Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Captain Marvel was a boring hero until Jim Starlin killed him. OK, that's not completely true. Starlin wrote big cosmic stories and Captain Marvel was in the middle of them battling Thanos for the Cosmic Cube, which Thanos wanted to impress his true love Death by killing all life in the universe. Yes it sounds completely ridiculous but Starlin made it work
Helping to sell the story was Starlin's impressive art work which played around with perspective and panel size, propelling the story forwards. But what really stood out was how Captain Marvel died. Heroes die glorious deaths fighting their nemesis if they die at all. Not so Captain Marvel. In the end cancer killed him. He did struggle heroically, and he did fight to the end, but he died in bed hooked up to a machine. The great superheroes of the Marvel Universe were unable to save him because the energy source that gave him his powers interfered with the treatment. Starlin showed that heroes can die in bed and still be brave and courageous, still go down swinging, still fight the good fight, still be heroes. And comics were better for having this story told in the way it was. It is also fitting that The Death of Captain Marvel was Marvel Comics first graphic novel.