Anyone who has read George Orwell’s ’1984′ is familiar with the Ministry of Truth and its “memory holes,” those fabulous tubes that get rid of pesky realities for the good of The Party. Anyone who has ever frequented the Spider-Man section of the Marvel message boards for any length of time knows that Ministry of Truth is alive and well, deleting comments that draw metaphorical blood from the monster that is Superior Spider-Man — or its creator Dan Slott.
Lucky, the Brotherhood exists … and proof of it can been seen in the search engine terms being used online each day by countless Peter Parker fans.
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man. It doesn’t have to be that way.
This blog is on pace to have roughly 25,000 page views for the month of July. The individuals who get here search any number of topics, from liquid fluoride thorium reactors to Navy SEALS, weightlifting advice to the national debt. However, readers also get here because they care about the character Spider-Man. I have taken one search result from each day this month in order to highlight what many Spider-Man fans are thinking:
July 31: “Is Peter Parker coming back?”
July 30: “When will Superior Spider-Man end?”
July 29: “Dan Slott should be fired”
July 28: “Will Peter Parker return?”
July 27: “Superior Spider-Man ending”
July 26: “Dan Slott is an asshole”
July 25: “Why Dan Slott ruined Spider-Man”
July 24: “Dan Slott is an asshole”
July 23: “Bring back Peter Parker”
July 22: “Will Peter Parker return as Spider-Man?”
July 21: “Dan Slott sucks”
July 20: “Fire Dan Slott Superior Spider-Man”
July 19: “Superior Spider-Man people are pissed”
July 18: “Can Marvel make Spider-Man good again?”
July 17: “Bring back Peter Parker”
July 16: “Why Dan Slott doesn’t want Peter Parker returns?”
July 15: “Dan Slott hates Peter Parker”
July 14: “Bring back Peter Parker”
July 13: “Dan Slott sucks”
July 12: “Why does everyone hate Dan Slott now?”
July 11: “When is Superior Spider-Man ending?”
July 10: “Bring back Peter Parker”
July 09: “I hate the Superior Spider-Man”
July 08: “When is superior spider-man going to end?”
July 07: “Idiots killed off Spider-Man”
July 06: “Sick of Superior Spider-Man”
July 05: “The Superior Spider-Man sucks ass”
July 04: “Will Peter Parker come back?”
July 03: “When is Peter Parker coming back?”
July 02: “Will Peter Parker come back?”
July 01: “I hate Dan Slott”
Here is a screenshot from the July 21 to give you an idea of what WordPress bloggers see on the back end. (Side note: I love that people are now searching ‘Harold and Kumar Get Droned’ because it was a piece of satire I wrote on Kal Penn’s hypocrisy that appears to have taken on a life of its own).
These are only a fraction of the search terms available, but even if I included the others a pattern becomes clear: There are a lot of dissatisfied fans out there who want Peter Parker back and many of them are not happy with Dan Slott.
Search Engine stats tell us exactly why the moderator for the Marvel boards has a penchant for deleting posts when they come from someone who might be perceived as Dan Slott’s intellectual “superior.” Search engine stats tell us why Dan Slott must turn to the moderators at Comic Book Resources and ask them to shut down the debate when he can’t goad guys like me into saying something that would get us banned.
“This whole topic has become abhorrent. Can the mods please close this thread? This has already gotten far more attention than it deserves,” (Dan Slott)
Search Engines stats are why the moderator at Newsarama shut me down — and then shut down all comments when strangers came to my defense.
And finally, search engines give us a clue as to why, perhaps, Dan Slott was a no-show at the San Diego Comic-Con for the Superior-Spider-Man panel. I suggest you watch it, if only to see 33 minutes of pure awkwardness. (At one point fans had to be asked to show their excitement for the book three times because the first two efforts sounded like a room full of kids being told to eat re-fried beans out of the can.) Dan Slott “phoned in” his participation towards the end, and when someone said they couldn’t relate to the Superior Spider-Man because Otto was essentially “Jerk Spider-Man,” the response by Mr. Slott and Steve Wacker was essentially: “The book is awesome! … Want to hear Dan Slott’s impression of J. Jonah Jameson?”
In the end, there will always be many more comic book fans than there are Peter Parker fans. That is why Dan Slott likes to talk about sales. And that is why when intelligent people start mulling over the actual merits of the book (e.g., How is this any different from turning the Red Skull into Captain America and then trying to pass it off as creative genius?) their comments go down the Mighty Marvel Memory Hole.
Rolling Stone put a real terrorist on the cover of its magazine, a lot of people got upset, and sales went up 20 percent. Dan Slott turned a fictional terrorist into Spider-Man, a lot of people got upset, and sales are up. Sales are not the sole litmus test for success, and they certainly aren’t the litmus test for decency. Hopefully, by offering you a glimpse into the search terms people use to get to this blog, your confidence will be renewed that there are plenty of fans out there who are not happy with the state of Spider-Man in 2013.
History will not judge this era of Spider-Man comic books kindly. In time a writer with true vision will come along who will unite ardent fans of Peter Parker, those with no particular loyalties who are just looking for an interesting tale — and yes, the lowest common denominator — who will buy anything as long as it says Spider-Man on the cover. And when that happens and sales skyrocket the world will see Dan Slott for what what he truly was, which was certainly not a good steward of one of the greatest characters of all time: Peter Parker.