Think Christian: “O Superhero Death, Where Is Your Sting?”

This might be the piece I’ve had the most fun writing, probably because it’s about something I know well that’s been part of the mainstream conversation: superhero deaths.

Comic book readers are well aware that dead superheroes always come back. In fact, one of my earliest comic book memories was reading a letter in a 1986/87 Batman comic that complained about Batman and Robin dying, which confused me, because I just read a story with Batman and Robin in it. I wouldn’t realize until much later that he was talking about the landmark DC Comics crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, but I already got the point — death never keeps a good hero down. Heck, death can’t even keep a mediocre hero down!

By the time 15-year-old me read The Death of Superman ,  and the Funeral for a Friend (Metropolis tries to move on without Superman) and Reign of the Supermen (four pretenders all claim to be Superman) arcs that followed, I realized that death stories weren’t bad, even if we all knew the hero would return. In between death and resurrection, writers could tell some pretty interesting stories about the main character, stuff they couldn’t do when that character was still alive.

So while there’s been a little griping about the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, which tries to get a shock out of killing characters who already have confirmed sequels, it’s just par for the course in superhero stories.

Writing for Think Christian, I argue

In a way, Christians approach death much like comic-book writers. While none of us welcome it, we know that death isn’t the end of our story. Nor does it determine our actions in the here and now. We live our lives according to another death, that of our old, sinful nature.

Check out the whole thing here, and let me know if you found the Infinity War deaths effective.

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