Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski recently made a convention appearance in Sweeden where he declared he doesn’t want to use shock character deaths in order to sell comics.
ComicBook reports Cebulski stated, “”I don’t want death to be used to boost sales or to use as a shock value so people go ‘Oh my God, Johnny Storm is dead!’ or ‘Wolverine is dead!’ knowing that they’re going to be coming back.” He added, “If we choose to do it now, we’re going to add a little more weight and permanence to the situation.”
Cebulski spoke at length about death at the convention:
“Ya know, death is a part of comic book universes, particularly a part of the Marvel Universe. Every character has been killed off and come back at some time or the other. We always say there are two characters that will never come back and that’s Gwen Stacy and Uncle Ben. We even said back in the day that Bucky would never come back and now we have the Winter Soldier.”
“But the process of killing off a character is not an easy one, and a lot of people think death is something that we don’t take seriously in the Marvel Universe but it really is. There’s a lot of debates that happen because if a writer suggests that we should kill a character, it always has to be story driven first. It can’t just be for shock value and normally it’s a discussion that we have between first the writer and the editor and then the writer and the editorial team, so the process of killing off a character really is a group decision, and it’s made always with the best story in mind.”
Interestingly enough, Cebulski’s statements come after Marvel Comics killed off Wolfsbane in Uncanny X-Men and Loki was eaten by his father the Frost Giant King Laufey in their ongoing event series War of the Realms.
They followed up Loki’s death by killing off Valkyrie.
And these are just some of the more recent deaths Marvel Comics has piled up. Last year, Marvel Comics killed off Thanos in their Infinity Wars event.
In the lead up to Infinity Wars, Infinity Countdown, Hank Pym aka Ultron kills off Magus in brutal fashion. Not to mention they brought back Cyclops to kill him in the same issue in Phoenix Resurrection.
While Cebulski might be talking the talk right now, Marvel Comics’ editorial decisions seem to indicate he’s perfectly fine killing off characters in order to sell big event comics. I’ll start believing Cebulski when the actual comics begin to match up with Cebulski’s words. Right now, they simply don’t.