Masked in the trademark red and blue spandex of Spider-Man, Peter Parker has cleaned criminals off the New York streets for five decades. Yet, the superhero may have spun his last web as the iconic character has been killed off by writers, prompting the outrage of heartbroken fans.
The 700th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man hit American news stands this week, with the twist that arch-villain Otto Octavius, Doctor Octopus, had killed Parker off only to become Spider-Man himself. Fans took to social networks to lament their hero’s demise. One said it was the “worst idea ever” and another said it lacked “honour and the death a hero deserves”. Some went further and even aimed death threats at writer Dan Slott, who had joked about “pulling a Salman Rushdie” when the issue was released.
He posted on Facebook: “Reality check: There is NO such thing as a ‘funny death threat’, … If you think, because of something happening to a FICTIONAL character, that you need to type out a death threat and SEND it to someone: You. Need. Help.”
Yet, as more fans picked up the issue he said that positive responses hugely outweighed the negative with some saying they cried at the conclusion.
However experts believe that Parker’s death, 50 years after he first appeared in comics, may not be quite as final as the fans fear. Tom Oldham, who works at comic shop Gosh! in London, said: “This has been a fun storyline but there is not a chance in hell that Peter Parker will be dead in 12 months’ time.” He continued: “Some people are very upset about it, but you have to be three strands short of a web to think it’s permanent.”
The last edition of The Amazing Spider-Man, published by Marvel, chronicled the battle between the two characters leaving Parker dead, and Octavius’s mind swapped into the hero’s body. Dr Octopus realises Parker was a force for good and attempts to take on the superhero mantle for himself. The adventures will be played out in Superior Spider-Man, a new title that launches next month. Slott told CNN: “Spider-Man fans need not lose heart as the world of comics is an uncertain one where superheroes have a way of returning from their graves.”
Spider-Man was first introduced by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in Amazing Fantasy issue 15 in 1962, before being spun off into his own title The Amazing Spider-Man the following year. Stan Lee tweeted yesterday: “Farewell Peter Parker – you can thank daring Dan Slott for that!”
Heroes never die comic comebacks
The Man of Steel met his end in 1992 in battle with killing machine Doomsday, but came back to life a year later after a storyline involving several imposters.
The storyline Knightfall in 1993-94 covered a series of events that leads Bane to break Bruce Wayne’s back. Wayne is eventually healed through paranormal means..
Killed off in 2007, Steve Rogers returned two years later, as the Red Skull reveals he was shot with a bullet that froze him in stasis.