a petition against the possibility of J'onn J'onzz being killed. This isn't trying to bring back a forgotten character, or be given a bigger role. The petition wants J'onn J'onzz to never even appear to be in any real danger of dying.

Well, doesn't that just rob any story about him of any drama? If we know that J'onn can't die, why do we care?

Yes, I wasn't happy when the Bart Allen Flash died, but that was because the solicitations basically said, "In this issue, Bart Allen dies." There was no suspense, just a joyless death march, which made for a terrible story. If this petition were successful, I'd be just as unhappy for the same reason. Without the possibility of death, the possibility of failure, the story is just boring.

Which is, basically, what this petition is. It's a plea to DC not to kill a beloved character, at the cost of drama and plot. "Please, Mr. Didio, don't threaten me with unhappy endings. I just don't know if I can take it."

Look, there's lots of causes regarding superhero comics I fully support. I would love to see new female and minority characters, and better writing for the ones that already exist. I'd like to see more support for less "mainstream" books and self-contained, new reader friendly books (basically, please please please keep Blue Beetle and Manhunter going). I even support the return of characters that were "loaned" to Vertigo fifteen years ago.

But I can't support the preservation of the status quo just so some schmoe can keep his imaginary best friend.

p.s. the other character rumored to be killed along with the Martian Manhunter is Aquaman. Who is already dead right now. And no one cares!


SallyP said...

You know, I just wish that they'd stop killing off perfectly good characters. If you aren't using them for anything at the moment, just set them on the shelf. Someone else will come along eventually, with a nice story.

The whole "Death of _____!!" is really getting a bit on old side. It certainly doesn't have the punch that it once did. Now it's just annoying.

Madpuppy said...

I see your point, but I have a different take on the petition. I don't DC to kill of J'onn because "he's my imaginary friend" (heck, he's not even close to being a favorite character of mine). I don't want them to kill him because I'm tired of DC and Marvel killing off characters for the sake of killing him off.

It seems the only way they know how to retire a character is to make them die. Just let him fade into the background until some writer figures out a way to make them interesting.

Death as a way to advance a plot is played out and unnecessary.

My word verification word is "hubbg"- close enough to "Humbug!" for me.

Anonymous said...

Word on that, madpuppy.

It's kinda the same thing that turned me off of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Granted, the old Bantam books weren't much good either (I read them when I was in junior high, forgive me), but then the new ones just delved into this constant downslide of doom-n-gloom hyperbole. It just seemed like they were going darker and darker for shock value/moneymaking than actual character progression. Like, dude, what happened to my fun Star Wars? Fun in general seems to be thrown by the wayside more often these days in favor of dark and gritty and OMG TEH SERIOUS LOOK AT MEEEEE OH DRAMATIZE!

I'm all for some good angst, but I have a limit too. The Force must be in balance. :p

Comics Creator said...

Maybe they should let all those heroes retire, reinvent American comics, and get everyone excited about comics again.

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