Feb 27 2010

Name That Superhero Funeral!

Superhero funerals are so common that they have their own page on ComicVine and usually so bland that they tend to run together.  Given a transcript for three pages from a superhero funeral, can you name the series? If the writing were actually distinct, that wouldn’t be difficult.


FUNERAL ONE

Hero 1: Jeez, and here comes the number one suspect.

Hero 2: Hunh.  Not anymore.  I checked him out today… it was obvious that he hadn’t left his house in weeks.  He didn’t even know they had died until I told him.  His grief was genuine… I ‘ve ruled him out.  We currently have no real suspects.  I’m focusing on villains at the moment. They had many.

Hero 1: Well… That’s NOT good news.  I’ll let you know if I hear anything.  Someone’s bound to take credit for it sooner or later.  Oh, there’s the family… I’m going to go find our seats.

Hero 2: Hurm.

Orator: We are gathered here to remember the greatest team of superheroes the world has ever known.  That I’ve known…I’ve been working with the [GROUP NAME] since I came to Earth… they were mentors early on in my career.  [He names each fallen hero].  Names we’ll NEVER forget.  People that will go down in history…

Orator, continued: Legends, taken from us before their time.  We– What are YOU doing here?

Villain 1: Please continue… we do not wish to cause a scene.

Villain 2: We are here to pay our respects to a worthy adversary.  Nothing more, we will not interfere with the proceedings.

Hero 3: I’ll keep an eye on them.  I don’t think they’ll try anything with all of us here.

(A supervillain throws a bomb at the memorial).

Villain 3: No, they were mine.  MINE!

FUNERAL TWO
Orator:  [NAME] was a friend, an ally, a brother in arms, a confidant, and a comedian with the driest delivery you could possibly imagine.  He knew most of us better than we knew ourselves, and sometimes had no problem letting us know that fact when we strayed from our true north.

Orator:  We were him, and he was us.

(There’s a full page of six characters looking downcast and/or weeping).

FUNERAL THREE

This one is from my DVD collection.

Character 1: Hey.  I’m so sorry.  I know what it’s like to lose a father.

Character 2: I didn’t lose him.  He was stolen from me.  One day, [the killer] will pay.  I swear on my father’s grave [the killer] will pay.  Thank God for you.  You’re the only family I have.  (They hug).


Character 1, narrating: No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, the ones I love will always be the ones that pay.


Character 3: You must miss your father so much.


Character 1: It’s been so hard without him.


Character 2: There’s been something I’ve been wanting to tell you.  When I was up there, and I thought I was going to die, there was only one person who I was thinking of.  And it wasn’t who I thought it’d be.  It was you.  I kept thinking, “I hope I make it through this.”  So I could see your face one more time.


Character 1: Really?

FUNERAL FOUR

This one is also taken from a DVD.


Reporter:  In addition to friends, colleagues and loved ones, heads of state from over 400 countries are expected to attend today.  In the streets ofcities all over the world, thousands have gathered to pay their last respects.  Our all-day live coverage will conclude with his ceremonial interment later this evening.  Later, our panel of commentators and pundits will debate the question on everybody’s minds: without [HERO NAME], can there be a [TEAM NAME?]



Orator:  Though we gather here today, bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift.  We are privileged to live a life that has been touched by NAME.  He possessed many extraordinary qualities and he shared them freely.  But none of them were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done and his unfailing courage to do it, whatever the cost.  Let us all strive to accept this gift and pass it along, as a tribute to NAME, who taught us all how to be heroes.



Teammate 1, celebrating hero’s life after the funeral:  He’s holding a grenade in his hand like this and it blows and he doesn’t even move.  I say, “are you alright?” and he says–


Teammate 2:  This is the best part!


Teammate 1:  Fine, and you?


[END SCENE]


By tomorrow, I’ll have an article up about superhero scenes that need to die. (Similar to Five Superhero Plots That Need to Die, if you remember that one). about Superhero Scenes That Need to Die.  Except for possibly heroes screaming NOOOOOO after seeing a teammate get killed, superhero funerals have to be at the top of the list.  The good news is that commemorating the life of a fallen hero does not have to be bland and faceless.  Indeed, I rather liked the toast at the end of funeral 4, although it’s probably worth noting that it wasn’t at the funeral itself.  I’ll have more advice later.

Also, if you’d like to check your guesses about which funerals came from which series, please see the comments below.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Name That Superhero Funeral!”

  1. B. Macon 27 Feb 2010 at 11:31 am

    Funeral 1 was from Invincible #8. The funeral was being held for the Guardians of the Globe. One important twist that I should have mentioned above was that the orator/eulogist also sort of murdered them.

    Funeral 2 was from Final Crisis: Requiem. The funeral was being held for the Martian Manhunter.

    Funeral 3 was from the first Spiderman movie (2002). The funeral was held for Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin. If you can think of any other Marvel funerals, please let me know. (I’m pretty sure that Uncle Ben has had at least one funeral in the comics, but my subscription to Marvel expired and I wasn’t in the mood to spend $10 researching this article).

    Funeral 4 was from a Justice League episode, Hereafter (Part 1). The funeral was held for Superman.

    I was thinking about including the Comedian’s funeral from The Watchmen, but opted not to because the funeral itself is only a page long. Also, trying to describe the shifting scenes would have been a nightmare.

  2. Contra Gloveon 27 Feb 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Are they really so bad? I’ve always found funeral scenes nice (in fiction!)

    Of course, you’re talking about the Marvel and DC universes, where characters constantly return from the dead, making funerals pointless.

  3. Lighting Manon 27 Feb 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed them as well, although the Spider-Man one was quite abominable, particularly due to the directing and dialogue. I think the big problem is that they all take themselves so…seriously…They never have a funeral for Bruce Wayne, where his friends get together and drink and remember him (see Funeral 4) instead, they bury Batman, the scourge of the city that was totally awesome and John F. Kennedy.

    I think that would be the key, in my opinion, burying the man and not the image. I want to see them bury Clark Kent, they loved Clark Kent, but they didn’t even know Superman, he was a piece of fiction crafted by their friend. I suppose they kind of did what with Gobby, but he was outed for the most part by the time he died, so it doesn’t really count.

  4. B. Macon 27 Feb 2010 at 5:04 pm

    “Are they really so bad?” I see two major problems, both very surmountable.

    1) More often than not, a dead superhero comes back from the grave. Don’t bother giving us a funeral and pretending the death is significant unless it is.
    2) Make sure that the funeral (or whatever else you use to commemorate the death) is somehow tailored to the character and the story rather than bland drivel that could apply to any other character. Here’s an example of how NOT to do that.

    “Though we gather here today, bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We are privileged to live a life that has been touched by [NAME]. He possessed many extraordinary qualities and he shared them freely. But none of them were more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done and his unfailing courage to do it, whatever the cost. Let us all strive to accept this gift and pass it along, as a tribute to [NAME], who taught us all how to be heroes.” This could apply to Albus Dumbledore or Obi-Wan just as easily as Superman or the Martian Manhunter. Or any other fallen protagonist. If you do a funeral, focus on something that makes the character stand out. What can you say about him that you couldn’t say about 90% of other heroes?



    I’ll think more about how to do funerals well, but preliminarily I would recommend focusing on informal commemorations rather than funeral orations. One of the recurring conclusions I drew from the above funeral scenes was that they got considerably better when they moved away from the eulogy. It helped the characters stay focused on completing goals (like solving the murder in funerals 1, building romance in 3 or trying to shore up the team in 4). In contrast, I don’t think that funeral orations or showing seas of sad faces do that terribly well. Personally, I don’t find mourning all that interesting.



    What did you like about the funeral scenes you’ve enjoyed?

  5. Contra Gloveon 27 Feb 2010 at 5:49 pm

    The idea of finality, I guess. The character (not necessarily a superhero) is gone forever.

  6. ekimmakon 29 Sep 2010 at 3:17 am

    This isn’t a funeral, but it’s a scene in a graveyard, and I want to know if its effective or not.

    I’m not doing it for the gratitude.
    Mark pried open the rusty gate, and walked into the graveyard. The lights were flickering, casting strange shadows from the tombstones, shadows that almost seemed alive. Throw in the odd gargoyle leering at you out of the darkness, to finish the creepy atmosphere.
    Mark came to a stop at one gravestone, and stood there for a few moments. He angrily kicked at a nearby brick, which flew through the air, and crashed into an abandoned building. The building came crashing down in a large cloud of dust, wood and mortar. Mark collapsed on the ground, and a single tear fell from his eye…

    Here Lies Cathryn Hayes
    Gone, but not Forgotten

  7. B. Macon 29 Sep 2010 at 7:50 am

    Well, it’s a very short scene, but I don’t think it accomplishes much besides showing that he’s sad about the death of Cathyrn. It feels sort of generic to me.

    Could you tailor it to your story more? (For example, maybe he leaves a personal memento for her? Or maybe the inscription on the tombstone is more unique to her situation? Maybe he says something to the tombstone?)

    What’s something unique about how this character would go to the graveyard to remember Cathryn that 90% of other characters wouldn’t?

  8. ShardReaperon 29 Sep 2010 at 11:23 am

    I’ve been debating on whether or not to include a sort of funeral for the characters at the end. For the ones who died saving the planet, it seems appropriate that other Hero teams and maybe even some public figures would mourn them. At the same time, I don’t want it to be like you described, but I also want to show that the ones who died made a lasting impression on those who escaped the planet.

  9. ekimmakon 30 Sep 2010 at 12:35 am

    Well, I hadn’t much of an idea about the situation when I wrote that scene. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do with the character. I knew that I wanted her to be his reason to be a superhero, but I left it empty so I could come back to it in a later book. A bit lazy really.

    After thinking the character over, I decided I’d make her part of a love triangle between Mark and Janet. She’s a good friend to both of them, but has feelings for Mark, which he doesn’t realize. The other two go out on a date a short time after their mutant abilities manifest. Neither of them wants the other to realize it, though. Seems like a set up for a comedy date, right?

    Janet’s ‘friend’ decides that in order to exploit her powers, she has to take Cathryn out of the picture. So, she sets it up so that Cathryn walks in on them. And leaves heartbroken. Mark chases after her to see if she’s ok, only to find her being mugged. He uses his strength to save her, but when the police show up, he hesitates, as his powers are illegal. And she dies because he hesitated.

  10. ekimmakon 05 Oct 2010 at 12:50 am

    Okay, I changed the graveyard scene. Is this better?

    (The first sentence is in italics, indicating that it’s in his head.)

    But I’m not doing it for the gratitude.
    Mark pried open the rusty gate, and walked into the graveyard, mud squelching underfoot. For some reason, it rains every night in the Graveyard Sector, but seeing that Sector City was known for having some of the strangest weather patterns in the world, it wasn’t that strange. The lighting must have been faulty, because they flickered on and off uncertainly, casting strange shadows.
    Mark came to a stop at one gravestone, and stood there for a few moments.
    “Hey, there.” He said. “Sorry I’m late, but today was really weird. Have you got a moment?”
    He sat down by the tree, which was surprisingly dry.
    “Well, firstly, I found out that Zach is a superhuman. Did you know that? He might be a mutant, but I think he’s a freaxter. I think it happened at the science field trip a while ago. I… I could have saved him. But I did the same thing that I did for you. I was selfish, and someone else suffered because of it.”
    Mark bowed his head in shame.
    “I try to help people. I saved someone on the way over here. But it seems for every person I’ve saved, I end up hurting someone else through secrecy. Zach’s been arrested by the LEA, and in a way, it’s my fault. I can’t blame myself for something he did, but I can blame myself for something I didn’t do…”
    He stood up, and walked out into the downpour.
    “And I’ve blown up the science lab, too. Are they right about mutants? Are we a risk that should be stamped out?”
    He angrily kicked at a nearby brick, which flew through the air, and crashed into an abandoned building. The building came crashing down in a large cloud of dust, wood and mortar. Mark collapsed on the ground, and a single tear fell from his eye…
    If being unique was a crime, we’d all be outlaws .Why should being born different make you wrong?
    Mark could hear Cathryn’s words echo in his mind. He knew it wasn’t real, but it was just the sort of thing she’d say. He stood up again, and turned to leave.
    “Again, I’m sorry I was late. I’ll be here on time next week, I promise.”
    He walked off slowly. Although it was just a trick of the light, the raindrops made it look like the angel statue was crying…
    Here Lies Cathryn Hayes
    Gone, but not Forgotten
    She will be avenged!

    (The final line will be in a font that looks like it’s been written. The two lines before that will be in a font that looks like it’s been carved.)

  11. Nayanon 07 Jan 2013 at 4:49 am

    I think there was a funeral scene in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND. It was Charles Xavier’s. I don’t remember how the scene was done.

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