Daily News Breaks Marvel Spoiler

This is a spoiler! Do not click the link if you don’t want to know which character death Marvel is promoting now.

The NY Daily News (link no longer available) is running as an “Exclusive” a death that happens in today’s Marvel comics. It’s been rumored for a while, so many readers won’t be terribly surprised. Me, I think it’s just another example of strip-mining their history and characters in order to get temporary bumps of attention. Most accurate is the wrap-up at the end:

Comic book deaths, however, are rarely final. Marvel’s archrival, DC Comics, provoked a media frenzy when it killed off Superman in 1993, only to reanimate its prize creation a year later. Joe Quesada, 43, Marvel Entertainment’s editor in chief, said he wouldn’t rule out the … eventual return.

Of course not — that’s the second hoped-for bump. I did find this comment a little naive at this point:

“I was shocked. I was not expecting it,” said Gerry Gladston, co-owner of Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

34 Responses to “Daily News Breaks Marvel Spoiler”

  1. Barry Says:

    So either he’s not really dead, or if he is, just further proof that Quesada and company have NO idea what they hell they’re doing.

  2. Barry Says:

    Another thought – Marvel basically makes movies now – so there’s no way they’ll permanently ax a potential franchise character. Look at the big bucks Ghost Rider is making…

  3. Johanna Says:

    In response to your first point, yeah, this doesn’t seem like a win/win so much as a stupid/hunh?

  4. Jer Says:

    Yeah – I don’t see this sticking. In fact, wasn’t there some kind of hype about Civil War that in the aftermath one of the characters was going to be taking on the “Ronin” persona because his hero persona was not going to be usable? I suspect that this is going to be the setup for that storyline.

    Otherwise – I just don’t see the point. Of course, I haven’t understood the point of most of what Marvel’s been doing for the last few years and they seem to sell like crazy, so its probably just me.

  5. James Schee Says:

    The weird part is that the character’s been the star of the only Marvel U. book I’ve been reading and really enjoying for the past year. (in TPB only though)

    I guess this does kind of answer my question I submitted, but was left unanswered, to the CW editor at Newsarama. About whether I could still follow the series if I hadn’t read even one panel of Civil War.

  6. Joshua Macy Says:

    “and I dug right down to the bottom of my soul
    And cried…
    ‘Cause I felt nothing.”

    – A Chorus Line – Nothing

  7. Lyle Says:

    I have to agree at the shock at anyone who’s been keeping up with the big two superhero comics being shocked by a superhero death. The only superhero comics which have been able to surprise me with a death lately were Legion (where the writer actually gave up a character he seemed to really have a handle on) and Runaways (where the series is isolated enough that a death feels like a major change to the series).

  8. Johanna Says:

    Thanks, Joshua, now that’s stuck in my head. :)

    Lyle, hmmm, apparently I’m behind on reading Legion. Or I’ve been paying less attention to it than I thought.

  9. Richard Marcej Says:

    Oh….. a mainstream, long existing comic superhero character dies.
    And this will last, how long?
    Yeah….. so this is news?
    In order for death of a character to have any dramatic impact in fiction, it needs to be permanent. Why should any reader, of any piece of fiction have any other reaction besides yawning when this occurs, when we KNOW that all will be back to normal eventually.

    Soon enough, another editor, another writer arrives and….
    “Hey I’m back! And I’m feeling great!”

  10. Rob Barrett Says:

    There was actually a very nice post in the Newsarama thread on this topic that pointed out the value of such death stories, even when we know that the dead character will eventually return: killing off a character and then actually dealing with the aftermath becomes a way of exploring what the character means. The Newsarama poster demonstrated pretty convincing how the bulk of the World without a Superman storyline got at the question of Superman’s importance and relevance in the early 1990s. So it’s clear that this storyline could do much the same for the character in question this time around. After all, this is Brubaker we’re talking about here: if he can bring back Bucky in a way that generally pleases most readers, he’ll certainly be able to do something similar for Steve.

  11. Thom Says:

    Well, I was a bit surprised. I apparently missed the rumor that this particular character might die.

  12. John Says:

    Apologies to those of you who caught my previous spoilage comment via RSS or otherwise before Johanna deleted it.

    Let’s try this again and just say that there are several issues solicited still for this character’s main title. They could be red herrings. Or they could just cover the mourning process.

    However, the NY Daily News article doesn’t mention a head shot. I am wondering if Marvel could have fed the Daily News a story they knew they would print, just to get the comic buying populace to think a character is dead for a month or two.

  13. david brothers Says:

    I love these news reports. It’s like the Marvel U is invading reality.

  14. Dwight Williams Says:

    Isn’t it, though? Whoever’s working the marketing/advertising details on this thing may have gotten exactly the timing they wanted.

  15. Johanna Says:

    John: I’m wondering if it’s even going to be a month or two. I’m hearing vague things about some of today’s comics even contradicting it.

  16. Chris G. Says:

    If this were not part of Brubaker’s Cap run, I’d roll my eyes. Since it is, I’m curious to see where this goes, though since I read it in TPB I’ll likely know how it ends long before I actually, um, see where it goes.

  17. Eric Says:

    I first heard the news from a local SoCal radio show. The thrust of the conversation was “where would someone go to buy a comic now a days?”. They don’t sell em’ anywhere but specialty collectible stores and the aduance for them are older adults.

  18. Ralf Haring Says:

    Yeah – I don’t see this sticking

    It’s purpose is not “to stick”. It’s to make people talk about it. It doesn’t matter what Cap’s status is in five years. Marvel got what they wanted out of the story today. When I get this story e-mailed to me by three separate non-comics reading friends, I know a ton of eyeballs are taking in this information. Objective met.

  19. Jer Says:

    Ralf –

    Sure. But how many went out to buy an issue? I had a friend come up to me and ask if I’d heard about it, but she has no intention of going any further with it than that. She just thought it was odd that the newswires were talking about a fictional character dying. (I think the exact quote was something like “what – Paris Hilton has a day off or something?”)

    That’s what I mean by “what’s the point?” – Marvel has been doing a GREAT job lately of stoking up the hype machine around their stuff, but there’s no follow-through. Now, if there was a Captain America movie getting released this month, or some similar tie-in where non-comics folks could see it and associate it with the news story then I’d see the point. But as it is the only real result is going to see is whether current comics readers bite and pick up the issue or not — the play in the rest of the wider world is mostly meaningless to Marvel’s ultimate bottom line.

    (Now, as a gimmick to get folks to pick up Brubaker’s Captain America it might be worthwhile in the end – its a well written book. But its still a gimmick – nothing more, nothing less.)

  20. Johanna Says:

    Marvel’s approach going into this was “trust us, order more”. Which doesn’t mean anything to a jaded comic shop owner who got stuck with cases of Deathmate or the Superman Wedding Special or any other more recent gonna-be-HOT comic. If DC had done this, they’d at least have had a consignment program on related collections.

  21. Sam Hobart Says:

    “Marvel’s approach going into this was “trust us, order more”. Which doesn’t mean anything to a jaded comic shop owner who got stuck with cases of Deathmate or the Superman Wedding Special or any other more recent gonna-be-HOT comic. If DC had done this, they’d at least have had a consignment program on related collections.”

    I’ve been keeping my mouth shut so far, because Marvel did say pretty clearly that comic shops should order more, but, as far as I saw, there wasn’t much indication what level of order more they were talking about — we quadrupled our usual Captain America numbers and we’re just about out.

    That said, none of the new faces we’ve seen today are new to comics, just checking if we have any more because their normal shop is out.

  22. Rob Spencer Says:

    I was really annoyed about this for two reasons: 1) they actually had the nerve to do this to a legacy character, or 2) they’re going to undo it in another big event later.
    But then I was incredibly sad when I read this on CBR — Reached for comment on the death of his character at this point in history, 93 year old [character] co-creator … told the AP, “We really need him now.”

  23. Lyle Says:

    Re: Death in the Legion. I was thinking of Nura’s death at the end of the first arc. For me, that was actually surprising because its was one of the rare superhero deaths where the writer (Waid) succeeded in making the character really sparkle. In most superhero deaths, it’s typically a character writers haven’t been able to figure out and are ready to give up trying… or a major franchise that the publisher is clearly not going to give up. Then again, the Legion franchise has been rebooted so many times, writers probably don’t have to worry so much about what they do since the Legion has been able to restart at square one.

    Hm, I just realized the Civil War plot point would have been pretty interesting if Marvel were still pushing the idea that the Ultimate titles would eventually become the primary Marvel Universe since, in that case, this death could be permanent while the character continues to be published.

  24. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, Rob, that really hit me too. He’s so right.

  25. Barry Says:

    I don’t know if anyone ever saw Band of Brothers, but both the character and real-life Major Dick Winters reminded me very much of who and what Captain America should be – a moral, fearless and trusted leader who anyone would follow anywhere. He was never a war monger but he knew his duty and would always put the safety and well-being of others before himself. In other words, a true hero.

    I hope that for future generations, Marvel either brings back the ‘classic’ Cap, or keeps the Ultimate Cap around, but with a better writer than he’s had in recent years.

  26. Rob Spencer Says:

    The cynic in me just wondered: Is this one of the characters tied up in ownership litigation? I seem to recall something about that, and it’s interesting he met the same fate as Superboy.

  27. david brothers Says:

    He was at one point, but I believe that was settled a few years back. Joe Simon (and Kirby, I believe) gets a “Captain America created by Joe Simon” line in the credit box.

  28. Scott Says:

    It is sad that many long-time readers of the book were unable to get a copy due to the speculation that is going on (some sets with both covers have topped $200 on eBay).

    And it is interesting that we aren’t being greeted with a second printing announcement… surely Marvel isn’t making money in the secondary market…

  29. Alan Coil Says:

    If Marvel truly believed in the sales potential of this book, they should have over-shipped and made the extras returnable.
    Dwight Williams said:
    “Whoever’s working the marketing/advertising details on this thing may have gotten exactly the timing they wanted.”
    I agree, except that thousands of people will not be able to read it until after the publicity has waned. My LCS, a relatively small shop, sold out in 5 hours and had at least 30 calls for it on Wednesday. Who knows how many people will call before the weekend id over.

  30. John Says:

    John: I’m wondering if it’s even going to be a month or two. I’m hearing vague things about some of today’s comics even contradicting it.

    Right you are. The Initiative has one superhero telling another that he’s alive. Was there originally supposed to be a delay between the two issues? The release date for both on Marvel.com do have this week’s date.

  31. Dani Atkinson Says:

    I used to be an X-men reader. I was an X-men reader when Wolverine died and came back the VERY NEXT ISSUE. I believe I quit somewhere around the time Cyclops died, just before his four issue miniseries was slated to come out. Shortly after I left, I heard Colossus was dead. I hear he’s feeling better.

    I was only reading X-men for three or four years.

    …Why the hell is this news? Why is anyone paying any attention to this? At all?

  32. Barry Says:

    Because Marvel made it news.

  33. John Says:

    agree, except that thousands of people will not be able to read it until after the publicity has waned.

    I’m sure the Digital Comics Preservation team at ‘trackerb’ will have it in their weekend distribution. Alas, only the cover made it in yesterday’s.

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