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The X-Men Equivalent of Fans Calling in to Kill Jason Todd

As she explained on USENET back in 1999, when reflecting about Doug "I know you’ll find this hard to believe… there was a write-in campaign from LOTS of readers who hated him and thought he was boring and wanted us to get rid of him. Preferably…they wanted him dead. We got LOTS and LOTS of these letters.

So I decided to call these readers’ bluffs and do exactly what they were asking for. (On the other hand, I never kill a character without knowing exactly how I’m going to bring them back…if I so choose. It is comic books, after all! With Doug/Cypher, the way was obvious.) Sooo…"

And so, in New Mutants #60 (by Simonson and artist Bret Blevins), Doug ended up taking a bullet from the villainous Animator that was meant for Wolfsbane, who Doug had recently started dating...

This is how messed up this was - no one even noticed that Doug was dead in the comic! It wasn't until PAGES later that they were, like, "Hey, Doug? Doug?" and noticed that he had been dead this whole time...

In a delightfully disturbing bit a few issues later, Warlock couldn't understand what they mean with Doug being "dead," so he kept trying to merge with Doug's corpse...

That's so bleak!!

By the way, in Wizard's X-Men special for the 30th anniversary of the X-Men, Louise Simonson also mentioned how much the artists she worked with disliked Doug, as well, "He wasn't fun to draw. He just stood around and hid behind a tree during a fight... Every artist who ever did him said 'Can't we kill this guy?' We would get letters from fans about how much they hated him. We never got any letters from people saying they liked him until he was dead."

As Simonson noted above, this being comics, of course Doug came back. Peter David did an interesting new take on the character as part of the short-lived All-New X-Factor, and now Charles Soule is doing another sort of take on the whole Cypher concept in Weapon Lost...

He's certainly come a long way from being a guy that was killed off as a sort of a challenge to the fans who kept asking for him to be killed! 1988 was a bad year for fans wanting young superheroes dead. They got Jason Todd and then they got Doug Ramsey.

Of course, they're both back now! So it's all good, bloodthirsty comic book readers of 1988!

That's it for this installment! If you have any ideas for interesting pieces of comic book history, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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