Johnny Storm killed off by Marvel

Marvel has killed off a character from the Fantastic Four, but it's not the first time that a superhero has diced with death.

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Fantastic Four member bites the dust

Kapow! The world of comics was left reeling last week when Marvel killed off a member of its "first family". Aficionados of the Fantastic Four were left bereft when the eponymous family lost one of their number to the Grim Reaper in the latest instalment, which will be the final issue of the series.

(Warning: if you do not want to know what happened, stop reading now!)

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, met his maker doing battle against a horde of insectoid minions unleashed by the arch-villain Annihilus when Issue no. 587, written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Steve Epting, hit the news stands.

"The death of the Human Torch is the first major move in this incredibly exciting evolution of the legendary Fantastic Four franchise and a necessary part of the larger story we will be telling featuring the beloved characters moving forward," Tom Brevoort, the senior vice president of publishing at Marvel Entertainment, informed The New York Times.

The Human Torch's sad demise is only the latest in a series of gruesome deaths to have rocked the superhero community. Captain America bit the dust in 2007 at the hands of a sniper in New York and the following year, Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne kicked the bucket when he was shot by baddy Simon Hurt.

Johnny's sticky end marks the end of an era dating back to November 1961, when the writer Stan Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby first launched the franchise.