How Spider-Man’s Secret Identity Was Turned Into a “PC Football”

CNET wrote about the history of Peter Parker’s efforts to conceal his ID as Spidey as best as he could over past decades, and how it’s really degenerated into a farce in recent times, as he was written unmasking for the sake of some quite revolting tales:

 

An ongoing concern for Spider-Man in both the comics and movies is keeping his secret identity, well, a secret. Unlike Iron Man or Captain America, he’s one of the few major Marvel superheroes who still cares about protecting his real name.

 

Hmm, does that mean Shell-Head and Wing-Head’s identities were revealed in the recent films as much as the comics too? I wouldn’t put it past the pretentious filmmakers to do that, and the same thing apparently takes place in the latest Web-Head movie to boot (SPOILERS FOR FAR FROM HOME):

 

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has to once again balance his two lives to protect the ones he loves. His classmate and love interest MJ (Zendaya) makes a wild guess that Parker is Spider-Man, and while he tries to talk his way out of it at first, he confirms her theory. 

Things get crazy in the Far From Home post-credits scene where J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) plays a video in which Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) reveals Peter Parker’s secret identity. It’s a shocker and sets up the story for a possible upcoming Spider-Man movie.

 

One I think would be better unattended and unpaid for, because this is getting tiresome already, far more than if any superhero’s secret ID remained that way. But since we’re on the subject, note that forced diversity took place in this film just like with the Thor movie from nearly a decade ago, when one of the Norse gods, was changed from white to Asian. And here, black actress Zendaya plays the part of red-haired white girl Mary Jane Watson. I estimate the movies are partly what led to Axel Alonso’s own PC diversity changes to several cast members of the MCU instead of creating new cast members, and someday, many are going to look back at them and wonder just what was going on.

 

In the comics, there have been more than a dozen times when Peter Parker’s secret was discovered. At this point, frankly, it’s getting a little boring. […]

 

It was also dreadful when Tony Stark revealed his ID as Iron Man in 2002, because it was all so rushed; a truly awful story by Mike Grell, who lost his way badly by then. It may have been quietly abandoned soon after, but then was revealed repeatedly again, as only an editorial as horrible as Joe Quesada’s could possibly have done. And Cap’s secret was revealed in the Marvel Knights series from that time too, in one of the worst blame-America stories you could possibly have found. Jon Ney Reiber, who wrote it, may have said that his scripts were tampered with, and in fairness, it’s quite possible, seeing what a disgrace Quesada proved himself to be, turning out one of the most unreadable books ever produced. It may be fine if superheroes are to abandon their secret IDs, but to do it in stories overshadowed by nasty politics ruins everything.

 

They go on to cite 2006’s Civil War crossover, and say:

The Marvel Comics event that inspired the film Captain America: Civil War also saw the US government passing the Superhero Registration Act, which required heroes to register their identity. The law’s biggest supporter, Tony Stark, needed a hero to come forward with a splashy reveal to inspire others. In the second issue of Civil War, he recruits Spider-Man to show the world he’s Peter Parker.

This was a huge moment for comic readers when the comic released in 2006. Unfortunately, it also led to one of the most ridiculous moments in comics. After Aunt May was hit with a bullet meant for Parker and was clinging to life in the hospital, Spider-Man had to make a deal with the devil himself, Mephisto, to save his favorite aunt. The result was an event called “One More Day,” where Parker gives up his marriage to the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson, to have the world forget that he is Spider-Man.

Comic readers routinely pan this story.

 

And moviegoers should be embarrassed to know one of the most obnoxious company wide crossovers served as the template for a decidedly overrated movie. Heck, what’s so great about depicting Tony Stark as a form of baddie anyway? That’s not what I call a “huge” moment. It’s what I’d call an awful moment in comics history, and it was. Civil War was almost like a stealth tactic for foisting One More Day upon the Spider-fans, and that’s one more reason why it shouldn’t be remembered positively.

 

They also bring up a more recent moment in Spidey history where our famous wall-crawler’s ID was apparently unmasked:

 

Jameson’s ongoing attempts to discover Spider-Man’s true identity is a mainstay of the comics, but that changed in 2015’s Spectacular Spider-Man #6. The superhero and the Daily Bugle publisher sit down and have dinner. Spider-Man needs some information while Jameson wants to learn more about this superhero he’s been writing about all this time. After exchanging verbal barbs about responsibility and loss, Parker becomes tired of hiding his identity and finally reveals himself to a man he considers to be family

Other reveals of Spider-Man’s identity in the comics had little to no ramifications for the superhero. That’s not the case with Far From Home’s reveal. Fans won’t know how he’ll deal with this obstacle until well into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4.

 

Which, for all we know, will probably be laced with only so much leftism and social justice tactics this time around. The time couldn’t be better for bailing out on the Marvel movieverse. And honestly, why should JJJ be considered family in the truest sense? Back in the early years of Spidey, Peter was worried JJJ would run his reputation into the ground if he knew the guy working as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle moonlighted as a wall-crawler. And of course, there were thugs like the Kingpin to worry about as well. Let’s not forget Frank Miller’s Born Again storyline from Daredevil in the mid-80s where Wilson Fisk tried to make Matt Murdock’s life a living hell after Karen Page, suffering drug addiction, foolishly sold the information to a minion of his.

 

Maybe the worst part about how Spidey’s secret ID was seemingly revealed of recent is how the most notable examples were in crossovers like Civil War, and the crossover itself was exploited by slimy writers as the means for getting there. But of course, what’s worse is how they were used to get rid of Mary Jane Watson and their marriage together. All for the sake of their loathsome, petty beliefs in what entertainment should be about. All this “concern” over secret identities or lack thereof has long become a laugh-less farce that hasn’t done any good for the superhero genre.

 


 

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1