Friday, 25 January 2013

Farewell, Spider-Man

by Charlie Albuery

On Boxing Day, 2012, the world forever lost a great man, and, no, I’m not mourning the loss of a great sportsman or musician, I am speaking of the man who has changed millions of children’s (and adults') lives forever, a figure who taught the underdog that they could change the world, that they could be everything they ever wanted to be. I am, of course, talking about Spider-Man.
In the culmination of the world’s longest running comic book ever, Spider-Man was killed off from mainstream Marvel continuity in Amazing Spider-Man Number 700.
For those of you who don’t know/have been living under a rock or particularly oppressive regime since the 60s, Spider-Man is a Marvel superhero created by Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy Number 15 with this iconic cover.
The protagonist was a lonely nerd named Peter Parker who, when bitten by a radioactive spider, gained the ability to climb walls, shoot webs and the proportionate strength of a spider (pretty darned strong) as well as an innate ‘spider-sense’ that warned him when danger was imminent.
To those of you still confused as to why I’m discussing Spider-Man in the past tense, I’ll fill you in. On the 26th of December 2012, Amazing Spider-Man Number 700 was released in comic book stores around the world; this issue featured the events leading up to and the actual moment of Spider-Man’s death at the hands of Doctor Octopus, who then proceeded to swap bodies with Spider-Man, becoming essentially a super villain's mind inside of Spider-Man’s body.
So, yes, there is still a Spider-Man, but he no longer stands for anything Spider-Man previously did in mainstream continuity; we have a new comic line about what is essentially an evil twin of the Spider-Man we all know and love: The Superior Spider-Man.
The reason this article is a few weeks late to the party, or the funeral, is because before passing judgement I felt I should read the first issue of The Superior Spider-Man and see how I felt.
I hated it.
I wanted it to go and die.
I very nearly shredded it.
Reading this as a Spider-Man fan is a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies’ pets.

In the space of twenty short minutes, I watched Evil-Spider-Man take advantage of and alienate the woman I spent years watching Spider-Man pursue, I saw my childhood hero go totally against his morals and kill a low-rent-villain, I watched him break the promise he made to his dying uncle, and I wanted to punch him in the face. The problem was that, unlike real Spider-Man, Evil-Spider-Man would probably hit me back because he’s an ass.
If you are aware of, and understand, ‘The Bucky Rule’, you may skip the next paragraph.
In comic books, characters die and come back to life more often than Piers Morgan receives hate-mail. So Marvel comics feature ‘The Bucky Rule’; once killed, certain characters are not allowed to come back to life: Captain America’s sidekick Bucky (he was later brought back to life as a brainwashed soviet Russian super-spy with a cybernetic arm, but it was weird and therefore doesn’t really count), Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, and, now, Peter-Parker, the real Spider-Man.
So Spider-Man is dead. There will be no new stories of his to inspire a generation ever again.
Yes, there will still be films with far-too-anonymously-pretty-and-not-at-all-believably-unpopular Andrew Garfield.
And cartoons which I think might ACTUALLY MAKE ME CATCH SCHITZOPHRENIA voiced by the far-more-awesome-than-Andrew-Garfield-but-gay-(sorry-girls) Neil Patrick Harris.
But these are simply re-formatting real Spider-Man stories, of which there will be no more.
Peter Parker, you changed my life forever, and you will be sorely missed.
I love you, Spider-Man.

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