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.