Cebulski may have proven himself one of Marvel’s most otherwise dreadful editors, putting out all sorts of badly written and even politically laced books that do no favors for their reputation (and artwork still remains poor on some of their books). But here is something startling he’s said at a foreign convention, something DC Comics would do well to consider – Marvel may not want to write character deaths much anymore:
It’s no secret that the world of comic books is a place where characters can be dead one second only to return to life in the next issue a month later. Comic characters die all the time and now that C.B. Cebulski is the top dog at Marvel Comics, he promises to pump the breaks a bit when it comes to killing off characters. At a recent Swedish convention appearance, Cebulski says that he refuses to use death as a way to sell more titles.
“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,” the editor says. “If we choose to do it now, we’re going to add a little more weight and permanence to the situation.”
Considering Cebulski’s proven little better than Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso, that’s a pretty bold thing to say, after all the pointless and potentially offensive deaths of superheroes and civilian co-stars alike. Could he decided upon this after the rightfully negative reactions to the deaths of Valkyrie in War of the Realms, Wolfsbane in X-Men, and quite a few heroes in Heroes in Crisis, which was capped off with the reduction of Wally West to a killer? Good question. Dan DiDio and Bob Harras did a horrible disfavor to DC’s reputation with that abomination, and it makes no difference whether resurrections are allowed by the editorial mandates or not; that they’d do it in the first place was offensive. Especially if the story was rife with shock tactics, fetishized violence and cheap sensationalism.
On which note, it’s not necessarily characters deaths that are the problem, but rather, if said characters were put to death through murder, and even before that, subject to horrific tactics like rape and graphic gore. Whenever DC used those elements in the past, all they did was prove they’re desperate for attention and sales at all costs, not to mention trying to out-Marvel their rival publisher, exactly what Cebulski comes close to pointing out, but didn’t finish. And almost never did they try ideas like death through natural causes and auto accidents, because story merit means nothing to the modern contributors. Natural deaths could have much more impact than deaths through murder, and would at the least be less controversial. And it would also do a lot of good if badly written deaths were reversed, and the sci-fi concept of resurrection were respected, along with exoneration of characters unfairly thrust into villainous roles, as seen lately with Wally West.
So now, the question remaining for DC Comics fans is: will DiDio and his figurehead editor Harras be willing to make the same points as Cebulski? It’s uncertain. But even if they do, they still deserve to be fired for their artistic and moral failures. Come to think of it, so does Cebulski, but more importantly, Quesada.