In the late 80’s - early 90’s DC did some major housekeeping by killing off heroes and replacing them with new characters.
Robin/Jason Todd killed off by a 800 call on campaign and replaced by Tim Drake
Flash/Barry Allen sacrifices himself to save the DC Universe and replaced by Wally West
Green Arrow/Oliver Queen blows up and replaced by his son Connor
Batgirl/Barbara Gordon shot by the Joker and replace by Cassandra Cain
Green Lantern/Hal Jordan Moses his mind and kills the entire GL Corps and is replace by Kyle
These were bold moves that lasted for years and then slowly they each came back.
Am I the only one who prefer the replacements?
You’re not the only one who prefers the replacements… I’m a die-hard Wally West guy!
Kyle was in the early 90s a much more relatable Green Lantern. (He and I were the same age and he was a graphic artist and aspiring comic artist, which in the 90s was something guys my age really wanted to be more than Test Pilots)
Connor Hawke was a great Green Arrow with a nice KUNG FU vibe (KUNG FU the Legend Continues had just premiered when connor was introduced so my temp-track for him in my Justice League theme mix was the theme to that show…up until Arrow, my Temp Track for Ollie was Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) Tim Drake was arguably an even Better Robin than Jason Todd and Dick Grayson put together…
That being said, right now, DC clamping down on resurrections would be catastrophic for fans of a couple of those characters… They could say…“ok the fans want characters to stay dead…Fine! We just killed Wally West and Roy Harper! Now we can keep them dead forever!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
Also, I really have to say that while I am a “Next Generation” Fan, I also was totally behind the returns of Hal, Barry and especially Ollie Until The powers that be (cough Dan Didio(t)cough) started fanning this whole “There Can Be ONLY One” mentality.
There are two “great deaths” in comic book lore: Gwen Stacy and Barry Allen. Gwen died tragically at the hands of an arch villain with Peter being somewhat complicit. Gwen’s death was shocking. Comics were no longer “joke books” or “funny books” as they were derisively called by the uninformed. Marvel put their readers on notice that the "happy ending was no longer a sure thing, and a major character could now die. Gwen’s death carves a massive crater in Peter’s heart but over time he finds true friendship, and then, love in Mary Jane. Clones and the immensely stupid “One More Day” storyline aside, Gwen Stacy is still dead. As for Barry Allen, his death is also a seminal moment in comic book history as he saves “everything” in the Crisis saga. His demise is shocking and sad, but Wally West is there to pick up the mantle and become The Flash. The torch is passed and the great tradition of DC Legacy characters is born. Wally goes on to become arguably a better Flash than Barry. He becomes a beloved character and without question the heart and soul of the DC Universe. DC puts their readers on notice that (insert screeching brakes) they will screw with your head and heart and trash tradition and legacy to make a quick buck(read: The New 52). Barry’s back, Wally’s gone, Wally’s back, Wally’s gone again. WOW!!! Who’s minding the store up there?
I personally only consider Tim Drake a better replacement.
Killing off characters can be a powerful story element, but keeping them dead is I would say, a universally bad idea.
Each character has a loyal following. Killing someone’s favorite character for an extended time is a source for leaving comics altogether.
Comics need more readers, not fewer. It’s not worth the price for some writer to make his personal mark in a crisis series to leave a portion of the fanbase upset.
Maybe I am the odd case, but I don’t stand for it. When DC cancels one of my favorite characters I cancel 10 more DC subscriptions. Kill my favorite character for an extended time and the whole DC pull list goes until it’s reinstated.
I don’t care for any of the dead characters in Heroes in Crisis, but I get what the angry readers are feeling. The bad aftertaste of CoiE is still lingering fresh after decades.
Don’t get me wrong, CoiE is maybe the very best DC story I have ever read, but despite that, it would be the very first comic to erase from existence if I could. It killed decades of comics for me.
I agree totally with the original post. Coville, I get your point, but that’s an argument against killing characters in the first place, not for bringing them back. You say killing characters is a powerful story element, but it no longer has any power in comics because you know you’re being manipulated and the character will be back in a few months or a few years.
If they’re concerned about losing fans of particular characters, don’t kill them. If you want deaths to have any power or emotional content, they have to stick.
Oh… the only thin I don’t entirely agree with in the original post is that I don’t necessarily like the replacements better than the “original,” dead characters. I’m just saying if you’re going to kill a character, don’t negate the drama and sacrifice by always oh-so-predictably bringing them back.