Comic book fans are not shy about making their opinions heard. Whether it be through forums, comment sections, or votes arranged by publishers, the fans have had a consistent influence on the stories they read. Today, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook make interacting with creators and publishers as easy as sending a quick message or tagging them in your post with relatively minimal effort, but in the pre-internet era, fans had to go out of their way to interact with creators, perhaps making their contributions carry a little more weight then.
The truth is, fans can make or break a comic book series with their weekly decisions on what to add to their pull-lists, but fan interaction has went beyond simple sales figures in the past, and publishers have recognized this. Slumps in popularity and sales have previously led to fans voting on outcomes within the pages of their favorite comics, and changes have even been implemented due to fan backlash.
While this list isn’t in any particular order, it’s safe to say that the moments included were huge within in the history of comic books and they are predominately from DC and Marvel, respectively. Here are 15 Huge Comic Book Moments Decided By Fans.
15. The Batman-Azrael Shuffle
Bane breaking Batman’s back in Batman #497 has become one of the most memorable moments in the Caped Crusader’s history. Knightfall was an epic that, along with Knightquest and KnightsEnd, spanned an incredible 16 months, but fan reactions caused Knightquest to end much sooner than originally planned.
After Bane breaks the Bat, the mantel of the Dark Knight is taken on by Azrael – an unstable former assassin who slowly erodes the trust that Gotham had in Batman prior to his replacement, due, in part, to his excessive violence. Fans reacted negatively to the choice, leading to the rushed return of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Chuck Dixon, one of the writers of the series, stated that the poor reception to the Azrael’s armored incarnation of the World’s Greatest Detective was the key factor for Wayne’s relatively speedy recovery. It was somewhat paranormal recovery (oh, hey The Dark Knight Rises!), but that’s something for another list.
14. Deadpool’s Revival
It’s madness to think now that Deadpool wasn’t always seen as one of the most popular characters at Marvel, but the character’s 1997 ongoing series was slated to finish after a measly 25 issues.
However, much like its titular character, Deadpool was ‘unkillable’. After fan outcry, the series was revived, allowing Joe Kelly to take his foul-mouthed mercenary to issue 33. Kelly didn’t expect it to gain a second revival, and so he wrote an organic ending for #33, but fans pushed for the book to return once more, taking the series all the way up to a 69th issue (which seems a little deliberate) with a new creative team.
Fans pushing for Deadpool to return on multiple occasions opened Marvel’s eyes on the character, not only cementing his cult status, but helping him become the quasi-marquee character of both page and screen he is today. Wade Wilson is definitely one of the most recognizable characters at Marvel, but imagine a world where the book remained cancelled all those years ago? We shudder to think.