SPIDER-MAN: Flagship Character to Red Flag Character

Over the years, Spider-Man has been the flagship character for Marvel overall and has been the company's most beloved character. But have things changed for the web-slinging hero? Read on for more!

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By Superior - 8/14/2013


In the year of 1962, the world witnessed the birth of a timeless cult-classic comic-book character in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15. In the year of 1962, the two brilliant minds of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko collaborated to create a fascinating character. In the year of 1962, the web-slinging hero known as Spider-Man was born. Spider-Man is a fictional hero in the Marvel Universe known all around the world and has had over 600 comics/graphic novels published, including villains he would overthrow by his might including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Electro, and Venom, ever since he was first created.

Spider-Man has become a fictional icon and a role model to younger readers that read his mythology. Spider-Man is also one of the most iconic super-heroes ever as he is paid much homage to in other media not affiliated with Marvel Comics. Spider-Man even became Marvel’s flagship character, always being in front of even the best Marvel characters such as Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, etc. But as the years passed, the friendly neighborhood hero has been changed from the hero we all know and love, into a very controversial character among his greatest fans. Most of you true-believers probably may know what I’m talking about and if you do, question yourself: Has Spider-Man transformed from a flagship character to a red flag character? If you’re undecided about this question, I encourage you to continue reading. For those who already have an answer, I’d still recommend you read this editorial.




Throughout the years, Spider-Man hasn’t had the best story arcs or decisions in his comics. Some of them have been absolutely ridiculous such as Peter Parker transforming into a gigantic pregnant spider and also the unforgettable “Sins Past” story arc in which Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy performed sexual activities with one another, giving birth to super-twins which later on went downhill. Another event occurs in “One More Day” when Peter Parker was selfish enough to sell the marriage of his wife Mary Jane’s soul to Mephisto for his Aunt to live from an injury. This didn’t exactly send the best message to children: When all else fails, sell a soul to the devil. Spider-Man is supposed to be a beacon of hope and is to show a young example to young children that look up to him as a role model. Gambling with the Devil isn’t a great example. This had to be the worst decision to do. Last but not least, one of the most notorious comic-book decisions in comic-book history, one of the most controversial events in the comic-book history, is the “Dying Wish” story arc. This story arc has upset many fans, changing the jurisdiction and standards of writing Spider-Man by making one of his nemeses Spider-Man. The nemesis that takes the mantle of the wall-crawler is Doctor Octopus which received much controversy among comic-book fans that of Spider-Man. The writer of “Dying Wish” even received harsh death threats which were reported to the authorities. Co-Creator of Spider-Man and comic-book legend, Stan “The Man” Lee wasn't so enthused with this idea either.

A couple of users from this site (names were kept anonymous) that are fans of the web-slinger were asked on what they think of how Spider-Man has changed up to now:


Q: What do you think about Spider-Man’s current image in comics through events such as Doctor Octopus becoming Spider-Man, One More Day, his death, etc.?
A: I think it’s really a total blow to the character and what he represents. It’s awful just to think of how a perfect character can be transformed into a product of a travesty in the making in a quick instant. The original timeless classics and the days of Spider-Man are over. His image is gone and it has been burned away. They have formally destroyed him. Not just in the comics, but The Amazing Spider-Man was terrible. I have no idea what has become of his image and what they are implementing into him. It is not bringing new life to the character that is for sure.
A: Meh. Marvel Comics (including Spidey) aren’t great anymore. They stopped being good in the 90s. The comics stopped being great when Stan Lee left, and stopped being good in the late 90s.

A: The change is just a revelation that took a beloved, well-known hero and gave him a surprise “makeover”. I mean, The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #700 really shocked me. And making a villain (Doc Ock) the new hero? I just hope they get back to the old Peter Parker story soon.



Slott’s and many others run on Spider-Man have crushed the character to a pulp in the writing. Sometimes I think they will pull something out of their asses just for some bucks out of the Spider-Man fans wallets. Not to mention, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is dead in both in the Ultimate Universe and Mainstream/616-Universe but can be seen teaming up with other heroes in the pages of The Avenging Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus can be seen as Spider-Man in the pages of The Superior Spider-Man. Peter Parker is rarely even in Marvel’s current Marvel NOW! Comics. Overall, the “Dying Wish” story arc was an awful choice and so were many other story arcs, reincarnating Spider-Man into something that isn’t so friendly in the neighborhood. The “Dying Wish” story arc would never be my dying wish.



Still seen as a flagship character to others, Spider-Man also still must carry high expectations in other media including film & television. Back in the 2000s, Spider-Man was launched onto the big screen by film director Sam Raimi in the three films. Two of the first films were very well-received, with the second film knocking it out of the park. Once the third film released into theatres, it received mixed reviews, but mostly negative. Five years later, The Amazing Spider-Man launched into theatres and didn’t impress most of the movie goers. The reason why Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man were panned critically is because Spider-Man is a hero to expect high expectations from. For example, if you take the film Jonah Hex, no one had any high expectations for it because no one cares about the character and the film didn’t look good, and the film wasn’t good. The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t so “amazing” as the title states. The Amazing Spider-Man was one of the most forgotten films of 2012 as it was foreshadowed by the other comic-book films, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Many fans believe that Spider-Man 2 was better than The Amazing Spider-Man. Let’s just hope The Amazing Spider-Man 2 redeems the trilogy so far as they’ve taken liberties such as changing the berated basketball Spider-Man suit with orange peels as eyes into a more comic-book accurate suit. The Amazing Spider-Man was a major letdown, even to some fans of Spider-Man.

Also as in other media, that includes in television. Spider-Man has had a series of beloved television programs such as the 1994 Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man. Many fans believe Spectacular Spider-Man to be the best Spider-Man show thus far. But not too long ago, a new Spider-Man series hit television on the channel Disney XD and premiered on the date of April 1st, 2012. Have you guessed what show I’m talking about? If you answered Ultimate Spider-Man, then you’re correct. Before I discuss this show, don’t use the excuse “This is a show for kids, it’s supposed to be like this”, because it will be irrelevant to my stance on the series. I get it, this is a kid’s show, but Marvel takes it too far with the comedy and with the mythology. This basically a remake of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends because throughout every episode Spider-Man is with Nova, White Tiger, Luke Cage/Power Man, and Iron Fist. This show even too far-fetched for a Spider-Man. This show doesn’t respect the characters either. They made Scorpion a goddamn ninja samurai assassin or whatever, they literally made Rhino a rhino that has the structure of a human, and they made Harry Osborn Venom. I tried making it through the first season, but I couldn’t. The series disrespects the characters and the mythology to Spider-Man, giving the next generation false information about Spider-Man. Do you know how annoying it would be in the next 10 or 20 years with people saying “Harry Osborn was the first Venom”? This show is definitely a red flag for the character Spider-Man. Many people say since this is kid’s show, old audiences aren’t supposed to enjoy it. Spectacular Spider-Man was a kid’s show, Young Justice was a kid’s show, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, was a kid’s show, Batman: The Animated Series was a kid’s show, Justice League was a kid’s show, Justice League: Unlimited was a kid’s show, Green Lantern: The Animated Series was a kid’s show, Wolverine and the X-Men was a kid’s show, and X-Men: The Animated Series was a kid’s show and absolutely none of them felt like a sitcom and they all had very great plots. Ultimate Spider-Man is just an insult to long-time Spidey fans no matter what age.




So Spider-Man has been screwed over in comics, I wouldn’t quite say in film currently, but sure as hell in television. Now, there are attempts to bring the character back to stardom such as in the Broadway rock-musical known as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Nearing the conclusion of this editorial, Spider-Man is not as amazing as he was before. His comics aren’t as good as they were before, his films weren’t as good as they were before, and his television shows aren’t as good as before. But in this case, film and television don’t matter when it comes to comics. Comics are where the character first came to be. When all else fails, the comics would always have something in store. But now all else has nearly failed and there is no plan B or C. The Spider-Man/Peter Parker that we all knew and loved is dead. I think the only way Marvel can clean this up is by hitting the reboot button, but as long as Slott’s Superior Spider-Man keeps ranking in sells, we won’t ever see Peter Parker again.

So, I asked three users on here what do they think of how Spider-Man has been changed throughout years and I’d like to read your thoughts too. So be sure to comment below in the comments section to send your thoughts and be sure to like this editorial.


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125 Comments
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TheManWithoutFear - 8/14/2013, 2:34 PM
I think about this too. The new generation has no Spider-Man. The "Amazing" spider-man was garbage and the ultimate spider-man cartoon is a deadpool show where the drawings are all wrong.
TheManWithoutFear - 8/14/2013, 2:36 PM
I mean the movie amazing spider-man. The comics i think have potential as soon as Petey comes back. His life will be whole new kinds of messed up and hopefully he'll no longer be with the Avengers.
MexicanSuperman - 8/14/2013, 2:42 PM
TASM>>>>>>>>>>>>>Rami's chessey trilogy.
JasonGrayson77 - 8/14/2013, 2:57 PM
I agree that SM2 is the best spiderman film, but I don't think TSAM is as bad as Levi makes it out to be.
YoDawg - 8/14/2013, 3:01 PM
DC COMICS
Batman > Superman(Flagship character)

Marvel
Ironman > Spiderman(Flagship character)

Thats just how it is...
Durf - 8/14/2013, 3:19 PM
Good stuff man
StrangeBlackPantherDoctor - 8/14/2013, 3:22 PM
Superior Spider-Man is a great comic.
StrangeBlackPantherDoctor - 8/14/2013, 3:24 PM
I think Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and te first are all great but have a few problems. Spider-Man 3 is alright and not as bad as most would have you belove though the dancing was terrible.
StrangeBlackPantherDoctor - 8/14/2013, 3:25 PM
Why do people have such a problem liking both Rami and Webb's take. You can like one more than the other but why would you hate one and love the other.
Christuffer - 8/14/2013, 3:27 PM
If you're not able to see how epic the current Spider-Man storyline is, and the possibilities of where it can go, you didn't know what Spider-Man was all about in the first place. I could go on about it for paragraphs and pages, but long story short: Doc Ock is Peter Parker in more ways than one. Basically, he's the same kind of bullied and weak nerd that Peter was, and now he's Spider-Man (just like Peter). The difference between them is the fact that Otto isn't a Paragon, he's more of a Renegade (Mass Effect reference, sorry).

I could probably write an editorial on this.
kadetra - 8/14/2013, 3:27 PM
@Levitikuz-“If you are a spidey fan and really think TASM is better than spidey 2,please see a doctor”. Lol, best comment of the day.
INSTANTJUSTICE - 8/14/2013, 3:28 PM
TheManWithoutFear - "The new generation has no Spider-Man."


You mean the generation that sprung up in the last 5-6 years since Spider Man 3?

I'd hardly call 5 years a generation.

SnapperCarr - 8/14/2013, 3:31 PM
Amen.
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 8/14/2013, 3:34 PM
If I have kids, the first thing I am going to show them for Spider man is the 90's cartoon.
ODSTmaster - 8/14/2013, 3:35 PM
TASM is the best spidey film
CrashTest - 8/14/2013, 3:37 PM
The story of Doc Oct has been interesting and Im sure parker will be back in some time. People are catching on but Im still shock that Doc Strange or someone like Emma Forst has yet to come along.
Mrsinister - 8/14/2013, 3:39 PM
The current story arc of doc oc being Spider-Man is amazing. Get over it dude and enjoy it
TayDee - 8/14/2013, 3:40 PM
Spidey has always had his periods of weak stories. This will never change. Trying to make a character that's 4 decades old is hard work. People need to lighten up and realize these are only stories.
SuperiorMrGod - 8/14/2013, 3:41 PM
Amazing article! You basically composed all my thought pertaining to Spider-man over the past decade. I mean if you watch Spectacular or read Death of Gwen Stacy Saga you know the character can be great but right now since Marvel can't have his movie rights they'll just kill his public image, damn shame.
DestroyerofHaters - 8/14/2013, 3:42 PM
The inability to write a good article due to one's own misconception of Spider-Man is sad. An anonymous user on this site is used as a credible source to hate on TASM. The only thing Spidey has going for him is his movie universe, yet all you can do is hate. TASM had the best interpretation of Spidey's movement and comical bullying of the baddies yet those same things are hated. Keep pretending to know these characters.
ShadowlordSavage - 8/14/2013, 3:44 PM
I'm finding that Superman and Spider-man find facing similar circumstances and issues not only when it comes to their comics ( mostly the controversial ones), but movie-wise as well ( First films do well, goes down hill after 3, Reboots with Spidey's edging out Supes' in reception critical and financially).
duncboy - 8/14/2013, 3:45 PM
How the heck does this garbage make it to the front page? It's an opinion article, not news, and it's a poorly written opinion article at that. Not that the opinion is "poor"/bad, it's just not well written. NEXXXXXXXT please
Superior - 8/14/2013, 3:49 PM
@DestroyerofHaters The inability to write a valid comment due to one being ignorant of what was written in the article is sad. If you could re-read the Q & A session, none of the users even mentioned TASM. Don't bring your ignorance to my article.
TheWolverine08 - 8/14/2013, 3:50 PM
No, to a reboot for Marvel. I don't want to see my favorite characters histories and epic, classic stories flushed down the toilet.
TheAbaryMan369 - 8/14/2013, 3:51 PM
CaptainObvious - 8/14/2013, 3:52 PM
Superior Spider-Man, TASM, and Ultimate Spider-Man go against everything Spider-Man stands for. When you get down to it, Spider-Man is about growing up. It's about taking on responsibilities no matter how hard they are. It's about making the best decisions, not just for yourself but for others, that will help shape you into a greater person.

Sometimes life hands us difficult situations and people feel pressured to take the easy way out. The lazy route. That's what these new writers and directors feel Spider-Man should be about. Choosing what is easy because they don't believe facing tough moral decisions and making the best possible choice can make for good drama. They are, of course, wrong.

These shows, comics, and movies are made by people who don't understand Spider-Man. They fight for the things that Spidey himself has fought against. I don't know if Spider-Man will ever be returned to his former glory, but I will never stop appreciating this character because he has made such a huge impact on my life.

Superior Spider-Man, TASM, and Ultimate Spider-Man will one day fade from my memory. While the Spider-Man stories I know to be great never will.
Pharaoh - 8/14/2013, 3:52 PM
Spidey for me is STILL a Top 5 Marvel character, I don't really know anything of the "Ultimate" Universe more of an "Amazing" fan but I read the "Age of Ultron - Superior Spider-Man" and kinda wish I had got the first arc issues because Doc Ock is actually pretty funny as Spidey. It's an interesting read in that scenario where he is Doc Ock speaking in his head/thoughts but has to then be an "Impression" of Peter when he's interacting with the other hero's so they don't find him out, which is a really interesting dynamic.


You can't point out his random "bad" stories either because ALL comic book characters have "bad" arcs within their respective archives.

TheWolverine08 - 8/14/2013, 3:52 PM
I mean, the New 52 f%cked The Question (my second favorite DC character) SO badly. I don't want to see that happen to my Marvel favs like Wolverine, Daredevil, Black Panther, Iron Fist, etc.
faver - 8/14/2013, 3:54 PM
Spider-Man 2 is still the best film of the character. I actually think that TASM is pretty good, and a promising new beginning for the movie franchise. As for the comics, well, Spidey has been getting really terrible storylines for years. It really needs new writers that can actually remember what Spidey is about. And less meddling executives that fear that a married character won't sell. Brand New Day was the storyline that really made me lose hope. As for The Superior Spider-Man, I really hope one day it just becomes a distant memory. A really horrible, nonsensical and poorly written memory.
SoulAllFlush - 8/14/2013, 3:54 PM
I am not a fan of the Ultimate Spider-Man tv show, although a couple of the episodes have been quite good, or the current direction of the Doc Ock Spider-Man

But there is no need to sink into your corner like a feral fanboy. The character will survive the stories *you* don't like. I found Amazing Spider-Man to be inferior to the Raimi films, but there are still good things in the films.

And if the next Spider-Man writer wants to make Parker gay, Norman Osborne into Eleckto, or Wilson Fisk into Green Goblin then that is fine by me.

The worse thing I ever saw in Spider-Man was Brand New Day - because that was about ignoring the canon and the growth of the character and just rebooting him into what the writer thought were his glory days. It's better to just let a character evolve.
TheFox - 8/14/2013, 3:55 PM
Hmmm... You know, it is sort of aggravating the kind of stuff Marvel has put Spider-Man through in recent years... but I don't think that those things have in any way "ruined" the character. In fact, like Superman and Batman, I think it's virtually impossible to ruin Spider-Man at this point.

Spider-Man is transcendent of the comic books at this point. He goes beyond whatever the current storylines are, or how the newest movies and T.V. shows represent him. There is so much history and so much richness to the Spider-Man character and to his universe that he's become a pop culture icon-- and like all icons, there's a concept of who and what he is that can never be undone by a few shoddy comic stories.

Yeah, the Doc-Ock-as-Spidey story is a travesty, and yes, "Sins Past" was an ugly blemish needlessly pasted into Spidey's history. And though I actually liked the "Brand New Day" stories, the way "One More Day" got us to that point was patently ridiculous.

But while Amazing Spider-Man wasn't great, it also wasn't bad, either... and whether older fans approve of the liberties it takes with the mythos or not, Ultimate Spider-Man is bringing younger fans into the fold-- MUCH younger fans, fans who don't know ANYTHING about Spider-Man, but who will want to know more about the webslinger and will likely read the comics because they like the show.

Guys-- Spider-Man survived the Clone Saga. He survived Marvel's bankruptcy, both financial and creative. It's gonna take more than a year or two of cruddy stories to put this character down.

Z
TheFox - 8/14/2013, 3:56 PM
And BTW, I'm w/ THEDARKKNIGHT1939: When I have kids, they're watching the '90s Spider-Man cartoon. And the '90s X-Men cartoon. And, of course, Batman: The Animated Series.

God bless the guy who invented DVD...

Z
faver - 8/14/2013, 3:57 PM
As a sidenote, I get that some people find interesting the new dynamic of Doc Ock as Spidey, but I still think it really clashes with what the character represents. Peter's whole personality was destroyed in order to serve that development (Willing to let a kid die? Peter Parker? Really?). I'm fine with it as an elseworlds story, but not as part of the main version of Spider-Man.
WeaponX93 - 8/14/2013, 3:57 PM
Honestly, I think the whole "Superior" storyline is way better than the other stories you've mentioned. It's a fresh take on a character, I believe, they had nothing creative to do wish. Then again, I'm not a hardcore Spidey fan so maybe I'm missing something. I know a hardcore Spidey fan who likes Superior if that helps.
Anyway nice article!
LordHuck - 8/14/2013, 3:57 PM
Ugh. Whiny guy what an agenda.

You don't like the current Spider-Man Arc. So the world is over.
MrMartinMarvel - 8/14/2013, 4:01 PM
Great article @M, I agree entirely.
LordHuck - 8/14/2013, 4:01 PM
Every issue of The Superior Spider-Man has been in the top 10 for sales figures.

It sells over 80,000 issue a month. It's actually a really compelling well written story.
WeaponX93 - 8/14/2013, 4:03 PM
I think Marvel NOW shouldve been the New 52. Then I thought the end of Age of Ultron would lead into one. But yeah if it had a good writing team I'd be down for a Marvel Reboot
Dennisv1 - 8/14/2013, 4:08 PM
Honestly, I don't think it's all that bad for spidey. This is a character that has been around for 50 years and will continue to do so. Stories have to change and you have to do something different that has not been done before cause if not it all feels repetitive and gets boring. Superior spiderman sales and the ratings on ultimate spiderman prove that he still is very popular and people or kids, whatever, are still interested in him. The amazing spiderman movie was a hit, and part 2 looks like it has potential to be one of the best. He might not be as big as he once was, but that's due because of so many other movies out there now that have stolen some of that thunder away. Avengers and Nolan's batman are the biggest reasons. As for the comics, it's a story line and I think Peter will be back some day. I don't think he's gone for good! Until then, superior spiderman is spiderman. All characters go through tough times whether its in movies or comic books. Superman and batman went through it. And I guess for some, spidey is going through it now.
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