Robot 6

So you’re considering sending a death threat to a comic creator …

Amazing Spider-Man #700 Marcos Martin Cover

Amazing Spider-Man #700 - This Too Shall Pass

I love comic books, too. They’re awesome. I get plenty worked up sometimes about what goes on in the pages of my favorite books because they’re not doing it right! I get it. I’ve devoted countless hours to these characters. Heck, I’m the guy who ran a New Warriors fan site for years, tracking the chronological order of every random appearance, no matter how minor. And I did it completely without irony! So I get the emotional investment we have for these characters.

I also get how fun it is to use social networks. I use Facebook a lot, and Twitter, too, and it’s easy to get riled about something you see posted there. There’s no ‘dislike’ button to click so sometimes you just have to vent. And sometimes it feels like a regular old “how could you?!” just isn’t enough, that it just doesn’t get across how deeply you disagree with a plot development.

Regardless, none of that justifies sending threats. Dan Slott has received some extreme reactions to the leaked details of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 that go so far beyond normal fan griping that I wondered just what could’ve provoked such a backlash. So I reviewed the leaked information, and I have to say my response was, “That’s it?

I’m not saying you can’t hate the story (or more accurately, in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man #700, someone’s weak description of the story). I don’t love it, but it’s not significantly more offensive than any other status quo shake-up that happens in comics (and invariably gets restored). Superhero comics are serialized storytelling, so they’re going to goose things now and again. Either you decide to see how it plays out or you cut your losses and spend your money elsewhere. And sure, pitch a fit about it: Complain to the creators, to the editors, to retailers, to fellow fans. You might even win them over to your position. However, death threats are only going convince someone you need psychiatric help or a visit from law enforcement, whether or not you meant it as a joke.

The response is no better than those who flipped out over a panel referencing the Tea Party in Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America a few years ago (the writer ended up shutting down his public email address). Or the rumored death threats that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby received for creating Captain America in the lead-up to U.S. involvement of World War II. Yes, comic creators receiving threats isn’t really a new thing, but the immediacy of social media seems to have heightened it. Editorial cartoonist Matt Bors was inundated with offensive attacks when news outlets like CNN misreported the identity of the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School as his older brother, who happened to be Facebook friends with Bors. Those sending the threats most likely weren’t comics fans but instead people worked up into a frenzy by their favorite rabble-rouser of choice. However, it doesn’t matter whether the sender is a fan or not, the results of how the creator’s life is affected aren’t any different.

Simply put, the changes made to the fictional life of a comic book character — even one as beloved and iconic as Spider-Man — aren’t worth threatening the real life of the creators behind them.

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Comments

20 Comments

I gotta say, the world really needed this informative anonymous text.

Were the threats strictly over rumours of what happens in Spidey? I seemed to recall that they were also over some of his comments on gun control in your country. I have to say that Slott’s comments were relevant on the issue. The whole thing shows that comic book professionals are more than just fancy lines and speech balloons and have great value.

The video game indistry is about to get tarred and feathered, and comic books went through a similar bout in its storied history. Comic creators certainly have value in the political dialogue.

You mean the one by Corey Blake, who has his name and information right underneath such text??

@Daniel The post isn”t anonymous – ‘December 19, 2012 @ 12:00 PM by Corey Blake’

I do think, though, that the bylines should be more prominent in CBR’s blogs.

Probably that one, yeah, Nacho.

I was going to post this as a comment, here, even before reading the first comment, but I guess it’s even more relevant now. Like Schiller wrote, “against stupidity, the very gods fight in vain.”

Does anyone really think someone is going to kill Dan Slott because of Amazing Spider-man 700? I mean really? People need lives.

“’That’s it?’“
My thoughts exactly.

@Derp:

Well, people have done insanely cruel things for something just as insignificant.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19980505/ns/technology_and_science-internet/t/nerd-taunt-drove-navy-man-arson/#.UNIrGm870gM

No comic should be taken seriously enough to warrant a death threat.

@guydc3

I would amend your comment to say that nothing should be taken seriously enough to warrant a death threat.

Somewhere, Gerry Conway is happy knowing he is no longer the worst Spider-man writer.

I’ve underestimated the intelligence of the comic book reading community.

@Other Chris:
Underestimated or overestimated?

@ Stephen Conway

Well that’s not true, some things in life ARE serious enough to warrant death threats, just not things like this.
The original poster, guydc3, said it just fine.

I just read the spoilers for the issue elsewhere and I couldn’t even understand what the hell was going on as I was reading it. I am however, EXTREMELY shocked that a company as tiny as the comic book publishing division of Marvel, owned by a large corporation like Disney, (with the expectation of developing Intellectual properties and not DAMAGING them), can get away with messing around with their flagship character in that way. It doesn’t offer an opportunity for interesting storytelling and is completely incomprehensible, not to mention inaccessible, to the average public and new readers.

1973 Spider-man fan “Spider-Man is ruined!”

1994 Spider-Man fan “Spider-Man is ruined!”

2008 Spider-Man fan “Spider-Man is ruined!”

2012 Spider-Man fan “Spider-Man is ruined!”

2024 Spider-Man fan “Spider-Man is ruined!”

@Jim Turoczy
“Somewhere, Gerry Conway is happy knowing he is no longer the worst Spider-man writer.”

Jim, he still gets my vote.

@Corey Blake
That was a great column! Not that it will change anything…

Yes, Joe. Thank you.

Jake, Dan Slott’s story about taking one of the most popular comic characters in the world and change him so radically that it would cause “media hype”, is a cop-out. When DC “killed” Superman in November of 1992, the general public (you know, the other people in the world who don’t read comic books) believed that there would never be another comic with Superman in it. It sold like crazy. Eventually Superman got better, and returned to comic books. Since then every member of the original Justice league has died and came back from the dead. Dan, using social media and websites similar to CBR, hyped the hell out of this storyline and intimidated comic shop retailers that no matter how many copies of ASM #698 they ordered, it wouldn’t be enough. Making matters worse, this 700th issue of Spider-man has a retail price of $7.99 and because of that price point, most comic shops cannot aggressively order enough copies to fill a potential demand (if it should ever become a big story on a slow news day) even with 1 in 700 copy variants that only a few “mega-retailers” are able to order. Marvel needs to rethink who they’re selling their comics to, an audience that won’t put up with this $#@& and not allow another writer like Dan Slott screw around with their main characters. Don’t boycott post ASM #700 Spider-man comics. I’m sure eventually things will return to whatever normal Spider-man should be. Gerry Conway wrote a lot of good comics, unfortunately his Amazing Spider-man stories are not, but they are better than any written by Dan Slott.

Gerry Conway is considered the worst Spiderman writer? Is that because of his original run or the one in the late 80s? I’ve never read any of the latter but the former is way better than the mid 90s clone saga stuff.

Recently in the news, there was a man who shot his girlfriend during an argument over the television program “The Walking Dead.”

He physically shot her…

…with a gun…

…in the back…

…because she disagreed with him over a television program.

Yes, death threats should always be taken seriously. What a reasonable person would or wouldn’t do matters little when discussing unreasonable people.

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