Free to Kill: Creators, Comics, and Killing Characters


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This work examines how the Bronze Age of comics, thanks to factors like changes to the comics code authority, freedom to create at Marvel, and a brand new and young generation of comic book fans coming in, gave way to what has become a comic book staple, killing characters. Looking at a specific set of comic book deaths, it becomes apparent that Marvel Comics hired new and fresh talent and chose to give them the reins to tell new, unique, and horrific stories that brought a new reality into the comic book world by disillusioned liberal boomers. Although Marvel’s freedom was not absolute, these new writers brought new perspectives and attitudes akin to their generation, unlike those who served in World War II. This generation brought Marvel into handling controversial and complex real-world issues, like death, and made readers question their sense of right and wrong.