Sometimes they come back


I have a confession to make.

I am a recovering comic book nerd.

I say recovering because, other than IDW Publishing’s Locke and Key series (written by Joe Hill), I do not read comic books. I used to, though. My dad had three paper bags full of ’70s comics, and I read them all, many times. The Avengers, the Defenders, Spider-Man, Kamandi, Jonah Hex, House of Mystery . . . ah, nostalgia.

I also bought my own comics. I was there for the Spider-Man/black costume saga. The West Coast Avengers. The rise of Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Rob Liefeld. The building of Image Comics. The death of Superman and DC’s whole Year Zero thing. I saw it all, man.

i was there.

Right, well. I graduated from high school and discovered I had to spend money on things other than comics. I sold my collection, but kept the graphic novels, like the collected Milk and Cheese and Frank Miller’s Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. I always scanned a few issues of whatever while I was in Books-A-Million, though. Just to check things out. I still do that.

So I was a bit shocked to discover that Marvel Comics had broken the Bucky Clause. Granted, this is old news; it was broken back in ’08, but it relates to this post. I need to back up a bit and explain the Bucky Clause first. It states that, “No one in comics stays dead except for Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben.”

Uncle Ben refers to Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben; Jason Todd is the second Robin, Batman’s sidekick (I may do a post on that later; how he came to die is rather interesting), and Bucky is Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s teenaged sidekick. In the olden days of comics, it was popular to give the adult hero a teenage sidekick, someone the primarily adolescent readers could identify with.

see? instead of killing you, a superhero will ask you to become his partner. it's that easy!

Bucky was supposedly killed in action in 1945, courtesy of an explosives-laden plane. His was one of those rare unchangeable deaths (comic books tend to resurrect characters all the time; just ask Superman), something that would never be taken back. I’m not exactly sure why. Of course, that’s no longer true.

And I brought up the Bucky Clause why? To illustrate that dead doesn’t always mean dead, at least not in the fiction world. That there’s nothing wrong with bringing back a formerly dead (or assumed dead) character, as long as it’s done fairly. Marvel brought Bucky back by simply deciding that the explosion didn’t kill him after all. He lost an arm and was brainwashed by the Soviets and placed in suspended animation, that was all.

Hey, it’s comics.

But it’s fair, when you think about it. There’s no “it was a dream” B.S. or alien abduction or cloning or magic wish. It’s a stretch, but it’s within the realm of possibility. Possibility, at least, in a world where people can climb walls, fly, shoot lasers from their eyes, and wear brightly colored skin-tight outfits without getting laughed at.

like . . . this. oh my god. my . . . eyes. they continue to see . . .

I had planned to kill off my werewolf main character. I had always thought that I’d have a Bulletproof Werewolf trilogy, and that in the third book, my main character, Anderson, would die. It just seemed the logical way to end things. I have the books plotted, pretty much; I know how each begins and ends. I just have to fill in the middles, connect the dots.

I still plan to do it, in a way. Spoiler alert. In the third book, there’s another werewolf, and they fight in a ramshackle house on the edge of a river. The house is loaded with explosives, and it ends up exploding, as houses loaded with explosives tend to do. The third book will end in mid-sentence, and the next 3 pages will be blank. I thought that would be it. Ka-boom.

But then I thought of Bucky, and I had second thoughts. I’ve begun plotting a fourth book. The third book, then, will not be the end, but a cliffhanger, in the best TV season finale style.

(Yeah, okay, I haven’t published the first book, I haven’t finished the second book, yet I have the fourth book figured out . . . )

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6 thoughts on “Sometimes they come back

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    1. Me too, to some extent. I got into Locke and Key primarily because I had read a couple of Joe Hill’s novels before I found about the comic.

  1. Though I am revising and polishing my book, I have yet to write the end … because I can’t decide if I want to kill a main character. I think the story requires it but – to put it simply – I. Don’t. Want. To. It’s so easy to fall in love with these little people who have lived in my head for so long.

    1. I think that’s why I backed out.

      Maybe you can write two versions, one where the character lives and another where he or she dies. That way you can do what the story requires, and at the same time, do what you want to.

      On the other hand, if you do kill off the character, you could always find a neat way to bring him or her back.

  2. Another comic lover in my WordPress community? You rock harder then The Thing! Great examination of the “Dead means NOTHING in comics” situation!
    Bucky replaced Steve Rogers as Cap – when he “died” during Marvel’s “Civil War” a few years back – and not only did they revive Rogers, they recently “killed” Bucky Barnes again during “Fear Itself”!
    Don’t worry he got better a few months later and is now known as the secret operative the Winter Soldier.
    Crazy, right?

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