“It was a tragic doomed character”: Death of One Avenger in Marvel Comics Was Heartwrenching For George R.R. Martin

Stan Lee’s legendary storytelling in The Avengers indirectly inspired Game of Thrones.

george r.r. martin, avengers

George R.R. Martin is known for his A Song of Ice and Fire book series, which would become the legendary HBO series Game of Thrones. The writer has been in the business for decades and has contributed his storytelling to multiple franchises, including the Wild Card anthology series of novels as well as the Elden Ring games.

Martin’s writing in Game of Thrones is known for its merciless killing of fan-favorite characters. Fans at the time were surprised by an important death in each season and many times the arcs of these characters were not even complete before their demise. The author mentioned that when he was younger, he loved The Avengers #9 comics because of one character’s death.

George R.R. Martin Loved The Avengers Comics Because Of Wonder Man

Author George R.R. Martin in an interview with WTTW News

George R.R. Martin

In the 1960s, both Marvel and DC Comics were the primary competitors in the market. While DC had prominent characters such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, Marvel was not far behind with Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man. In the early ‘60s, Marvel comic writer Stan Lee was reportedly tasked with creating a team-up series much like the Justice League.

The resulting comic was The Avengers, an assembly of Earth’s mightiest heroes who were tasked with safeguarding the world. Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin was reportedly a huge fan of the Marvel comics and at the age of sixteen, he was in love with the Avengers comics.

Marvel Comics' Wonder Man | Credits: Marvel Comics

Wonder Man

In an interview with Comic Book Movie, Martin mentioned that he used to love Wonder Man in Issue #9 of The Avengers and one of the reasons that he realized in hindsight was because the character died in the same issue he is introduced in. He said,

“He’s a brand new character, he’s introduced, and he dies. It was very heartwrenching. I liked the character — it was a tragic, doomed character. I guess I’ve responded to tragic, doomed characters ever since I was a high-school kid.”

The author also mentioned that though Wonder Man would go on to return and stay in the Marvel universe for decades, the fact that the writers chose to introduce a new character, make people invested in him, and then kill him off in the same issue was groundbreaking.

George R.R. Martin Felt That Stan Lee Revolutionized Comic Book Storytelling In The ‘60s

Stan Lee in one of his legendary Marvel cameos in Doctor Strange

Stan Lee in Doctor Strange

Stan Lee was at the front of the comic book revolution in the ‘60s after DC revitalized the superhero genre in the industry. While their competitor hit it big with titles such as Superman, Batman, and the Justice League, Stan Lee was also tasked with creating a super team. However, Lee reportedly took another step with the idea and gave the characters more depth.

According to George R.R. Martin, Stan Lee added much more dimensions and backstories as compared to DC, who did not move from their places in their respective character arcs. The comic storylines typically included a villain of the week, whom the superheroes would defeat and then come back to where they were at the beginning of the story. Martin said to Comic Book Movie,

“The Marvel characters were constantly changing. Important things were happening. The lineup of the Avengers was constantly changing. People would quit and they would have fights and all of that, as opposed to DC, where everybody got along and it was all very nice…So really, Stan Lee introduced the whole concept of characterization [chuckles] to comic books.”

Martin mentioned how this revolutionary storytelling influenced his own work in many ways. Noted comic book writer Alan Moore also agreed with this sentiment back in 2005 and mentioned that Marvel introduced the concept of a flaw to the superheroes (via Comic Book Resources).

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