Dear Mr. Slott and Mr. Wacker,
At the end of 2012 when I read ASM #700, I found myself at a crossroads. I found myself, in the aftermath of just having lost my favorite fictional character—someone who felt very much like a close friend—I found myself asking a question I had never in all my years of Spidey fandom ever asked myself before: should I stop reading Spider-Man? I wrestled with that question for the entire two weeks between the final ASM and the first SSM. One day I was leaning toward dropping the series from my hold, the next I was willing to stick it out, and in the end the latter won out as I purchased and read the first issue of Superior Spider-Man. It wasn’t a great first issue but the appearance of Ghost-Peter at the end was enough to keep me going. Issue 2 was much better and I found myself loving the new series. I felt hope that Peter would one day return and in the meantime we readers were in for one crazy-town-banana-pants good storyline.
In the months that followed, I found my high opinion and hopes for SSM increased with each new issue of the series I read and my favorite element of the series being the conflict between Otto and Ghost-Peter. It was like a buddy comedy where one buddy is desperately trying to get his body and his life back, while the other buddy is carrying on as he wishes without a clue that the first buddy is even there. All that of course changed in issue #9 when Otto detected the remnants of Peter Parker in his mind and proceeded to do away with our beloved hero yet again. This saddened me almost as much as ASM #700 had, but this time I had faith Dan Slott would soon show us some sign that Peter was in fact not lost to us forever, as he had before with the introduction of Ghost-Peter in the first place. But several issues have now come and gone since SSM #9 and we’ve been given not a hint, not a clue, not a sign at all that our friend Peter will ever return; while we are audience to Otto’s ever increasing descent in maniacal power hungry and bloodthirsty behavior that is surely destroying the noble legacy Peter Parker left behind.
Among us fanboys there is an old adage about comic book storylines: “No matter what happens to our beloved characters, in the end, status quo must be restored”. This has gotten me through many crazy and at times even troubling storylines I’ve endured over the years while reading the adventures of my favorite costumed heroes. I still think, intellectually, that you talented folks at Marvel have a master plan to bring Peter Parker back to life and in control of his destiny once again, but at the same time you are all putting on one hell of a collective poker-face; especially in your editorial responses in SSM #13 where you declared “Ock’s here to stay” and dismissed the well written letter of Chris Dugan as just the same old complaining Spidey fans have done from the beginning. The BIG difference that you seem to be missing, or just ignoring, is that back in the 60’s, readers were complaining about how Marvel was treating Peter Parker, whom they loved then and whom readers continue to love today. Chris Dugan, myself, and other fans in the present time are writing to express our feelings about how Peter was murdered and had his life and persona stolen by the villain who murdered him. 616 Peter was not replaced by a nice young kid like Miles Morales; he was replaced by the sadistic madman who in very recent history tried to burn the Earth to a crisp. Otto may wear the mask and web shooters, but he’s not the real Spider-Man, nor will he ever be.
My plan is to keep reading SSM until the end of 2013 and the anniversary of ASM #700, which I believe would be a perfect time to either launch or conclude the storyline that will feature Peter Parker’s triumphant return. At the end of the year, if there is no indication at all that Peter’s return is in the works, I will be forced to finally drop the series from my hold and walk away until I catch wind of his return. My longwinded point is this: I am trying to be a loyal reader and stay with you on this storyline, but I need you to reward my dedication and give me evidence that things will work out in the end, so I don’t lose the faith. I think the Bravery put it best in their song “Believe” with the lyrics:
So give me something to believe,
Because I am living just to breathe,
And I need something more to keep on breathing for,
So give me something to believe.
Well, until the Fantastic Four are seemingly permanently replaced by Doctor Doom and his trio of Doom-clones, make mine Marvel!
Robert A. Easton