SPIDER-MAN: Flagship Character to Red Flag Character

Over the years, Spider-Man has been the flagship character for Marvel overall and has been the company's most beloved character. But have things changed for the web-slinging hero? Read on for more!

In the year of 1962, the world witnessed the birth of a timeless cult-classic comic-book character in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15. In the year of 1962, the two brilliant minds of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko collaborated to create a fascinating character. In the year of 1962, the web-slinging hero known as Spider-Man was born. Spider-Man is a fictional hero in the Marvel Universe known all around the world and has had over 600 comics/graphic novels published, including villains he would overthrow by his might including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Electro, and Venom, ever since he was first created.

Spider-Man has become a fictional icon and a role model to younger readers that read his mythology. Spider-Man is also one of the most iconic super-heroes ever as he is paid much homage to in other media not affiliated with Marvel Comics. Spider-Man even became Marvel’s flagship character, always being in front of even the best Marvel characters such as Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, etc. But as the years passed, the friendly neighborhood hero has been changed from the hero we all know and love, into a very controversial character among his greatest fans. Most of you true-believers probably may know what I’m talking about and if you do, question yourself: Has Spider-Man transformed from a flagship character to a red flag character? If you’re undecided about this question, I encourage you to continue reading. For those who already have an answer, I’d still recommend you read this editorial.

Throughout the years, Spider-Man hasn’t had the best story arcs or decisions in his comics. Some of them have been absolutely ridiculous such as Peter Parker transforming into a gigantic pregnant spider and also the unforgettable “Sins Past” story arc in which Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy performed sexual activities with one another, giving birth to super-twins which later on went downhill. Another event occurs in “One More Day” when Peter Parker was selfish enough to sell the marriage of his wife Mary Jane’s soul to Mephisto for his Aunt to live from an injury. This didn’t exactly send the best message to children: When all else fails, sell a soul to the devil. Spider-Man is supposed to be a beacon of hope and is to show a young example to young children that look up to him as a role model. Gambling with the Devil isn’t a great example. This had to be the worst decision to do. Last but not least, one of the most notorious comic-book decisions in comic-book history, one of the most controversial events in the comic-book history, is the “Dying Wish” story arc. This story arc has upset many fans, changing the jurisdiction and standards of writing Spider-Man by making one of his nemeses Spider-Man. The nemesis that takes the mantle of the wall-crawler is Doctor Octopus which received much controversy among comic-book fans that of Spider-Man. The writer of “Dying Wish” even received harsh death threats which were reported to the authorities. Co-Creator of Spider-Man and comic-book legend, Stan “The Man” Lee wasn't so enthused with this idea either.

A couple of users from this site (names were kept anonymous) that are fans of the web-slinger were asked on what they think of how Spider-Man has changed up to now:

Q: What do you think about Spider-Man’s current image in comics through events such as Doctor Octopus becoming Spider-Man, One More Day, his death, etc.?
A: I think it’s really a total blow to the character and what he represents. It’s awful just to think of how a perfect character can be transformed into a product of a travesty in the making in a quick instant. The original timeless classics and the days of Spider-Man are over. His image is gone and it has been burned away. They have formally destroyed him. Not just in the comics, but The Amazing Spider-Man was terrible. I have no idea what has become of his image and what they are implementing into him. It is not bringing new life to the character that is for sure.
A: Meh. Marvel Comics (including Spidey) aren’t great anymore. They stopped being good in the 90s. The comics stopped being great when Stan Lee left, and stopped being good in the late 90s.

A: The change is just a revelation that took a beloved, well-known hero and gave him a surprise “makeover”. I mean, The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #700 really shocked me. And making a villain (Doc Ock) the new hero? I just hope they get back to the old Peter Parker story soon.

Slott’s and many others run on Spider-Man have crushed the character to a pulp in the writing. Sometimes I think they will pull something out of their asses just for some bucks out of the Spider-Man fans wallets. Not to mention, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is dead in both in the Ultimate Universe and Mainstream/616-Universe but can be seen teaming up with other heroes in the pages of The Avenging Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus can be seen as Spider-Man in the pages of The Superior Spider-Man. Peter Parker is rarely even in Marvel’s current Marvel NOW! Comics. Overall, the “Dying Wish” story arc was an awful choice and so were many other story arcs, reincarnating Spider-Man into something that isn’t so friendly in the neighborhood. The “Dying Wish” story arc would never be my dying wish.

Still seen as a flagship character to others, Spider-Man also still must carry high expectations in other media including film & television. Back in the 2000s, Spider-Man was launched onto the big screen by film director Sam Raimi in the three films. Two of the first films were very well-received, with the second film knocking it out of the park. Once the third film released into theatres, it received mixed reviews, but mostly negative. Five years later, The Amazing Spider-Man launched into theatres and didn’t impress most of the movie goers. The reason why Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man were panned critically is because Spider-Man is a hero to expect high expectations from. For example, if you take the film Jonah Hex, no one had any high expectations for it because no one cares about the character and the film didn’t look good, and the film wasn’t good. The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t so “amazing” as the title states. The Amazing Spider-Man was one of the most forgotten films of 2012 as it was foreshadowed by the other comic-book films, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Many fans believe that Spider-Man 2 was better than The Amazing Spider-Man. Let’s just hope The Amazing Spider-Man 2 redeems the trilogy so far as they’ve taken liberties such as changing the berated basketball Spider-Man suit with orange peels as eyes into a more comic-book accurate suit. The Amazing Spider-Man was a major letdown, even to some fans of Spider-Man.

Also as in other media, that includes in television. Spider-Man has had a series of beloved television programs such as the 1994 Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man. Many fans believe Spectacular Spider-Man to be the best Spider-Man show thus far. But not too long ago, a new Spider-Man series hit television on the channel Disney XD and premiered on the date of April 1st, 2012. Have you guessed what show I’m talking about? If you answered Ultimate Spider-Man, then you’re correct. Before I discuss this show, don’t use the excuse “This is a show for kids, it’s supposed to be like this”, because it will be irrelevant to my stance on the series. I get it, this is a kid’s show, but Marvel takes it too far with the comedy and with the mythology. This basically a remake of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends because throughout every episode Spider-Man is with Nova, White Tiger, Luke Cage/Power Man, and Iron Fist. This show even too far-fetched for a Spider-Man. This show doesn’t respect the characters either. They made Scorpion a goddamn ninja samurai assassin or whatever, they literally made Rhino a rhino that has the structure of a human, and they made Harry Osborn Venom. I tried making it through the first season, but I couldn’t. The series disrespects the characters and the mythology to Spider-Man, giving the next generation false information about Spider-Man. Do you know how annoying it would be in the next 10 or 20 years with people saying “Harry Osborn was the first Venom”? This show is definitely a red flag for the character Spider-Man. Many people say since this is kid’s show, old audiences aren’t supposed to enjoy it. Spectacular Spider-Man was a kid’s show, Young Justice was a kid’s show, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, was a kid’s show, Batman: The Animated Series was a kid’s show, Justice League was a kid’s show, Justice League: Unlimited was a kid’s show, Green Lantern: The Animated Series was a kid’s show, Wolverine and the X-Men was a kid’s show, and X-Men: The Animated Series was a kid’s show and absolutely none of them felt like a sitcom and they all had very great plots. Ultimate Spider-Man is just an insult to long-time Spidey fans no matter what age.

So Spider-Man has been screwed over in comics, I wouldn’t quite say in film currently, but sure as hell in television. Now, there are attempts to bring the character back to stardom such as in the Broadway rock-musical known as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Nearing the conclusion of this editorial, Spider-Man is not as amazing as he was before. His comics aren’t as good as they were before, his films weren’t as good as they were before, and his television shows aren’t as good as before. But in this case, film and television don’t matter when it comes to comics. Comics are where the character first came to be. When all else fails, the comics would always have something in store. But now all else has nearly failed and there is no plan B or C. The Spider-Man/Peter Parker that we all knew and loved is dead. I think the only way Marvel can clean this up is by hitting the reboot button, but as long as Slott’s Superior Spider-Man keeps ranking in sells, we won’t ever see Peter Parker again.

So, I asked three users on here what do they think of how Spider-Man has been changed throughout years and I’d like to read your thoughts too. So be sure to comment below in the comments section to send your thoughts and be sure to like this editorial.



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