There's a lot of maxims surrounding the comic book hobby, aren't there? With great power comes great responsibility. Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. Any given issue is always somebody's first issue. Every character is somebody's favorite. And, a maxim I think it wouldn't hurt a lot of comic book publishers and creators to remember:
There's no such thing as a bad character, only a character written badly.
It's easy to kill off second-tier characters as cannon-fodder in crossovers and mega-events. They serve to emphasize that life ain't permanent no-how: tempus fugit, sic gloria tuesday, and all that. And maybe in some cases the casuality doesn't seem that grave because the character hasn't been that important in the past. He couldn't hold down his own book. She's not that popular a guest star. Sales go down when he's on the cover. It's a boring character to write. And suddenly they become our whipping boys, our sacrificial lambs, our hot dogs on the spit.
I challenge the writers and editors of comic books that it may be easier to kill off characters who seem to have a dead end career, but it is more creative and fulfilling to write them in an interesting and unusual new way. It may not work. But it might just. She-Hulk, despite being written by Stan Lee in her first outing, was (let's be honest) a rather drab and uninteresting adventure character that was so derivitive of the the Hulk that it doesn't surprise me there are tales told that she was created simply to hold onto a trademark. It woulda been simple to shrug and give up on She-Hulk, kill her off at the end of her series, or even just bury her in limbo until she needed to be dusted off for trademark renewal.
Instead Roger Stern wrote her while she was in the Avengers as a lively, vivacious, intelligent fighter. John Byrne continued her unique evolution in Fantastic Four and then in Shulkie's fourth-wall-shattering eponymous series. Dan Slott gave our Green Giantess even more unusual new twists and made her not a second-rate Hulk knock-off but a genuining entertaining and unique personality whose book is acclaimed and praised.
Think of all the characters who have been killed off (or worse yet, darkified) rather than brainstormed on. Speedball. Goliath. Pantha. Spoiler.
And I got to thinking...
What if there were a character so universally reviled, loathed, hated, despised, that the fans actually cheered for that character's death to happen? Is such a character redeemable? Can you make a fun comic out of that character, I wondered?
More to the point, could I make a fun comic out of that character?
Tomorrow my Redemption Project begins: one of the most hated characters in comics is coming back. Bully-style.
And although I do it mostly for the sake of a cheap giggle and guffaw and the chance to do a comic book Photoshop mashup, let's see if that character has got what it takes. It's gonna be wacky. It's gonna be silly. It's not gonna be serious. But just for fun, let's see if I can redeem the most despised character in comics.
See ya tomorrow, true believers. (And don't take the whole thing too serious. It's just an opportunity for some more jokes.)