You never die alone
From S E B A S T I E N G O Y
Series composed of:
- Dead Phoenix (Uncanny X-Men #136)
- Dead Captain America (Captain America, vol. 5, #25)
- Dead Batman (Final Crisis #6)
To address the paradoxical idea of burdens in a weightless environment, some aspects of the subculture of american comic books were found relevant: in these popular narratives, superheroes are meant to be immortals — if they die, they must come back, so that the status quo of their endless story is maintained. Every fan thus knows that the passing of a character is an event of little consequence, of little weight. It nevertheless remains an iconic moment and the representation of death, its fictional burden, requires solemnity. Both iconicity and need for gravitas probably explain why the pencillers commonly appropriate, to depict these scenes, a classical subject of Christian art: the Lamentation of the Christ, and more specifically, the Pietà.
This appropriation is highlighted here twice. First, by placing these comic books drawings in a church, where their source material originates. Secondly, by appropriating these popular representations themselves: They are indeed copied by imperfect eyes and hands to real size characters, introducing deformations and discontinuities in their previously perfect rendition. They are thus a pastiche of a pastiche. The triviality of the subject-matter and the unfinished quality of the works, contrasting with the dedication required to make such drawing, hint at the ambivalence of any appropriation, between irony and embrace.