Thursday, August 25, 2005

He just "got better."

This was meant to go up yesterday, but the internet broke in Ottawa.

Okay, I read this on the DC website plugging Batman #644. "Don't miss the shock ending that will remove a long-standing character from Batman's life forever!" Maybe they'll set up a toll-free number and we can vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down like in the Roman Coliseum and kill off Jason Todd ... again. Wait, is he considered long-standing being dead all these years?

Welcome to my snark. That didn't take long. What was it, a week?

Actually, I don't care too much if they kill off and resurrect characters. It is fiction after all. And part of the experience of heroes is seeing how they face death. Even villains can be examined in how they meet their (ig)noble end. The only thing I don’t really get is why does a name mean so much? Aren’t we meant to be read about HeroMan, not civilian identity? Who cares if civilian identity has a different name, can’t they be written just like previous HeroMan/civilian identity? Sorry about the English Lit stuff, but death and resurrection are a part of heroic fiction.

I remember talking to a friend of mine about wanting to break into comics as a writer. I said I was thinking about doing a Robin story. I figured that was a decent enough character that wasn’t a major lead. (Yes, my mistake. I've come to see how wrong my initial assumption was. And I haven't written a thing down in comics so obviously that idea of mine never panned out). My friend’s comment was “give that boy some pants.” Neither of us were really aware that there were so many different Robins floating about. Yes we both remember the "Death in the Family" story, but to us Robin was Robin. What I’m saying is that we both knew who Robin was, and what he represents as a character – not who Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, or Tim Drake were. I know they are all “unique” but are they that different? People know the “character” not the “identity.”

Didn’t the Blue Beetle replace a previous Blue Beetle? And I’m reading good things about a “new” Firestorm. I’m sure someone can point out much better examples than I can. Basically, heroes get resurrected all the time whether through actual resurrection or someone taking up the mantle and adopting the role as their own.

I guess what I’m trying to do, besides find a writing style I’m comfortable with, is say that if we enjoy the stories who cares about deaths and resurrections? They’ve been part of heroic fiction since ancient Greece where the afterlife was full of crusading heroes visiting fallen comrades and bringing them back. The entire basis of Christianity is a resurrection story. I’m pretty sure there is resurrection aspects to most religions, but I’m not all that familiar with any religion to comment. Stories like Robinson Caruso, Moby Dick and Gulliver’s Travels are all a form of resurrection stories. Even Peter Pan said that death would be a great adventure.

These stories have been a part of our cultural memory since people started recording things. I think it’s just how the medium of comics taps into a very primal story

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