Comic books as soap operas

I saw this post over at the Creative Loafing blog and I understood the point, but kind of wish it took the metaphor farther.

But reading about the “death” of Batman (and unless you’re living under a rock, that’s not really a spoiler) makes me think the comic-books-as-soap-operas thing is a little big closer than most people want to admit.

Because no one stays dead in either.

I was never exactly a regular soap-opera watcher. I kept up with All My Children growing up, mostly because my mom watched it (and when I’d come home for breaks during college or whatever, it was always easy to catch up). Cars would crash; planes would crash; people would fall off cliffs or lapse into comas. Even if there was a funeral, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities that someone would appear later, with or without amnesia, claiming it was an evil twin/body double/etc. and they weren’t actually dead.

I understand that there are only so many stories writers can tell so many times before both they and the watchers start getting bored, but even in the better class of soap operas (and yes, they do exist), the stereotypes are mostly true.

How many superheroes have died, only to come back later? I don’t believe for a minute Bruce Wayne/Batman is dead. It may certainly make for an entertaining comic and a good read, but it’s not as dramatic knowing that it’s unlikely that’s the final outcome.

(I don’t read Batman, so you can gladly tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about and that Batman is dead forever. But I have read comics. And watched soap operas. Past experience tells me how these things usually turn out.)

I have little comment on the [email protected] crew departing for what I hope are bigger and better things for all of them. But I do personally find the entire sequence of events leading up to this more than a little depressing and I’m sorry they were put in this position. I certainly wish them the best of luck. (The Beat has more, including comments from JK Parkin.)

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