The year 2008 will go down as a banner year for killing off comic book characters. Perhaps inspired by the wonderful press coverage that Marvel received when they put a bullet in Captain America last year, DC Comics in particular really let the hatchet fly quick and hard this year.
While none of the deaths seemed to generate quite as much media coverage as Captain America’s death, 2008 was impressive for the sheer quantity of second tier characters killed. There was one death that had the potential to be bigger than Captain America’s death, but the comic publisher readily admitted the character was going to return, so the media coverage quickly died down.
No one was immune from death in 2008 from Justice Leaguers to Avengers to New Gods to Super Friends. Some were killed in a crisis or an invasion, while others fell victim to heart attacks or mad Wonderdogs. Without further ado, here is our list of the top ten comic book character deaths in 2008.
10. Karate Kid
No, Ralph Macchio isn’t dead. We’re talking about Val Armorr, the Karate Kid from the Legion of Super-Heroes. A man who once used Super-Karate in order to go toe-to-toe with Superboy. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Val Armorr has been dead, so he could be coming back again.
9. Doctor Light
He was one of only two supervillains to make the list. Even though Doctor Light never obtained the status of Lex Luther or The Joker, he was a comic book supervillain for forty-six years, which has to count for something. The important role he played in DC’s various Crisis books also makes his death notable.
8. Marvin White
Ok, his death might have gone relatively unnoticed in the comic book world, but as a major character in one of the most popular superhero cartoons of all time, his death is significant. If you grew up watching the Super Friends, then the death of half of the Wendy and Marvin duo just seems unimaginable. Plus, the fact that he was mauled to death by Wonderdog has got to qualify him as the weirdest comic book death of the year.
7. Mister Miracle
Any time that a comic book publisher kills off a character that was created by Jack Kirby then it is significant, and DC Comics killed of a lot of Jack Kirby characters this past year. Of all the Kirby character deaths, Mister Miracle was the biggest name.
One of only two supervillains to make the list. The Abomination made the big time appearing in The Incredible Hulk movie this summer. However, in the comic book, he was killed off by the Red Hulk. Who knew that after everything the Abomination has survived over the years that being shot could kill him?
5. The Wasp
Marvel had to kill off at least one major superhero in Secret Invasion to make fans remember it as an important series. The Wasp unfortunately was the choice. It’s not every year that a founding member of The Avengers dies.
4. Jonathan Kent
Many probably didn’t even know this guy was still alive, but when you kill off Superman’s daddy it’s big news to the rest of the world. While many believe that Jonathan Kent died from a heart attack caused by Braniac’s attack on the Kent farm, we think it was because he was upset over DC Comics taking away his beer and replacing it with soda pop.
3. Martian ManhunterDC Comics had to kill off at least one major superhero in Final Crisis to make fans remember it as an important series. Martian Manhunter unfortunately was the choice. It’s not every year that a charter member of the Justice League dies.
2. Spawn (Al Simmons)
Ok, so his movie flopped, but Spawn is still like the most successful Independent comic book ever. His death should have been big news everywhere, but it hasn’t attracted much mainstream press. Of course his death was like another recent superhero death, where just the man behind the mask supposedly died. Spawn lives on, just Al Simmons is dead.
1. Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Yes, even DC Comics admits that he’s not really dead, so it sort of feels like cheating to put him on the list. But when you think about it, probably almost everyone on this list will likely be coming back in some form or fashion, because hardly anyone stays dead in comics.
Do you agree or disagree with our choices for top ten comic book character deaths of 2008. Is there anyone that we left off our list that died in 2008 that you think should have been included? Are there any on our list that don't belong in the top ten? How many do you think will come back from the dead?