Although Marvel has dubbed the big revelation in Civil War #2 as “arguably the most shocking event in comic book history,” the mainstream media are a little slow to seize upon the story.
While it did receive prominent placement on Yahoo and a mention by Howard Stern, a Google News search brings up just 28 items, most of which are variations of the same newswire articles.
That’s not an insignificant number; in fact, it’s on par with the first couple of days of “lesbian Batwoman” coverage. But while that story rapidly took on an international scope — for different reasons — this one largely has been confined to the United States.
This weekend could see more, of course, as reporters file stories for Sunday features sections. But it’s beginning to look as if this event may not hold the same resonance for the general public as it does for superhero-comics fans.
(Warning: Spoilers after the break.)
And what kind of fans find significance in Spider-Man’s revelation? Just who are the Spider-Man books being written for? Retailer John Riley is glad you asked:
I had a large number of customers tell me that if Spider-Man’s marriage to MJ is destroyed that they’re done reading the book. Seriously done as there’s nothing left for them to relate to. Marvel seems hell-bent on preventing Peter from ever having a life, being forever stuck in that rut just out of high-school where you have trouble getting a job, have no money, and your relationships don’t work. But most of the readers have moved beyond that point. Peter has become that friend from high school who never moved on, never got a life. You still care, you check up on him now and again hoping that he’s grown up, but he never does and you just can’t stand seeing him that way for too long.
Obviously, since Marvel won’t let Peter get a life, they obviously must hope to use Spider-Man’s universal appeal to get new young readers into comic books. But is a story where we find out that Spider-Man’s virginal ex-girlfriend had sex with his arch enemy on his office desk really appropriate? Are we really to believe that’s a story aimed at the “tweens” audience?
So who are comics written for today? And if our characters can’t age with us, and the stories often aren’t appropriate for readers younger than us, what does that leave? It seems to me that both audiences are dissatisfied.
More from Riley at ICv2.com.