Death: it's an inevitable part of life and becomes even more so in a world where brightly-garbed men and women with spectacular powers put theirs on the line every day to safeguard the innocent against evil.
This week in SECRET INVASION #8, the Marvel Universe took yet another tragic hit as one of its greatest heroes made the ultimate sacrifice in the final battle against the Skrulls. In honor of this fallen favorite, we asked Marvel creators and editors to share some of the character deaths that have most touched them over the years.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
MARK WAID (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
When I was 10, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" destroyed me. D-E-S-T-R-O-Y-E-D me. Gwen Stacy was my first crush, and I walked around like a zombie the entire day
after I read AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121, so overwrought was I. It's one of my very first Marvel comics memories. So thanks for bringing it up.
JOE POKASKI (writer of ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR):
Uncle Ben. In one gunshot that we don't even witness, Stan Lee turns an understandably selfish teenager into a hero unlike any other. From that warehouse scene on, we understand that Peter Parker was changed in a profound way that still motivates him to this day.
KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL):
I think the death of Phoenix was by far the best death in the history of comics. One, because It was built up to perfectly, and two, because it involved a mainstay character in the Marvel Universe. The shock of it was a complete surprise and its poignancy was felt though the X-Men Universe for a long time.
KAARE ANDREWS (writer/artist of SPIDER-MAN: REIGN):
The DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL trade paperback was the first comic book to ever make me cry.
TOM DEFALCO (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL):
I was one of those early Marvel fans who was startled by the death of "Junior" Juniper at the end of SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #4, but the heroic sacrifice of Eric Masterson in THUNDERSTRIKE #24 continues to haunt me.
JIM MCCANN (upcoming writer of NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION):
Mockingbird, for sure! I couldn't believe it when she seemingly died in AVENGERS WEST COAST #100. She and Hawkeye's relationship was and remains my favorite coupling in the Marvel U. They had great chemistry, dealt with actual marital problems, and worked amazingly as a fighting duo. And then she died and Clint was never the same. But now, after reading SECRET INVASION, we know that she didn't die and she is back. Best of all, I am lucky enough to get to tell what really happened when she "died," what's happened since, and reunite her with Clint, re-establishing their relationship. But will all be happily ever after? You'll have to read NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION to find out!
WELLINTON ALVES (artist of NOVA):
The death of Captain America. That scene was very sad. I don't like when the heroes die and I loved Captain America, but that was a great story.
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
There's no Marvel "character" more fondly remembered than the late, great [writer and editor] Mark Gruenwald. His wisdom, humor and guiding hand is greatly missed in the House of Ideas, but surely his spirit still watches over the Bullpen!
FRED VAN LENTE (writer of MARVEL ZOMBIES 3):
Definitely Guardian of Alpha Flight, since it blew my mind you could not only blow up a country's signature hero and leader of its official super-team, but also blow up a guy wearing a costume made out of your country's flag, which makes it both herocide and flag burning at the same time. That's a double whammy! If he was an American super hero, the
Supreme Court would have had to decide the whole thing.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Senior Editor):
I think the death that most affected me was the death of Johnny and Sue Storm's father, the Invincible Man, from an early [Stan] Lee/[Jack] Kirby issue of FANTASTIC FOUR. Back then we readers weren't used to characters dying and coming back endlessly. When somebody died, we figured it was for good. And when the Invincible Man bought it and I read the reaction of his two children, it had a strong effect on me. This was their father who died, not a friend or cousin. The Invincible Man's death, so touchingly presented by Stan and Jack has always stayed with me.
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
The most affecting death would have had to have been that of Jean Grey, Dark Phoenix. It was the first time that a really central character to the Marvel mythos had perished, the culmination of over a year's worth of storylines, and terribly effective in its telling. And while it doesn't diminish that story particularly, I
think the resurrection of Jean in and around X-FACTOR a few years later signaled the demise of death being a significant event—once Jean came back, suddenly the flood gates opened, and everybody else started coming back behind her, to the point where death has virtually no meaning at this point.
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (writer of SECRET INVASION):
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