After Marvel Comics' December solicitations revealed yesterday that Scarlet Spider #25 would be the final issue of the series, die-hard fans of the character sprung into action, organizing a protest outside Cup O' Kryptonite Comics in Des Moines, Iowa. Why Iowa? It's the home of the Des Moines chapter of the Unofficial Scarlet Spider Fan Club, led by passionate Scarlet Spider superfan, Gregory Novax. As hundreds of fans marched outside the store, chanting and showing off clever signs, Novax explained to this reporter that Marvel was making a big mistake in cancelling the series.
"We're not going to stand for this," he pledged. "As you can see by all these fans that have come out today, Scarlet Spider is a beloved book that deserves a second chance."
Wow. There are this many people just in Polk County, Iowa that are into Scarlet Spider? The book must not have been doing too bad in overall sales. I wonder why it was canceled...
"These are all the fans from everywhere," Novax explained. "All of the fans."
"This is a national event. We sent out an email blast to everyone in all the chapters of the Scarlet Spider Fan Club, all over the country. Pretty much all of the members showed up, so this is basically all the Scarlet Spider fans, right here."
There aren't a lot of people here. So it's no wonder Marvel canceled it, with sales like...
"This has nothing to do with sales!" Novax interrupted. "This is bigotry, plain and simple!"
Bigotry? The hell?!
"Against clones," Novax elaborated. He nodded, satisfied.
Is Scarlet Spider a clone?
"I think so," Novax guessed.
You're the president of the fan club. Surely you know whether or not the character is a clone.
"He was in the Clone Saga," Novax explained. "Back in the nineties."
You're talking about Ben Reilly.
"No, this is a different character, though he's also called the Scarlet Spider, and was also in the Clone Saga," a frustrated Novax went on. "He's also a clone. I think."
You don't know? Didn't you read the Clone Saga? If that story accomplished anything at all, I would expect it to be leaving readers with a fairly complete understanding of who is and who is not a clone.
"Nobody read the entire Clone Saga!" Novax laughed. "It's like 300 chapters and confusing as hell!"
So you didn't read the character's original book, you're not sure if he's a clone, and only a couple hundred people, in the entire country, count themselves amongst the book's paying customers. Basically, just the people here, right now, outside this one comic book shop? Less than 500 people. Just to be clear.
"One guy couldn't make it," Novax argued. "So these fans, plus one more fan."
Why couldn't he make it?
"He said he wasn't really enjoying the book," Novax confessed. "So he didn't feel like coming all the way the out here. It's understandable."
Wait a minute. How many people here have actually been reading and enjoying this book?
A few people raised their hands. Most looked downward, shuffled their feet, and began whistling innocently. The people who initially raised their hands then slowly put them down, including Novax himself.
None of you. Unbelievable. Not a single one of you actually collected this comic? But you've organized a protest outside a comic book store to complain about Marvel cancelling it? In God's name, why?!
"We wanted to like it," Novax pleaded. "In theory, revisiting aspects from the Clone Saga seems like a great idea. You know, because nostalgia."
But the Clone Saga was universally reviled, and it almost put Marvel out of business, honestly. Aren't some things better off left in the past?
"No," Novax insisted, matter-of -factly.
You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Go home, Scarlet Spider fan club. Go home and think about what you want to do with your lives.
"Guys!" yelled Novax, suddenly inspired. "Wanna go start a Spider-Man 2099 Fan Club?! Miguel is back, and we could probably get Marvel to give him his own book!"
"YES!" the crowd agreed instantly. They followed Novax off in a sad parade of misplaced enthusiasm, doomed to a lifetime of futility, supporting obsolete comics in a world that has long ago left them behind. It'll be nothing but disappointment for them, endlessly chasing an unachievable goal, questing to regain that lost feeling of wonder that truly belongs only to the young.
Those poor bastards, I thought. Why would anyone willingly put themselves through that.
Oh, fuck it. Who am I kidding? Wait up, I called as I jogged to catch up. Hey guys! Wait for me!
Scarlet Spider #25 hits stores in December, and then, never again.