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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 

Publicity stunts built upon character deaths continue

Marvel's latest planned stunt is to kill off Ultimate Spider-Man, or at least that's what the current news is suggesting:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Has Spider-Man spun his final web?

Marvel Comics said Tuesday it will unveil a story line in Ultimate Spider-Man - a separate imprint from its other comics - with a title that may prove unsettling to the webslinger's fans: "Death of Spider-Man."

The publisher is playing coy about what fate may befall Peter Parker, but the story is likely to be groundbreaking given that the Ultimate Comics line has been less than kind to several characters in the past, killing off Magneto, Wasp, Wolverine and others for good.
Even if this is the Ultimate universe, that doesn't make these acts any less tasteless, and that's one more reason why their blabbery claim this'll be groundbreaking is simply disgusting by now. We're supposed to care about reading this because a character dies any more? It makes me wonder if promoting the stories based upon deaths was ever a good idea to begin with. In the past, this wasn't exclusively the method for how to promote a story. But now, it's becoming the norm. Marriages, for example, are seldom seen as a promotional concept, if at all, and there certainly haven't been any authentic or even tasteful ones taking place in superhero comics with a big wedding ceremony.

As some might be aware, the writers in charge of this latest time-waster from Marvel are none other than the awful Brian Bendis and Mark Millar:
Brian Michael Bendis, who penned the story with Mark Millar, said Tuesday that the story is a "bold endeavor" and will span several issues. But on whether Spider-Man will be killed or not, Bendis and the company were mum.

"As a group and as individuals, we have made a conscious effort to create stories this year that no one has ever seen before," he said in a statement. "I am very, very proud to be a part of this story line and very proud of Marvel for even attempting such a bold endeavor."
As expected, Bendis is still his shameless self. Even if they don't kill Ultimate Spidey, the approach alone is still insulting and no longer has any impact to it.
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe and whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including "Amazing Spider-Man."
If recent sales figures suggest anything, I don't think fans even care anymore. They don't even care what's happening in mainstream Spidey's book, thanks to Quesada's destruction of the Spider-Marriage, along with tons of continuity established in that and other Marvel books over the years.
Mark Paniccia, senior editor at Marvel Entertainment, said the story is part of the Ultimate imprint's mission to keep characters fresh but reinvented, updated and even killed off to advance story lines in the Ultimate universe, which was created 10 years ago and has been a best-seller for Marvel.

"We're excited because this let's us show the world how serious we are about change in the Ultimate universe ... that we can blow up the status quo and turn everything on its ear like no one could've predicted," he said.

The story is set to hit comic store shelves in February.
And nobody need pay their hard-earned money for this silly stunt. Keeping the characters fresh? Ha. All the line actually served for was an excuse for Millar to write disturbingly "adult" material in the pages of Ultimate X-Men and the Ultimates, including a regurgitation of the Hank Pym as wife-beater storyline from the early 1980s, reworked into something even more demonic that it makes that old storyline look quite tame by comparison.

As mentioned before, sales today don't support the idea that the Ultimate line is a best-seller, certainly not in the direct market, and if they were really serious about change, I think they'd look for more creative ways to write a story than to kill off characters, even in the Ultimate universe.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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