Karen: Remember when a death in comics was meaningful? Over the years the value of a character dying has been greatly diminished by repeated resurrections, tricks, what have you. But there was a time when death in comics was a rare occurrence, and one that carried real weight.
Karen: I was a little too young to catch it the first time around, but the death of Captain Stacy in Spider-Man was very moving. Although a supporting character, it was still surprising to see someone die.
Karen: Of course we can all thank Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. for opening the floodgates, with the death of Gwen Stacy (and the Green Goblin). But this story was well-handled, and it meant something. It had a real impact on Peter Parker and his friends, and it affected the readers. Whether they liked it or hated it, people were reading the book to see what would happen next.
Karen: Two more deaths that followed not too long after that which I felt were notable were those of the Swordsman in Avengers and Thunderbird in X-Men. Swordsman's death was especially moving, as we had watched him struggle to regain his self-respect. He died a hero though, saving the life of Mantis. We never got to know Thunderbird very well, so his death was more shocking than moving.
Karen: When Jean Grey died, at the time it had an enormous impact. But of course, the character has been brought back and killed so many times, it's become laughable.
Karen: But before death became an over-used plot device, were there character deaths that affected you?