TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Marvel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marvel. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Freezing Time Before the Watershed


The Ballad of Narayama (1958) concerns the Japanese legendary practice of ubasute, or, abandoning the elderly in the mountains to die. Different characters obediently accept the practice or violently reject it. Image Source: QBranch.

In story-telling, there are several famous characters who try to freeze time before a watershed moment changes everything. They are traumatized by the moment of change and their rigid attachment to the past is almost always self-destructive. Perhaps this is a way of defining a ghost, someone who acts against the course of the world's destiny and becomes trapped in one frame of time, rather than moving along through many frames of time.

The need to accept change  in order to live in a healthy manner is the larger reason for the ancient injunction: Don't look back. This is the message in myth and religion, as with Orpheus and Eurydice or Lot's wife. Fables, ghost stories and superstitions are full of warnings against mirrors that can capture a hostile past, reflect it back at you, and trap you forever.

"Lot's Wife" pillar, Mount Sodom, Israel. Image Source: Wiki.

Sodom's destruction. Lot and his daughters escape, while his wife turns to a pillar of salt. 12th century mosaic, Duomo di Monreale, Sicily. Image Source: Wiki.

Lot leaving Sodom, with his wife looking back. Woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) by Michel Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurf.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July Flags and Heroes


Image Source: Chris Murray via ScreenCrush.

Happy Independence Day! Here are two of the best cosplays I could find of Captain America and Wonder Woman.

Image Source: meagan marie at deviantArt via Post Game Lobby. See her full costume here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eduardo Barreto: Titanic Farewells

Raven: post-resurrection emotions of a character. NTT Vol. 2, #39 (Jan. 1988). 

This has been a strange holiday season.  Every week, I have heard about 3-4 deaths, either acquaintances, or public figures. Today, more sad news. Farewell to a fine illustrator from Uruguay, Eduardo Barreto, who died on December 15.  He graced the pages of DC's Titans title from 1985 to 1988.  He followed on this series in the wake of huge fan favourites George Pérez and José Luis García-López.  At the time, the New Teen Titans was still one of the hottest American comic books in the world, pencilled by two of the industry's most famous talents.  Barreto filled the shoes of his predecessors and more.  He made the characters his own.

Barreto had the tough task of making a resurrected, post-apocalyptic Raven have emotions when she had never had them before.  The cover above from 1988 was Raven's first real smile since her introduction in 1980.  After Pérez tore her apart, it took Barreto to show how a character, reborn after death, shot through with evil, would manifest emotions for the first time and bizarrely - yet haltingly and believably - come back to life to experience some joy.
New and old gods. NTT Vol. 2, #9 (June 1985).

Below the jump, some examples of Baretto's work from that period.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Configurations of a Third: The Multiverse


From the Internet emerging from binary code, to the extratemporal dimension between the virtual and the real, to Dark Matter generated between the Matter and Antimatter of the Big Bang, to a bizarre cosmic consciousness arising out of gravity's mesh with space-time - the Millennial idea that our dualist Cartesian reality, split between mind and matter, can form a third, post-Cartesian reality is everywhere. See below the jump for Brian Greene's recent discussion on Nova's The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse.  While the Multiverse is not yet generally accepted among physicists, since 2010, the idea that there were and are many Big Bangs, generating many universes, has been gaining ground among quantum physicists, string theorists, and theoretical physicists studying cosmic inflation. Their critics argue vehemently that accepting an unprovable theory like this could undermine the very foundations of science.  What is perhaps more important than the challenging theory is the overall pattern - a fundamental sea-change in outlook - these Millennial Configurations of a Third, everywhere we look (see my earlier post on tripartite aspects of Millennial thought, here and here).

In the American TV show, Fringe, there are prime and parallel universes. The parallel universe Manhattan is spelt with one 't.' Image Source: Fox via Wiki.

If the Multiverse is our reality and we don't know it, what would it be like to live there if we did know it? According to Signs of the Times: "The trouble is that in an infinite multiverse, everything that can happen will happen - an infinite number of times. In such a set-up, probability loses all meaning. 'How do you compare infinities?' asks Andrei Linde of Stanford University in California." Multiverses have been consistently popular fictional narrative devices that address Linde's question. Multiverses are constants in fantasy and sci-fi works, most recently in the American FOX television show, Fringe, and of course, Scenes from a Multiverse.  But the only place where the cultural and social implications of a real Multiverse have been systematically and continually explored is in comic books.  Since the early 1960s, Marvel has produced stories about a bunch of alternate realities, pocket universes and multiple dimensions. Marvel tends to have a single narrative represent a single reality: their main narrative continuity is Earth-616. Their Ultimate imprint has presented popular alternate universe stories since the year 2000. TVTropes sees Marvel's Multiverse affected by a hierarchy of positive and negative realities: English writer "Warren Ellis' run on X-Man utilized another conception of the multiverse, where in addition to Parallel Universes, there's a 'spiral of realities' stretching above and below, with the universes 'downspiral' being significantly more chaotic and difficult for li[f]e to develop/survive in than the the relatively advanced and idyllic universes located 'upspiral.'" Marvel also has an omniverse, a collection of all possible universes and realities, inhabited by characters from other fictions and pulp houses, including its rival, DC.

Infinite Crisis #5 (April 2006).

DC Comics' assessment is even more complex, with frayed narratives and equally divided fictional realities; its Multiverses collide and break apart, causing total chaos, infinite crises, and a constant reevaluation of its characters and degrees of heroism. Since Wonder Woman #59 (1953), writers at DC have symbolically considered what living in a real, tangible Multiverse would do to our mentalities, lives and consciousness.  Since 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, when DC attempted to crunch the whole Multiverse into one single fictional universe, America's oldest comics publisher has allowed events on the Multiversal level to dominate its main narrative storyline with increasing frequency and intensity. DC soon uncrunched their single universe and brought the Multiverse back. DC's writers have reevaluated our understanding of death, of time, of narrative sequence and continuity, and of morality (see also: here); and all of this arises when the unseeable and unmeasurable beyond our perception collides theoretically with tangible reality and coughs up a third synthetic unknown.

nU Alec Holland meets nU Abby Arcane. DCnU Swamp Thing #3 (January 2012).

In short, alternate realities and parallel dimensions have of course appeared in many modern works of literature and drama, some great, some popular; but only DC has been consistently speculating on what a collective Multiversal reality would be like, month in, month out, over almost sixty years. DC's Multiverse has evolved over that time, with its most radical stories ever published this fall.  The editors and writers at DC are saying the fabric of time and space could tear, turn itself inside out, and we could all find ourselves, the same but different, living in new realities, haunted by memories of our other existences.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Midsummer's Simmering Collective Unconscious

Naked Russian diver tames Beluga whales in Arctic waters.  Um ... what?  Image Source: Viktor Lyagushkin/KNS/I09.

Some days, the news headlines give a straightforward snapshot of what is going on in the world.  Some days, the mainstream media stories are curiously uninformative, strangely empty of content and meaning.  On days like that, I appreciate Fox Mulder and Twilight Zone a little more.  Offbeat Websites capture the current mood, if not the facts.  And frankly, the mood's uneasy.  Even more than usual, the Internet is positively humming with weirdness right now.

Weimar blog focusses on twins this week. Image Source: Andrej Glusgold via Weimar.

Midsummer. It should be a dreamy, beautiful time.  But we're half way through a troubling year.  The year began with flocks of birds falling from the sky and fish dying in their millions (bizarre occurences are still happening).   Then Japan had one of the worst earthquakes in her history; and the worst nuclear accident in global history resulted, about which the news is not improving.  The death of Osama Bin Laden prompted an upswing in threats and conspiracy theories.  Economists remain pessimistic about global economies.  An Indian prophet died amid expectations of his resurrection.  An Italian prophet predicted a terrible European earthquake.  A California prophet proclaimed the end of the world now, no, this autumn - and then suffered a stroke.  The Middle East has churned through its 'Arab Spring' to a violent stalemate.  Astrologers are proclaiming that the heavens have turned upside down in a month intensified by three eclipses.  A Chilean volcano exploded.  And so on.

Image Source: Rodney Smith via Weimar.

Here's the collective unconscious, at a glance:
  
Image Source: David Byun via Weimar.

True to the impulse toward Milliennial dualism, it feels like the ghostly mirror image of the second half of the year is manifesting opposite the first six months that have already transpired. The stage has been set, we're ready for Act II.  Or is it Act III?  An eerie expectation arises that there's a ethereal third dimension to this mirrored configuration.

Image Source: Karl Hubbuch (1927) via Weimar.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Comics that Made Me a Fan: Elfquest

The Wolfriders' Holt in the Original Quest. "Wolfsong," Elfquest #4.

Boing Boing recently reported that all 6,500+ pages of the comics cult saga Elfquest are now online, to read for free.  In fact, they've been up since 2009, and were generously posted by their creators, who initially set a milestone by self-publishing their issues; you can read them here.  Published from 1978 up to 2007 (with more stories promised, and long-running plans for a movie), these comics are an American classic of pulp fiction and pre-manga story-telling (read a review here).  In an earlier post, I talked about DC Comics stories that caught my attention.  This is another title that made me a fan and a collector.

The Wolfriders encounter Savah, leader of desert Elves known as the Sun Folk in the Original Quest. "Raid at Sorrow's End," Elfquest #2.

Drawn and written by Wendy Pini and written and edited by her husband Richard Pini, Elfquest is a mesmerising tale that spans millennia, about an Earth-like world inhabited by primitive humans.  The World of Two Moons is forever changed, however, when a race of alien Elves, called High Ones, lands on the planet.  They hail from a society of advanced technology, but only develop their inner abilities once they relinquish their dependence upon tools and weapons. Their spaceship is driven by Elvish psychic and physical powers, which appear to terrified human observers as magic.  The 'Original Quest' - the first Elfquest story ever published - however, begins long after this huge event.  By this time, the Elves have dispersed.  They have adapted to this world.  Different tribes of Elves form close psychic bonds with creatures such as wolves, elk, eagles and dolphins, and build their respective societies around those bonds.  But they are all characterized by their hazy and legendary cultural memories of a lost central experience.  They all yearn to find the original spaceship that brought them, the Lost Palace of the High Ones.  The main protagonist, Cutter, a wolf-riding Elf leader, plans to find the Palace and unite all the Elves, the scattered children of the High Ones. Along the way, he meets many different Elves, including one of the best villains in comics, the Glider Winnowill.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Retro-Futurism 12: Professor Xavier Steampunk Wheelchair

 Steam Punk Professor Xavier's Wheelchair © Daniel Valdez. Image Source: Steampuffin.

This month, an exhibition is wrapping up at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, Massachusetts: Steampunk, Form & Function: an Exhibition of Innovation, Invention & Gadgetry.  The exhibition runs until the second week of May and is sponsored by ModVic and Steampuffin.  Interior designers from ModVic will give your home a complete Steampunk overhaul under the motto: "move into your old new home."  The style is also called neo-Victorian; it features new tech incorporated into nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century English and European designs with Jules Verne and H. G. Wells touches.

Steampuffin specializes in housing our modern tech in Steampunk designs and gadgets.  One of the no-miss items in the exhibition is the Professor Xavier Steampunk Wheelchair, designed by Daniel Valdez.  There is a demo video below the jump showing the chair's various features, including smoke-puffing, noise-making, and vodka cocktail churning.  Actually, it kind of reminds me of that 1980 horror film, The Changeling. The Museum's catchphrase is View the Past, See the Future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nuclear Culture 3: America's Radioactive Superheroes


In the list of superhuman qualities, perhaps the most enduring are those derived from radiation.  The incredible power from our Sun has long spawned divine myths around our star.  Twentieth century science contributed a number of themes to this ancient archetype: evolution, radiation's effect on DNA, splitting the atom, nuclear power.  This is explained in a piece on nuclear accidents and the rise of the modern superhero on Boing Boing:
In the first part of the 20th century, the evolutionary scientists were expressing the idea that maybe cosmic radiation, which we've lived with on earth for our whole history, might have caused some changes to our DNA. Radiation can do that. At the same time, people were learning about evolution, which depends on random changes. I think that caught their imagination. That connection between radiation and evolution. I remember one of the earliest stories I read where they put this guy into a chamber and irradiated him, and he evolved before their eyes. Really he would have just died, but the idea remains.
Superman, Spider-Man, Captain Atom and Doctor Manhattan are all examples of Nietzsche's Übermensch; sometimes they have Messianic qualities; or they are scientists, caught in a nuclear accident; and sometimes they are Everyman figures who are suddenly raised above all others. Characters with similar origins include The Ray, Captain America, The Atom, X-Ray, the Nexus Fusionkasters and Apollo. All of them are anthropomorphized versions of qualities we attribute to the power of radiation, whether cosmic, solar, elemental or nuclear. Most of pulp fiction's characters respond to radiation by acquiring superpowers such as strength, energy manipulation and flight; but some endure a separation of body and soul by nuclear means. Some gain the ability to travel through time; and some achieve immortality. Below the jump are the most popular radiation-powered heroes in the order in which they historically appeared. In some cases, there are later versions of the same character.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reflections on the Revolving Door of Death 3: RIP Johnny Storm, Camelot Hero


Death of the Human Torch, in FF #587 released January 25, 2011. Fantastic Four vol. 3 #587.

I no longer read the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man regularly, but it looks like no one in the comic book industry is stepping back from the Revolving Door of Death any time soon. Both Marvel and DC have claimed they are shutting the door, that is, they will keep killing characters, but that resurrections of characters that have been killed off will stop. But death still sells, and money talks louder than integrity in story-telling. Editorial 'dead means dead' declarations are merely attempts to reinvest an overused trope with meaning. The whole point of using death as a narrative device is that it supposedly adds a tone of momentousness to a story. Yet with the recurrent use of the device, the emotional weight of death has diminished.  And no one seems to understand that when they kill off a hero, they kill the values he represents; they attack the ideals that his powers symbolize.

A death story like the one that appeared this week in Fantastic Four #587 sparks nostalgia over the dead character among those who have not followed that character for years. When I read the Fantastic Four decades ago, Johnny Storm was my favourite member of the FF. He's one of several young male heroes who debuted in the early-to-mid 1960s whose powers and behaviour were unconventional compared to the likes of Superman, Captain Marvel and Captain America. I've always had a soft spot for these characters from the late Silver Age: The Human Torch (1961), Spider-Man (1962), Cyclops and Iceman (1963), Ironman (1963), Daredevil (1964) and Beast Boy (The Changeling) (1965). They are all, in their own ways, fallible, yet they still have the gloss of confidence, a gutsy heroism.

In their origins, these are bridge characters, retaining some values from the preceding aftermath of World War II - but they anticipate the social upheavals of the late 1960s and 1970s. Thus, they reflect some of the moral absolutes of the war (arguably the source of their courage). But their brand of heroism equally incorporates the lingering ambiguities of the Korean War, as well as the rebellious attitudes of the Angry Young Men and the Beat Generation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Generation X Goes Back to the Future 6: Thirty Years of DC's New Titans - A Tribute

NTT #1 (Nov. 1980)

Thirty years ago this month, the preview for a great new comics title, The New Teen Titans, came out in DC Comics Presents #26.  For fans like me, who picked up that issue at a plain old newsstand (I can still smell the cigarette smoke, chocolate and bubblegum in the store, which has long since closed), that preview and the issues that followed immediately stood out as something special.

I grew into adolescence reading this title as the 80s unfolded.  I read a lot of titles I'm sure my contemporaries would recognize: Atari Force, Alpha Flight, Amethyst, Legion of Superheroes, The Uncanny X-Men, The New Mutants, and later Elfquest, Love and Rockets, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer and Sandman, as well as several others - including mini-series like Sword of the Atom, Cloak and Dagger and Hawk and Dove, and ground-breaking graphic novels and limited series like The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Killing Joke, V for Vendetta, Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Watchmen.  But among all these great books, at its best, The New Teen Titans stood out, head and shoulders above the rest.  Maybe it's because the NTT captured the early-to-mid 1980s as seen from a youthful point of view so perfectly (the title had well passed its peak by the time the character Danny Chase was introduced in 1987).  The lineup of core NTT members is here.

Along with Claremont's revamped X-men from this period, the New Teen Titans are Generation X's superheroes.  There was something in the NTT title of a latchkey generation that felt (and still feels) forgotten, overlooked, misunderstood or dismissed by their elders.  At first Gen Xers, like their parents, were seduced by the glamour of 80s' high life.  But they were also the first witnesses of the private cost of that life within families.  Xers were compelled to survive in Brave New social settings and develop new values to cope in Postmodern and Post-Postmodern circumstances, while riding the economic booms and busts generated by their predecessors.  That's what The New Teen Titans was all about - and it was especially about building a family in a world where families had broken down.  Later Titans titles have picked up the same themes.  The Titans are a pop culture mirror held up to reveal the trials of a generation that has repeatedly absorbed the often unseen costs of Boomer-driven social change.  And for skeptics out there who don't read comic books and think they're just for kids - that's why this title is relevant. 

Every character fit a superficial Gen X stereotyped label endowed upon the cohort by the Boomers - but every character showed hidden depths that belied those labels. This is a big part of the Gen X experience - Xers were constantly being defined by Boomers, yet always knew in their hearts that they were something else. And so - Dick Grayson (the sell-out), Wally West (the Alex P. Keaton conservative), Donna Troy (the perfectionist), Gar Logan (the slacker), Victor Stone (the tech guy), Raven (the New Age wicca girl), Koriand'r (the anti-feminist sex bomb).

Beneath these Xer stereotypes, every superhero on this team was an anthropomorphized version of a specific archetype - an incarnation of a particular heroic value.  For years, Boomers have accused Xers of being cynical, ungrateful and nihilistic.  A close reading of this pulp fictional corner of pop culture can tell you at a glance how profoundly wrong they are.  Generation X's values are, however, very difficult for Boomers to perceive, let alone understand.  The bonds between the Titans represented how their heroic values played out as Xers struggled for years with a prolonged, misunderstood, cohort-wide introspection on behalf of their entire society. They also had to take on the legacies of their predecessors without compromising their own identities and convictions.

This is a tribute to the Titans as pop fiction icons that shows different ways that these superheroes reflected the Gen X experience.  That's before we even look to the obvious accomplishments of DC's creators: Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Romeo Tanghal, John Costanza, Adrienne Roy, Len Wein and their immediate successors - including Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Eduardo Barreto and Phil Jiminez.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Retrocognition, or, Psychic History

Matter of Time (2009). © By lone-momo.  Reproduced with kind permission.

The turn of the Millennium is a relentless, clichéed reality, important only because of how we set up our calendar.  We expect these years to be significant, even if they're not.  And if they're not, we have to make them important with strange ideas. Today's fringe theory is Retrocognition or Postcognition.  This is a fad from the turn of the last century, wherein people claim to be able to see past events psychically, and experience trapped pockets of former times.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Retro-Futurism 3: Conan the Barbarian


There is a vast, unrecorded period of human history.  Roughly 18,000 years passed unrecorded from the latest suggested period of Neanderthal interaction with Cro-Magnons up to the Bronze Age.  This is the realm of fantasy associated with the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard.  The Stone Age began in Africa roughly 2.7 million years ago.  The transition from Stone Age cultures to metal-using technologies is in fact much later than Conan's fictional period: "the transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa, Asia and Europe." In Europe the transition to the Iron Age took place around 1,200 BCE.  Howard, like many others, placed the Iron Age much earlier in time than it actually occurred.  The author, best known for his 1930s pulp heroes, the Atlantean warrior Kull and the post-Atlantean Conan the Barbarian, portrayed the Prehistoric Iron Age period.  But Howard's 'Hyborian Age' for Conan is set from 14,000 BCE to 10,000 BCE - approximately 13,000 to 9,000 years too early.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reflections on the Revolving Door of Death 2: The Death of the Postmodern Hero

Death of the Flash, COIE #8 (Nov. 1985)

In pulp fiction, character-driven stories, so beloved from the 1970s to the mid-1980s, are now a thing of the past. For many years, but especially since about 2003, DC's comics universe has been awash in death, legacy characters doing the rounds in their fourth versions, dying, and coming back in fifth versions (see my blog entry on this here). DC’s two big events in 2009-2010, Blackest Night and Brightest Day, epitomize the morbid fascination with death and resurrection. Yet the leading lights of the company proclaim that these events in fact will halt the tide of death and reinvest it with meaning, a message that was carried out of Blackest Night. In BN issue #8, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) announces that ‘dead is dead from here on out.’

While we wait for Brightest Day to deliver on writer Geoff Johns’s promise to give death meaning again, it’s obvious that DC and its competitor Marvel have a problem on their hands. During the Modern Age of Comics, which has run from the mid-1980s to the present, the mainstream comics companies painted themselves into a corner when they created the so-called ‘revolving door of death.’ Now, characters die so often in the name of ‘grim drama,’ that readers and critics cynically, or wearily, do body counts at the end of every crossover event. Why has DC killed off more than 650 (at latest fan count here at Legion World) of its characters since 2003? In all this overkill, the 2010 death of the young character Lian Harper aroused outrage at the company for gratuitously manipulating its readers, by taking excess to a new low. There is a deviantART site devoted to the topic here.  Yet DC mistakenly took this emotional response to mean that its creative team had created a dramatic story that moved its readers, rather than comprehending that their audience was expressing annoyance and genuine death trope exhaustion. Why is DC so tone deaf when it comes to hearing what fans are saying? A flood of gore cannot be used to revive the seriousness of already-overused death memes that once were sacrosanct.
 
X-Men #136 (Aug. 1980)

There’s more to this than a vicious circle of commercialism. Let’s go back. The death of a hero in any medium, let alone in comics, was once the height of drama. It grew out of older roots in epics, fairy tales, literature and religious sources. It was a narrative line that was almost never crossed. It carried weight. And because it was a powerful dramatic tool, it was invariably a commercially successful plot device. Practically every comics fan recognizes the famous X-men cover of Cyclops holding a half-dead Jean Grey. The cover foreshadowed her death in the next issue, when she sacrificed herself to save the universe in the Dark Phoenix Saga. According to Marvel wikia, issue #137 from September 1980 was “the first time that a major Marvel Comics super-hero [wa]s killed off on-panel.” Jean Grey’s death might be considered a harbinger of the Modern Age.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reflections on the Revolving Door of Death 1: Titanic Legacies for Generation X Superheroes

Cheshire mourns her daughter. Titans, vol. 2 #26 (Oct. 2010).

Open a mainstream comic these days, and chances are you'll find one main theme: death, death, death, death, death! After that, you can choose from gore, hyper-violence and the occasional resurrection.  This is what the Modern Age of comics has boiled down to, driven by company-wide crossover events.  Since the 1980s, events at DC and Marvel have pushed fans to buy more comics by tying their titles into events, thus ensuring annual best-selling series.  These events are characterized by their 'Where's Waldo?' group shots of heroes battling cosmic menaces.  But despite the fact that some planet-sized villain is coming to eat the planet, drama has declined.  Perhaps because the end of the world is happening so often, it's hard to take any of it seriously anymore.  This has prompted creative teams to use character deaths to add drama to big events as well as regular series.

But there's something more going on here.  The grim and gritty Modern Age, now winding down, became characterized by what's described in comics circles as the revolving door of death, where characters were and are regularly killed off, then brought back on a cyclical basis.  Marvel is ushering in the seemingly less dark Heroic Age - yet in its Second Coming storyline just killed off Nightcrawler, one of the most beloved members of the classic X-men.  Their old DC rivals, the Titans, have suffered a parade of death and violence over the past twenty years that is notable even by Modern Age standards - but in the past decade the Titans' deaths have been unremitting.  Despite the recent resurrections of Donna Troy and Young Justice favourites, Superboy and Kid Flash, the revolving door of death has not revolved that much for this beleagured team

Death of Duela DentTeen Titans, vol. 3 #47 (Jul. 2007). 

After DC's huge crossover event Blackest Night, where the drama revolved around the return of zombified dead characters (of which there is no shortage), as well as a few more deaths, and a few resurrections, the current event, Brightest Day, follows the resurrected and the reason for their troubling trip back from the dead.  Just like Marvel's Heroic Age, the Brightest Day title belies its purpose.  This series is not about things getting better in the DC Universe, but death is supposed to regain its meaning: the revolving door is closing.  DC's leading lights have declared that "dead means dead," in other words, if your favourite character is dead, forget it - no more resurrections. But that doesn't mean the deaths are stopping, as another hero, the Atom, was just killed off in Titans Villains for Hire.

Deathstroke takes over the Titans title: Death of the Atom. Titans VFH Special #1 (Jul. 2010).

Over at Legion World, a board devoted to discussion of DC's futuristic team, the Legion of Superheroes, fans are compiling a list of characters killed in the DC Universe in the past seven years, hereThese fans calculate that in the past seven years, DC has killed off over 600 characters in the name of 'rough and gritty drama.' Of these, about 50 characters long or recently dead have been resurrected within the same time period. Maybe DC is clearing out a backlog of unused characters, but there's something odd about the sheer volume of numbers in this macabre death march.