Over the years, much to the heartbreak — or sometimes, vexation — of fans, several beloved comic book characters have met their demises in particularly tumultuous story arcs. Perhaps one of the most notorious comic book deaths in recent memory was Archie Andrews. The freckle-faced, redheaded star of the Archie comic book series died taking a bullet in a 2014 issue of Life With Archie. However, Archie was just the latest in a long list of major comic book characters to meet a tragic fate. Here are six of the most shocking comic book deaths, including one that may be featured in Marvel’s upcoming superhero ensemble film, Captain America: Civil War.
1. Archie Andrews
Archie, who made his comic book debut 73 years ago, died when he jumped in front of a bullet for his friend, the openly gay Sen. Kevin Keller, who is pushing for increased gun control in their city of Riverdale. “It’s really not sad. Actually it’s inspirational,” Archie Comics publisher Jon Goldwater said of the death. “Because Archie does what you would want Archie to do. He takes the bullet for his friend, and he would do that for anybody.”
The issue, No. 36 in Life With Archie – which follows Archie and the rest of his gang later in life — is the second to last of the entire series. The last issue jumped forward a year and focused on paying tribute to the character. Still, fans should be comforted to know that Archie lives on in other Archie Comics series.
2. Clark Kent/Superman
Superman is killed in a 1992 comic book storyline that occurred in DC Comics’ multi-issue The Death of Superman. The death occurs in issue No. 75 of the series, when Superman and the lethal supervillian Doomsday engage in battle on the streets of Metropolis. By the end of the fight, both parties are severely wounded and end up succumbing to their injuries. The death sparked a huge and intense reaction from the world, which was depicted in the crossover story “Funeral for a Friend.” Of course, it wasn’t a permanent story line. After four new superheroes pop up, the original Superman returns in “Reign of the Supermen.”