More Than 9 Lives – Famous Deaths & Rebirths
Over the past ten days we have been inundated with the deaths of many famous and beloved people. The generally accepted rule of thumb is that deaths of such ilk come in threes. Well, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays broke that rule… and the saddest thing -though I’m not insinuating any one of these losses wasn’t tragic- was that Mays and Jackson’s demises were so out of left field. Not to mention the fact that both were 50, each on the verge of some big project, and seemingly healthy. It just goes to show, when it’s your time to shuffle this mortal coil, there’s just no being prepared. In this case here, it seems there are a few things that just don’t seem to get it: death is supposed to be final. Yes, many of these things are fictitious and therefor don’t count as living in the first place, but the fact still stands that the general populous has seen at least one of them die many, many times. So, as we mourn the passing of a special group of people whose times expired far too soon, let’s also reflect on a couple of things that just can’t seem to stay dead.
Let’s face it, were it not for the constant rebirths and strengthenings of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ throughout J.K. Rowling’s epic series, Harry Potter would really have nothing to do. Voldemort (or Tom Riddle, for those in the know) is easily the chief antagonist of the seven-book best-seller set, but he is often thwarted and brought to as near to death as possible before being resurrected again in another form. He finally succumbs in the denouement, but just barely.
In the superior sequel to Hellboy, Red, Abe, Liz, and Klauss fend off an endless onslaught of clock-work ‘robots’ designed for ultimate destruction. Created centuries earlier by elves to thwart the marauding surge of Man, the Golden Army was controlled simply by a crown. Once the elvish king realized that too much power can be a bad thing, he had the army locked away and the crown torn asunder. In the present, the king’s son vows vengeance, reforms the crown, and raises the Golden Army who, were it not for the exploits of our heroes, would have gone on to ultimate annihilation. Oh, they still exist, it’s the crown that’s gone.
The simple fact of their heedless desire to stop at nothing to rid the past, present, and future of anyone named Connor notwithstanding, Terminators can be regenerated simply by being replaced. One falls, another steps up in its place without remorse, anger, or question. Sure, a single Terminator can be brought down by industrial presses, pools of simmering liquid metal, or even by another Terminator, but the fact still remains: there’s always plenty more where they came from.
Comic Book Characters
The unthinkable deaths and subsequent rebirths of comic superheroes is almost too common and, invariably, too numerous to mention. Some that do come to mind: Superman, Green Goblin, Dark Phoenix, Green Arrow, and, as early as July, Captain America. Why comic writers and artists find it necessary to piss of the reading and loyal public just to shake a foundation or two by whacking a super popular and iconic character is far beyond me. Especially with the understanding that such moves will only prove to revive the deceased as soon as they can, thanks to irritated fans. Oh well, at least it never takes too long for a revival.
I chose three specific cartoon characters for the purposes of this list, each for very different yet surprisingly similar reasons. In this case, Daffy Duck: master of the craft of driving anyone he’s with to the very verge of angry insanity while simultaneously giving all of himself to maintain a certain modicum of collective safety. He’s crafty, he’s bat-shit crazy, and, regardless of the potential outcome, he always has a plan. In one famous episode, Daffy and Bugs go head to head with Elmer Fudd during hunting season. The two animals work together for the most part to confuse Fudd, but it’s Daffy throughout who gets a full face of buckshot. Several times. In another cartoon, Bugs and Daffy are working the theater. Bugs is getting far warmer of a response from the audience, so Daffy shows him up by killing himself on stage. Yet, after all that, he’s always back for more.
Take any given episode of Tom and Jerry, and it becomes very apparent who comes out on top. Jerry is smarter, faster, and a quicker thinker overall. Tom, on the other hand, is brash, bullheaded, impulsive, and incredibly stupid. It never fails that a cartoon will feature one of the following: skull-bashing, shovel-to-the-face, fire, broken glass, explosions, sharp tools, saws, nails, guns, pool balls, and lengths of rope all used to do so much harm to Tom that, though they rarely show it, he just has to die at the end. But, yet again, his persistence brings him back every time.
South Park’s resident target, Kenny McCormick has died perhaps more times than any one cartoon character in history. During the first five seasons of the show, Kenny died in one way or another in just about every single episode only to return either at the very end, or the following show. Though the joke has run dry of late and he doesn’t die regularly, when the gag was first introduced, you could almost set your watch by this one phrase: “Oh my God! They killed Kenny! You bastards!”
Yep, plants. Just because it doesn’t talk to you or move around before it dies, doesn’t mean it won’t come back to live again next season. Plants are notorious for dying off after their life-cycle has ceased, only to go dormant (just a fancy way of saying ‘sleeping death’) for a few months before, surprise! Plants! Called Perennial in name, the plants with the ability to re-grow season after season and reproduce much like leafy zombies, come back after the snow or cold every year. I think scientists need to market whatever it is that makes them do that.
Horror Movie Villains
I tend to believe that the term ‘sequel’ was created for the soul purpose of giving horror movie directors an excuse to bring back their dead villains. Just as there are a ton of comic book rebirths, there are almost as many horror film baddies who have managed to cheat death: Dracula, Jason, Freddy, The Gingerbread Man, Candyman, Pinhead, and the list goes on. What? No zombies? Sorry, but ‘living dead’ is different than re-born.
Without touching on the often slippery subject of religion, I will say only this: “He is risen”.