I figured I would go ahead and get this out of the way. These are my thoughts on the stupidity that is Amazing Spider-Man #700.
To properly do this, we're going to have to go back. The year was 1994 and I was eleven years old. The Fox network was set to debut an exciting new cartoon featuring Spider-Man. I had already been introduced to Marvel comics through the X-Men cartoon but until that point, I had never heard of Spider-Man. Sure, I saw ads for Spider-Man while I was reading Transformers comics back when Marvel made them but I never really knew who Spider-Man was. All my friends seemed to be really excited for this new cartoon so I watched the first episode . . . and the next one . . . and every one after that for all five seasons. I recorded them on VHS tapes (yes I am that old) because I was usually at a soccer game while it was on. I would watch those tapes religiously though. To this day, I can quote almost the entire first episode of that cartoon from memory. I've memorized so much of that series that when Disney XD started airing reruns of it a few years ago, I could tell that they had censored some of the episodes because some scenes I remembered from when I was a kid had been altered or cut out.
I was a Spider-Man fanatic when I was a kid. I skimmed through every issue I could while I was at the grocery store with my mom or when I drove an hour to the nearest comic book shop to get my Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Even now, I own almost the entire runs of the 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 trading card lines from Fleer. I collected the Spider-Man magazine when I was a kid. I wore Spider-Man t-shirts when I was a teenager. I own all the Spider-Man movies on DVD and even the first two of the Raimi trilogy on VHS. I'm reading through all the volumes of Essential Spider-Man right now. When people ask me who my favorite comic book character is, it's always either Spider-Man or Batman.
People may just think I like Spider-Man but it's not really Spider-Man I like so much as Peter Parker. I was bullied when I was a kid. I used to get into fights a lot and I never came out the winner. I learned very early on that being smart and making good grades doesn't make you a lot of friends but rather a target. I related to Peter because I wasn't blessed with the strength of a spider as he was but I could run my mouth like him. I could make jokes and be sarcastic and maybe that would be enough to not get beat up. Maybe that would be enough for some girl to notice me and like me. More importantly though, I didn't just relate to Peter Parker. Peter was and still is my hero. He was someone I looked up to, someone I wanted to emulate. It wasn't just because he was quick with his mouth and used it to not get beat up. It wasn't just because he was a nerd who got married to a gorgeous super-model. It was because he tried to do the right thing. It was because he was responsible and never quit. You could bury him alive, you could murder his girlfriend, you could shake him to his core with an identity crisis, none of it mattered because he wouldn't stop trying to do the right thing. Peter never gave up on people and he never stopped being a hero.
Things changed though. I got older and discovered that putting theory into practice is hard sometimes, extremely hard in fact. I looked to my hero for guidance but something was different. Let's be honest with ourselves, guys and gals. Peter Parker died a long time before Amazing Spider-Man #700 hit the shelves. To me, Peter died way back in 2007 when he allowed his marriage to be magically annulled by Mephisto just so he could save Aunt May from dying for probably the thousandth time. The Peter Parker that I looked up to would never have allowed that to happen. He would never have let so steep a price be paid just to keep Aunt May alive. Sacrificing your marriage to keep your mother figure from dying isn't responsible, it's just selfish and childish.
I haven't read Spider-Man on a regular basis since One More Day. I read the American Son arc because I'm a big Harry Osborn fan but other than that I haven't read anything. I decided on Wednesday to read Amazing Spider-Man #700 after all the stuff I had heard about it. It's pretty much garbage and this new Superior Spider-Man series will probably be the same. I would say that I can't believe Marvel greenlit this story but I've learned that no low is too low for them, especially when it comes to Spider-Man. Honestly, after reading the issue I didn't even have the energy to write this entry. There was no rage, no shock, nothing. I still love Spider-Man. I still idolize Peter Parker. I still want to be the responsible, kind, decent human being that he was. I still hope that some day I too will get married to a gorgeous super-model but without the magical annulment by the devil. I will still go see the new movie when it comes out next year. I will still curl up with volume 10 of Essential Spider-Man just as soon as I finish the third volume of this Flash Omnibus that I'm on. This whole Superior Spider-Man thing? It's just stupid. I don't even have the energy to go ahead and spoil things for people reading this who haven't already heard. It's pretty much the worst idea ever.
Peter Parker is dead. He'll probably be back next year in time for his new movie but the Peter Parker I knew and still love has been dead for a long time. He died when fanboy editors and writers decided to be childish enough to think that their way was the only way, that the world of Marvel comics should conform to their vision and no one else's. He was a victim of circumstance, of the harsh whims of the cruel gods who controlled his universe. Peter Parker died and the only thing to really do is bury him, right? The problem is that I don't think he ever really did die. I think he's still somewhere inside all of us. I think I see him in the mirror every day, just with less hair and muscles. I don't have superpowers. I don't have a gorgeous super-model wife or girlfriend. I don't take pictures for a living and I am damn sure never going to be any kind of teacher, much less a science teacher. The thing I am though and the thing I try to be every day is responsible. So maybe if I just keep doing that then the Peter Parker that was my hero is still alive. I know it's not much but it's the best I can do. I like to think he could sympathize with that.