Cobwebs: Sin Eater Part 1 – You’re Doing It Wrong

pptssm107-coverAh, 1985 – gas was $1.09, you could go to the movies for less than $3, you couldn’t go ten minutes without hearing “We Are the World”, and Coca-Cola created the train wreck that was to be New Coke.  It may best be known for being the year that Michael J. Fox began time hopping in a DeLorean, but what may come second is how great Spider-Man comics were during the time (and if it doesn’t, it should).  There were three titles, all written by top notch people – Amazing was written by DeFalco, Web by Michelinie, and, my personal favorite, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man by Peter David.  And of course, you can’t mention Peter David’s run on Spider-Man without immediately thinking of the Sin Eater Saga.  So plop down your $2.60 (what it would have cost you to pick up all four issues) and get ready to take a twirl through one of Spidey’s greatest stories of all time and see what was going on both in the story and behind the scenes.



Sure it’s an older story; however, it is one that is still relevant today.  Carnage just got finished fighting a new version of Sin Eater and the Wraith is in the Spiral series out recently.  But it is not the characters introduced that make this arc so interesting.

One of the things that needs to be considered before even looking at this story arc is what was going on at Marvel during the time.  Jim Shooter is EIC and he recently put Jim Owsley (who now goes by the name Christopher Priest) up as the youngest Spider-Man editor ever at age 22.  Owsley made some tough calls that worked out great for the Spider-Man stories, but in the end, made his life miserable and leaves him with such a bad taste in his mouth that titled one of the chapters of his online memoir, “Why I Never Discuss Spider-Man”.


Good old Earth-91274

One of those tough calls dealt with Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man.  At the time, Al Milgrom was on the title.  Owsley liked Milgrom and liked his style, but it did not fit in with his vision for the Spider-Man titles.  The three titles had no real focus at the time.  They were just three different ways Marvel could sell a Spider-Man title (fortunately for comic fans at the time, Marvel had not really learned how to milk the big events).  Owsley’s vision was for ASM to keep going as the flagship title, Web to become the travel issue and keep Spidey out of New York, and for PPTSSM to become a darker and grittier version of Spider-Man.  We really had not had much in the way of dark stories for Spider-Man (the occasional toss the girlfriend over a bridge and let the hero snap her neck trying to save her not withstanding).  Milgrom was just too whimsical, so he was moved out (much to Milgrom’s dislike) to make way for a new comer.  Not just a new comer, but some nobody from marketing of all places.  Owsley said that he was questioned over this choice saying that someone asked if they were going to be hiring secretaries to write stories next (the 80s were a more sexist time).  Peter David recounted in a comic book convention I attended in North Carolina in the late 80s that other writers didn’t like it because he didn’t earn the Spider-Man title.  Everyone else worked their way up writing licensed properties like Transformers and My Pretty Pony.   Being a newbie, David was willing to mold his writing to what was asked.  You want a grittier Spider-Man, OK.

Now Owsley remembers that Shooter hated Peter David and that he always had to run interference between them to protect David’s job and Owsley feels he put David through hell with all of his edits.  Shooter, for his part, remarked that he thought it was cute that Owsley thought that anyone would be able to run interference between Shooter and someone he disliked.  Peter David doesn’t remember Owsley being too hard on him, just doing what editors are supposed to do.  Whatever the case, we get a remarkable run out of PPTSSM while David is at the helm.

Peter David

Peter David

What makes Peter David such a great Spider-Man writer?  Is it Owsley and/or Shooter’s direction? Is it is love of Spidey (“Who wouldn’t want to write Spider-Man? He’s Marvel’s flagship character, he’s the everyman of the superhero community, and he’s quite possibly the single best character to ever come from Stan Lee’s imagination.”), or is it the fact that he wanted to tell the story in as realistic a fashion as possible (considering you have a guy with spider powers as the protagonist)?  Whatever the case, just a few issues into David’s run, he gets the order from Owsley to shake things up a bit by killing off Captain Jean DeWolff.  Peter David has said before that he actually had plans to use DeWolff in later stories, but since this is what the boss wanted, that’s what he wrote.

torchI’ve read some reviews that say they feel PAD (as David often refers to himself) probably wrote Spidey so gritty because he didn’t really have a feel for the character, what with being so new.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  PAD had already written a few light hearted stories already.  His first PPTSSM issue was #103 where he nails the Torch and Spidey’s banter, he follows this up with ASM #266 with the fabulous Frog Man and ASM #267 “When Cometh the Commuter” which is regarded by many as the funniest Spider-Man story ever written.  Clearly he has the gift of comedy.  What made Owsley think that such a funny writer would be good at writing dark stories is beyond me, but then that is why I am a historian and not a comic book editor.  Also, even though Spidey is acting more aggressively than he usually does, it is easy to see that, for the most part, he is still very much in character.

So let’s get down to the issues.  I won’t review them here, because that would take so long and I want to look at the behind the scenes.  So if you have not read this series, then what are you waiting for?  You won’t find it on Marvel Unlimited (at least not at time of posting), but you can of course pick them up in the back issue bin (according to Comics Price Guide) for only $3 each in mint condition or a whopping $6 for #110 or you could buy it in hardcover at Amazon for just under $17.   For the better bang for your buck, as long as you don’t mind colorless comics, try Essential Spider-Man #5.  Or just skip to Thwip Studios and watch them.  Here is the first episode, you can find the rest from there:

Go ahead and read the story, because there will be spoilers in this post.


Right off the bat, readers can tell there is something different with this issue.  This issue marks the new take on Spidey that Owsley wanted and the words “ALL NEW ALL DARING” are added above the already wordy title.  On top of that, Spidey is swinging toward the reader looking as angry as a guy in a mostly featureless mask can look.  On top of that, the cover also promises you that in this issue, “Spidey cuts loose!”  As a first time reader, you would be all Wow! until you open it up and get a rather boring looking flashback scene of Jean DeWolff’s life.  Boring that is, until you hit the fourth page of the issue and see this scene:



Approved_by_the_Comics_Code_AuthorityThen it was all WOW! again.  PAD came under a lot of criticism for this scene.  You didn’t have a lot of scenes this graphic ever since the Comics Code Authority was put in place so a woman sprawled out in a puddle of blood like this was a bit different – especially for a Spider-Man comic.  However, it wasn’t the brutality of her death that drove the criticism, it was the timing.  PAD says that an editor (he doesn’t say which one in his blog) in the industry pulled him aside and told him that he broke the rules of comics and that a character death must be the climax of the story – not the beginning.   PAD also says that even though Owsley picked DeWolff because, although she was an important character, she was relatively minor and they were not getting letters from fans about her.  It was someone they could easily lose, but still had enough connection to give Spidey that push that both he and PAD wanted.  However, once she was dead, they got tons of letters saying two things – 1. DeWolff was their favorite character and 2. She wasn’t really dead.

PAD finds it incredible that so many people found it so hard to believe that the character was actually dead.  “I couldn’t understand it. I had called the damned thing “The Death of Jean DeWolff.” I’d had her entire upper torso blown away at close range by a shotgun. I had her funeral and planted her in the next issue. What did I have to do? Decapitate her on panel? She was dead, cold, wormfood.”

In the next few pages, we see the beginnings of Spidey going darker.  He tracks down some street criminals easily.  One of them gives up and says, “I’m surrendering.  You can’t hit me.  You wouldn’t dare!” Upon which Spidey says, “I was hoping you’d say that,” and punches the guy’s lights out.  This was just a measly little purse snatcher.  It really helps set us up for what is going to happen in this arc and for issues to come.  The police come and we get this interaction:


At that convention I heard PAD talk, he said that he got criticism for this too.  He said that he wanted Spidey to act like normal people do when they hear that someone has died, which is why the “I just saw her yesterday” bit is in there.  However, he said at the panel that apparently he should have had Spidey grab a lamp post, start swinging it around and shout, “No! I’ll avenge her death if it’s the last thing I do!”  I remembered him saying that when I watched Revenge of the Sith and Darth Vader is yelling “No!” and force crushing all his medical equipment.

All that is missing are the little Xs and Os

All that is missing are the little Xs and Os

We are then introduced to the lead detective in the case – Stanley Carter.  Hindsight tells us that this is the Sin Eater, but nobody knew it at the time (according to PAD who is judging by the letters coming in).  He said he knew that even though he gave all the clues, nobody would get because of two reasons.  The first is that he named him Stan, which most Marvel fans look upon with good vibes.  The second reason is: “I made him Jewish. Isaac Asimov said if you want to have someone who evil intent must be hidden, make him Jewish and have him speak in semi-Yiddish inverted sentence order. You know. Like Yoda. (“So a murderer that makes me?”) Readers will mentally categorize this as someone who is friendly and even comic relief.”  Maybe so, but I think it has to be because of the picture Carter has of Nick Fury.  I just don’t see Fury as the guy who writes “Best wishes” on autographed photos of himself.  Carter must really be a stand-up guy!


The sin eater is referred to by Stan as coming from Ozark mythology where people left fruits and other food on the deceased body.  In actual mythology, sin eaters did/do exist in the Ozarks, but go back farther in Welsh and England mythology (I did find one source that said it went as far back as Greek and Egyptian times, although this seems unlikely) as a person who would willingly take on the sins of the dead so that the soul would be free to continue to the afterlife from consequences.  This person would often be poor and low in the social order of society.  They would have to be to take on this job.  The family would put food, usually bread, either next to the body or on the chest of the body.  Salt was often used on the plate, although I could find nothing to indicate why.  The sins of the soul would be absorbed by the bread.  Then, the sin eater would be given the bread to eat in exchange for money and a flagon of ale.  After speaking an incantation over the body, the sin eater would consume the food and, along with it, the sins of the dead.  As an added benefit, since the deceased was free from the guilt of the sins committed in life, there was no need for this person to ever become the undead and wander the earth as punishment for misdeeds.  The sin eater’s soul would be so burdened with sins that he would certainly go straight to hell upon death.  The church did not promote this practice and often tried to track down and eradicate these sin eaters.

wol-vs-magneto-11So what about this story arc really makes it so great?  It is the realism that Peter David is known for bringing to his stories.  He has a way of looking past traditional comic book takes on a subject and putting it as it would fall out if it could be real.  Case in point is the podcast interview (was it 162?) where he talks about sitting in on a panel of mutant book writers and listening to them get all excited about a big match-up between Wolverine and Magneto.  He felt it was stupid despite that they were all geeking out over the two top mutants squaring off.  PAD’s opinion?  Wolverine as a skeleton of metal.  Magneto controls metal.  He would just rip the metal out of the Wolvie’s body.  End of story.  It is that straight-forward approach again and again that makes it so great.

In this arc we have a realistic villain.  Carter has a shotgun.  That’s it.  No laser cane.  No rocket skateboard.  There is no hypnotic disco music or even the most minor of goblin gliders to be seen.  A shotgun.  Yet, with this, Sin Eater is able to really get one over on both Spider-Man and Daredevil.  When confronted by Spider-Man, he shoots.  Spidey easily dodges, but forgets that there are people in the crowd behind him.  One old man takes the shot meant for Spider-Man.  Spidey, unnerved by this (who wouldn’t be), hesitates long enough for Sin Eater to get away.



Then, in the scene that really stuck in my mind after all these years, is the moment that Daredevil hesitates in order to figure out how to keep his secret identity secret.  I know that it is a part of the superhero genre for the superhero to make excuses to sneak out and return as their alter ego, but I’ve always found it irritating that this delay to suit up never has disastrous consequences.  Well, it does here.


Judge Horace Rosenthal seems only to exist here to be blown away.  The historian in me is a little sad that the judge doesn’t appear to be an existing Daredevil character (if anyone knows different, please enlighten me in the comments section, but I cannot find any other reference to the dearly departed judge other than for this story).

Then there is the brutality of the arc.  At the end of the third issue, we get a cliffhanger of Betty Brant getting blown away.


It was, as Owsley put it “a cliffhanger so intense, in fact, that we briefly considered pulling it. It scared the crap out of me, and I was 23. I was imagining soccer moms buying SPECTACULAR for their kids by rote, not realizing Sin-Eater was blowing away Betty Brant Leeds inside.” After killing Jean DeWolffe so early, who knows what this crazy writer will do!  Was Jean just a warm up for more mass death?  Fortunately (or not, depending on your take on Betty) she was able to duck out in time.

On top of that, the brutality really goes beyond normal Spidey stories when he finally catches Carter and beats him relentlessly.  Betty’s face reflects how over the edge Spider-Man has gone.

110 death of jean dew 2

And then there is the ass-kickery.  On one of the recent podcasts, the gang mentioned how the Renew Your Vows Spidey is more like the ass-kicking Spidey of the 80s.  Well, folks, this is what they are referring to.  Spidey doesn’t need other heroes to rescue him.  In fact, when Daredevil comes in to help him out, Spidey continues the beat down on him


O.K., he attempts to beat him down.  I believe I remember J.R. saying this was what brings the arc down for him.  Daredevil is able to win the fight because Spidey is off balance with anger.  Even so, it is clearly acknowledged in the comic that 999 times out of 1,000 Daredevil gets his butt handed to him, this is just the 1 time out of 1,000 that the outcome differs.  In fact, Spider-Man is so pissed at Daredevil, when Daredevil is in need after trying to stop a lynch mob from, well, lynching Sin Eater, he turns around and starts to walk away.  It takes Murdock yelling out “Peter!” to bring him to his senses.  If you want to say anything about Peter being written out of character, it would be here.  However, I think that this is the whole point.  PAD said he wanted to write a story where Peter was pushed over the edge, which would mean that he would react in ways that normally he doesn’t.

The issues end with the credits in the last panel set in white words with a black background.  Peter David has said numerous times that this was to evoke a Hill Street Blues feel.  For those of you not alive in the 80s, it was a very popular cop show that had a more realistic and sad feel to it (especially compared to other 80s shows).

There is so much else in this arc that is worth reading and a lot more that I would love to talk about here.  Popchik’s vigilante story arc, the Charles Bronson cameo, the basis for a great Santa Claus vs. Spidey story (which we’ll look at closer to Christmas), the foundation for Venom’s origin, and Daredevil looking foolish by not recognizing a man dressed as Sin Eater sitting in the room with him (DD: Where is he? OFFICER: Sitting right in front of you.  Are you blind?”).  However, this post is long enough as is.  

PAD set out to show what would happen if you pushed Spider-Man too far.  Thirty issues later, he will show us the effects of his actions (we’ll look at that in two weeks).  So, what is your take on the arc?  One of the greatest Spidey stories ever or over rated?


credible hulkSources:

Abel, Ernest L. Death Gods: An Encyclopedia of the Rulers, Evil Spirits, and Geographies of the Dead.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 2009. Google Books.

David, Peter. “BID #2 – Dead and Recovering Nicely… (Aug. 3, 1990).” Peter David.Net Word Press. 25 July 2002. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

David, Peter. Reply on “An Answer to a Comment” by Jim Shooter. Jim Shooter.  Blogger.  25 June 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

“The Death of Jean DeWolff.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia. 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Dr. Corbeaux. “Sin Eaters.” Ozark Superstitions, Magic, and Folklore   The Musings of a Hillybilly Goomer Doctor.  WordPress. 11 Nov 2013. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Fingeroth, Danny.  “Spider-Man Writers Roundtable.” Write Now! 14 (2007): 27-31. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Ginocchio, Mark.  “The Death of Jean DeWolff: The Greatest Daredevil Story Masquerading as a Spider-Man Story.” Chasing Amazing. N.p. 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Kwin the Eskimo. “Dining on Damnation: A Short History of the Sin Eaters.” Week in Weird. Planet Weird.  29 June 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

Lamers, William M. “Sin Eater.” Encyclopedia of Death and Dying.  Advameg. N.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

“Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110.” SuperMegaMonkey’s Marvel Comics Chronology. N.p. N.d.Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Priest, Christopher J. “Oswald: Why I Never Discuss Spider-Man.” Adventures in the Funny Book Game.  Digital Priest.  May 2002. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

“Search Price Guide.” Comics Price Guide. Smartfile.  2015. Web. 3 Oct. 2015.

Shooter, Jim.  Reply on “An Answer to a Comment” by Jim Shooter. Jim Shooter.  Blogger.  25 June 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.


PPTSSM 107 Cover
Peter David
Dead DeWolff
Comics Code Authority stamp
Spidey learns of the death
Nick Fury
Sin Eater shoots into crowd
Brutal Spidey
Daredevil vs Spider-Man
DeWolff love
Credible Hulk

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(20) Comments

  1. Thomas Mets

    I'm reading comics from the era, and realized how Peter David retcons something from this comic. Betty tells Marla that she's writing a letter to her mother. In ASM #289, she makes a reference to her mother coming to visit, and Peter later remembers that her mother was dead for years. This is how he realizes that Betty is not well. The implication is that it had been going on for a while (including this story.) I'm not sure if it had been established in the Lee/ Ditko comics (or any other) what happened to Betty's parents, although we learned more about it in Untold Tales. But it adds an interesting subtext to this story, especially given later revelations about the state of Betty and Ned's marriage.

  2. Al

    @#15: There are a lot of weird ‘rules’ and ‘codes of conduct’ by modern creators that older ones just didn’t subscribe to at all. E.g. every new run is a starting over from fresh wheras before maybe the new guy will do their own thing but they still continued stuff from before their own runs. E.g. Milgrom didn’t institute the Peter/Felicia relationship and Wolfman didn’t start the return of the burglar subplot but they continued them all the same. I dunno if it is a respect thing or what, but it’s like if you respect the original creator and therefore shouldn’t write their characters then isn’t it an even bigger dick move when you kill them off like with Kafka and Silver Sable? To me though it’s like, they created the characters and threw them into the character pool. They are toys you can play with because they aren’t owned by the other person. Respect the characters and their histories by all means but it isn’t a hands off situation. hell If I could write Spider-Man, I’d create maybe 1 all new character 2 characters from media adaptations and then just dust off old characters again and again. As for not wanting to upset other writers, frankly...isn’t that the nature of the business? You know what you are getting into when you take the job. And I mean if I like created the Hobgoblin, I’d be upset that people got him wrong but at the same time holy crap I created a villain who is getting used in Spider-Man! I always liked Stern’s idea that Peter would meet different police officers based upon which precinct he was in.

  3. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ Hobo-Goblin - I remember realism in story telling being a large part of Peter David's talk at the convention I went to in the 80s. He started by talking about this Sin Eater arc and then moved on to other things. I can't remember much, but I do remember him segwaying from comics to movies by talking about how the spaceship in _Alien_ to be stupid in design. He said something to the effect of who put the self destruct button so far away from the escape pods? He said that if he had created the ship, the button would be just beside the pod so that he could have one foot already in the pod ready to go before hitting it! Sorry for your loss. I think that pretty much sums up most of my reactions too.

  4. Hobo-Goblin

    Great article, Mark. I totally agree with your assessment of Spidey's initial reaction to Jean's death. I could completely relate to it. When my grandfather died, my immediate reaction after my dad told me was numb disbelief and confusion. I think I said almost what Spidey says there, something along the lines of "That's impossible- I just saw him yesterday."

  5. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ Al - I heard a recent interview (I think it was Joe Kelly on Amazing Spider-Talk) and he mentioned that when you create a supporting character that many writers that come after don't continue to use that character. He said it was out of respect for each other. To me, I think the respect would be that the character is so good that we want to keep using him or her. However, I guess too many writers have gotten upset over how another writer got their character all wrong, so I can see it. I would like to see a couple of police officers that repeatedly show up in multiple characters. Maybe one that likes Daredevil and Iron Fist, but for some reason holds a grudge against Spider-Man or something to that effect. Kind of like Daily Bugle reporters sometimes cross over into Daredevil. Brings the universe together some.

  6. xonathan

    @10 I already said the original was better and recommended the reader to read the story. Not sure what your agenda is going about demeaning fan based work. Not cool. I wanted it to be a Spider-man story. Didn't like how nice Daredevil was to those muggers, didn't like how it took Daredevil to figure it out, didn't like that Daredevil beat Spider-man despite the obvious power level difference. The lesson he taught Peter at the end was all good and was the best part of their interaction, but Peter learns yet another lesson in the last part of the story. And as an adaptation, it would have been a lesson overload. So I took Daredevil out and concentrated on the Spider-man part of the story.

  7. Al

    @#12: They’ve tried but part of he problem is that evey writer does it so none of them stick around. The 3 which have come closest to succeeding are Detective Lamont introduced by JMS and used by him, Paul Jenkins and Matt Fraction, Arthur Stacy used mostly by Howard Mackie and who was a retired detective, and Yuri Watanabe who of course is both a vigilante (so not a normal person like Jean) and recently went off the rails with Spiral. If I were in charge I’d adapt Detetive lee from the 1994 cartoon into the comics because she was supposed to be a Jean DeWolff stand in anyway. I’d never say the things that happen are GOOD things, they just make sense. But it was still stupid to take it in that direction.

  8. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ ac & Derek - I agree, it is excellent writing when a writer can take a character and put them in a completely different scenario and keep the core character traits the same. Some people get bent out of shape and cry OOC, but it is more Out of Scenario than OOC. It is a hard thing to do, but David pulls it off here. If this new globe trotting Spider-Man can still be Peter Parker at core, then this new volume of Amazing Spider-Man can be great. Here's hoping. @ ryan3178 - so you were one of the ones that Owsley was worried about the mom buying the comic and going, "What the.....!!!!" Glad you like the article! @ Thomas - I like it better each time too. I see more flaws with it when I hold it under scrutiny, but they are not enough to detract from my enjoyment of it. @ Andrew - I remember liking KLH a lot when I first read it, but I have not gone back to it since. I love William Blake's poem "Tyger, Tyger" so the adaptation of "Spyder, Spyder" was some geeky fun for me. I'll mention it in the next article, but in relation to the next Sin Eater story arc. Maybe I'll have to look at it in more detail in a later post. For my tastes, though, Sin Eater trumps it. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get a Spider-Man that was a Kraven who continued on as Spidey in Spider-Verse. Would have made for some interesting meetings between him and Spock. Also, did you read the What if he had killed Spider-Man instead of tranqing him? @ hornacek - This was a great Daredevil/Spidey match up. Even more so because Spider-Man didn't have to lose his sight for a while (how many times has that been done?). I imagine that it is hard to do a great team up or fight with them since their power sets are so lopsided. @ Al - yeah, I don't know why they haven't created another cop who is on Spidey's side. It doesn't seem like it would have been too hard to replace her eventually. PAD said he had plans for her alive for later stories. Would be interesting to know what they were. As far as the clone saga goes, I'll go along with your assessment that he stays in character in the stressful situation he found himself in. However, I'm not going back and rereading it. That arc made me drop comics for a while!

  9. Al

    @#4: Even though it’s a different situation and a godaweful story, this is why I get annoyed when people rag on Peter’s actions midway through the Clone Saga. When you break down what was actually happening at the time they were exceptional circumstances even by Peter’s standards and egregiously stressful. So his actions made sense even if they were bad for the character and the series. Weird as this is, this arc didn’t resonate with me when I first read it. It was presented to me as part of the Venom saga and so I was reading it expecting it to directly tie into that stuff. As such the subtleties of the story were lost on me. sadly because this was my first impression that kind of sticks with me whenever I read the story again. I recognize all the great things about it and regard it as one of the top 10 Spider-Man stories of all time. But it never resonates with me all that much sadly. Maybe that’s partially hype. I think this might be PAD’s best Spider-Man yarn although I prefer other things he’s done. His final issue of Friendly Neighborhood, the Commuter story, his Black Cat stuff down the line, 2099, etc. The thing that I think is bad about the story ironically enough is that it kills off Jean. It uses the death well but the character was great and has yet to be replaced.

  10. hornacek

    Sorry but I cannot recommend the THWIP version of this story. It completely leaves out the character of Daredevil, meaning there are huge chunks of the story missing. As someone who loves this story (I don't buy trade paperbacks and yet I have this one, how did that happen), if you're not going to include Daredevil then you shouldn't bother adapting it. He is not just a supporting character in this story, he is almost the co-lead. The relationship between Spidey and DD (and Peter and Matt) is fundamentally changed because of this story. It's as important to the plot as Jean's death. To properly experience this, read the original story. As others have said, it's awesome.

  11. Thomas Mets

    This is a story that gets better as I reread it. It was one of the first Spider-Man TPBs I read, so at that point I just saw it as an above-average story. But it just holds up so well. Peter David was a struggling, but published, sci-fi author at that point, so he did have some stories under his belt. But this was incredible for the conclusion tothe guy's first ten issues.

  12. ryan3178

    I was 7 and I remember the death of Jean DeWolfe very well. My mother had to explain what had happened. Sadly my grandmother threw out those issues. . Great article, love them.

  13. ac

    Great choice, great article. I always thought the story did an excellent job of keeping Spidey in character, by showing why he did these things that weren't normal for him, and the character himself realizing he'd let emotion get the better of him. It was a well done story when comic book stories tried to be more than just "typical comic book stories" an era long, long gone.

  14. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ Al - Glad you're enjoying Cobwebs. One of the challenges of this gig that I realized after I got it is that people who enjoy reading up on the history of the character already have read a lot about the character, so the task is to try to point out things not just to the new fans, but to find things that the fans who have been reading for a while have not run across. It's challenging, but it makes it fun to research. Peter David is my favorite Spider-Man writer as well. He writes about OOC in his book _Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels_ (at least I think I remember this being where I saw it) and points out that in real life, people react to stressful events often in ways that are not consistent with how they normally act, but if you show that in comics, people get all upset. I agree with you that this differing reaction of his was completely justified. @ xonathan - You guys do great work on the motion comics. It brings a different feel to the story that you can't get by just reading it. As far as the copycat killer, it is something that when I first read this (when I was much, much younger) I had no problems with, but as I am older, I do wish the characters had already been established. When I was younger, I was reading these in whatever random order I was getting them off the shelf and back issue bins and just assumed the characters already existed. When I realized later that they didn't, it was a bit disappointing. The story more than made up for it and since Peter David was just starting his run, I can easily excuse it. The best part to me with the copycat killer was Daredevil coming in and not recognizing that the guy is all decked out in Sin Eater gear. My guess is the copycat killer was more to just put pressure between Daredevil and Spider-Man and showing a contrast between them. I will check out that video. I loved those Batman Beyond cartoons. Many of them seemed more like Spider-Man stories than Batman stories to me. Hoping there's more to come? Of course! In two weeks we'll get the return of the Sin Eater and discuss the problem with sticking to walls. @ Fisk - Mine too. It was so different to me at the time and whenever I re-read it, I like it even more. Peter David says that people often tell him that this is their favorite story of his.

  15. Fisk

    This is still my all-time favourite Spider-man story. It blew me away the first time, and whenever I re-read it, still hits hard. Thanks for the great article.

  16. xonathan

    Hi Mark. Thanks for mentioning Thwip Studios. Much appreciated. But I do recommend for anyone to read the source material and track down those books. It's a more layered reading. The motion comic adaptation was more of a streamlined version of the original. Peter David created something deep. Mark, what did you think of the copycat killer? I though it was a meager attempt at throwing away any reader that thought the Sin Eater might the Carter. It's a common issue with these short stories. You introduce a new bad guy and a new supporting character. Geez, what are the odds of them being the same? Paul Dini and Bruce Timm talk about this issue when being interviewed about a Batman Beyond episode in the video bellow at the 3:49 minute mark. Great article about the "behind the scenes." I always love those. Hoping there's more to come.

  17. Al

    This article wasn’t good at all...t’was GREAT! PAD is my #3 fav writer behind DeFalco and DeMatteis but I honestly think he is the BEST Spider-Man writer of all time, yes even better than Roger Stern who is also superlative. I can kind of see people saying Peter was OOC in this storyline but the thing is the story places the character in such specific circumstances and experiences that it is totally justified. His friend was brutally murdered, he discovers she loved him somehow, his other friend got murdered, he feels guilty over dodging the bullets and he’s generally just messed up by all this. Really I think the most OOC thing in the story was Peter’s underwhelming reaction to her death upon initially being told. I don’t think he should’ve gone all Revenge of the Sith, but “What your kidding oh crud” was a bit of an underwhelming reaction that didn’t ring very true.

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