The Superior Spider-Man : Confronting the Darkness Within

Of the many tropes to regularly wind their way through the Spider-Man comics over the years, the one that always wears on me is when some chain of events cause the “friendly neighborhood” attitude to drop from Spidey’s modus operandi and we see Peter become a dark, serious vigilante.  What can I say?  I like my Spider-Man to be a light, happy, inspiring character.  If I wanted glum and grim I’d read more Batman.  However, Dan Slott (who I’m learning more and more is nothing if not an inventive writer (who really loves Spider-Man)) upended this approach with The Superior Spider-Man.  One of the many things to happen to the web-head during the nineteen years I wasn’t reading his comics was Doctor Octopus stole his body and life for a time.  With Ock wearing the webs, we find our angrier Spider-Man but wrapped inside a tale of transformation and redemption.

Superior Spider-Man 16

Can these darker stories teach us how to be a hero? / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

However, my point here isn’t so much to explore or analyze The Superior Spider-Man in isolation.  I’d rather consider the merit of darker Spider-Man stories in general.

While I don’t ever enjoy these stories per se, I go back and forth on the necessity of any storyline that causes Peter to descend into the darkness.  The joy, optimism, and hope Peter Parker embodies is one of – if not the defining trait of his character.  I’d argue this perspective is even more important to who he is than his “With great power, comes great responsibility” mantra because of the way in which he carries that responsibility.  Despite all the pain, all the losses, all the struggles, all the tragedy, Peter never lets it take him down.  He always gets back up, cracks another joke, and continues to hope against all odds.  You can realize with great power comes great responsibility and be a dark, brooding, even macabre character.  But Peter Parker isn’t and when we think of Spider-Man we tend to think of his wit, levity, and lightheartedness more than anything else.  So, on the one hand, these stories that “break” Peter (for a time) and cause him to become a somber, angry vigilante (for a time) feel like a contrived, clichéd attempt to give Spidey the same sort of “cool” characters like Wolverine, Venom, the Punisher, and Batman posses while tossing aside what makes him him.

Superior Spider-Man 21

See?  Peter would NEVER do this.  Otto works in different ways. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

On the other hand, seeing Peter Parker break reminds us that we all have a limit.  There’s only so much any one of us can carry.  When we hit that limit, when we become overwhelmed, when we break, we are faced with decisions.  What do we do?  How do we heal and move forward?  Can we?  As a hero that so many people love/connect with/identify with, there is great mythic potential (a potential, admittedly, not always realized in these stories) in having Peter fall.  As I cite often, Joseph Campbell tells us myths are tales for spiritual instruction.[1]  To show the reality of our breaking points, to show what happens when we go beyond them – how we fall, how we struggle, and how we may ultimately rise again – can be a paramount story.

There’s is a stark difference however between a dark Spider-Man story and one where Peter Parker descends into the darkness.  Perhaps the most iconic example of the former is 1987’s “Kraven’s Last Hunt” by J.M. DeMatteis.  In it, Peter is forced to confront his own mortality shortly after his marriage to Mary Jane as Kraven fights him, beats him, drugs him, and buries him alive.  Peter spends two weeks in the grave before he comes to and claws his way out.  During this time Kraven becomes a “superior”[2] Spider-Man, wearing Spidey’s costume and brutally hunting criminals, to prove he’s the best.  Another example would be in 1996 when Norman Osborn has Alison Mongrain poison Mary Jane while she’s pregnant (in The Sensational Spider-Man #11) forcing her to go into labor and deliver her stillborn daughter (in The Amazing Spider-Man #418).  That is fucked up.  Pardon the unexpected profanity but it is fucked up.  I hated reading this as a kid and it disturbs me even more now.  Of all the shit Peter and Mary Jane have dealt with in these comics, that one crosses all sorts of lines.  Despite the incalculable emotional tolls, neither losing May nor Kraven “killing” him, cause Peter to break.  But he’s certainly been pushed to his breaking point.

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Mary Jane and Peter’s love give him the strength he needs to dig his way out of his grave and face Kraven, without compromising who he is. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Miles Morales is learning this for the first time in the current story arc of Spider-Man.  Beginning last month in issue #17, his friend and superheroing partner Lana Baumgartner (a.k.a. Bombshell) is severely injured during a fight with Hammerhead.  Miles is driven to the edge by his anger and lust for revenge and unleashes a side of himself he’s never seen before in his battle with Hammerhead.  He fights Hammerhead and those around him with a demonic ferocity destroying the nightclub they are in and part of the street outside.  This leaves him scarred, scared and deeply afraid of his own power and what he has the potential to become.

Superior Spider-Man 26

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

For Peter Parker, “The Death Of Jean DeWolff” – a 1985 storyline running through Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110 – is considered one of the first major examples of his falling to the darkness.  Here, one of Peter’s only true friends on the NYPD, Captain Jean DeWolff, is murdered by the serial killer the Sin-Eater.  Spider-Man is brutal and relentless in his hunt for the Sin-Eater.  When he finally catches him, Peter nearly beats the Sin-Eater to death.  It is only Daredevil’s intervention that stops Spider-Man from murdering him.  While Peter doesn’t kill him, he does leave the Sin-Eater permanently disabled.

Superior Spider-Man 11

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

To my knowledge, the longest consistent streak of Spider-Man’s descent into darkness and pain came in 1994.  It was a rough time for Peter Parker and his near-yearlong descent into the darkness begins with “Lifetheft,” running in The Amazing Spider-Man #386-388.  Peter has come to finally trust his parents, who mysteriously returned in The Amazing Spider-Man #366, only to learn they’re Life Model Decoys created by the Chameleon.  Once Peter confided in them about his double life, their programming kicked in and they went to reveal this to the Chameleon.  In the space of one evening, Peter learns his parents are truly dead, battles his “father” who wants to kill him, and watches his “mother” kill his “father” before dying while saving his life.  This begins Peter’s descent into the darkness.

This story is followed by “Pursuit” running from April to May in Spider-Man #45, The Spectacular Spider-Man #211, Web Of Spider-Man #112, and The Amazing Spider-Man #389.  Peter hunts the Chameleon with a blind rage, tearing the criminal underworld apart in search of any clue as to where to find him.  He stops coming home.  He doesn’t speak to Mary Jane, other than to yell at her, leaving her to mourn in complete isolation.  Ultimately, he finds the Chameleon at Kraven’s old mansion.  Spider-Man beats the Chameleon until he becomes a simpering mess.  Then, with nothing in the Chameleon left worthy to kill, Peter looks to redirect his anger.  He learns it was the Green Goblin (the Harry Osborn variety) who set the whole plan into motion before he died.

Superior Spider-Man 14

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

This all builds to “Shrieking” in The Amazing Spider-Man #390-393.  As the story unfolds, Peter refuses to talk to Mary Jane or Aunt May.  He can’t.  He can’t emotionally process what’s happened.  As the distance grows, he works to push down “the man” so only “the Spider” remains.  Since it is always Peter Parker who hurts, he wants to be only the Spider.  As he hunts the super-powered serial killer Shriek who has escaped from Ravencroft, turning Malcome McBride back into the creature Carrion, Aunt May suffers a stroke.  When Mary Jane tells Peter of this he screams, rages, weeps, destroys their living room, and ultimately webs himself into a cocoon.  He emerges having left Peter Parker behind – dead, rotting – and has become the Spider – a silent, rage-filled force of nature.

Superior Spider-Man 13

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I hated these stories as a kid. I don’t like them now either.  Is it any wonder I was sooooo happy when Ben Reilly took over as Spider-Man and Peter and Mary Jane went to live in Oregon?!  They deserved a break!  Mary Jane was pregnant!  Peter was working in a lab!  They could live happily ever after.  And I really, really wanted that for them.  That’s a big part of why I’ve always loved Ben Reilly as a character.  He gave Peter and Mary Jane the gift of a happy life while still carrying the Spider-Man mantle.  Sadly, they eventually returned to New York and the darkness, depression, hopelessness, and rage would eventually take hold of Peter Parker again too.

In 2007, Aunt May is gunned down in the wake of the first Superhero Civil War in J. Michael Straczynski’s “Back in Black” storyline running through The Amazing Spider-Man #539-543.  As May’s in the hospital, Peter puts his black costume back on and mercilessly hunts her would-be assassin.  Then The Amazing Spider-Man #634-637 in 2010 would give us “The Grim Hunt” storyline where Peter faces the Kravinoff family trying to resurrect Kraven the Hunter.  Taunting Spider-Man to come after them with the murder of his clone/brother Kane, Spidey dons the black costume they leave for him and hunts them with a blind ferocity – tearing Sasha Kravinoff’s face off with his spider-grip.

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Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

(Ugh…why am I writing this post?  I hate when Peter suffers like this.  Since I re-read all these horrible Spider-Man stories I guess I have to finish writing this to make it worthwhile but…c’mon, this is terrible.)

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are certainly some of the most extreme examples of this trope.  However with The Superior Spider-Man, Dan Slott is able to give us a darker, angrier Spider-Man without breaking Peter emotionally.  Beginning in November of 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man #698-700’s “Dying Wish” story arc, Doctor Octopus successfully “switches places” with Spider-Man, leaving Peter’s mind in his dying body while his mind goes on to live in Peter’s healthy body.  Ock gets more than he bargained for though.  With Peter’s body, he also gets part of Peter’s consciousness and all of Peter’s memories, feelings, and experiences.  As he takes in the pain and the tragedy, Otto Octavius learns with great power, comes great responsibility.  He dedicates his new lease on life to becoming even better than Peter was at protecting New York City in The Superior Spider-Man.  This would run from January of 2013 through June of 2014.

Superior Spider-Man 15

Unlike the other stories in this post, this was inspiring! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

The difference that makes all the difference here is instead of breaking Peter Parker to the point where he’d become a dark, angry, violent character, Dan Slott takes Otto Octavius and puts him in a situation where he works to overcome his darkness, anger, and violence to be a true hero.  Yes, he’s still kind of a pretentious asshat.  Yes, he uses means that Peter would never accept.  But he also finishes Peter’s PhD, founds Parker Industries, tricks out his Iron Man armor Spidey suit with all sorts of new tech, builds working relationships with the police and the mayor, and even falls in deep, honest love with Anna Maria Marconi.  We have an angry, brooding character trying to transcend as opposed to an inspiring, happy-go-lucky character broken to the point where my heart hurts as I read.  As a result, the stories achieve a similar goal (in giving us a tonally different Spider-Man) without having to crush my soul and break my heart into a thousand sad little pieces.

Not that The Superior Spider-Man is all happiness and witty banter.  Far from it.  In The Superior Spider-Man #6 we see one of the darkest moments in any Spider-Man title (and this is saying something given what I’ve written about above).  Otto tracks the serial killer Massacre to a train station.  After he’s been on a shooting spree, Otto manages to take him down and then wrestles with whether or not Massacre should be killed.

Superior Spider-Man 18.jpg

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Superior Spider-Man 20

……. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

This is dark not only for the murder of Massacre but for the emotional turmoil that brings Otto to do it.  Whether or not you saw it coming, it was still shocking to see Otto shoot Massacre in that train station.  It raises all sorts of important questions we need to wrestle with about retributive justice vs. restorative justice.  It’s also one of those scenes that forces the reader to put themselves in that spot and think about what they would do.  The reason it forces us there is, in part, because Otto does the opposite of what Peter would do.  We’re surprised!  So we think.  Peter would web Massacre up and hand him over to the cops, ready to take him down again should he ever break out.  Otto shoots him, point blank, with the gun he’s taken from him to end his menace.  As readers, we’re looking at the darkness without seeing Peter broken to the point where he participates.  We see the darkness as reflected in a character who’s trying to rise above it but doesn’t know how to do so responsibly in a world of moral ambiguity.

Superior Spider-Man 23

Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

The most important thing The Superior Spider-Man does, at least as far as I’m concerned, is its presentation of evil.  With Peter in Otto’s mind, he sees the forces that made Otto Octavius the man he is.  Otto spent his entire childhood being abused by his father, neglected and bullied by his peers, and suffering under an overbearing mother who scared away the slight chances he had at normal relationships.  From isolation, neglect, abuse, and pain rose a great villain.  Evil isn’t natural.  Evil isn’t independent.  Evil is created.  This important realization brings with it both the potential for our compassionate understanding and the real ring of responsibility we have for how we act in the world.  What do our actions, our relationships – with people and with creation – give birth to?

The Superior Spider-Man was certainly the easiest and most enjoyable to read of these stories of Spider-Man descending into the darkness.  (Special thank you to Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty² fame and Green Onion from The Green Onion Blog for being such tireless and excited library advocates.  While I enjoyed reading this title I can’t imagine ever picking it up again so I am soooo happy I just borrowed them from the library.  Yay!)  For me, I’d say it’s the most important of the Spider-Man-descends-into-the-darkness stories too.  But, in saying that, it really isn’t a fair comparison is it?  Here Otto Octavius begins in darkness and tries to rise above it and find redemption.  In the others, Peter Parker is broken to the point where all that’s left is pain, suffering, and anger.  So…is there merit to those sort of Spider-Man stories?  Can it be necessary/helpful/a good idea for everyone’s favorite wise crackin’ wall-crawler to tumble down into the angry and aggressive territory of men like the Punisher?

Joseph Campbell tells us that there are four primary functions of myths – the mystical function, cosmological function, sociological function, and the pedagogical function.  The pedagogical function is where we learn how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.[3]  This shows us how to live in accord with the natural world all around us and the divinity we glimpse.[4]  Confronting the pull of the darkness can be a central lesson in that journey.  More specifically, myths, “are the archetypal dreams that deal with great human problems…The myth tells me about it, how to respond to certain crises of disappointment or delight or failure or success.”[5]  Most specific of all, myths show us that, “at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation.  The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.”[6]  So in taking Peter Parker to this bleakest moment we can reach this point of transformation and instruction.

Superior Spider-Man 2

Otto looks at his city being ravaged by the Goblin King. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

While there is real importance to stories like this I still wonder…is Spider-Man the right character to teach these lessons?  I don’t know.  While adults love and read comic books, I tend to think they are (or at least should be) for children first.  I love the memories I have of reading comics as a kid and I contribute a lot of my love of reading (and maybe mythology) to them as well.  And as I went back and re-read all of these stories, I didn’t find anything on this list that I think would aid the developing heart and mind of a child.  Life can be full of horror, heartbreak, and pain.  But not all the time.  There’s also optimism, joy, triumph, and love.  I think that’s who Spider-Man is.  I’m not saying there’s no place for stories about a superheroes dealing with such oppressive darkness but you expect that with the Punisher or Batman.  You don’t expect that with Spider-Man.

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His pain and tragedy is part of what makes Peter Parker who he is.  And how he handles that pain and tragedy is of the utmost importance.  He owns it, faces it, without letting it destroy him.  There’s an important lesson there too. / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I’m also not saying Peter Parker should never face adversity or heartache.  That’s not an honest depiction of life either.  But the stories I looked back at for this post – specifically how he handles that pain – is something else all together.  I think certain characters are more suited for teaching certain lessons and someone with as broad appeal as Spider-Man might not be right to drag down to such a dark place.  There is no reason EVER for a story where Norman Osborn kills Mary Jane and Peter’s child while still in the womb…all the less so in a comic as likely to be read by a seven-year-old as a forty-seven-year-old.  Abandoning “Peter Parker” for the Spider can be intriguing for an adult to contemplate…but does a ten-year-old really want to read it?  Should they?  I don’t know.  I know I don’t like these stories.  I hated them as a kid and they hurt me now.  But I do appreciate The Superior Spider-Man for being daring enough to look at the darkness from an angle that leads us to thoughts of redemption over revenge.

May the art we consume always lead us to thoughts of redemption and transformation, both for ourselves and for others.

Oooookay…I need some kind of mood-lifter and I need it NOW.  Writing this was brutal!  Maybe I’ll go binge-watch Dumb & Dumber followed by Anchorman and then 21 Jump Street or read a little Ryan North or see what’s happening in Stars Hollow or the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin.  Whatever I do…it has to be happier in tone than this.  Here’s hoping I didn’t bring you down too much either.  Sorry if I did!  It wasn’t my plan!

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C’mon Otto!  Let your transformation inspire us all! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

 

___________________________________

[1] Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth.  (New York: Anchor Books, 1991), 71.

[2] Kraven actually calls himself “superior” on more than one occasion.  No joke!  I wonder if Dan Slott’s The Superior Spider-Man was meant to be an intentional homage to this storyline.  Doc Ock literally kills Peter Parker (in his body) and takes over his literal life (living in Peter’s body).  While he has access to Peter’s life lessons to guide his heroics he is certainly a more violent Spider-Man and he does call himself “superior” a lot too.

[3] Campbell and Moyers, 39.

[4] Ibid., 40.

[5] Ibid., 20.

[6] Ibid., 46.

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31 thoughts on “The Superior Spider-Man : Confronting the Darkness Within

  1. Love the quote “May the art we consume always lead us to thoughts of redemption and transformation, both for ourselves and for others. And…thanks for the blog/library shout out!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aw, thanks Nancy :). I’m happy to hear that line resonated with you. And OF COURSE you get the library shout out! I’ll be the first to admit (since I write in my books a lot and love staring at a floor-to-ceiling shelf full of them) I often forget about the library. You’ve put it back on my radar and I’ve been there a lot this summer! By extension, you’ve also saved me some money so that’s pretty cool too. They just let me take books from the library! For free! Then I just bring them back when I’m done. It’s AWESOME.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ……WHOA. How have I never thought of that comparison?!? I’m supposed to be a theology teacher too :). Seriously, you just MADE MY NIGHT with this analogy! There has to be a future post on this idea somewhere too. You have no idea how excited I am by your analogy. For real, my inner comic geek and inner theology nerd are having a major mutual geek out right now. Thank you for this!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s so much there! I’ll have to sit with it a while, see how it develops. But I’m absolutely going to start brainstorming right now! I’ promise to give you credit for the fantastic idea in the post too :). I’m excited to see what comes from this. Aaaahh!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha, well I appreciate that but your idea was so brilliant and in the interest in of academic honesty I want to be sure give you a shout out in the eventual piece. I’ll feel bad otherwise!

        Also, completely unrelated to Spidey and Job, I LOVE that you have an old-school Michelangelo in his trench coat and fedora hat as your little gravatar image. That’s soooo cool!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude, you nailed it with this post! Spider has always been the friendly neighbor… Yet he’s been shown to be a part of some pretty dark stories. But I think that’s what makes him so interesting. Spider-Man has always been the ‘young’ hero who it trying to find his place in the world as Peter and as the Spider, and they express his struggle with what justice means to him (I agree that sometimes they over-dramatize certain struggles from time to time), but at the end of the day he seems to always do what’s right by him and those around him.

    Superior Spider as well, shows us how strong Spidey’s conviction to justice is – Doc Ock had no choice but to feel inclined to become a hero. The mixed dynamic between Doc Ock in control and spider in the passenger seat made for some interesting developments. The ability to project your emotion so strongly onto someone that you overthrow their own is just amazing.

    Favorite moment of the Superior Spider-Man run was when Doc Ock realizes how strong Spider-Man actually is and that he’s been holding back in previous fights with him – goes to show that Peter is aware of how easily he could destroy his opponents if he wanted to.

    I can tell you took your time writing all your thoughts out and it’s really inspired me to go back and read some of those comics you mentioned! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy them! I just wouldn’t read them all back-to-back-to-back like I did as I researched this post. It might bum you out :).

      I love how you worded that – “Doc Ock had no choice but to feel inclined to become a hero.” It was so fascinating how Dan Slott orchestrated that because you’re absolutely right. Once Otto was in there he couldn’t ignore the power of Peter’s presence. It was so unique to see how Otto handled that and, as you pointed out, to see how Peter handled being out of control.

      There were so many great moments! I loved when Otto learned how strong Peter really was too. It gave him a whole new level of awareness for how Peter operated. I also loved seeing him with Anna Maria! That was such a different side of Otto and I loved how it showed his humanity in a new light.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah no intention of going full out back to back on these.

        And I agree 100% Dan Slott did such a good job with it all. Maybe I should just re-read the Superior Spider-Man?

        And yes! His relationship with Anna Maria was so unique and brought his character into a new light!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think you can go wrong with a return to ‘Superior Spider-Man’! It did so much with understanding, redemption, transformation, and compassion. If nothing else, you can sample one of the HEAVY stories and then lighten the tone with some happier Peter or Otto stories :).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Epic Post! This really makes me look at Spider-Man with a deep
    appreciation. These darker threads are really essential to show
    contrast. It may not be pretty, but everyone has dark days & it
    is with deep introspection that hard decisions must be made.

    It is interesting today is Robin Williams birthday. To see someone
    who brought so much laughter, joy, & happiness into this world,
    yet was overcome by the deep darkness his depression burdened
    him is truly painful. We are complex beings on very different paths
    so understanding the dark shadows help us appreciate the light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely and clearly that’s an important lesson that mythology needs to help us understand. We so often underplay our darkness and our troubles, not being open about our pain and that can be the root of all sorts of problems. The Robin Williams connection is a powerful one. His loss certainly challenged some of our cultural mindsets in regard to mental health (which we still don’t embrace nor give the attention it needs in this country).

      I’m glad you found the post so much! Again, I feel this helps justify the really down day I spent reading more darker Spider-Man story after darker Spider-Man story. You’re right too, even if we don’t always like it, we do need to be aware of our darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Michael,

    Yeah, why is it so popular to give every hero a dark side? Is it to show that no one is perfect and all have fallible sides? I see the depth and dimension that it adds to a character, but there are limits. Though the redemption aspect is awesome. Maybe that is a reminder that no one is beyond salvation and grace.

    Our God Among Geeks group just met and brought in a female writer. We talked about some of the blogs we support and yours came up. We appreciate your work, but it is a commitment to read. Not all blogs are detailed as yours. We wrestled with that because we know the short attention and busyness of people. I would like to write longer thus the book.

    Again, good stuff,

    Gary

    On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:25 PM My Comic Relief wrote:

    > Michael J. Miller posted: “Of the many tropes to regularly wind their way > through the Spider-Man comics over the years, the one that always wears on > me is when some chain of events cause the “friendly neighborhood” attitude > to drop from Spidey’s modus operandi and we see Peter beco” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, yes, I’m rarely one for smaller essays :). I just get too excited when I’m writing! I have written smaller pieces for other blogs from time to time but when I start working on something I like to approach it as I would a writing a paper for a class. The academic challenge keeps me fresh! Also, it’s how I love writing in general. Congrats on bringing in a new writer and I appreciate all of your support – even on my lengthy pieces :).

      Like

    1. You’re absolutely right. This is a can’t-miss part of modern Spidey and I bet it will stand the test of time too. I fully blame/credit you with all the new Spider-Man titles I’m reading too :). Every time I get one from the comic shop or the library I think, “Well, Green Onion started all this with that ‘Spider-Island’ post…” So thank you! And I’m glad you enjoyed the analysis too. It was a rewarding if exhausting piece to write.

      Like

  5. Thank u, Michael, for a most stirring read
    Again, I feel better off sticking w th Bronze Age! Actually, more serious, sociological themes began to infiltrate comics during th 70s
    U mention: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110 as th instigator of these dark-themed Spidey stories – who was th writer?
    “If I wanted glum and grim I’d read more Batman” – now THERE is a formidable t-shirt! 😉
    I wld much rather read something about, say, Squirrel-Girl – hello! I’ve just seen that Post!
    See u there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The “Death of Jane DeWolff” story arc in ‘Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man’ was written by none other than Peter David! I’m happy to know the new Squirrel Girl post can add some levity after a romp through some of Spidey’s darker moments too :).

      Sooner or later we’re just going to have to start out own t-shirt shop too…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a very insightful (and lengthy!) post that I enjoyed a lot. I’m fine with dark spider-man and superior spider-man is probably one of my favourite spidey runs of all time. Something that I consider really messed up is Sins Past. I wouldn’t call it dark, but it is just wrong. Looking forward to more posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yes, I’m not known for my brevity :). But I’m okay with that. As to “Sins Past,” I haven’t read that story before but I just googled it and you’re right. THAT IS SOME MESSED UP $#!T!!! I mean just, WOW. Now I’m torn between wishing I’d knew of it to include in the post and being super happy I didn’t because reading that one too might’ve just pushed me over the darkness edge :/.

      That’s another reason why ‘Superior Spider-Man’ was so groundbreaking though! It didn’t have to wade into messed up waters like that to give us a darker tone to the story. Yay for Otto and for Dan Slott too!

      Like

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