*I'm entirely out of time today, but I do have an interesting query for all of those out in Internet City: given the most recent news of Marvel delving even farther into the past to revive a dead character and wring some storytelling material out of it, has there ever been a superhero comic explicitly about the impermanence of death in a superhero universe? Obviously we've all read a few comics where characters are killed off at a rapid pace, seemingly in defiance of the lack of change in superhero universes (I'm thinking "Savage Dragon" and the Milligan/Allred issues of "X-Force"). I'm sort of in the mood for something that embraces the necessary fiction (within fiction!) of death as a temporary state in a superhero world. I wrote about the 'death' of Northstar a few months back:

"Death is not nothing in the Marvel Universe; that would be over-limiting our grounds for argument. No, death is symbolism. Death in ongoing serialized fiction always carries some voice from beyond the boundaries of the fiction-reality, of course, and a different tenor from deaths in other fictions, close-ended works. But death, being death, usually carries a more pressing immediate concern in the operation of the fiction itself: the absence of the decedent from the ongoing plot. This primary attention is stripped away in Big Two superhero comics. Dead most certainly does not mean dead, it means ‘leave of absence’ or ‘vacation’ or ‘bon voyage until we need to act upon our copyrights’ or ‘we don’t recall who you are but we know how to make you Shocking’, but not ‘dead’. With the finality of death stripped away, the act of killing an established character reverts to symbolism as its primary projection; when it’s impossible to acknowledge death as death as applied to fiction, we acknowledge death as an indication of weather currents upon the fiction, of a certain make-up of rain clouds and pressures and temperatures. Popularity. In lieu of that, visibility or notoriety. Inter-title consistency (even in its current devalued state). Attitude among creative teams. Presumed effect on the readership, bearing in mind the absence of death’s primary purpose, factoring in the metaphor present in the killing, now the primary focus itself. These are the storm conditions of Mighty Marvel Murder, but the storm reads us as we read it. What does a character mean in death? What do we think it means when the character is ‘killed’? What does the writer think it means in terms of effect on us when the character is ‘killed’? These questions form the basis of our attentions when a superhero is killed, and provides the excuse for the very presence of said attention at the same time. Because without these questions, well…

Who fucking cares?

We know the bastard’s coming back."

And I stand by that. But isn't there some book out there that seems to agree? Something where maybe the characters take a cavalier attitude toward killing and dying, because they know that killing isn't killing when it's on the comics page? I'm not necessarily talking self-aware "Oh my! I'm a comic book character!" type post-modern stuff, but something that thematically relates, even moving some of these concerns into the plot (I'm thinking along the lines of Supreme visiting the dimension where all of his prior revamps live at the top of Alan Moore's run). If this sort of book doesn't exist, it ought to.

*Ha ha, oh look at that, reposting so much of a prior work. I'll be posting a lot earlier than this tomorrow, with more original content.