Over in the other thread, we've been discussing people (mostly heroes) who died during the Silver Age. Some of them, surprisingly enough, are still dead! That's as it should be, dead should mean dead, but it usually doesn't happen. But in a few cases, it absolutely should.

There used to be a term in fandom that I heard: Bucky-dead. It means a character whose death was so momentous, so memorable or so intrinsic to the stories that were told after the death that the person would never be brought back to life.

Sadly, that term either needs a new name or it needs to be eliminated altogether, on the basis that there is no character who some writer won't want to revive, and their editor will think that's a good thing.

Even so, here's my list of characters who I think should remain Bucky-dead:


1. Bucky.

2. Uncle Ben

3. Barry Allen

4. Gwen Stacy

5. Jonathan and Martha Kent

6. Thomas and Martha Wayne

7. Aquababy

8. Battling Murdock

9. Abin Sur


Any others? Anybody want to make a case that the MU or DCU would be better off with one of these characters alive instead? Anybody willing to bet their house on one of these that will NEVER be revived? Frankly, I don't think I am.


-- MSA

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I think having Jonathan and Martha Kent in the post-Crisis DC Universe was one of the best ideas to come from the 1980s revamp of Superman. I especially think so because it offset one of the problems with that revamp: no Superboy. I think Clark Kent not having a Superboy career under this revamp wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but it caused more problems than DC realized.


On the other hand, I wouldn't want Thomas and Martha Wayne seen in any capacity but flashbacks and Imaginary stories.


As for the rest of the list, I mostly agree, except for Barry Allen.



Norman Osborn should have stayed dead...
To be honest, I never quite understood why it was felt that Barry Allen had to be killed.  On the other hand, I do feel that once he was killed, he ought to have been kept dead.


Have to agree with you about everyone on your list except the Kents. I respectfully have to side with "Clark Kent_DC" on them.

One character I would add to your list is Jean Grey/Phoenix. Uncanny X-Men #137 was the first Marvel I ever read, so you can imagine how that issue made such an impact on me, having a hero willingly sacrifice themself. But to turn around and bring her back when they wanted to reunite the original X-Men to start the X-Factor magazine just cheapened the whole thing beyond belief for me.

With that in mind, you can also add the original Doom Patrol to your list then, too.

Meanwhile, Bucky and Barry are back, yet the original Kara Zor-El, along with Ralph and Sue Dibny, are still dead. Life just doesn't seem fair.

Granted, there needs to be some suspension of disbelief when reading (four color) fantasies.

Yet, if the death is genuine at the time, with no faking, lack of body, etc; unless you are doing a supernatural or Lazarus type story/series like The Spectre or Deadman, then the dead should stay dead. I am reserving comment on the entire Brightest Day story line until I see how it plays out, although it is nice to see a bunch of old DC favorites return.

But with death being portrayed with a revolving door type portal, what is that saying about (real) life, especially to younger readers?

I've lost too many friends and family, let alone have read too many comic books, over the years to think otherwise. But what about the impressionable young child who sees their favorite character "die", only to come back within a year or two (like the Human Torch probably will just in time to celebrate Fantastic Four # 600)?

Aren't they going to question when their own dearly departed family member is going to come back? How will they react when they don't? Or am I reading too much into this?

I've heard someone elsewhere say something along the lines of "death shouldn't be taken out of the writer's toolbox". Yet when seriously overused and misused, it does lose all dramatic story telling impact.

I agree with Clark, Doc and Baron. I didn't like what DC did to Hal, Barry, Carter and Ollie but they had the opportunity to go in a new direction with these classic characters. They forced down our throats introduced younger, more modern versions and said they are the next generation. However when big name creators (Geoff Johns, Mark Waid and Alex Ross, as examples) wanted to use the Silver Age heroes, DC caved in and brought them back.

As far as who could be revived, I'm going to say....Gwen Stacy. The main reason that she was killed off was that comics, at the time, were unable to handle a mature, evolving relationship for Peter Parker. That is no longer the case. Instead of trying to reshape and refit Mary Jane as Peter's true love, why not bring back the girl most of us feel truly was. She was in Spider-Man III and The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. And in both cases, she was more appealing than MJ. Since they brought back Bucky, Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn, they could find some way to give Gwen a second chance! As we know, it doesn't have to make sense!

I offer no opinion on Barry Allen or Gwen Stacy, since their deaths took place after the Silver Age, as I benchmark it.  I agree that all of the others on your list should stay (or should have stayed) dead, Mr. S.A.


One which should have stayed dead, but was revived a mere five issues after his "demise" was Red Ryan, of the Challengers of the Unknown.  His resurrection---credited to the most ludicrous of explanations---diluted the surprisingly dramatic subplot of the surviving Challs learning to adjust to Red's death.

In defence of Bucky's return, Captain America stories were hopelessly moribund for years before Brubaker brought Bucky back, and he was brought back as part of a critically-acclaimed, years-long, thought-through storyline which had extremely minimal editorial interference.  If only there were more storylines like this one.


I often complain about the circularity of comicbook long-term plotting, and bringing dead characters back usually exacerbates that, but in this case at least, it ironically allowed Cap to go forward for a while rather than around in circles.


Count me as a fan of the Kents being around in Clark's adulthood too.  Perhaps as an adult who's thankfully still got my parents around (and living back home on the farm) it allowed me to identify more with the Man of Steel.  My own reading of the trades hasn't reached Pa's death yet, but I can see it would add pathos to Clark's life and it's a step on his road to further maturity.  I'd really hate to see Ma buy it though. Flying home for Mom's apple pie of a weekend is something I hope Clark continues to do for a long while to come.


I'd be careful even of overusing Thomas and Martha Wayne in flashback, too.  They are mythic components of Batman's story, and too much detail detracts from that.  And wasn't that final day before they died an eventful one?  Every writer has some new incident that happened that day.


Barry Allen definitely shouldn't have been brought back.  To my generation of reader the best thing he ever did was pop his clogs on that treadmill.  And I don't see the point of bringing him back, if they are just going to change his entire backstory and personality.  If he doesn't have a vacant personality, he's not Barry, as far as I'm concerned.


I've said elsewhere that part of Geoff Johns' project seems to be providing comforting lies for fanbeards, and everybody coming back from the dead so handily supports that notion.


Phoenix's death was a landmark in my personal reading history.  I'd lived such a sheltered/lucky life up to that point that she was the first 'real' death that I had to deal with.  I agree with Lee that the way they brought her back looked like cheap hackwork to me, and cheapened what we went through as readers of X-Men #137. 


Still, look at her name.  She was always going to rise again sooner or later...


As for 'the original Kara Zor-El' ever coming back.  The mind boggles.  But never say never!  Perhaps she can have a mudfight with the pretender?

Jor-El and Lara are two characters that should never, ever be brought back to life. Flashbacks are fine; elaborate ruses, okay. But actually restored to life? Never.

Philip Portelli wrote: >> As far as who could be revived, I'm going to say....Gwen Stacy. The main reason that she was killed off was that comics, at the time, were unable to handle a mature, evolving relationship for Peter Parker. That is no longer the case.


Just exactly how deeply into your cheek was your tongue buried when you wrote that? Wasn't the whole reason why the Peter/MJ marriage "never happened" was because Marvel STILL is unable to handle a mature, evolving relationship for Spidey? But frankly, since my only consumption of Spidey material these days is the newspaper strip, where the marriage is still on and going strong, whatever happens in the comic books these days are all Mopey stories to me.

Only partly, I'm afraid. Of course, I realize Marvel is intent on pushing a younger Spidey on us in his various media appearances (from high school teen to mid-twenties, if that) and that marriage is now a taboo topic but a "normal" relationship? Why not try it again with Gwen? She has name recognition, now more than the Silver Age. Mary Jane has been tainted, for lack of a better word, by her multiple movie relationships and her comic book dealings with Mephisto. She could have easily asked for Gwen to not be dead.

The hidden, and at times not-so-hidden, subtext of Peter and MJ's relationship was that she could not ever replace Gwen in Peter's heart. Gwen became the perfect woman: ageless and the image of true love. Perhaps if she were to re-enter Peter's life, we could see the reality of Gwen, not just the fantasy.

>> Gwen became the perfect woman: ageless and the image of true love.


I dunno... that whole bit about her having sex with Spidey's archvillain (who also happened to be the *father* of one of Pete's best friends), and then having kids sired by that archvillain kind of takes a lot of the lustre off the image of the ageless, perfect woman who represents true love. Maybe it's just me...

yeah, get over it man :)

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