Nobody takes death in comic books very seriously. Honestly, nobody should.
It is long comic book tradition to die--until a writer in need resurrects you. (Or the just restart the whole you storyline in a universe breaking way. No, I'm not bitter.). So long that even in the 1930s people weren't taking things seriously.
One of the first features of Military Comics was The Death Patrol. It really takes confidences in your skill you put Death in your name.
Meet Butch the safe cracker; Gramps the pickpocket; Hank the rustler; Slick the a con artist, and millionaire Del van Dyne.
Scans from Golden Age Comics.co.uk. All scans are clean and resized by me. I don't care about credit, but don't complain if you download them and see them not was pretty.
From Military Comics #1
The Death Patrol lasted until #52 (August, 1946). I'll be posting a few more of their early stories. None of the infamous racist stuff will make this cut, but if you go looking...well, I pray for you eyes.
Links to info:
Who really created Death Portal is something of a mystery. This is from a convention transcript taken during the 1999 Comic-Con International in San Diego
BOB BEERBOHM: When you were working on the script for Blackhawk, Death Patrol hadn't been published...
EISNER: Death Patrol, as I remember it, preceded Blackhawk, because Blackhawk was carefully engineered. It had Bob Powell, a Polish guy, there. We were doing the idea of a very fascist ideal, by the way.
CUIDERA: Powell did Mr. Mystic.
EISNER: He did Mr. Mystic, and we were working on Blackhawk, and he would come over where Chuck and I were sitting and I was talking or something, and he said, "How about a Polish guy? It's an international group. Put a Polish guy in it."
It's hard to remember which one came first. If my memory serves me, Death Patrol was first. It was not as well-done. [Jack] Cole couldn't draw realistic figures the way Chuck could and it was half-humor and half-satire. Blackhawk began as a serious adventure.
[M.E. NOTE: Everyone started talking over one another so our tape didn't transcribe well at a few points. Basically, there was general speculation that Cole did the first Death Patrol episode and when Arnold — or someone — saw the finished art, it prompted the idea of a more serious strip with a similar premise, and both wound up in Military #1. But that was just speculation. No one could recall for certain.]