In December of 2012 I examined what it would mean if Dan Slott’s body-snatching Spider-Man slept with Mary Jane under false pretenses. If I had a twin brother, pretended to be him in the dark, and slept with his groggy wife I would be a monster. Likewise, if Doctor Octopus — living a lie in Peter Parker’s body — sleeps with a woman, for all intents and purposes he is a rapist. These are uncomfortable truths, but truths we must face because this is the state of the comic book industry in 2013.
With Superior Spider-Man 22, Dan Slott’s creation goes full body-snatching rapist. Didn’t anyone ever tell Mr. Slott and Marvel’s editors never to go full-rapist? (i.e., They could have “merely” kept it to Doctor Octopus pleasuring himself — in Peter’s body — to thoughts of Mary Jane.)
Chris from Spider-Man Crawlspace reviews the issue:
[W]hile I have seen stories in which bad guys have used stolen bodies to get laid (the Buffy-Faith body swap is the example I can think of right now), I don’t think I’ve ever seen a romantic relationship in such a scenario unfold naturally over the long term quite like the relationship between “Peter” and Anna Maria. After months of development, that relationship reaches a new stage in this issue, as the art and dialogue strongly imply that the two began to have sex until they were interrupted by “Peter” being called to action as Spider-Man. Obviously, obtaining consent through deception makes Otto despicable. Earlier in this run, it seemed like practically every online discussion regarding Superior Spider-Man I came across was dominated by anxiety over whether Otto, impersonating Peter, would sleep with Mary Jane, and whether such an event would constitute rape. Curiously, I have not seen the same online fervor now that Otto has actually done this to someone. People in the comments section, can you help me figure out why that is?
Indeed, Chris. Asking: “Here, now? Are you sure?” and then having Anna Maria reply “Yes. I’m not wasting a moment either…” is more than a strong implication. Those two glowing jellyfish attempting to tangle themselves together in the background as Anna says “while we have the chance,” seem to seal the deal.
Sadly, there are readers who just don’t get it. “Hairychap” weighs in to answer Chris’ inquiry — and fails miserably:
“Sleeping with Anna isn’t taking advantage of a pre-existing relationship established by Peter, heck she never even meet Peter before he was Ock.”
It’s a good thing we don’t live in a world where real body-snatchers or telepaths exist because inevitably it would be populated with “Hairychaps”… Regardless, here are a few reasons for Chris why he hasn’t seen the online furor that was displayed at the start of Superior Spider-Man:
- Readers have had nearly a year of experience with this “Superior” Spider-Man and aren’t shocked anymore. He blew off a guy’s face at point-blank range, the supporting characters act as if they’ve been lobotomized in order to keep the debacle going, and even Bleeding Cool was forced to call out Marvel on the “nazi-like” torture scene approved for the annual.
- Dan Slott has admitted that he turned Peter Parker into a “meat puppet.” There really isn’t much else to say. At some point Mr. Slott (consciously or unconsciously) decided to come clean. Once a writer says that a character is being used as a “meat puppet,” there’s really nothing left for readers to expose. All they can do is reiterate how awful the editorial decisions on the book are.
- Dan Slott makes weirdly veiled legal threats when people who give his work hard-nosed critiques, sends his Twitter followers to block people, and generally throws online tantrums where he proclaims that he’s “done” with the internet and message boards — before coming back hours later. One of my favorite Dan Slott memories is when I started talking about Superior Spider-Man at Comicvine and he decided it was the appropriate time to discuss my writings on … Trayvon Martin.
- Remember Marvel’s Orwellian comments section, where tactful comments went down the Mighty Marvel Memory Holes when they hit a nerve? I do.
- It’s the holiday season. People are spending time with their family, Christmas shopping and eating good food. Most websites see a dip in traffic this time of year. My guess is that the kind of people who understand the moral bankruptcy of Superior Spider-Man are also the kind of people who check out from online message boards during November-December.
- Perhaps Crawlspace might have a problem replying to inquiries regarding its comments section? There is one person who would like to comment on the rape situation over at Crawlspace, but can’t — me. I used to be able to comment there, but on July 22 that stopped. Below is a screenshot of my email to the website. (In full disclosure, I haven’t checked since July since there wasn’t a response to my inquiry.)
I’ve been trying to post in your comments section, but have been unable to for some reason. I was wondering if there is a glitch in the system or if I’ve been banned for some sort of breach of etiquette I was unaware of (I haven’t used foul language or attacked other individuals in the comments section).
I tried to comment in both Firefox and Safari and neither of those worked. [Any] insight you can give me would be appreciated. I enjoy your podcasts and updates and would like to comment, if possible.
It’s interesting that I never received a reply.
Regardless, the reason why Chris sees less “anxiety” these days is because people are resigned to the fact that Dan Slott has done vast amounts of damage to the Spider-Man brand. They’re really just waiting for the day when a new creative team can come in and pick up the pieces.
How much lower can this title go? I’ll let you know in the months ahead.