ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marvel Kills Peter Parker!

I write the headline like this is actually big news.
To the untrained non-geek eye it might be, until you look at the storylines comic companies seem to always fall on when they run out of ideas-- and I didn't even say "good" ideas, I just said ideas.

Peter Parker died in Issue #700-- I've not read an issue of Spider-Man since the late 70s so the impact is less dramatic on me than someone who is emotionally tied to the series, and they are replacing him with Doctor Octopus.  Interestingly, the last time I read a comic with Doc Ock in it he was short and fat, now THAT would make me pick up the book if there was a short fat Spider-Man in the costume-- and if we were talking 70s comics you might have had that.  There was a great bunch of issues where Peter had to don a paper bag for a mask because his costume was in the wash, or a time when he lost the suit and had to use a cheap costume store version which didn't fit right.   Comics had a sense of humor back then, today everything is way too serious to allow that kind of irreverence to happen.

So Peter Parker is dead, shocking isn't it?

Not really when you look at past "deaths" in comics.

Bruce Wayne died several times in the batsuit, most notably a few years ago when it looked like it was for "real"-- again to the untrained geek eyes.  There's just no way DC Comics kills off a trademarked character that generates billions of dollars in merchandising and licensing deals.  So while Dick Grayson took over as Batman for a while, Bruce Wayne eventually came back to the suit.

Superman died "for real" back in the 90s, and the book sold so many copies many of the creators got giant royalty checks.  Comic shops held mock funerals and the media bought into the idea that a legend had ended-- not so, within a year or two Superman was back, this time sporting the unfortunate fashion choice of a mullet.

If Superman can time travel, why didn't he know that a mullet was a bad choice?
Superman's achy breaky heart eventually got a haircut-- it was either that or Clark Kent take a job at an Alabama Wal*Mart-- and all was right in the world.

But that's not the end of deaths in comics:

Jason Todd was the 2nd Robin, and he was killed by the Joker, causing a media firestorm when they mistakenly thought he was the original Robin Dick Grayson who everyone knew and loved from the classic TV Show.  DC killed him off at the determination of the fans via a 900 phone number poll, which remains a pretty sick (but cool) idea.

Barry Allen, The Flash-- died heroically in a multi part saga in the 80s and actually stayed dead for quite some time before they brought him back.  Here's the riff;  the general public knows Clark Kent is Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman and Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but if you ask them who The Flash is you'll likely get a blank stare-- so killing him and replacing him with someone else is not as big a deal.

Captain America's alter ego, Steve Rogers, died from a sniper's bullet-- and they made a big deal of it.  Yup, came back not too long after.

Are we seeing a trend?  I could go on.

Bottom line is comic book characters live and die and are often resurrected so often Jesus looks at them and says "c'mon!".

So don't mourn Peter Parker-- he'll be back.