Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Death and Other Changes

Over the next couple of years, a confluence of the growth of independent comics and the rise of the comics specialty shops and conventions, and the increasing recognition in America of the potential for comics to be serious, quality literature and art led to the rise of independent comic book companies, creator-owned comic book properties, and graphic novels. By 1982, Marvel Comics was jumping on this bandwagon. They used their Epic imprint (which had been so far used for their Heavy Metal-inspired , adult-themed magazine) to start a line of creator owned comics, and they began a series of graphic novels. They asked Jim Starlin to do their first graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel, and he agreed if they would publish his Dreadstar series in their Epic line of comics.

Jim Starlin used the feelings he had been experiencing over the recent passing of his father to write a very moving story about Captain Mar-Vell dying of cancer, a very un-heroic death for a very noble character. The source of his cancer had been established in the last issue of Captain Marvel that Jim Starlin had written, in which the hero had been exposed to a toxic gas while battling a villain called Nitro. His nega-bands had held back the cancer for years, but by the time he told anyone about it, and despite a team of the most brilliant scientists, doctors, and magic users in the Marvel superhero pantheon, it had progressed too far to be operable. Ironically, this story came out on the eve of the breaking of the AIDS epidemic, in which many, many people would know the tragedy of loss to such an illness.

Thus ended that Captain Marvel, for the time being.


Meanwhile, Carol Danvers was fed up with her old friends, and planet Earth for that matter. She made friends with the X-Men, and wound up adventuring in outer space. There she developed a latent power, bursting into a form with the energy of a binary sun. She then took the name Binary.

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