Who's the most famous superhero who has never died?

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I was just thinking, by now almost all of the major superheroes have "died" at some point, right? (By death I mean that they really died and were later resurrected, or at least the readers were lead to believe they had died.) Off the top of my head, it's happened to Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America Hulk, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Mr. Fantastic, Thor, etc. So who would be the best-known superhero who's never had a "Death of X" type of a story arc? Has Iron Man ever died?

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 14:44 (four months ago) Permalink

He died two times in a year (in 1996 as part of the events The Crossing and Onslaught) which might even be some kind of record?

Frederik B, Monday, 7 January 2019 14:48 (four months ago) Permalink

Jesus

I can't dérive fifty-feev (Noodle Vague), Monday, 7 January 2019 14:50 (four months ago) Permalink

Feel like I recently read something about Sue Storm never having died before? I guess maybe unless you count Onslaught? She's even one of the very few who survived the death of the universe post-Secret Wars Mk II.

If I could make one sweeping change to superhero universes it would be to institute permadeath. Because really, wtf does death even portend at this point beyond the inconvenience of waiting for the decedent's inevitable resurrection?

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 14:50 (four months ago) Permalink

I guess really, at this point, you do have to consider Secret Wars in any consideration of long-lived Marvel characters, which limits the potential pool to like a dozen characters.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 14:52 (four months ago) Permalink

I don't think Secret Wars should be counted, because everyone knew it would all be reversed. Tho of course everyone knew the other deaths would be reversed as well, but it still feels different to have the hero of comic book to be killed in his/her own title than to kill almost everyone in a crossover.

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 14:57 (four months ago) Permalink

And yeah, Sue Storm was my first thought too. Has the Thing ever died, outside crossovers like Onslaught or Secret Wars?

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 14:58 (four months ago) Permalink

shaft

mookieproof, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:05 (four months ago) Permalink

Why wouldn't Secret Wars count? It was established that 616 was completely destroyed and reconstituted from scratch aside from a handful of survivors. Technically speaking, everyone in the Marvel U at present has only been around for a couple of years aside from like half the FF, Miles Morales, Thanos, etc.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:05 (four months ago) Permalink

Did they ever manage to kill Swamp Thing? He's basically immortal afaict (not to mention billions of years old).

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:08 (four months ago) Permalink

jean grey has never died iirc

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:10 (four months ago) Permalink

Well, if Secret Wars counts, then the answer has to be some DC hero... Dick Grayson?

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:12 (four months ago) Permalink

xpost And yet has been cruelly saddled with emphysema for the entirety of her unbroken tenure.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:13 (four months ago) Permalink

iirc Swamp Thing was killed on Earth and then re-grew on some other planet

We were never Breeting Borting (President Keyes), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:14 (four months ago) Permalink

with great power comes great shortness of breath xp

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:15 (four months ago) Permalink

i think dick grayson might be the answer here actually, good call tuomas

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:15 (four months ago) Permalink

has dc's captain marvel/shazam ever died?

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:16 (four months ago) Permalink

Deadman

Ward Fowler, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:16 (four months ago) Permalink

iirc Swamp Thing was killed on Earth and then re-grew on some other planet
Yeah, I remember this too.

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:16 (four months ago) Permalink

But that was my point: Swamp Thing has never actually been killed because he's essentially incorporeal. His bodies are just temporary shells that he abandons (or is forced out of). He's been thought dead on several occasions but he's never actually been rendered inert iirc.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:20 (four months ago) Permalink

(I've read the Moore-thru-Millar run on ST like a half dozen times so just trust my expertise on this particular subject if none other whatsoever.)

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:23 (four months ago) Permalink

Yeah, but like I mentioned in the original post, I think stories where the reader is lead to think the character has died count too... I mean, Cap or Batman or the Human Torch didn't actually die either, but the stories were presented as if they did, and Marvel and DC could advertise them as "the death of...". So, similarly, since the Swamp Thing issue ended with his "death", I think it counts.

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:31 (four months ago) Permalink

I guess we may just be splitting hairs at this point, but in the other examples you cite, it was like a minimum of six months before the fate of the character was revealed, whereas I don't believe Swampy was even 'dead' for an entire issue.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:38 (four months ago) Permalink

(Notable, perhaps, that Cap, Bats, and Swamps have been 'killed' by having been hurled into the timestream.)

(This would be Swamp Thing's third 'death' I'm referring to, after the one that kicked off Moore's run and the one that sent him into space.)

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:41 (four months ago) Permalink

nah Swampy "died" in issue 53 and didn't appear again until the very end of issue 55, which was his funeral issue.

We were never Breeting Borting (President Keyes), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:44 (four months ago) Permalink

Sorry: Swampy wasn't 'dead' for an entire two issues. My bad.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:46 (four months ago) Permalink

apology accepted

We were never Breeting Borting (President Keyes), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:46 (four months ago) Permalink

Didn't Batman "die" in Final Crisis #6, and was revealed to be alive at the end of FC #7?

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:47 (four months ago) Permalink

Coaster Man

rip van wanko, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:48 (four months ago) Permalink

proud that we managed to bog this thread down in excruciating nitpickery in less than an hour, good work team

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:50 (four months ago) Permalink

'bog down' pun unintended but happy to take credit for it anyway

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:51 (four months ago) Permalink

I never could have foreseen such an outcome wrt the topic at hand, so I'm as shocked as anyone.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:52 (four months ago) Permalink

So since it's established that pretty much everyone in the Big Two has 'died' at this point the real question is who has actually DIED died, like who has been decisively and graphically ground into hamburger on panel in such a way that their resurrection was unlikely at best?

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:56 (four months ago) Permalink

all resurrections are unlikely tbf

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:58 (four months ago) Permalink

Chuck? xp

rip van wanko, Monday, 7 January 2019 15:59 (four months ago) Permalink

barry allen literally disintegrating into dust seemed pretty final but then... geoff johns

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 15:59 (four months ago) Permalink

Anyway, I'm sure you understand that by "death" I mean stories where the hero dies, and isn't immediately revealed to be alive, either in the same issue, or (if the "death" is a cliffhanger) at the beginning of the next one... Meaning that some gullible reader might actually think he has died for sure. Often the next issue following the death features other characters mourning the fallen hero etc.

Batman's death is kind of a borderline case, because he was revealed to be alive in the following issue, but DC had already advertised the death long in advance, and weren't the gaps between FC issue longer than normal too?

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:02 (four months ago) Permalink

The original Cap Marvel remains dead, right? That's most likely because of they way he died, as even Marvel would probably think reversing a cancer death would be in bad taste.

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:04 (four months ago) Permalink

Previously unknown sons and alternate universe counterparts of him have appeared, of course.

Tuomas, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:05 (four months ago) Permalink

Yeah, him and Unca Ben are pretty much it. Jim Wilson also (for reasons likely similar to those you posit).

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:07 (four months ago) Permalink

Oh wait, Ben was kinda sorta briefly resurrected during the recent Clone Conspiracy iirc.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:08 (four months ago) Permalink

since we're on the topic, i'd like to just take a moment to underline dc's uniquely weird decision to make superman's death - a colossal media event which brought tens of thousands of new eyes to comics - the result of a savage physical beating over the course of numerous issues, which must have been a v odd experience for those new readers

i can only assume mel gibson was taking notes for the passion of the christ

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:09 (four months ago) Permalink

Has Bill Foster been brought back to life? That was a pretty disgusting death imo.

If Your Site Mod Vomits (Do This Every Day) (WmC), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:10 (four months ago) Permalink

Has Namor ever died?

EZ Snappin, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:16 (four months ago) Permalink

He was briefly beheaded a couple years back.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:27 (four months ago) Permalink

same

an erotic picnic with Ming (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:28 (four months ago) Permalink

lol I have no idea what the answer to this question is but this discussion is p hilarious

realizing that ALL SUPERHEROES MUST DIE is like an article of faith with the big two now

Οὖτις, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:37 (four months ago) Permalink

As mentioned upthread, I don't think anyone has lasted longer than Dick.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:38 (four months ago) Permalink

xpost I guess it's still a reliable selling point? Even though everyone surely knows it's totally bogus by now?

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:39 (four months ago) Permalink

presumably the audience just likes watching its heroes suffer, over and over. isn't there a term for this?

Οὖτις, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:45 (four months ago) Permalink

probably by Giffen!

kitty died in Morrison's xmen

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 19:58 (four months ago) Permalink

According to Wikipedia, Tenzil Kem is present in some “Retroboot” Legion stories.

i stan corrected (morrisp), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 19:59 (four months ago) Permalink

xpost Wait, what? No. She wasn't even in Morrison's NXM iirc. She did ride a giant projectile into deep space in Whedon's subsequent run but she was more just feared lost forever than presumed dead.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:02 (four months ago) Permalink

xp when? i don't remember that

Mordy, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:03 (four months ago) Permalink

In Superman #694, Matter-Eater Lad is revealed to have been masquerading as Mon-El's friend Mitch, owner of a local cafe. He reveals his identity by stepping in to save a woman trapped in a burning car, allowing Mon-El to continue fighting the larger threats.

As revealed in Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #8, Matter-Eater Lad is part of a secret team sent by the late RJ Brande to the 21st century to save the future in the Last Stand of New Krypton storyline.

i stan corrected (morrisp), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:04 (four months ago) Permalink

rmde

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:05 (four months ago) Permalink

(Total aside, but I just saw a news blurb the other day positing that Bendis may be doing a Legion book. You're welcome, fans!)

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:06 (four months ago) Permalink

did Matter-Eater Lad ever die such that he could be resurrected?

sans lep (sic), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:06 (four months ago) Permalink

xp Yeah, I saw that tease... sheesh

i stan corrected (morrisp), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:10 (four months ago) Permalink

RE: Kitty - WHEDON not Morrison; memory failed me. She was presumed dead! Not being in the book means you're dead!
https://comicvine.gamespot.com/kitty-pryde/4005-3548/forums/she-cant-be-dead-can-she-416473/

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:33 (four months ago) Permalink

I don't think Kitty's fate at the end of Whedon's run counts as death, because, A) by the end of the story she was still not dead, just incapacitated, and B) Whedon wrote it so that any future writer could easily bring her back, which is indeed what happened.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:43 (four months ago) Permalink

no way she never died and she was not presumed dead (which anyway isn't the same thing as being dead)

Mordy, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:44 (four months ago) Permalink

xp

Mordy, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:44 (four months ago) Permalink

Buuuuut at any rate she did die in Secret Wars so she's out of the running unfortch.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:49 (four months ago) Permalink

kitty pryde wasn't in secret wars!

Mordy, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:50 (four months ago) Permalink

xp thank god, i was afraid this was gonna turn into a semantic nerdfight about the death of kitty pryde
wait never mind apparently we're gonna do this

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 20:51 (four months ago) Permalink

Every mention of Secret Wars itt is threatening to devolve into a 'who's on first?' routine.

FTR: the 2015 Secret Wars involved the wholesale destruction of the Marvel multiverse and everyone in it with the exception of like a dozen or so characters who managed to escape that fate through various means.

Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 21:13 (four months ago) Permalink

I honestly think it makes more sense to count what happened to Kitty Pride as an example of what we're talking about, rather than something like the entirety of the Marvel Universe being gone for a couple of pages in Secret Wars. I know she definitely didn't die, but I like Old Lunch's notion that she was 'feared lost forever'. Which is kinda also what happened to Batman in Final Crisis. It's not as good a thread title: 'Who's the most famous superhero who has never been feared lost forever?' But it's kinda what we're talking about, no? Noble sacrifices, leaving the title for a while, as other characters fill the void.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 21:36 (four months ago) Permalink

I have an extra-nerdy answer to

have TMNT ever died?

which is that in the exclusive bonus mini-comic included in TMNT role-playing-game post-holocaust supplement Road Hogs, all the TMNT are dead except for an ancient, dementia-riddled Raphael, living in a post-nuclear-war future

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 04:22 (four months ago) Permalink

Old Man Raph is the winner then

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 05:50 (four months ago) Permalink

The logical conclusion of this kind of thing (effective superhero immortality) is those stores that Marvel likes to do — including recently — in which someone like Reed Richards or Steve Rogers or Thor or Logan is the last being alive at the end of time, witnessing the heat death of the universe, etc.

i stan corrected (morrisp), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 06:49 (four months ago) Permalink

Who’s the most famous super-character (hero or villain) to have died and stayed dead? No clones, no alternate universe or timeline versions, etc.

i stan corrected (morrisp), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 06:50 (four months ago) Permalink

I guess that was already sort of discussed above.

i stan corrected (morrisp), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 07:02 (four months ago) Permalink

I started a thread on that subject a long time ago:

Major superheroes/villains who died and have stayed dead - are there any?

Tuomas, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 10:57 (four months ago) Permalink

those stores that Marvel likes to do — including recently — in which someone like Reed Richards or Steve Rogers or Thor or Logan is the last being alive at the end of time, witnessing the heat death of the universe, etc.

Sniffing through Alan Moore’s bins for old teabags they can dry out & try to use again.

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 17:27 (four months ago) Permalink

Which Moore story did that, I can't recall?

Tuomas, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Wildstorm Spotlight #1

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:31 (four months ago) Permalink

How could I have forgotten such a popular + feted work.

Love is Scarface (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:44 (four months ago) Permalink

it was pretty feted at the time!

https://www.tor.com/2012/07/09/the-great-alan-moore-reread-mr-majestic-voodoo-and-deathblow/

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 21:27 (four months ago) Permalink

That seems to have come out years after Books of Magic #3 tho, which has a similar plot.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 21:33 (four months ago) Permalink

iirc that has magic people in a magic chamber ruminating on a time when various different magic worlds have passed into history? the Moore story is "Superman one immortal superhero is the last being left alive at the end of time, witnessing the heat death of the universe, etc"

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Was specifically gonna mention that BoM issue (which is rad)!

Love is Scarface (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:26 (four months ago) Permalink

iirc that has magic people in a magic chamber ruminating on a time when various different magic worlds have passed into history?

no, Mr. E takes the kid "walking" to the end of time, it is def the heat death of the universe and is literally described as such (that's when Death shows up!)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:29 (four months ago) Permalink

okey doke! I still think that's "magic" though

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:48 (four months ago) Permalink

maybe I'm conflating with the Paul Johnson issue re ppl ruminating in a chamber

sans lep (sic), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:48 (four months ago) Permalink

it is magic, I don't see why that matters. I mean, Thor is magic.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:51 (four months ago) Permalink

it's magic that takes them there, but they are literally *there* and they interact with various entities that can see them.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 22:52 (four months ago) Permalink

The lure of alliteration overpowered my brane.

― Hootie and the Banshees (Old Lunch), Tuesday, January 8, 2019 4:22 PM

That's the ghost of Stan Lee trying to possess you.

Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Super Sentai team, Bananaman, Darna, One Punch Man, Kick Ass & Hit Girl, The Mask, Witchblade, The Incredibles? All guesses.

The Spirit started by faking his death? Didn't The Phantom or The Shadow do something similar? The Crow and Spawn died in their origin and I bet they probably died more times.

I presume Hellboy died at some point?

Storylines discussed above sound incredibly stupid, even by DC and Marvel standards. I guess some characters are just killed off so we can get sentimental about them and then show them looking ICONIC *retch* when they come back.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 11 January 2019 19:48 (four months ago) Permalink

Hellboy's death is one of those 'death is not the end' stories, as quite a few of the last Hellboy comics are after he is dead and Mignola came to the end (for now). The current series are working in the 50s etc filling in stories earlier in the cycle.

earlnash, Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:38 (four months ago) Permalink

Was Swift from The Authority ever killed?

GDPR vs GAPDY (DJP), Monday, 14 January 2019 03:27 (four months ago) Permalink

Didn't she die in a really disgusting way? I've never read it, but I remember that.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 18 January 2019 21:29 (four months ago) Permalink

https://www.cbr.com/comic-characters-went-heaven-hell/

i stan corrected (morrisp), Wednesday, 23 January 2019 04:48 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

https://www.cbr.com/major-superheroes-avoided-dying

Bryan Cronin recently addressed this question over at CBR, and it seems to correct answers are Nightwing, Daredevil, and Batgirl. He doesn't seemt to count DD's recent "death", though.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:11 (two months ago) Permalink

He also doesn't count Nightwang's recent death, but weirdly does count Deadpool's.

The Stephanie Brown Batgirl died also, so his last option is ruled out. (Yes I know he makes the Babs Gordon distinction but there are something like 20 years in age between the 2 versions currently in continuity - yes, I do mean Babs only versions - so all bets are off. See also Wally West, of which there are two different continuity versions at the moment and I'm willing to bet the dead one won't be dead by the end of Heroes In Crisis.)

Doesn't stand up to the academic scrutiny we applied above I'm afraid.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:35 (two months ago) Permalink

Wally West, of which there are two different continuity versions at the moment

christ i fuckin hate dc

kiss me dadly (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:39 (two months ago) Permalink

By different, I mean the two versions of Babs are arguably the same one excepting their age - both shot by the Joker, both cured, both had a relationship with the Wang when he was Robin - but one experienced all that while at high school and the other one as an adult.

The two versions of Wally though are the ginger 90s title one (who might be currently dead) and the black Johnsiverse one.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:59 (two months ago) Permalink

i refer you to my earlier comment

kiss me dadly (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 12:01 (two months ago) Permalink

See, Marvel does this stuff too but they're often able to make it coherent and fun. DC just seems like they're completely unaware of the narrative conventions which might render their bad ideas at least readable.

Goody Rickels on the Dime (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 12:24 (two months ago) Permalink

pro-tip for dc: rebooting your entire line every few years makes it really fuckin hard to care about what's happening month-to-month, especially when the detritus of those reboots leaves you with multiple versions of the same character which i'd venture to suggest shows your reboots aren't actually doing anything good or useful anyway

kiss me dadly (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 12:29 (two months ago) Permalink

It's pretty sad that my Marvel/DC pull list went from maybe 75/25 pre-Flashpoint to a fairly consistent 98/2 ever since (and almost none of that 2% has been in-continuity material).

Goody Rickels on the Dime (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 12:51 (two months ago) Permalink


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