One of the most hotly contested issues in the comic book industry as of late has been the publisher-approved spoiler, the early reveal of a crucial plot detail that is not the result of a leak, but rather of a comic book company giving a publication critical story details about an upcoming issue with the intent to release said details early. Now, though, Amazing Spider-Man #1 editor Nick Lowe says the series’ creative team will do their best to “save secrets for you to read.”
Lowe’s words come toward the end of Amazing Spider-Man #1 in a short essay introducing the series’ new team. In the essay’s last paragraph, Lowe acknowledges how difficult it is for creators to retain secrecy in an era where solicits are issued more than a month in advance and there is something of a never-ending race to reveal major plot details early.
This frustration, bemoaned by many comic book fans (and a handful of outspoken creators), is not unfounded. Recently, said frustrations were stoked when The New York Times spoiled the outcome of the wedding between Colossus and Kitty Pryde in X-Men Gold #30 last month. To make matters worse, the spoiler appeared in a headline, occupying a prominent space in one of the most popular and widely read newspapers in the world, making it nigh unavoidable.
Spoiler woes didn’t begin and end with Marvel Comics, though. Early in July, the ending to DC Comics’ Batman #50 was spoiled in another widely publicized New York Times headline, revealing the outcome of the long-awaited wedding between Batman and Catwoman. This spoiler hit harder, likely because DC Comics had turned the wedding into a major event, tying the stories of various Batverse characters into the impending nuptials, mixed with the widespread popularity of the characters involved.
In both cases, the spoilers were placed in headlines before either issue hit comic book stands. In the case of X-Men Gold #30, the story was spoiled a day before the issue went on sale. Batman #50’s spoiler was even more egregious, as it was published three full days before the issue’s July 4 release date. For many, the highly public and unabashed nature of the spoilers felt calculated, designed to be disseminated through various social media channels in short order and to extend far beyond the reach of the comics fandom. And that’s exactly what happened.
While Lowe’s words sound promising, it’s important to remember that publishers approved both the X-Men Gold and Batman spoilers -- they weren’t released as grainy screencaps on Twitter, but rather through The New York Times. DC’s own senior vice president of sales even penned a detailed breakdown of why Batman #50 was spoiled early. At the end of the day, the decision to release such sensitive spoilers is all about business. Lowe’s statement makes it clear the editor is against spoiling future Amazing Spider-Man arcs, but so are most creators. The advice to put the series on a pull list at your local comic book shop and simply “stay away from spoilers” is idealistic, but not always doable these days. After all, some of the people Lowe refers to, those who “are trying to reveal story points early,” are actually the publishers themselves.
It’s not all matters of grave consequence, though. Lowe’s statement is also clearly a playful one, as he promises the essay itself marks the end of Amazing Spider-Man #1 -- spoilers: it doesn’t, there’s actually quite a bit more to the issue. Publisher-approved spoilers likely aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but, for those who are sensitive to knowing too much too soon, it’s likely nice to know there are people on the inside who are pushing back against them.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 is on sale now. Nick Spencer is the issue's writer. Art is done by Ryan Ottley and Humberto Ramos. Ottley drew the issue's cover.