People are still very angry about Superior Spider-Man

Superior Spider-Man

If twitter had existed in 1971 I can only assume that we would have seen tweets like this:

What? Spider-Man doesn’t have six arms! Thanks for ruining this book @roythomas!

Or if it had existed in 1984 this would be the sentiment:

Why! Why is Spider-Man costume black? Why is it a living thing? You’ve run out of ideas?

And if twitter existed in 1994 we definitely would have seen this tweet:

Ben Reilly is the real Spidey? Burn in Hell @TomDefalco. 

Fan outrage (or fantage as it is called by no one) is by no means a new thing. What is surprising to me, given all that we as fans know about comic books, is how anyone can be so angry at what is obviously a non-permananent story arc.

Here are some tweets direct to Dan Slott, the current writer of Superior Spider-Man.

Peter Parker’s dead? @DanSlott how can you just KILL Spiderman? And replace him with someone utterly unlikeable and unrelatable?

@DanSlott read you loved spider-man as a kid, how many kids won’t be allowed to read your version of spider-man…thats your legacy, shame

I hope they bring Peter back. In related news, I believe Mr. Slott blocked me

He only likes to keep mindless zombies who kiss his __. Its amazing how badly he handles criticism. Hoping for a new writer

And this took me 30 seconds to find on his twitter feed. There are countless others who are insanely angry. Some disturbingly so. 

I can understand not thinking that Superior Spider-Man is a good idea, or thinking that it is poorly executed, but to think that this is the new status quo? That makes very little sense to me.

Superhero writers and artists get to play in a very, very small sandbox. They can’t really make permanent drastic changes to a character but, at times, they are able to try something new. Spider-Man has cosmic powers, Azrael is Batman, Superman is 2 Supermen that are red and blue, Hulk is a gladiator, etc. Sometimes these stories are great (Planet Hulk) and some are just awful (Clone Saga), but eventually all characters get back to basics.

There wasn’t really an outcry when Dick Grayson took over being Batman while Bruce Wayne was dead/stuck in time. We always knew that eventually Bruce Wayne would return. But we got some really neat stories with a hard assed Robin (Damian) and a lighter hearted Batman (Dick). I know that the example isn’t the same (Robin isn’t a villain) but the point is that a change in status quo gave us great new stories.

Comic books don’t have permanent changes. Even when a change seems permanent (Wally West as Flash, Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, Bucky is dead) it really isn’t. So if a book makes a change that you don’t like you really have one of two (reasonable) choices. Either drop the book or wait it out. It will change back to status quo. Try not to tweet rage at a creator as it benefits no one.

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Anthony Falcone
Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto and he is the Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. You should definitely follow him on Twitter.
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14 Comments

  1. Love it Anthony! And the most hilariously ironic part is that the storylines that the hardest of hardcore fans remember, harken back to, and become essential cannon to a given character are almost always status quo changes that redefine the character and, for at least a limited time, “stick”.

    Twitter in the late ’70s: “What who are these loser X-Men. As if I’d ever read about a German, Russian, and CANADIAN! Marvel’s out of ideas.”

    Twitter in the early ’80s: “What Daredevil’s a ninja? Who’s this Miller kid think he is? And that tub-of-lard Kingpin’s a SPIDER-MAN villain you idiot!”

    Twitter in the early ’90s: “Danny Ketch? WTF? Ghost Rider is Johnny Blaze. IT. IS. IN. HIS. NAME. Why is their no respect for history anymore?”

    But you’re wrong: their can be permanent change in “comic books”. It just isn’t going to be in the corporate owned trademark servicing superhero comics that dominate the periodical sales charts. I’m pretty sure that (even at one of the Big 2) no one’s retconned Jesse Custer as John Constantine’s dad… yet.

    (And not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a story that can’t have permanent change. I actually come to accept, as I mature, that it’s a strength of the superhero genre rather than a defect. Thanks Grant Morrison!)

  2. Yes, I should have stated that Superhero Comic Books don’t have permanent changes. And I am waiting for the retcon that Cassidy is actually a version of The Corinthian.

  3. Spider-Man fans wouldn’t be as mad if there was some glimmer of hope that Peter Parker will return from the dead somehow. But after Otto finally removed all parts of Peter from his brain for good, who knows what will happen.

    It is ridiculous that people would attack Dan Slott via Twitter. They may be the same people who would line up for hours to meet Slott, and say they love his work. Attacking somebody verbally is different from behind a computer screen, than doing it in person.

  4. People at my shop are loving Superior Spider-Man — each issue sells about twice what Amazing was selling before the Ock stepped into the driver’s seat. They want to know how far he’ll go, but no one is under any illusions that this is a permanent change. I admit that I love it, it’s a fun read.

    Although I have to admit, I was pissed back in the day when they announced that the Peter we had been reading about for 20 years was a clone and that Ben Reilly was the original. I’m glad that decision was reversed.

  5. My question is; what’s the point of reading a story if there’s no real growth in the character?
    (Obv not saying that every comic is like this, but a pretty large chunk.)

  6. Then the fun becomes the how of the story not the what. Like James Bond or Columbo. You know what is going to happen each time but how it is executed brings you back.

  7. Did you know that Tulip moonlighted as the late-Bronze Age Black Canary? Totally true fact not to be retconned by the New-52-boot!

  8. Same here Kevin re: Superior sales vis-a-vis Amazing during the late Slott run excepting the immediate build-up to #700. And higher sell-through as well. We don’t have a single back issue between 6 and 10 because they don’t hang around! That’s not normal (where I work) for an established series or new series after the first five issues.

    And I’ll even agree with your second point. I was a Spider-Man reader back then and I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the idea that the guy who had been Spider-Man since I was reading in the mid-80s not being the “real” Peter. What was more frustrating was the disservice it did to all the creators who had contributed to the mythos in the interim.

    That said, when Alan Moore did the same thing on Swamp Thing, the Ur-mother of all “everything you knew was wrong!” retcons, it created one of the most essential comic runs of all time that still sells well to this day. So, as always, it’s about execution. And, as countless examples show, it’s not like the old stories ever cease to exist…

  9. I agree there is no call for ridiculous things like death threats. I agree it’s a fictional character, and people may become a bit too invested, and lose perspective. We’ll just call them insane, and move on.

    Regarding the story, I offer no apologies for hating a powerful concept executed badly. If an Otto story was something Slott wanted to do, then by all means, do an Otto redemption story. It would have been interesting to see this old Spidey villain have his own extended arc, and there were a few ways it could have been done where the body of Peter Parker wasn’t hijacked.

    Otto did the equivalent of shooting Spider-Man in the back, something still considered as dishonorable, even among most villains. It robbed Peter of the ability to defend himself.
    Peter died as the villain he protected the world from, in the dirt, unknown, guiltily lamenting his last decision to kill, trying with his last desperate breath to protect the people he loves.
    Otto took Peter’s life, but as a coward, hiding the fact it’s really him from everyone. It negates any valid redemption story right there.
    He then twisted the credo to his own variation, where erasing even the remnant of the man you shot in the back (thus killing him twice) is still okay, then ensuring even the last(?) record of his mind is erased.
    Killing an unarmed, helpless criminal is okay.
    Beating a woman without superpowers bloody and hospitalized is okay.
    Rummaging through a man’s memories of lovemaking is okay.

    THIS is why people are upset. Stories where heroes die are common enough where it engenders a rush of purchases for collecting, and not much else. This is something gut-wrenchingly disturbing. And this feeling I’ve witnessed something dirty isn’t going away. It’s like witnessing an awful crime and being told you really should be okay with this, it’s only a story/arc. Have fun. I’m sorry, I’ve tried. I’m still trying. I hate Otto. I can’t enjoy these stories with him as Spider-Man.

    I’ll continue to wait until Hurricane Slott is done with all his blowing.

  10. I would wager that this story was created with a very specific plan on how Peter will return. The above reasons you list on why you (and others) hate the story may be the reasons why you love the eventual Peter Parker return story. Because it will show his triumph over a usurper who sullied his name and reputation.

  11. A specific plan with a triumph to make this palatable in the long run would be worth it. Unfortunately there is no indication this will happen, and it’s simply difficult to accept this “reality”. (I use that term, because hey, it’s fiction!) 🙂

    Everyone says of course Peter will be back, and I have no doubt. I don’t see it having the Spider-Man 2 deadline. I see it stretching on much longer.

    I see it stretching out where most fans of PP will actually have grown apathetic and moved away from the book completely. Then you’ll get the triumphant Peter return, but nobody will care by that point. And the Superior fans will be screeching about the Spider-Man THEY get, because they have grown to love Otto in the suit. Sigh.

  12. ^this.

    I’ve already poked plenty of holes in the story (with each issue getting more and more gaping) as to HOW NOBODY CAN FIGURE OUT OCK IS SPIDER-MAN! Especially with the lens of the larger universe:

    Avenging Spider-Man he gets by fine because he was able to act like Peter just long enough to sweep the suspicion under the rug from both Daredevil AND the X-Men. Okay, that’s fine. Clever and disappointing, but fine.

    theeeeen we get to Inferior Octo-Ass #7 (yes I hate Ock, but I’ve hated him LONG before this, in fact he’s the one fictional character I TRULY hated along with the Penguin.. Says a lot when there is worse.) and the holes get wide, notably the fact this tried-and-true body switching story has been done countless times in comics, tv,and film, yet everyone is able to figure out the switch rather quickly there but not here? That calls into question the intelligence of the MU as a whole and this is why:

    1. The Avengers call him in and call him out on his crap. What does he do? He acts like a low-grade Bond villain and attacks, immediately raising the hackles stating “this ain’t Spider-Man.”

    undone by this in Issue 8:

    2. They kick the snot out of the little prick and submit him to a FULL battery of tests to determine… He’s not a Skrull… YOU ARE THE AVENGERS! YOU HAVE ALL BEEN POSSESSED, MIND CONTROLLED, AND YOU CAPTAIN AMERICA HAVE BEEN BODY SWAPPED WITH THE RED SKULL AT LEAST TWICE!!! YOU HAVE WOLVERINE RIGHT THERE! YOU COULDN’T ASK HIM TO SEND OVER A TELEPATH TO, OH I DON’T KNOW, READ HIS MIND?! HE ONLY HAS LIKE A DOZEN OF THOSE! Oh and to twist the knife further, they keep him on the team.. (oh and don’t even start, they establish that it only takes a telepath to undo his secret in Avenging…)

    3. I understand Slott’s logic of Ock winning in Issue 9, but Ock used the villains as his metaphorical weapon of choice against Peter’s family. Except when Peter became Spider-Man he left out one very pertinent detail that HE IS A SUPERHERO IN A SUPERHERO WORLD! When Ock busted out the Goblin, Lizard, and all that, Peter wouldn’t bust out Daredevil, Wolverine, Iron Man, the Avengers?! BULLCRAP! I SMELL IT RIGHT NOW! BULLLLLLCRAP.

    4. It took Issue 10 for MJ to FINALLY begin to suspect Peter is NOT Peter? MARY JANE!? You know, the girl who traded her marriage with the guy to save his life!? Who knows Spider-Man more intimately than ANY OTHER GIRL!? AND YET IT’S CARLIE COOPER WHO IMMEDIATELY SUSPECTS IT’S OCK WHEN THE AVENGERS CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT!? That not only REALLY dumbs down your premier superhero team, that dumbs down the reader too to the point of: THE FUCK!?

    5. Jameson, in typical fashion, FINALLY realizes Spider-Man is not on the level as he thought he was and, once more, declares him a menace. While this IS Jameson being Jameson, it took him 13 issues to FINALLY FIGURE AT LEAST THIS OUT!?

    So let me get this straight: You want to try something different? Okay, but the way you’re going about it not only is deeply disturbing, it also basically dumbs down the entire Marvel Universe just so you can have your cake and eat it too, Dan Slott, which is something you DON’T want to do with your top-selling characters!

  13. Deus ex machina. The really awful thing is that the stories are beginning to have meat.

  14. You are right ….completly…those books come back to basic…..Which leave one question yet….

    IS IT DONE YET ??? Is superior Spider-man DONE YET ? PLEASE oh god I am begging you….IS IT DONE YET?

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