When writer Dan Slott talked about the final, 700th-issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, he told Comic Book Reources that "I'm going into hiding after issue #700 comes out. I'm not looking at message boards. I'm not poking my head up out of that hole, because what happens in issue #700 is big!" Unfortunately, now that the ending of #700 has leaked online - it's not due to come out until December 26 - it's no longer a joke. The writer is getting actual death threats for what happens in the comic book, and it's reached the point where he's been forced to call the authorities.
It's tough to discuss this without mentioning what exactly has some comic fans so upset they're announcing their plans to murder somebody, so consider this your SPOILER WARNING. Seriously, if you don't what to know what happens in next week's Amazing Spider-Man #700, stop reading.
Ready? Okay. In issue #698, Peter Parker and the just-about-to-die-of-cancer Dr. Octopus switched minds in the way comic book characters sometimes do. Peter's been trying desperately to switch back, but in issue #700... he doesn't. He dies in Dr. Octopus' body. And Dr. Octopus - who has received all of Peter's memories, because, you know, comic books - is now Spider-Man (and determined to be a hero, for whatever that's worth). This new Spidey will be starring in The Superior Spider-Man, beginning January 9.
First things first: I can see why people are upset. Peter Parker, despite his short-lived marriage to a redheaded supermodel, is basically a down-on-his-luck character that every fan would like to see succeed and get the credit he deserves. Dying in an old man's cancer-ridden body is pretty much the antithesis of that. He dies ahead of schedule, unknown, unrecognized, never receiving any credit for his superheroism or goodheartedness. It's not a noble death, or even a cool one - it's the way Spider-fans would least want Peter Parker to go. (Also, Doc Ock, who at one point was having sex with Pete's Aunt May, is now going to get to bang Mary Jane. That is both wildly unfair and pretty gross.)
But - here's the important part - it's a fucking comic book. Any fan who believes this is going to be a permanent change of the Spidey status quo is an idiot. Oh, it might last years, sure. More likely people will complain about it like they did the Clone Saga (another point when Peter stopped being Spider-Man for awhile) and sales will drop and Marvel will reverse it earlier than they had planned. But the chances of Peter Parker never showing up in a comic book again are 0%.
While all hardcore fans can exhibit this kind of manic insanity, American comic fans are special in their ability to somehow ignore the basic tenets of their fandom: Crazy shit happens in comics all the time. It's one of American comic book's best - and most defining - features. For gods' sake, in the last few years alone, the Punisher was turned into a Frankenstein monster, Cyclops became head of the Phoenix Force's personal Power Rangers, and even in Spider-Man, every single person in NYC got Spider-powers for a few days. The glory of comics is that this stuff happens. Is Doc Ock becoming Spider-Man a bigger deal than most? Sure, but it's still just another Spider-Man story arc. Settle the fuck down.
In addition, it's a fucking comic book.
This bears repeating, because there is no reason for anyone to get so upset about anything that happens in a comic book that they would pretend, even in the anonymity of the internet, that they would take a life. If you honestly believe this is at all an appropriate response, you're an idiot. Please put away your comics because you are clearly not emotionally mature enough to handle them. Leave the comics for the adults... and the children who understand comics are supposed to be fun.
[Via Comic Book Resources]