Like Superman, Batman, Wolverine and Captain America before him, Peter Parker — The Amazing Spider-Man — is dead.
According to the Associated Press, Parker met his end in Issue 700 of The Amazing Spider-Man. In that issue, he and long-time villain Doctor Octopus switch bodies, Freaky Friday-style, leaving Parker trapped in Octopus' dying body. Meanwhile, Octopus takes over as Spiderman, and tries his hand at being a hero.
The new Spider-Man storyline continues in the premiere of "The Superior Spider-Man" and "Avenging Spider-Man No. 15.1."
Over at Royal Comics and Gaming in Lansdale, the backlash from comic book fanboys has been split.
"Over half of them are upset, and the other quarter or so left — who, basically, have been reading the comic for a long time — belive it's a story arch for a year or so. A lot, though, are taken back. They are not expecting it," said Robert Royal, owner of Royal Comics and Gaming.
Royal's personal take — it's a story arch, and Parker will be back.
"It's an interesting story," Royal said. "I didn't like it at first when I heard about it."
Royal said that, as far as the world knows, Peter Parker is actually dead and Dr. Octopus is in his body.
But with prior deaths and resurrections of Spider-Man, Superman, Captain America and Wolverine, killing off a beloved hero is nothing new in the comic book world.
"The writers are looking for something fresh and interesting to do with a character that's been around so long," Royal said. "They take the character away, and they did it in a fairly clever way. They are still keeping the Spider-Man character around, but they changed his personality. Coming from a villain, that's going to look and portray Spider-Man's attitude differently, the fights are going to come off differently, and he will be going up against bad guys that are usually his colleagues."
Royal Comics and Gaming had limited issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man" No. 700 that have since sold out. Another shipment is due in Thursday.
"I think it would be stupid if they left it that way, but everybody wants to see their guy back in the same suit," Royal said.
Yet, if comic book sales are good in the wake of Peter Parker's death, Marvel Comics/Disney may decide to keep Dr. Otto Octavius as Spider-Man.
"That could make the issue where Peter Parker dies incredibly valuable," Royal said. "Get it, hold onto it and see what happens."
Comic Archive in Lansdale deals with vintage and old comics, and, thus, most of their customers are blissfully unaware. They are not reading the new storylines.
"I think it will go over about as well as when they killed Superman in the 90s," said Heather Feerrar, employee at Comic Archive.
One fan, Matt Peters, responded on Lansdale Patch's post on Facebook: "They'll bring him back. You never stay dead in the comics."
Easton Patch editor Tom Coombe contributed to this story.
What do you think about Peter Parker's death and Dr. Octopus as Spider-Man? Tell us in the comments.