PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Has Spider-Man spun his final web?
Marvel Comics said Tuesday it will unveil a story line in Ultimate Spider-Man - a separate imprint from its other comics - with a title that may prove unsettling to the webslinger's fans: "Death of Spider-Man."
The publisher is playing coy about what fate may befall Peter Parker, but the story is likely to be groundbreaking given that the Ultimate Comics line has been less than kind to several characters in the past, killing off Magneto, Wasp, Wolverine and others for good.
Brian Michael Bendis, who penned the story with Mark Millar, said Tuesday that the story is a "bold endeavor" and will span several issues. But on whether Spider-Man will be killed or not, Bendis and the company were mum.
"As a group and as individuals, we have made a conscious effort to create stories this year that no one has ever seen before," he said in a statement. "I am very, very proud to be a part of this story line and very proud of Marvel for even attempting such a bold endeavor."
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe and whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including "Amazing Spider-Man."
Mark Paniccia, senior editor at Marvel Entertainment, said the story is part of the Ultimate imprint's mission to keep characters fresh but reinvented, updated and even killed off to advance story lines in the Ultimate universe, which was created 10 years ago and has been a best-seller for Marvel.
"We're excited because this let's us show the world how serious we are about change in the Ultimate universe ... that we can blow up the status quo and turn everything on its ear like no one could've predicted," he said.
The story is set to hit comic store shelves in February.