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The Most Important Deaths in Comic History

Whether they were victims of an assassination, caught in the crossfire during a superhero battle, or simply died of natural causes (which actually happens in comics much more than you'd think), all of the deaths in comic books have some impact big or small. Even those characters that only last a few issues. But which comic book deaths are the most important? This list has the deaths that have rocked comic-dom to its core, as ranked by the community.

This list is about those big ones, those with enormous impact, those that are still felt in the pages of their respective books to this day. Deaths so important that they effect the very fabric of the hero's identity and have made their way into popular culture in general as well.

Vote up the most important deaths in comic book history below. The deaths that forever changed the world of comics and beyond.
  • 1

    Thomas and Martha Wayne

    Photo: DC Comics

    Few origins are as instantly recognizable as Batman's. Walking out of a movie theatre late at night, Dr. Thomas Wayne, his wife Martha, and son Bruce are suddenly stopped by a mugger. When Thomas makes a move for his wallet the mugger panics and shoots. Thomas gets gunned down and then Martha right in front of an 8 year old Bruce.

    It's in this moment that Bruce vows to right the wrongs in Gotham, and strike fear into the hearts of its criminals... he just didn't know it yet. Had Thomas and Martha never been charitable socialites, had they never been gunned down in front of him, had they not left Bruce the fortune required to build an empire and a one man army, then we'd never have The Batman.

    It's a very simple origin but one that inspires and emboldens the reader. You instantly root for this character, even with some of his more questionable attributes. The death of the Waynes and the exact course in which it happened completely, and 100% shaped one of the most iconic and lasting characters in the history of comics.

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  • Photo: Amazing Fantasy Vol. 1, #15 / Marvel Comics

    Uncle Ben holds the title for being one of the only comic book deaths that hasn't been reversed since his untimely demise in 1962. The reverberations of his death greatly affected one Peter Parker in that it actually triggered the awakening of not only his powers, but his moral compass when it comes to fighting crime. 

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  • Photo: The Death of Superman / DC Comics

    No list about death in comic books would be complete without mentioning the death of Superman. I mean this is SUPERMAN. They killed SUPERMAN. This was so huge, it was on the news! Like the mainstream turn to channel whatever news! and this was back in the 90's before comics were cool. That's insane!

    Superman's death was basically a punching contest with this giant brute named Doomsday who was designed by scientists specifically to wreak havoc. In their first fight, Doomsday drew blood (not a common occurrence with Supes) and we knew it would get interesting. But this isn't about the actual cause of his death, as that was fairly standard. It was THAT it could happen, and how it affected all of us.

    Now, we knew that he'd come back and we knew that the four who replaced him were impostors. But this was the first real, major, mainstream hero to DIE in comics. The gloves were off. It was all fair game (which has since been horribly ruined and, as you can tell by this list, that everyone has "died"). But at the time, the death of Superman was different, it was special. Everyone who's old enough remembers where they were when they heard Superman died.

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    All Superman's Awesome and Absurd Superpowers#2 of 195 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans#83 of 289 The Greatest Cartoon Characters In TV History

  • Photo: Crisis On Infinite Earths / DC Comics

    Barry Allen, the original Flash, arguably the hero who started the Silver Age, was also the one who brought us into the Post Crisis DC universe with his demise. 

    It's hard to really explain in brief, but essentially back in 1985 in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, Barry Allen sacrificed himself to stop the Anti Monitor from destroying countless planets. He did so by running so fast that he jumped through time and was completely consumed by anti-matter stopping the Anti Monitor, and saving the multiverse.

    His death stuck for a whopping 23 years (a lifetime in comics) through many DC "crisis" titles, and now it seems to be a tradition to kill and bring back Flashes. But this death actually meant something.

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