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Peter Parkers Dead and I Don't Care!

The Death of Peter Parker in ASM #700

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Peter Parkers Dead and I Don't Care!

Peter Parker

Copyright Marvel Comics
(To the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn)
Peter Parker died and I don’t care.
Peter Parker died and I don’t care.
Peter Parker died and I don’t care!
He’ll be back again some day.

So the big news this month of December 2012 is the death of Peter Parker. Not the death of Spider-Man, no rather the spirit that inhabits the body of Peter Parker has been replaced by another. Want the gritty details? Read Amazing Spider-Man #700 for the rest of the story.

The sad part of this story isn’t the story itself although I heard one Facebook user describe the story as, “Freaky Friday with Spider-Man. Really Dan, really?” The truly sad part is that writer Dan Slott has been receiving tons of nasty mail and death threats for the story line. Dan tweeted about it saying, “FYI. Death threats and threats of violence are being reported. Please use social media responsibly. Thank you.”

I truly understand the fans feelings about the situation as my own favorite hero, Captain America, was killed off back in 2007. Man did that hurt! I was so frustrated that my favorite hero was killed and his rumored fill in was going to be Bucky, another hero long since thought dead. The whole thing truthfully made me stop buying that comic. However, I knew back then and know even more now that things in the comic book world shift quite quickly and will almost always move the focus back to the true character that started it all off. We have seen this time and time again with Green Lantern, Superman, Captain America, Batman, and I’m sure we will see this as well with Spider-Man.

This whole thing leads me to my biggest frustration with The Big Two, and that is the use of sensationalism to generate sales. Marvel and DC often use big crossovers, deaths of characters, reincarnations of characters, and other over the top means to get fans to buy comic books. These companies and characters are owned by big corporations that are working to maximize profits as much as possible.

As much as we rail about it on the internet and curse those writers for coming up with some of this stuff, the fact of the matter is it works. Captain America #25 was the top selling comic that month. In an interview with Business Week Axel Alonso, EIC of Marvel said, “Amazing Spider-Man #700 has sold nearly 250,000 copies in print alone; final digital orders aren’t in yet. This is the best-selling comic book at this price-point of the last decade, at least.” Now granted, the cover price of the comic is $7.99, but the over two million in sales is no small feat.

I love the characters from Marvel and DC, but the problem for me has been the continual creator shift changes and stunts that are pulled to get us to read comics. It’s not to say that there isn’t great stories coming out of these publishers, they have the money to hire the top writers and artists in the business. I think in the long term, I worry about the health of the industry as fanbase continues to dwindle into more hardcore collectors. We have seen an upswing in interest in comic books due to the superhero movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight, but if the companies making comic books continue to frustrate fans with moves like the death of Peter Parker, then I worry that the sales of comic books will eventually shrink back down and more companies and comics will cease to exist.

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