Deaths are never a pleasant event in one’s life. That is, of course, with the exception of deaths drawn in comic books. Although fans usually have a hard time accepting the death of a favorite, popular character, chances are that he or she eventually gets resurrected. Keeping an eye on deaths may also contribute to the value and importance of your comic book collection, as deaths are usually a priced collection for any comic book fan.
It is first important to realize that main characters have died at least once or twice. Batman died recently in Batman R.I.P arc, which lead to a two comic funeral special written by Neil Gaiman. Although the arc series was poorly received, the Batman R.I.P still holds a place as one of the issues in which Batman dies. While it does not yet have much collective interest, the value is very likely to rise. The two funeral arc special called “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” is a must for all Batman lovers as well as Neil Gaiman collectors.
Not all hero deaths are alike. Superman’s death which had a similar effect as Batman’s, had occurred a few years ago in 1992, old enough to cause the issue to attain collector status. Al Simmons’ suicide marked a symbolical change in the Spawncomic books, as the protagonist changed entirely. That current issue will gain a collective value as time passes and it becomes rarer. Spiderman had a few death offerings to collectors as well – Spider-Man #17, Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #71, Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75, Amazing Spider-Man #398, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3. Peter Parker’s death in the new Amazing spider man 700 which was recently published, is causing uproar in the comic book community as Peter Parker died unfairly and poorly. A controversial death is one worth collecting.
Although main characters come and go, what is perhaps more important in collecting death comics are deaths that had an impact on the main character or the storyline in a series. For example, Boy Blue’s death in Fables was one that was unexpected and sad. Its consequences are still felt in the Fable comics, and the issue where he dies and its funeral are much sought after even though Fable only recently surpassed 100 issues. Although there are a lot of main characters dying in Walking Dead, the one that stands above the rest is the death of Rick, the protagonist’s wife and her newborn child. That death was a hard one to swallow for many comic book fans, since it was brutal and unexpected. It definitely affected the protagonist and brought about some very deeply rooted consequences in that series.
Speaking of a hard death to swallow in 1988’s Batman a Death in the Familystoryline, gave fans the ability to influence the story through voting with a 900 number on whether the second Robin would die or live. Robin died, brutally murdered by the Joker. Although the character returns much later on, that issue is a collector’s favorite as the second Robin remained dead for a long time. Be prepared to hear of numerous supporting character deaths in the future as comic book writers and publishers are more reluctant to kill a superhero icon than a supporting character.
The new Batman series the Death of a Family features the reintroduction of the Joker in the new 52 (DC’s reboot of their universe), and also offers some interesting covers that are likely leading to someone’s death. Keep a close watch on any series that is close to reaching a conclusive ending as it usually takes someone’s life along with it; preferably a main character dying unexpectedly and unfairly.