Not since Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes has such a dramatic death hit the pages of fiction. Those with a sensitive disposition should look away now: Spider-Man is set to meet an unpleasant end in a new comic.
The conclusion of the Death of Spider-Man story from Marvel's Ultimate Comics will see Peter Parker's alter ego succumb to his nemesis the Green Goblin, dying in the arms of Mary Jane following a valiant battle. "We've never seen a world without Spider-Man, a world without Peter Parker, so his death is a significant event for the Ultimate Comics Universe and we're going to see how quickly it changes everything," said Marvel Entertainment editor-in-chief Axel Alonso.
"I went upstairs to my wife, and I go, 'I am so embarrassed. I think I've literally been crying for 45 minutes.' I've had real things happen in my life I didn't cry about, and yet I'm crying about this," said the author.
The story is issue number 160 of the Ultimate Spider-Man series, which debuted in 2000. "Ten years ago, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar changed the way people saw superheroes with the birth of the Ultimate Universe. With 'Death of Spider-Man' the two have done it again, creating a story just as big, and something that would really resonate with fans." said Marvel senior editor Mark Paniccia.
But, just as Holmes was resurrected by Conan Doyle following a public outcry, fans shouldn't abandon all hope for Spidey's future, with an all-new superhero set to don the famous red and blue webbed suit soon enough, according to Marvel. "We had talked about what Spider-Man meant and what it could mean and what kind of new stories you could tell. If he died saving Aunt May like he couldn't save Uncle Ben, then you really had something," said Bendis. "It occurred to me that if Peter passed away in a meaningful way, he could be the Uncle Ben character to a new Spider-Man, which then continues it to be a real Spider-Man story.