Favorite Female Characters in Literature # 16: Death

Favorite Female Literary Characters # 16: Death

In a way, I feel like this one is a bit of cheat. After all… the vast majority of the other characters on this list endured good times and some very bad times, as multiple authors worked on the character, providing their own unique twists and… often… shitting all over everything that happened before and completely changing what made the character unique and interesting. Death, though… she’s been consistent… eternal… unchanging. I suppose that’s fitting. She’s really only had one author working on her tales, and that writer has been Neil Gaiman. Not bad, that.

Neil Gaiman (on the right)

Moreover, because Neil was in charge, our dear Death had the benefits of a wealth of comic’s best artists. So, yes… she was born with an ankh around her neck and a silver spoon in her mouth. Again, though… she’s entitled. The dear woman works hard, after all, and keeps her humor about it.

Another great thing about the character is that those multiple artists often changed her look around, so she seemed more "real" than the general character from a superhero book, wherein the characters choose the Exact Same Costume everyday in order to brand their images, and avoid laundry costs. Death, though, was the pretty girl with the ankh and the white skin. That's all you needed to know. Her malleable imagery gave her a depth to her personality.

It also made her easy to cosplay.

It just struck me that Death probably has the world's largest collection of "Fail" videos. Try to skateboard off a roof, jump your truck over that canyon, light your cigarette from the bonfire or kick that bull in the balls, and Death takes some really amusing footage of your last moments on Earth. But, hey... you get to meet the pretty girl.

Probably the last thing those "fail video" guys ever heard.

Sandman # 8... Death's first appearance. Most people see this issue as a real turning point in the series... the point where it changed from "Ummm, this series is really good" to "Seriously, holy fuck... we got something here."

Another nod to Gaiman seems appropriate, here, because he not only created a great work of fiction, but he's a really great guy, showing no signs of becoming a prick, as so many other of my personal favorite creators have done over the years.

Look at this! Just... LOOK at this! THIS is how I want to go out of this world, fighting a giant Transformer robot with Death riding his arm. I mean, sure, my death will probably be more like hitting my head on a bathroom floor... tripping with my pants around my ankles while hobbling out of a toilet stall in desperate search of more toilet paper, but a boy can dream, can't he?

Moebius doing his own take on Death. I love this image, but Death to me was always more about perkiness and philosophy, rather than blood or creepiness. In fact, I have this whole dialogue that I want to talk about... some thoughts that I'm really eager to share. Why... it's such a wonderful thing to be able to...

Oh. Already? Well, goodbye, then.Â


#25: Scarlet Witch

#24: Chance Falconer

#23: Vampirella

#22: Tigra

#21: Jean Grey

#20: Kitty Pryde

#19: Janet van Dyne

#18: Mary Jane Watson

#17: Hermione Granger

#16: Death


I’ve been thinking about women, lately. Women characters in comics. Women creators in comics. Female characters in literature. And pretty girls riding around on bicycles or walking along the sidewalk, etc, etc. Because of this, I’ve decided to make An Entirely Useless List. Why is it entirely useless? Because it’s my top 25 female characters from comics and literature, and such lists change at whim and at a breakneck pace. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to quantify favorites… the term favorite is far too malleable. A list of my best friends from high school, for instance, would not include anyone with whom I’m currently in contact. Times change. Still… I’m making the list. Why? I suppose I just like thinking about women.


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3 Responses to Favorite Female Characters in Literature # 16: Death

  1. Dean

    That Moebius piece gives the impression that Death is really regretting not wearing rubber boots that day.

  2. Paul Tobin

    Yeah. That’s going to RUIN her shoes.

  3. No, I think she’s looking around her apartment and thinking “THIS is why I will never — EVER — sublet to musicians again.”

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