When you’ve read comics as long as I have – a really long time now – there are certain patterns I’ve noticed in how both Marvel and DC do certain things. One of those, which I honestly despise, is to replace a “name” hero with another person in the costume. I mean, come on – you just know the original person will be back. It’s only a matter of time.
Before I get into the recent news, I want people to understand that I’m not picking on Marvel here. I complained loud and long about Dick Grayson being Batman a few years back. I also did the same thing about Steve Rogers “dying” at Marvel, so I’ve seen a lot of this for quite some time! Add to this the recent revelation that Wally West is coming back to DC in the New 52, so nothing lasts forever in comics!
SPIDER-MAN RETURNS TO BEING SPIDER-MAN
Late last week, news came out that Doctor Octopus will not continue to live in the body of Peter Parker for very much longer. (Or there may be Spider-Clones involved, some are also saying, so it could be a Captain America/Red Skull thing taking place. When Reddie needed a body, he had Rogers cloned. Talk about opposite numbers!)
We slowly and painfully watched Peter fade into the ether, moving from being in his own skin to being a ghost to apparently being gone for good. But this is a comic book, after all! Death is not permanent. I’d list all the people who have come back from the dead, but it would probably take up the whole site for at least a day!
Several questions arise. Will Superior Spider-Man continue as a comic now that Amazing Spider-Man #1 is coming? What about the other “Superior” Spidey titles now arriving in comics shops? Will they all become “Amazing” Spidey titles instead? Will Doc Ock get another body that resembles his previous one? (Or if one really wants to shake things up, will he get a female body this time?) How long will Amazing Spider-Man go on before the return to the previous numbering as they did with Thor’s comic? Will anyone really even notice that Peter was gone in the Marvel Universe? What will Marvel do the next time Spidey’s sales numbers drop?
It’s not like Peter hasn’t been through a lot in the Marvel U already. He’s been cloned, worn the Venom uniform that tried to take him over and lost his step-father, among other things! I don’t even think joining the Avengers made up for all of that! Peter Parker is the Miles O’Brien (from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) of Marvel, meant to suffer!
I HATE SAYING “I TOLD YOU SO,” BUT …
I remember when the Superior Spider-Man saga began. I told every comics fan I know, including those heartbroken by this development, that they should not worry, Peter Parker will be back.
As I’ve mentioned, previous experience backed up my ideas. Not only that, but Peter Parker is the person known as Spider-Man around the world. (I spent a few weeks telling people not into comics that Doc Ock was now Spidey, and I got the most quizzical looks in response!)
But the thing that made me most certain that Mr. Parker would come back was a motion picture called Amazing Spider-Man 2. There was no way on the face of this earth that Marvel could allow people to see the film, then head to their local comics shops to find that Peter Parker, in truth, was NOT Spidey. That would reduce comics sales by a far piece, and it still is show business, after all. And as much as folks have liked Miles Morales, he’d have to overcome decades of Peter being Spidey if that change were made in the Marvel U.
In truth, I spoke with people during episodes of my podcast about this whole situation as well as mentioning it in several columns I wrote. I know that I have missed the boat on predicting some things (such as Batman and Robin being retitled Batman and …). So I can chalk this situation up as one I actually got right!
WHY, OH WHY DO THEY DO THIS TO US?
Whenever I’ve told people that Peter Parker would be back, I get asked, “Then why are they doing this?” Uh, it’s show business, all right! Marvel, just like every other comics company, wants to bring in enough money to pay the people working for them, among others.
Superior Spider-Man has sold well and garnered a LOT of attention among the press, the comics press and fans alike. I honestly believe that if Amazing Spider-Man 2 were not coming into theaters soon, the Superior version would have continued on until the movie was about to come out. That means, as far as Marvel is concerned, it’s been a big success on several levels, such as financially and word of mouth.
Will Marvel and DC continue to use this storyline again in the future? Count on it for the reasons I’ve just mentioned. Even collectors want to be sure they have their bases covered in case a change might actually last for a long time. Everyone wants to benefit from what they see as a possible money-maker, even fans.
The good news is that you won’t hear me complain any more about how creeped out I’ve been that an old man is in a young man’s body, putting moves on younger women. And that alone will be worth it, won’t it?