Those who know Spider-Man only from Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the movies might be surprised to learn that in the comic book, the web-spinning hero has been married for almost 21 years.
That's why the comic world is in an uproar over Marvel Comics' decision to undo the marriage of Peter Parker and red-haired bombshell Mary Jane Watson, reversing two decades of storytelling.
In Amazing Spider-Man #545 last week, Peter and Mary Jane make a tearful deal with the devil-like character Mephisto: In exchange for saving Aunt May's life, Mephisto erases all traces of the Peter-Mary Jane marriage from memory.
In the issue out this week, subtitled Brand New Day, Peter Parker returns to his roots — young, nerdy and single. Aunt May is alive and well and Mary Jane is again just part of the cast. The marriage never happened.
"People are very upset. They erased a lot of stuff that had been set in stone," says John Newman, manager of Ultimate Comics in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Wednesday as customers came in to buy the opening chapter of Brand New Day. To help emphasize the new start, Amazing Spider-Man will go thrice-monthly.