Rave : 2013 : Peter Parker's Death - For the Benefit of Marvel
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**SPOILERS FOR RECENT ISSUES OF SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN**
In my rave, We Caused the Superior Spider-Man, I briefly covered that I believe that Peter Parker was killed because of message board haters and their complaints for ASM issues. But, after reading Superior Spider-Man #9 and talking to some of my friends over it, I am led to believe that there are other causes. And I know ways that it will help Marvel down the road that you may not.
Recently, I read "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination," by Neal Gabler, a biography of none other than the creator of Disney. (A book which I found extremely interesting, by the way.) The subplot I found most fascinating was the rise and fall of Mickey Mouse. When Disney first created Mickey, he was a very energetic and fun character that was popular to be the first cartoon with sound. In early cartoons, Mickey was constantly beating up cats and doing some sadistic things because everybody was too distracted by the sound that flowed simultaneously with the pictures to actually care.
But people soon did start paying attention to the actions of the maniacal Mickey Mouse. Critics started complaining that he was constantly doing inappropriate things that their children shouldn't be exposed to and was out-of-character. Disney, being a perfectionist and wanting to please everybody, acknowledged what they were saying and Mickey quickly became the role model for children, doing nothing other than heroic deeds. Soon, writers become bored of the new Mickey and had trouble coming up with stories for him. Not only that, but he had lost his energetic attitude that people loved so much and became painfully less popular. Disney then made Donald Duck, with a devious personality that viewers loved, and Mickey was soon pushed out of his own cartoon.
Now, I mentioned this to tie into the point of Peter Parker's death. Has Peter become the comic book version of Mickey Mouse? When Spider-Man started, he was causing all types of trouble that would be called out-of-character today. For example, he battled the Fantastic Four to show off, took down Flash Thompson to prove his strength, and Peter thought some pretty cruel things that he luckily never said aloud. The only thing about it was that nobody was really paying attention to it because Spidey had first come out. Then, people began paying attention and Marvel began tired of handing out No-Prizes to people spotting these characterization mistakes. Quickly, though, one could say that he had become a very straight-and-narrow hero.
Also, in the beginning, the Spider-Man stories were nearly infinite. Will Spidey rob a bank to support his Aunt May? How will Spidey deal with an idiot like The Chameleon? Is Spidey going to give up against Doc Ock? Sadly, after about 1,000 issues, all of these questions have been solved. And the new ideas are nearly gone.
Now, in ASM #700, (or Superior Spider-Man #9 depending on how you look at it), Peter Parker has been killed and Otto Octavius has replaced him. Somewhat like Mickey Mouse being replaced by Donald Duck. Does this mean he is the comic book equivalent of Mickey Mouse? Personally, I think it depends on how you look at it. But, whether you like it or not, Peter’s death benefits ALL of Marvel, not just the editors who are concerned mainly about sales. The writers and artists also have it much easier now that Peter Parker is dead and replaced. Here are four reason how I think it is currently benefiting Marvel:
4. Easier To Write For Team-Ups
Back in the 60’s, when Spidey guest-starred in another book, it was always very interesting about how he would interact with the other hero. These types of stories usually began with a battle, then a team-up against a villain. The funny part is that Spidey usually willingly began fighting them just to advance the story and it still worked! When these were written, the book he appeared in usually sold better than it would without him, pleasing Marvel penny pinchers.
Right before ASM 700, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) was constantly showing up in struggling books to give them the financial boost they need. But, 90% of the time, the Spidey team-ups were generic and boring, unlike in the early comics. Peter seemed to be increasingly hard for writers to script and keep the story interesting. In my eyes, the best representation of this was in Avenging Spider-Man, at least until Spidey became Otto Octavius. Over the span of fifteen issues, about seven of Marvel's best writers took their shots at writing Spider-Man team-ups. I only liked three of those fifteen issues.
Isn't that terrible? Yes. Now, with Doc Ock as Spider-Man, he has become far easier to write. Anybody can write a crazy megalomaniac. In fact, most comic writers have to deal with them in a daily basis at the Marvel offices! Ba-bum. Just kidding. Not only that, but people want to read about Otto because he is so much less predictable than Peter Parker. Team-ups can seriously go anywhere with such a time bomb like Otto. I think Marvel has recognized this and use it to their advantage. In case you haven't noticed, Superior Spider-Man has guest-starred in three different thriving titles already.
Also, Peter Parker Spider-Man had become increasingly annoying in the Avengers. The idea of adding Spider-Man to the Avengers was noble enough and started off very enjoyable in Brian Michael Bendis' first New Avengers Vol. 1 run. Then, when Spidey joined both the Avengers Vol. 4 and a newer New Avengers Vol. 2 team, he quickly became the comic relief used to fill pages in the Avengers when there was extra script room. Sadly, he showed up very rarely and, as a bit of a loner, didn't belong on a 20+ team of Earth's Mightiest Personalities.
Now, in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers Vol. 5, Spider-Man as Otto Octavius finally has a role in the Avengers. Superior Spider-Man's personality can easily challenge the other members of the Avengers now and he may get more battle scenes with his more aggressive new ways. Still, Hickman is still able to use Otto as comic relief with his corny dialogue. In case you haven't seen, Hickman's ability to figure what the reader is thinking about any given situation and have Superior Spider-Man say it is uncanny and hilarious. Plus, Hickman can still easily waste space in a script by adding as scene of Otto being a jerk to his teammates, as seen in Avengers Vol. 5 #6.
3. Less Artistically Challenging
As an aspiring artist, I know how hard Spider-Man is to draw. When I first started, my Spidey looked like complete crap because of the webbing. Even harder, his posture and stances must be drawn different from the rest of the Marvel Universe or he won't look right. Artists must also remember that there is a fine line drawn when it comes to violence and Peter Parker. As seen in Avenging Spider-Man #14, regular Spidey doesn't work if he is portrayed too violently. Peter Parker, too, can be difficult to portray if an artist is bad with facial expressions, as so many are nowadays.
Let me tell you, it is 50 times easier drawing an evil mastermind than a heartfelt hero. Angrier people are simply easier to draw for inexperienced artists. Violent and savage brawls are simpler to draw because it requires less planning beforehand. Therefore, Otto is much easier to draw than Peter Parker.
Also, I must add that Otto is gaining new threads in July that are much simpler to draw than the current ones. The new costume is mostly all black, the only webbing needed is on the face. The webbing is even meant to look uneven! When I sketched it out myself, it took me so little time it was amazing.
2. The Wild Factor
With Peter Parker, stories were very limited. It had become hard to put Peter Parker in new interesting situations because they had either already been done or would be called out-of-character at the slightest hitch. Peter had also become predictable when it came to dealing with villains because he had fought them all multiple times and knew many times what was coming next. (Except for when he fought Sandman in Ends of the Earth.) Still, I found the whole "No One Dies" thing to be interesting coming from Peter Parker, but it was certainly a last resort that strung Peter on for another fifty or so issue.
As I mentioned in the first category, Otto Octavius has a wild factor. Any story can go any direction. Anything that Dan Slott and Chris Yost can think of will happen. Otto Octavius, being such a loose cannon, will do anything he desires now with all traces of Peter Parker gone. I enter each new issue of Avenging Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man thinking, "Who's Otto gonna beat up today?" So far, every villain Otto's fought he has beaten violently. The Vulture is blind, Scorpion's jaw is gone, and Boomerang is in intensive care. And, it seems, Otto has a new invention or technique each issue that proves that he is better than Peter Parker. It’s interesting looking at all of the cool new Otto inventions that Dan Slott can come up with.
With this Wild Factor, literally every battle with Otto can go any way without being called out of character. After all, he has so much history with most of Spidey's villains that he can either battle or help them. For example, in Superior Spider-Man #3, Otto tried helping the Vulture and in Avenging Spider-Man he has been assembling his old Sinister Six.
4.Setup for the Return of Peter Parker
With Peter's death, Marvel has ultimately been building up new stories for his return. Whether you have noticed it or not, everything is going to change when Peter resumes the identity of Spider-Man. In his return, his social life will most likely be in ruins and he will be indirectly responsible for multiple deaths. He may be outlawed and, if so, his secret identity will be revealed. Most of all, Peter will question his methods with all of Otto's advancements. He may very well go insane if he keeps Otto's Spider-Bots and know that he can't possibly save every person in every situation he sees.
Peter Parker will have to really analyze himself as a person when he returns. With the right writer, it may become one of the best Spider-Man runs purely be redefining Peter Parker's character and rebuilding his world in a new, interesting way. Peter will either evolve or go crazy. They can even begin anew with Peter's whole mindset. In essence, Superior Spider-Man may very much be a phoenix, burning down Peter Parker's life for a whole new one to rise from the ashes.
In conclusion, I have listed my reasons why Peter Parker may have died. Whether you agree with them or not, you have to admit that many of the points are reasonable. The writers, artists, and editors all benefit with this new, egotistic megalomaniac. He's easier to write, draw, and sales are up. Readers will be enticed by Otto's wild factor and nobody knows what will come next. And right now, everything we know as Spider-Fans is being burnt down for Peter Parker's return.
Wow! So, after all of this, let me ask you one simple question: What are your thoughts about Superior Spider-Man now that you have read this? Are they completely different from before? Is your mind blown? If so, I have accomplished my goals. Email me your thoughts.