the inferior spider-fan

You know, if there’s one thing that Superior Spider-Man has done, it’s cause an almighty outpouring of butthurt among Spider-Man fans, and the book isn’t even out yet. I had decided I was going to wait until Christmas Day to talk about it here… but I feel I’ve got stuff to say now. Why? Well, to me, the reaction of many “fans” to the alleged scenario of Superior (go Google it if you feel like, not talking about spoilers until the book’s out) is to go and harass Dan Slott who writes Amazing Spider-Man and said controversial Spider-Man book by sending him death threats on Twitter because he had the temerity to go and write a story that does something with the idea of Spider-Man that some people don’t like… before the book is even out. The guy is making a living writing things to entertain people… and as soon as a change people don’t like happens, it’s Twitter tantrum time.

It’s pathetic, and to go along with a recurring thread here, it makes “geeks” look like a bunch of pathetic basement-dwellers who are far too immature to handle a twist in the story (and sadly this is true in many cases it appears), and I find it infuriating. But sadly, it’s something that appears to be a tradition among certain sectors of genre fiction fans. A fine example of this would be in the case of Doctor Who since its revival – although the internet is full of people with far too much time on their hands venting bile, eventually they will come to defend the change and somewhat hypocritically deny they were ever against it. So here goes:

In 2005, rumors came about that Christopher Eccleston was going to leave Doctor Who after just one series. This indeed proved true:

When I logged on to the internet afterwards to visit the Outpost Gallifrey forums (sadly departed), the internet was awash with bile and fury directed towards the show’s writer, Russell T Davies and its new star, David Tennant. Russell T Davies was apparently a worthless, talentless hack for having regenerated a beloved Doctor after just one series, and David Tennant was a skinny, ratlike, talentless actor who for sure would destroy the Doctor Who revival that fans had been hoping for for some 16 years. The forums got so furious that the owner declared he was shutting them down for a few days just to let things calm down as some of the stuff was getting very, very nasty.

Well, the “predictions” of doom and the bile towards Tennant turned out to be a massive load of codswallop. Tennant’s Tenth Doctor went on to become the most beloved incarnation of the character since Tom Baker, with his portrayal widely praised around the media and among fans, and Davies’ writing over the next few series considered among the strongest (if not the strongest) the series had ever had. The bile directed at Davies and Tennant was soon forgotten, and fans who’d screeched “I’m never watching again!” at the moment the Ninth Doctor had disappeared in a blaze of CGI developed a case of selective amnesia and claimed they’d always loved Tennant since they saw him in the BBC’s Casanova, a drama from the same creative team now producing Who.

Doctors come and go, and Hollywood and other pastures eventually came calling for Tennant and Davies too, and the time came for the Doctor to regenerate yet again:

And when this happened, people accused Matt Smith of being “funny looking”, whined about Steven Moffat taking over and declared that this would be the worst Doctor Who ever yet again. More people took to Twitter to bemoan the fact that the show had changed again, and predict its doom, and… well, we all know how that turned out. Most people agree that Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor is very good indeed, that Steven Moffat’s brain-twistingly complicated story telling gives the show an intriguing ongoing element, and all of the bile and fury has been conveniently forgotten. When Matt Smith regenerates in two years or so (I think he’ll do two more series and then call it quits… seems about the right timescale) you can bet there will be more butthurt and declarations that the next Doctor will bring the show to ruin. Expect those to be wrong too.

So now we come to Spider-Man, and Marvel’s hyping that ASM #700 is going to bring a big change to the character that’s going to remain the status quo for the foreseeable future and that whoever’s behind the mask after #700, it definitely won’t be Peter Parker. The previews of SSM #1 most definitely confirm this, with the new Spider-Man saying that he “can’t understand why Parker would ever put up with this” when being pummeled by one of the Sinister Six… after all, why would Peter Parker refer to himself in the third person? And to this I say: good. It’s always good to be told a new story, as having the same old thing issue-in, issue-out is very boring.

Peter Parker swinging around as Spider-Man just hitting super-villains without any real risk to it does just suck. Know he’s always going to be ok? What’s the point in buying the comic then? You might as just well say “OK, we all know Spider-Man wins, let’s read something else.” and pass it over to some other, more interesting book and that’s just bad. Spider-Man has had all sorts of weird and interesting stuff happen to him over the past 60 years, including growing extra arms, being cloned and most relevantly changing the person under the mask… and the character survived.

I like everything Slott has written up until now, anyway, and I figure if I liked that then Superior is well worth giving a go. If I don’t like it, then I’ll just cancel my standing order and find another book I do like. I’m not, however, going to go off on a douchey temper-tantrum online and target a guy who’s writing a comic for a living because he’s got a new take on a beloved character that I don’t agree with. It’s a theme that seems to be emerging here, but right along with misogyny towards women who identify themselves as comic fans and who work in the industry, we’ve also got a case where grown men are now starting to act like little kids every time they don’t get their own personal vision of what a character should be fulfilled.

Sometimes I think that fandom can be its own worst enemy.


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