I’ve spent my life as a rabid comic book fan. Just sick with the illness of flashy colors, capes and word balloons since before I could read. There was a little corner market near the trailer park my parents lived at when I was young. We’d walk to the store and I’d get a quarter for the Ms. Pac-Man machine they had and if I was good, I’d get a comic. I was always good.
My favorite comic title of all time was anything featuring the Amazing Spider-Man. I really got attached watching the old 60’s cartoon from a tv station out of Cleveland. My mom would wake me up so I could watch Spidey while she usually fixed me pancakes. We had orange shag carpet the worked really well as fire or lava. Mom and Dad also had this couch and chair with huge arms and I could jump from chair arm to couch arm as if I was indeed swinging on a web.
So my enjoyment with Stan Lee’s creation just never went away. Even when I was in High School, I’d wanna act cool but I’d be dying to get to the comic shop on Saturday afternoons to pick up my stash. This was also the time of the Fox animated series so it was all pretty good. I mean, if you are my age, mid-thirties, do you not remember being stoked out of your head for Todd McFarlane’s adjective-less Spider-Man series?
What else was great was even when I turned 18 and was chasing girls and thinking about college and finding my own way, The Clone Saga happened and it was like a giant reset button on the ole’ web head so that he too was finding his way in the crazy, post Kurt Cobain world. The Clone Saga was a huge story that was mainly about the Spider-man that we had been reading since the 70’s wasn’t really Spider-Man at all, but his clone!! The story getting to monumental reveal was great. The clone, Ben Reilly, had learned that Aunt May was finally kicking the bucket and he just wanted to see her one last time, clone or not, he loved his Auntie.
Well, all kinds of crazy, cliched 90’s events happen and the Spidey we thought was a clone turned out to be the real deal and death to the super awesome Ben Reilly. Most fans hated this story line at the time, but I loved it. I think the majority of us fans want our most favorite characters to kinda always stay the same. We don’t care what the writers may do to them over the course of a story, but at the end please put the toys back in the box just the way Stan Lee and Steve Ditko left them.
With all that being said, Amazing Spider-man 700 was quickly approaching and boy did it get weird and serious, kinda like that one person we all dated. Doc Ock was dying and his final act of revenge was to swap minds with Peter Parker. So Otto Octavius became Spider-Man while the mind of Peter Parker died in the body of Doc Ock. Oh cruel irony!!! Of course this kinda stuff is run of the mill in comics right? I mean Superman, Batman, Iron Man, they’ve all died at least once and came back. The question was just how long?
So Amazing Spider-man ended with issue 700 and a whole new series, Superior Spider-Man began. It’s Superior because Ock swore to be a better Spidey the Pete ever could be. The thing is, it’s really been a pretty crazy ride. Writer Dan Slott has roped the fanboys in. He even survived death threats on Twitter to crank out this story. I love Peter Parker, he’s who I always wanted to be and can’t wait till his return, but the stuff going on right now is pretty compelling. Most folks love a redemption story and seeing Ock as Spidey want to be a better man than he was before is exciting. I languish waiting on the Wednesday when a new issue comes out.
Spider-man is a life long buddy. I look forward to many happy years of Spidey hanging upside down eating donuts and chasing the various Goblins through the New York skyline, but while the bad guy is in control of the good guy, I wanna just keep enjoying the ride and the surprises… I will eventually need Peter back though.