Stan Lee’s passing last November left a giant hole in the hearts of comic book fans everywhere. Kevin Feige recently confirmed that there are a finite number of Stan Lee cameos left in future MCU films, and when those run out, fans will no doubt feel the loss even more. (Right now, it looks like Lee might just be romping around in the Quantum Realm with our other post-snap heroes, cracking jokes and probably comforting Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.)
So it’s infinitely saddening to learn that another Marvel tradition started by Lee – and involving one of Lee’s greatest creations – is coming to an end just months after the comic book legend’s death: the very Spider-Man Diary’s first comic book will stop appearing this week. after four decades.
Title The Amazing Spider-Manthe comic is syndicated by King Features Syndicate, which announced the news to newspaper publishers on its distribution support service website:
Notice to Spider-Man Customers:
You’ll see changes to your friendly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN neighborhood comic over the next few months. Starting March 25, King Features and Marvel will be rebroadcasting some of Spider-Man’s greatest hits. We’ll be back soon with new stories and art to explore even more corners of the Marvel Universe for you and your readers to enjoy. We’ll be telling you more about these new adventures in the very near future, so keep your Spidey senses tuned!
The strip was launched with Lee’s participation 42 years ago, in 1977, as part of a new wave of comic book to comic book crossovers, and is the last to remain in print. It has been serialized in daily newspapers and Sunday papers ever since, featuring work by everyone from original artist John Romita Sr. to longtime daily artist Larry Lieber and Alex Saviuk of the funnies. Sunday, as well as writers like Roy Thomas.
Thomas worked solo and he also helped Lee, who at least in name remained involved until his death, and even beyond. (The tape, including the current week’s edition, still credits Lee.)
Since Lee’s death five months ago, there has been speculation about the comic’s future. (2018 also saw the death of Lee’s Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko.) While some hope a reconfigured Spidey comic might return after the hiatus, the strip’s longtime inker “Joltin ‘” Joe Sinnott said on Facebook that last Sunday’s strip was his last Sunday edition:
(In the Facebook post’s thread, Sinnott’s son also revealed that the legendary comic book artist is retiring at the age of 92.)
When contacted for comment by SYFY WIRE, Thomas spoke enthusiastically about the time, “around the turn of 2000 or so,” when Stan Lee offered him a job writing the tape, although Lee had warned Thomas not to accept until he heard the not-Surprising weekly rate of pay – but Thomas ended up taking the job anyway.
“I won’t deny that I’m sorry to see that Marvel can reboot the tape without Alex and me,” says Thomas. “I don’t take Marvel’s actions personally, although I regret them.” But ultimately, he says, “working with Stan and Michael, as well as Larry, Alex [Saviuk]and the always lovable Joe Sinnott, on the Spider-Man tape was an enjoyable experience, and I’m grateful to Stan for giving me that ‘misery’ back in 2000.”
Saviuk himself told Spider-Man Crawlspace’s Brad Douglas, “Now that KFS [King Features Syndicate] posted his statement yes the Spider-Man web as we know it has come to an end. And while Roy Thomas and I hoped the band would continue to carry on Stan Lee’s legacy…that’s not the case here. March 23 will be the last Daily and March 17 will be the last Sunday as we close out the current scenario.”
SYFY WIRE has also reached out to King Features Syndicate, Joe Sinnott and Marvel for comment. Marvel has yet to officially weigh in on exactly what will happen. The Amazing Spider-Manin its place, and whether there will be a standalone Spider-Man diary comic of any kind again in the future.
In the meantime, all we can say is, “Mr. Stark, I’m not feeling very well.”