COMICS EDITORIAL: The Absence of Peter Parker

COMICS EDITORIAL: The Absence of Peter Parker

The news is out. Peter's out, someone else is in! The comic community is up in arms! The general public has next to no idea what's happened! This editorial contains spoilers, but read on to find someone ready for change.

When it comes to Dan Slott, I can say I know next to nothing about him. I read Lee Spider-Man and McFarlane Spider-Man the most, but I never latched onto Slott's. That's not to say anything about the writer himself, because as I understand it, he's hit some major highlights and had plenty of ho-hum issues with his The Amazing Spider-Man run, and apparently a few that were just downright bad. But I was out of Spider-Man before he got his start, so as far as actual writing goes, I can't stand on the curb and praise or condemn him with a bullhorn.

However, Slott's new direction has my full attention. The way I see it is that Spider-Man can finally join the legion of superheroes that have a very special place in the heart of comic books. Peter Parker passed his initiation to A) die and B) pass on the mantle. He might be the first to do both at the hands of the same person. And that's big.

I have a defense when it comes to comic books. When I talk to people who find it laughable, it's easy to point to superstar films and say, "Well, considering how three of them have made over a billion dollars at the box office..." but I never slip into that. Normally, I like to tell them that these are long withstanding characters who've lasted up to sixty or seventy years to the public. And their stories are still continuing. Logically, it makes more sense for me to keep reading comic books than it does for a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter fan to just reread the books or rewatch the films. Because my select of stories is not complete. There's more to say, more to learn, and that's literature at it's finest.

Not to mention that comic books pretty much combine almost every artistic medium there is. It's set up into storyboard frames and "shot" just like film. The writing is often incredibly expositional and full of flavor, just like live theatre. These are characters of choreography when they go toe-to-toe, so it's not as if an art of dance is entirely absent. And, of course, you have your art to tell the rest of the story. So, long withstanding stories that apply every artistic medium? I'm in. And it doesn't embarrass me. But to get back to the point, Slott's new direction is exactly the shakeup we need as a comic book community of readers.

Look, I get it. No one wants to invest their time and money on a cold shoulder, and at first glance, that's exactly what seems to happen in ASM 700. It feels like a shirk away from a character that's been one of comics' staples since his debut. The loss of Peter Parker and the transformation of Doc Ock into Spider-Man, when looked at surfacely, is by all means an abomination of a tale.

But only if Peter Parker makes a triumphant return sooner rather than later.

You read that right. This story only works if Peter's gone, if not for good, for a very long time. I don't want Parker out of it just to return and spend fifty issues reclaiming his life. Attempting to remedy all the lost time with his friends and family. And then go back to normal? No. That is something that would anger me as a reader. Because this story is too big to be an arc. It's already committed its biggest taboo in the switch, it just unfairly has a negative connotation because it seems as if people aren't thinking straight. This isn't an arc, and it can't afford to be. This has to be a debut to a milestone. And if that's the case, you should be excited. Because this is Spider-Man completely fulfilled.

This is that radioactive spider biting somebody else. But this is that spider biting somebody else and taking Peter Parker home. This is foil writing at its finest. This is not the Joker becoming Batman. This is not Lex Luthor becoming Superman. This is not just anyone stepping into the Iron Man suit. This is exactly the kind of thing a superhero, deep down, could be most proud of. Peter didn't want to die. But dying to pass on the mantle to a reformed villain? It's a scary thought, but at its essence, that's what makes it such a beautiful thing. That's really what defines Peter's place in the world. In history. If with great power comes great responsibility, then isn't this very moment where that rings most true? That's poetry, guys. That's your worst becoming your best. That's great power succumbing to responsibility.

It's hard to let Peter Parker go. But it does remind me of one of my favorite films. In 2006's Stranger Than Fiction, you find an author who has penned a story about a man who becomes aware of his imminent demise after hearing someone narrate his life. The author, upon hearing that her fictional character is actually someone real becomes torn on how she plans to finish her book. The author, Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) finally breaks down and shouts, "Because it's a book about a man who doesn't know he's about to die. And then dies. But if a man does know he's about to die and dies anyway. Dies... willingly, knowing that he could stop it, then- I mean, isn't that the type of man who you want to keep alive?" And at first glance, it feels like a quote that we might say for Peter Parker. If Peter is a superhero, knowing he could die at any time, and he constantly risks his life in order for someone else to be saved...isn't he the type of man you would want to keep alive?

But it isn't us who has control of Peter Parker's life. It's not us saying that quote about Peter at all. It's Peter living it to Doc Ock. It's Ock reborn and remade. Ock's chance to be a defined, true hero. The kind of man you want to stay alive.

And maybe, just maybe, it's Peter's turn to rest.
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Member Since 3/19/2012
Filed Under "Marvel Comics" 12/26/2012
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DrDoom - 12/26/2012, 9:44 AM
Very well written article. You bring up a lot of good points. I am still processing my own reaction to the story.
CaptainObvious - 12/26/2012, 11:04 AM
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. I cannot and will not get on board with this new direction. The idea that Doc Ock wanted to be a hero all along is stupid. If he really wanted to be the hero, he would have just let himself die and rid the world of his presence instead of stealing the life of someone who is truly noble.
KaneRomita - 12/26/2012, 11:14 AM
I don't think Ock wanted to be a hero at all. But his and peter's memories somehow fused (??).
I have no doubt that Peter will be back. My guess would be sometime this summer.
CaptainObvious - 12/26/2012, 11:15 AM
@Nomis- I think it's safe to say that everybody at Marvel hates Peter Parker.
Equivocal - 12/26/2012, 11:22 AM
I really hope that Peter dies


this title is No Longer relevant, a cheap "knock off" of batman-like ???

no thank you...

Marvel stopped getting my money since OMD, but I had hope that spidey might come back anytime soon but I guess my hopes were too high...

good bye Peter, you were my idol when I was growing up but fatally you have met your match, the ultimate nemesis; dan slot & Marvel....

now the movies will have a WHOLE new meaning to me....
rbfn04 - 12/26/2012, 11:30 AM
@Murdock so we gonna ignore that Ock just tried to kill everybody in the world and for years and years used his genius for evil and accept that he wanted to be a hero all along?

Because ONE page made it clear that poor Ock just wanted to be one of the good guys? No way...
CaptainSpain - 12/26/2012, 11:32 AM
Good article, but I have to disagree. It's a huge huge mistake. Spider man no more.
Sixo - 12/26/2012, 11:34 AM
This whole 'Marvel hates Peter' mindset really bemuses me.

I can safely say I've read 95%+ of ASM's entire run, and he's had plenty of bad things happen to him over the last fifty years - it hasn't started recently and certainly not just since Slott took over. In fact, in more recent years, he's been made an Avenger, given a swanky apartment to live, a dream job... I could go on, but you get my point.

I initially found this new direction quite disturbing because it was a shocking thing to happen to my favourite fictional character, but once the shock calmed down, I had to admit that I really enjoyed ASM #698-700 and Avenging #15.1.

It's like people only want to read about a hero who has nice things happen to them. That just wouldn't be very interesting, now, would it?
rbfn04 - 12/26/2012, 11:37 AM
@Sixo I thing people say Marvel hates Pete as in Marvel is writing shitty stories with him since OMD.
Xiim - 12/26/2012, 11:49 AM
Very well written, you found the words to say pretty much exactly how I felt about this storyline.

They can't bring Peter back for quite a long time... personally I hope they don't but I am certain they will eventually because Marvel loves resurrecting characters(oh hey look Wasp is back)

I really like this whole storyline because its something new and interesting. I love how Otto came around once he walked a mile in Peter's shoes at the end, however he is still arrogant and prideful enough to believe that yes, he is going to do what Peter did, but even better.

I also wish everyone could dial back on the vitriol. I realize that many people just lost their favorite superhero, and that is a massive blow... but looking throughout the threads on this and all the hate, its really just childish. If you aren't going to follow Spider-Man now that Peter is dead, I get that, its perfectly reasonable... but many people will continue to follow him. I guess what I am saying is that there is little point raging against what has already happened... wouldn't time be better spent talking about what we loved and enjoyed about Peter rather than feeling hatred and misery now that he is gone?
NegativeNerd - 12/26/2012, 11:55 AM
Pfft! Peter will be back before the Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters...
CaptainObvious - 12/26/2012, 12:07 PM
@Sixo- I would not read a Spider-Man comic or any comic if nothing but good things happened. Peter Parker is at his best when he is dealing with the troubles of real life and that of a superhero. That is why he has become a pop-culture icon over the span of 50 years: His ability to relate to the reader.

This might be the biggest reason why this story simply does not work. Doc Ock is not a relatable character because he has caused nothing but chaos and destruction most of his life. A person who is good at heart would never do the things he did. Peter was us, but Doc Ock is not. Just like with OMD, Marvel is essentially alienating their readers.
Hellsboy - 12/26/2012, 12:29 PM
I think it's pretty clear slott had no idea what to do with Peter so he just killed him because he thought he could make another Spider-Man just as likable as Peter .............which by the way is the dumbest idea on earth
marveldc4life - 12/26/2012, 12:30 PM
I think they should just do an all new xmen type thing if otto octavius wants to correct all his wrong doings go back in time get the old peter parker bring him to this time let him kick as* in his prime send otto in Pete's older body back so he can start fresh and stop the young otto from making his mistakes which still wouldn't want to read that doc oc always super dumb to me but a peter parker young and in his prime sounds like a great bendis marvel now story what do you guys think?
Darth258 - 12/26/2012, 12:31 PM
I find your lack of Parker disturbing....

First Ultimate Peter, now 616...

KeefNCookies - 12/26/2012, 12:31 PM
Ock-Parker was running about, shouting at MJ, refering to her as "woman" and was an overall schmuck. How could she of all people not notice how uncharacteristic that was? This change-up is beyond creepy... its horribly done and for all the wrong reasons. I'm not against change... I just dont like change for the sake of change. If things are going to change, do it well or let someone else. They should have let someone else. I'm glad a decent amount of thought was put into this article, but it did absolutely nothing to give me even 1% of change of heart. I've actually enjoyed the majority of Slotts writing, but wow it really has fallen so far downhill, the final issue was definitely rock bottom. Superior my b@||$.
ToTheManInTheColdSweat - 12/26/2012, 12:37 PM
So we all gonna pretend like its not a cheap sales gimmick raping the character.... got it.
jasonicus - 12/26/2012, 12:37 PM
What a dumb editorial. This is a bad idea no matter how you slice it. Get real.
Erojuan - 12/26/2012, 12:37 PM
Why writers like to do this kind of things to characters like Spidey or Batman, first we have the clone saga, and Marvel was like "we are making an all new spidey for new audiences" and we all remember how it ended, and they are making it again or like when Azrael became Batman or even when Nightwing took the mantle, they only work for a brief time and after that the writers return to the old and loved characters we all want.
Hellsboy - 12/26/2012, 12:41 PM
And just how is he superior when its still Peter I'm talking phisacally here not mentally.seriously how is he better if its just the same person?
assasincow102 - 12/26/2012, 12:45 PM
I wouldn't mind it so much if it wasn't a gimmick. There really isn't any character development here that makes since and honestly the last time Spiderman had any real development was during Straczenski's run. It was actually funny and Peter acted like an adult, the stories had weight. Ever since then it feela like his character has gone backwards. This feels like when the Punisher became Franken-Castle for about 5 issues or when a superhero gets a new costume for no reason so you think your getting something new. Plus, what's going on between Doc Ock and Mary Jane is just [frick]ed up.
SwingsetKnight - 12/26/2012, 12:49 PM
I think the real kicker in all of this for me is that, while Spider-man was my favourite character growing up, while I read a metric ton of his comic books and know a ridiculous amount about his fictional life, I really don't care about this latest development.

Well, all right, I'm a little irked. But it's not much beyond that. My reaction isn't "my GOD! What a shocking twist!" Nor, though this would be more justified, is it "DAMN YOU, SLOTT! OCK?! Why, damn you?! Ock has no characteristics other than immense egotism! How on earth could you imagine him worthy of this silly stunt, grumble moan bitch..." To be honest, it's just a lingering apathy and a vague curiosity about when Parker will return.

For me, at least, Dan Slott is a failure. He didn't outrage me or delight me. I find nothing interesting in Spider-man's gaining membership in the "Improbably Resurrected Superhero Club". I'm not even particularly riled over how stupid the whole thing is, mostly because after Clone Saga and Brand New Day, Spidey has just been driven into the ground.

In fact, if I have an emotion at all, it's just pity and distaste. I kind of do wish Spider-man dead, or rather I wish he'd died back in the 70s, before the comic had time to overreach itself and fall apart...
assasincow102 - 12/26/2012, 12:50 PM
@SwingsetKnight agreed
MarsivNayr - 12/26/2012, 1:02 PM

You people...

Murdock, good article, It's baffling how no one really understands the significance of this story.
Show4God1 - 12/26/2012, 1:03 PM
If they really want to change it up, they should have Quicksilver run as fast as he can, so fast that he splits the world open, and all alternate realities converge on themselves. He has to then search out Spiderman, Wolverine, Reed Richards, Scarlet Witch and Deathlock, convince them that he is the only one who remembers the world like it was supposed to be and convince them to help him fix it. THEN...wait, hasnt this been done already?
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 12/26/2012, 1:09 PM
@Xiim - Indeed, my friend. Bickering and raging over what had happened is much of time being wasted. I definitely understand the anger/frustration that many fans are feeling over the fact that Peter Parker/Spider-Man died in a shameful manner and that someone else (Doc Ock, to be exact) is now Spider-Man, but instead of all of this raging on these Spider-Man related articles, shouldn't we at more about the things that we enjoyed most from Spider-Man, rather than the negative(s)?

As for this new run for "Spider-Man," I'm not too sure of it. I don't know, I'm just not feeling it. I probably won't pick this series up 'cause I'm just not too fond of where it is heading--not because I hate it. It just doesn't appeal my interest. I'm still trying to cope with the fact that Peter died and that there is someone else that has taken the mantle as Spider-Man, and I'm trying to see this series as something good or interesting, but I just can't. :/
PaulRom - 12/26/2012, 1:16 PM
Great write-up. I'm still not sure what to think. The thought of Peter Parker being killed off and Doc Ock taking his place sounds atrocious, but in the scans that I read, Slott actually did a decent job handling Parker's death. In fact, I wouldn't feel insulted about it if it's temporary and Parker will return (which I believe he will, eventually; he's too big of a Marvel character to kill off permanently).

I'll say that the Ultimate universe handled Parker's death much better than the 616. Much more emotional.
0bstreperous - 12/26/2012, 1:17 PM
Why should I read a mustache twirling spiderman? Slott is creepy

I'd rather have ock match wits with reed Richard in a homage to the first spiderman comic cover
Wakko - 12/26/2012, 1:19 PM
[frick] THAT!! This is a shitty way to pass the torch. Spiderman deserved far better than this tripe they are selling. I only hope superior spiderman flops so they will bring Peter back, and SOON. Such garbage. Marvel you bunch of money grubbing assholes.
Dunejedi - 12/26/2012, 1:27 PM
I agree with some of your observations, like now that they've committed to this course of action they really need to follow through. We need time to adjust to Peter's absence while seeing where they take Spider-Ock. I actually like the idea of one of Spidey's villains running around with his identity/powers.

My biggest problem with it is the same problem I had with AVX, the writer completely failed to make the case IN THE BOOK. It's all well and good to blog about it and do interviews, but if you haven't laid the groundwork in the comic, you've failed. I love that Marvel is attempting to reintroduce the outlaw element to them (to the Marvel Universe for Cyclops's X-Men and to the Marvel readers in Spider-Man) but you have to do the leg work. Sure, they built up HOW Ock got into Pete's brain, but they in no way developed Otto's character so that he would rehabilitate. The Memory Lane treatment feels like a complete afterthought and is SO against character that it makes me cringe. As others have pointed out, Ock had power before he was Spidey and he never thought of himself as a villain, only misunderstood. So thinking that Peter's life happened to him doesn't make him Peter in my book.

I know they revert once they get this out of their system. And like I said, I'm not against the idea, I'm just against how poorly it was done. And like a lot of other people, I'm still waiting for the explanation of how Otto is a superior Spider-Man than Peter.
superotherside - 12/26/2012, 1:28 PM
Slott is still a bad writer. Well written editorial but killing off Peter in this way is terrible. Sorry. No two ways about it. Perhaps I could see him passing it off to his daughter or son or even someone else like that. But not this. This is like the villain suddenly getting Skrull powers and impersonating Peter. It just doesn't work. Sorry.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 12/26/2012, 1:30 PM
@SwingsetKnight - My exact feelings, man. If anything, I'm irked with the direction that they took Spider-Man. But as you've said, I am not irked to the point where I'll rage in every Spider-Man comic book related article.

R.I.P. Peter Parker, the greatest Hero there ever was....
OtakuPapi - 12/26/2012, 1:30 PM
Geez Us ...He is still Peter Parker! You People! He just has a combination of Peter and Doc Ocks personalities together! I dont buy this bs about it being Ock, eventually they will cull Doc Ocks personality from Peter and we will have the old Spidey back, its fairly transparent!
SuperSomething616 - 12/26/2012, 1:31 PM
All fair points to be honest...unfortunately you; as we all do, know that this wont last and Peter will be back in the webs in no time yes unfortunately this is a pointless venture...

For this reason and this reason alone is why Marvel should not have gone down this route...
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 12/26/2012, 1:41 PM
Oh, and @BattlinMurdock--great write up with this article, man. Sorry for not saying that earlier. While I do see some good points and observations that you made out in this article, I still just don't see this working for me--Ock being Spidey and thinking that just because whatever happened in Peter's life "reforms" Otto and thinks he can be the superior Spider-Man than Peter. I don't know. I'm still thinking things over with all of this. Again, though, I applaud you with this article, man. And congrats on making to the main. :)
Khufu7 - 12/26/2012, 1:49 PM
A well written article, but I have to disagree. And here's WHY:
You mention reading Michelinie and McFarlane's run the most, implying that you haven't continually read Spider-Man comics. You have to understand, for diehard Spider-man fans, fans who HAVE read Spider-Man for a long time, since Michelanie's run UNTIL now, this is a setback. Of course it is not going to last, as every major comic event in history practically hasn't. However, fans aren't downing Slott because this doesn't have potential: They are downing him, even threatening him (which is wrong regardless), because this story is just plain silly. You talk more about the comic industry and its popularity more than you provide facts about why you are own board. As fans, we all know the "poetry" of comics, and who cares if people find them laughable, which by the way, has dramatically changed BECAUSE the films have reinvigorated the comic market. You fail to see what this new series is most likely going to be: a purchase of time because Marvel, Slott and Alonso have a lack of creative direction, really a lack of originality and clever storytelling to do something cool. This is COMPLETELY something different,something out of the ordinary. It is just about as different as joining Antman with the FF and putting a young it-girl in a giant Thing suit. This is just as different as putting Hulk in metallic pants. This is just as different as Deadpool fighting zombified presidents. However, there is a huge difference between relevance and logic and an absurd washout. Look at writers like Geoff Johns or Scott Snyder. When DC rebooted, they KEPT most of Green Lantern and Batman's previous continuity. However, they are writing new, clever stories, stories that you cannot put down, stories that are completely different but that actually make sense and logically move the characters forward. But, most importantly, they deliver stories WE HAVENT SEEN BEFORE. Yes, we haven't seen Doc Ock replace Spidey (and do we really want to?) but does it logically make sense? It seems Slott blatanlty rushes at the end of 700 to ensure that Ock magically reforms. As a diehard Spider-man fan, one who has collected and read every issue, mini series and one-shot for the past 15 years not to mention the old stories in graphic novel form, this is not a logical attempt to push forward. I cannot name how many issues Ock has tried to kill innocents, or has. I cannot tell you how many times Ock has acted crude and selfish, acted like the fat little jerk he is on the inside. Just read Zeb Wells Doctor Octopus year one and tell me this guy is a hero and that there is fulfillment and justice in this creppy little man finding responsibility in power. This same guy knew the value of responsibility and hasn't used it not because he never discovered it: he never used it because he decided to become the antithesis of Peter Parker. I will definitely check out the new series and it may prove to be a really fun, entertaining book. But this doesn't change the fact that this isn't the SPider-man we want to see, the Spider-man fans deserve. If Dan Slott wanted to do this, why didn't Marvel create the Superior and treat it like Scarlett Spider or Venom and keep AMazing in tact, even if it had a different man behind the mask. Here Marvel had a chance to legitimately move Spider-man forward instead of rehashing his history, as Brand New Day did, formerly established by One More Day. This was a chance for Marvel to get Spider_man, not necessarily Peter Parker, to a point in his life that made sense. I am fine with Peter "taking a rest" but do I even want to see Ock's "chance to be defined a hero"? And that is good you are excited and want to read it. Enjoy it man, that's what comcis are about. But don't you dare say us fans "should be excited" and that this is the "shakeup we need as a comic community" because while it may be for you and others, it isn't for me and for a lot of the community on this message board.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 12/26/2012, 2:25 PM
I honestly don't know what to feel about all of this, really. I'm irked at the direction that Marvel is taking Spider-Man, and yet I'm trying to see how this new direction for Spider-Man could be a good move from Marvel, but I just can't. I don't know. I'm just confused on how to feel for all of this. :/
xcrementus - 12/26/2012, 2:26 PM
It's not like Peter passed on the legacy by choice. If he had the strength, he would have beaten the shit out of Ock.
Faced with the fact that Ock is stuck in that body, Peter brainraped Ock, showed him all his influential memories, ad told him "don't screw this up you stupid jerk."

And when he gets back, man, he is gonna be cruisin for a bruisin.

I'd understand the rage if this really was the "death" of spiderman, but obviously its not. So lets enjoy watching Ock fail for a while, getting more and more frustrated that he can't do it right, until Pete gets back and cleans house.

PS I don't just like Slott's run, i LOVE it. Horizon Labs, Ock, the Jamesons & Aunt May, HObgoblin & Kingpin, Spider Island, Ends of the earth, love ALL of it. Its been fun and kept me guessing.
VIRILEMAN - 12/26/2012, 2:29 PM
Wow. It seems people will try to see the good in anything no matter how bad it is as. The fact you feel the need to defend it is proof that it is horrible. After The Avengers movie came out no one came to the internet to defend the film or put a positive spin on it, you know why? BECAUSE THE AVENGERS WASN'T TERRIBLE UNLIKE SLOTT'S WRITING!!!!!!!

Khufu7 - 12/26/2012, 2:54 PM
@BattlinMurdock, I mean no offense, I really enjoyed your article, and I am only bringing up these things as a member of a discussion, but I think you may be missing the point of fans reactions.
In terms of your first statment I have to disaggree. I believe you are contradicting your statements. The nature of the story may lead the character in an unnatural way. Afterall, don't these two ideas of story and character intertwine? For instance, Peter's uncle did die and made him a stronger character, right? We would not have Spider-man if the story did not cross with the character.
And Peter Parker the character of course doesn't deserve this thing, but I think the fans mean Peter in terms of spirit, in terms of a beloved character and franchise, going in a wrong or disliked direction. I cannot speak on behalf of any fan, but I think many don't care if Peter hit the bucket or not and how he goes, I think it is who takes his place that matters, especially a character that is so out of character.
And of course we have to draw a line between our desires for a character's path and his actual one taken via a creative writer, but we don't have to like it. For instance, I mentioned I will read this new series because I want to see if it is good. It may be a really great series and I may love it, but it doesn't mean I can't think it is not in the spirit of Spider-man.
And I love how you defend the notions of absurdity by implying that that is the nature of comics while previously you talk about defending them against people who find them laughable. So which one is it? If one thinks of comics from a deep, intellectual mind, diving into the comic as a realistic story such as you have with your article, then it doesn't matter if it is a comic or not. When you analyze a comic or movie or novel, you have to look at it from within the confines of the story. Of course, at the end of the day, these are comics and are there for one reason: entertainment. But you cannot get into a comic without having to believe that you are in the world it creates among the characters. If we did not get limit contrivity and absurdity, then comics may not have evolved into the realism and epic stories that artists hold today.
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