The world is currently obsessed with death. Everywhere I look lately I’m staring it in the face. I look up at the hutch that sits atop my desk and there are the first three volumes of The Walking Dead. I look at my DVD collection and there sits Night of the Living Dead and Nasforatu. Just this morning I received an email from Image comics, it was a press release announcing a forthcoming Death, Jr. trade paperback.
Ten minutes ago I returned to my home after seeing Corpse Bride.
The list could go on: Dawn of the Dead, The Ring (1 and 2), The Grudge, and many more television shows, movies and comics are centered around the general subject of death.
Fascination with the macabre is really nothing new. In 1964 the Addams Family and The Munsters hit television screens across america. Edward Gorey’s bizzare illustrations have been around for years. Ray Bradbury has been writing short stories on the subject of death practically from the time he put pen to paper.
Lately however, I have noticed a change in those who are interested in death. That change is in age. The media has started targeting younger children with television shows such as Grim and Evil, or comics such as the afore mentioned Death, Jr.
When I was a child, death wasn’t something I was all that interested in. I did always love the Addams family, but I was the exception, not the rule. Today things have changed. I never thought I would see a show such as Grim and Evil air on the Cartoon Network in a time slot targeted for kids, but there it is… and it’s popular. Kids aren’t scared of skeletons and monsters any more. They embrace these, laugh with them and at them.
Maybe that is the whole point. Perhaps the idea behind this obsession is to ease the minds of children who have seen death in real life. To help them cope with trauma and disturbing images that they have seen, whether that be in person or on the news. Several years ago war wasn’t broadcast like it is now. Images of planes flying through buildings weren’t witnessed by children in the United States. Bodies floating around in a flooded city were left for disaster movies and people scoffed at the notion that it would happen in real life.
Things are different and the kids are watching, taking it in.
People are confused about death. They don’t know why you die or what happens after you die. They are obsessed with death by the way they live as well, trying to preserve life by pumping their faces full of drugs or stretching their skin hoping to distort themselves back in to the blissful days of their youth when the end seemed so far away.
Is this obsession healthy? Is the cashing in on this curiosity morally sound, or are the people responsible for all the media just speaking their mind artistically, expressing their views and emotions on the subject?
At this point who can answer those questions? Everyone has an answer, no one is right because someone else says you’re wrong.
Consider this: earlier in this article I mentioned a press release from Image Comics. It states that Mike Mignola will be doing the cover for the upcoming Death, Jr. trade paperback. Mignola is quoted as saying the following:
I picked up DEATH, JR. for my daughter. I thought the character was very cute, and that, combined with the whole death and monsters thing would go over well with her,â€ says Mignola. â€œI was right. She loved it. So how could I say no to doing the cover for the trade paperback? I couldn’t.
I don’t know how old Mignola’s daughter is, but how many people would have thought of that as being a normal sentence several years ago? Especially when you consider the subject matter of the book:
DEATH, JR. tells the story of the son of the grim reaper and his band of misfit friends. Part of the appeal of the book is the quirky cast of friends: Pandora, a little goth girl, Smith & Weston, conjoined twins, Stigmartha, a girl who bleeds when she gets nervous, and The Seep, an armless, legless, foreign exchange student in a jar.
I am not really sure if this fascination with the macabre is just a fad that will pass when Hot Topic is replaced by Cinnabon, but it seems as if it is only picking up momentum as the years go by. Maybe that’s because the same people who used to tell tales of magic and hope are getting closer and closer to a six foot deep, one bedroom apartment with a dirt roof.
Update: No sooner do I post this article than I find myself stumbling across this one by another 9rules member, Thame. While I don’t agree with his viewpoints on the matter, I do find it interesting that another member of the network has furthered my point about the current death craze that’s sweeping the world.
2 responses to “DEATH”
Wow, really well thought out article you have here. Personally, I think the whole death obsession is just another way for those money hungry corporations to make money. Just a phase, and we’ll past by it sometime soon.
Thanks for the compliment, Kevin.