->'''''Superman #429''': Superman kicks the bucket again. Sure to be a collectors' item with stupid fans who actually think that DC Comics is going to kill off a character worth billions of dollars.''
-->-- ''Magazine/{{MAD}}''

Oh no! The poor IllGirl [[LittlestCancerPatient with cancer]] is being menaced by the SerialKiller! [[AnyoneCanDie No one has survived his attacks yet]], and it's going to break her fiancé's heart, and after he finally got up the courage to propose to her!

This is when the audience turn to the writer and say, ''"Like You Would Really Do It"''. The audience don't buy the suspense or anguish that the character is being menaced with. They ''know'' the SortingAlgorithmOfMortality has this particular character dead last (pun intended) in terms of who's gonna die, and so they just count the seconds before the door is smashed open and TheCavalry charges in, or the bad guy goes "You're NotWorthKilling", or if the character should actually appear dead, for the (failed) FakeKillScare to be revealed. This reaction extends not just to the [[InfantImmortality stunningly innocent]], but to [[OurHeroIsDead any hero]] or character with thick PlotArmour in a setting where things CouldHaveBeenMessy. Even the HeroicSacrifice, capable of felling the mightiest of heroes, falls short of [[NotQuiteDead really killing them.]]

Mind, some authors really aren't bluffing and ''will'' go through with killing this character, ''[[KilledOffForReal permanently]]'', and since the vast majority don't, it comes as [[HesJustHiding quite a shock when they do.]] Generally, actually offing a traditionally "safe" character requires a [[CerebusSyndrome shift in tone]] for lighter series, but reinforces the AnyoneCanDie tone of more [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynical works]]. Of course, taking it ''too'' far can create a MoralEventHorizon for the author in the eyes of their fanbase, or it can cause them to [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy stop caring about any of the characters]] because they'll probably all end up dead anyway.

It's always worth remembering that in any kind of collaborative work, such as a comic book or long-running TV series, even if one author really does sincerely mean to kill off Captain Astonishoid for ''really reals'' this time, it's usually only a matter of time until another writer comes along and brings him back. The notorious phenomenon of ComicBookDeath is more due to this problem than to individual authors regretting their previous decisions.

When actually killed, leads to speculation that HesJustHiding. See also {{Narm}}. Often overlaps with a DisneyDeath. If it involves whether a hero will win or lose a battle, it's BoringInvincibleHero. If the story attempts to convince you that the main character is killed off even though they obviously can't be or the story would end, see OurHeroIsDead. If this applies to lesser good characters who might otherwise be killed off, it's BoringImmortalHero. TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin is the most common cause. Contrast EightDeadlyWords: here it is not lack of care for the characters as much as certainty that they will make it out okay.

'''No examples, please.''' We'd be here all day. [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife So spend the rest of the day on]] ''[[WikiWalk other]]'' [[WikiWalk pages.]]