Why I Stopped Reading Spider-Man

I stopped reading Spider-Man titles because of events that transpired in One More Day and Brand New Day. I know, you have probably read the same opinions every where else, but I’ve reached that point where I have to express my frustration.

One could say that Spider-Man was Marvel Comics’ flagship superhero, or that he was at least a close second to Captain America. We watched him fight crime as a teenager and we watched him grow into adulthood, and through all of this, his character was expanded through his ever growing responsibilities and his love for Mary Jane Watson. In fact, he even married her. Their relationship was very real, like Louis Lane and Clark Kent, but without the ridiculous “I only love Clark Kent because he’s really Superman” crap. Mary Jane really loved Peter, and though at times she was worried for his safety, she knew that he had to be Spider-Man because she knew that there were people out there who always needed his help.

For twenty years, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson Parker had been the number-one married couple under the Marvel Comics label. Well, not any more! In fact, they were never married! They had a long-term relationship, but it ended abruptly just before the marriage, and now their relationship is “frosty at best.” Confused? Yeah, you, me and the rest of the world!

How on earth could something like this happen? Well, someone with reality-altering abilities at Marvel Comics HQ decided that it was time for a few retcons. So, when Aunt May was shot by a sniper and officially at death’s door, Peter Parker went to all of Marvel’s omnipotent superheroes to plead for their help, and they all told him that they were either too busy, morally conflicted, or tired to help. So, our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man turned to the Devil . . . that’s right, the Devil . . . to strike a deal to save Aunt May’s life. Of course, the Devil doesn’t do anything for free, especially Mephisto, Marvel Comics’ Devil analogue. So, Spidey had to sacrifice quite a bit. Let the retcons begin:

  • Before being shot, Aunt May moved out of her ancient house and into Stark Tower where she began a budding relationship with the Avengers’ butler, Jarvis. Nah, that never happened. She never moved out of her cosy shack in Queens.
  • Peter works as a high school teacher and has access to Tony Stark’s seemingly unlimited funds. Nah, he’s broke.
  • Spider-Man unmasked himself in front of millions of television viewers in support of the Superhuman Registration Act, but no one remembers who he is anymore. (huh?!)
  • Spider-Man gained organic web shooters as a partial mutant ability, which saved him tons of money in the experimental web formula department. Nah, he’s back to the old mechanical web shooters.
  • Harry Osborn, Peter’s long-time friend, died while carrying his father’s Green Goblin mantle. Nah, he’s still alive, he’s just been away for a very long time.
  • Peter Park and Mary Jane Watson have been married for twenty years. Nah, they had a hostile breakup just before the marriage and never see each other.

Yes, in exchange for all of those changes, and probably more that have yet to be revealed, Mephisto decided to spare Aunt May’s life.

Over the past twenty years, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were in a real marriage. They had their ups and downs, their dramatic points, and their comedic trips. Of their many dramatic plot twists, nothing stands out to me more than Spider-Man’s House of M series.

In this rather interesting series, the Scarlet Witch changed reality for the better of all mutants (it changed back) and Spider-Man found himself married to Gwen Stacy with a family of his own. When reality returned to normal, Spider-Man was one of the few who were “blessed” with memories of this alternate reality. After realizing how happy he would have been if Gwen had survived her encounter with the Green Goblin, Peter regarded Mary Jane with nothing less than an attitude of “Oh yeah, I’m stuck with you.” Over several months, Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship flip-flopped until Peter finally came to terms with Gwen’s death (again!) and realized that he really did love Mary Jane.

Well, all of that was for nothing, because the powers that be have decided that Peter and Mary Jane were never married, and they aren’t too fond of each other now. No, no one died, no one had an affair, there was no big comic book divorce, their relationship just never happened.

I stopped reading DC comics years ago because I got tired of dealing with multiple “crises” which drastically altered continuity on a publisher-wide level. In fact, Marvel Comics praises themselves as never pulling such a stunt in their entire history. Well, this One More Day stunt was no better!

Basically, I feel like all of my time and money spent reading Spider-Man titles has been wasted. Marvel Comics, if you’re going to make a habit out of changing character continuity on this level, why should I continue to read any of your titles?

2 responses

  1. amen! Nuff said!

  2. […] To be honest, it took three reads before I began to appreciate this graphic novel. Maybe it was the art, which (with the exception of Pat Lee’s pages) really doesn’t stand out. Maybe it was the length, which can seem quite long at first, but merely serves to draw you further into this intricate story. Maybe it was the villain, who seemed ridiculous at first, but was really as close as you could get to an “anti-Spider-Man”. Or, maybe it’s because I know that Marvel can do far worse than kill their star character. […]