Comic Book Characters Who Stayed Dead


As comic book readers we have collectively reached the point where the deaths of major characters do not really pack a punch. As soon as we see a costumed figure meet the Reaper we begin the countdown in our heads until their return. But occasionally they do not come back, as there are some comic book character who have died and remained dead.

Captain Marvel: The Kree warrior Mar-Vell was the first of a superhero lineage which continues to this day with Carol Danvers. However his time as one of Marvel’s greatest cosmic heroes came to an end in the classic graphic novel appropriately entitled The Death of Captain Marvel. After exposure to Compound 13 gas, Captain Marvel discovers he has cancer and while his powerful Nega bands are keeping the illness at bay they also prevent any treatment from taking effect. Coming to terms with his fate, the hero invites his friends and colleagues to bid a final farewell to him. While the other superheroes agonize over their inability to save him despite the powers and resources at their disposal, previous enemies make peace as Captain Marvel heads into the afterlife.

Starman (Ted Knight): The first of many DC heroes to hold the Starman mantle, Ted Knight was created by comics legend Gardner Fox along with Jack Burnley during the Golden Age of Comics. An astronomer who is able to draw upon his powers via the Gravity Rod/Cosmic Rod, Starman fought crime in Opal City and globally in the Justice Society of America. Though he spent many years in retirement the old hero donned the red costume once again when his old enemy the Mist, armed with a nuclear weapon arises pose a threat. He uses the Gravity Rod to transport he, the Mist and the bomb into orbit where the two enemies make peace before detonation.

Goliath: While he may have never been a headliner hero, Dr. Bill Foster AKA Goliath has had a rich history in Marvel Comics. Taking over the mantle created by Hank Pym and briefly held by Hawkeye, Foster was both a dependable superhero and a respected scientist in the Marvel Universe. When the Superhero Registration Act comes along igniting the Civil War story arc Goliath sides with Captain America and the Anti-Registration side. Battling the Thor clone dubbed Clor by fans, Goliath is killed in one of the most shocking moments of the event. Foster’s death and unceremonious burial while still in giant form proved a pivotal moment in the conflict.

Ant Man (Eric O’Grady): When you bring up Ant Man most fans assume you are talking about either Hank Pym or Scott Lang, because nobody cares to remember Eric O’Grady. A disgruntled and amoral SHIELD employee, O’Grady swipes Hank Pym’s latest Ant Man tech in pursue his own selfish desires. His adventures were chronicled by fan favorites Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester in the series Irredeemable Ant Man as the character evolved from a scumbag into an unlikely hero. His arc hit its crescendo during his battle with The Father and his Descendants saving a child. While at first it seemed like he survived the battle and renamed himself Black Ant, the truth was Black Ant was merely a Life Model Decoy and the real Eric O’Grady had died in battle.

The Atom (Al Pratt): Another great hero from DC Comics’ Golden Age, Al Pratt was a 5ft weakling trained into peak physical shape by a legendary boxer. The two-fisted hero joined his fellow heroes in the Justice Society of American and even gained radioactive-based superpowers. During the events of Zero Hour he stood alongside his fellow 1940’s era heroes against Extant and perished initiating a foolhardy assault on the supervillain. Though he may have been laid to rest his legacy as the Atom continues on as both Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi have carried on the Atom name and his son, once thought dead, became the hero Damage.