Mainstream media dust off old controversies for Spider-Man coverage

One of the most interesting things about the big plot development in this week's Amazing Spider-Man #700 isn't its effects on the Marvel Universe, or even fan reaction, but rather the lengths mainstream media outlets go to find a different angle for their coverage of the story. Take, for instance, CNN, which paired an interview with writer Dan Slott and editor Steve Wacker with a rundown of "13 comics that caused controversy, ranging from DC's reintroduction of Alan Scott as a gay man and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's recent abortion storyline to Superman's renouncement of his U.S. citizenship (I'd already forgotten about that) to the tea party dust-up over Captain America #602.

But Bloomberg Businessweek approaches the story with a cynicism usually displayed by longtime comics fans. Noting that The Amazing Spider-Man #700 has already sold nearly 250,000 copies, the outlet gets down to business (so to speak) with a breakdown of "four of the most surefire, lucrative, and reliably controversial methods that comic book creators use to gain readership and boost the bottom line." There's "embrace alternative lifestyles" (hello again, Alan Scott), "court ethnicity" (Miles Morales gets a nod), "sex it up" (hi, Buffy?), and, of course, "kill your icons" (Peter Parker, we hardly knew ye).

I was going to suggest a fifth -- "put someone else in the costume" -- but that probably goes hand in hand with No. 4.

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