In the past few 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.
Though news of his death was announced in April 2014, readers didn’t get to learn the circumstances surrounding the incident until early July. Archie joins a long list of major comic book characters to meet a tragic fate. Here are six of the most shocking comic book deaths.
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.