As with any genre, the death of a popular comic book character is a great way to get people’s attention. Killing off a beloved character boosts interest in a comic book, increases sales, raises the stakes and sets up future storylines. And like soap operas, most characters that are killed in a comic book eventually return with some strange or outlandish reason for how they survived and were never really dead in the first place. However, in some rare cases, a popular character has stayed dead once killed off and that has lent credibility and weight to the comic book title and helped to form the other characters future directions. So with that in mind, here are the six most shocking comic book character deaths of all time.
6. The Death of Superman
This was a stunt—plain and simple. Yet when D.C. Comics’ killed Superman in 1992, it caused a pop culture firestorm, the likes of which has not been seen in comic books before or since. Many comic book purists thought it was sacrilege to kill the Man of Steel and a superhero who was previously viewed as virtually indestructible (not including Kryptonite, of course). For pure shock factor, this death makes the list. The Death of Superman was a multi-issue comic book event, culminating in Superman’s actual death in issue No. 75 of the series at the hands of the deadly villain Doomsday, who also dies from the injuries he receives in a fight with Superman. Of course, Superman didn’t really die. D.C. Comics milked the storyline for all it was worth, but eventually had Superman return in the issue Reign of the Supermen, which sold almost as many copies as The Death of Superman issues that preceded it.