Spidey in Reprint Land

The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip has died...or gone into hibernation. Whatever the truth will turn out to be, the strip is currently presenting reprints for the first time in over forty years. Those who knew this was coming were expecting a return to the beginning with Spidey facing Dr. Doom or to another early Lee-Romita story or something that hasn't yet been reprinted in the IDW hardcover volumes, something from the 80s, 90, or 00s. Instead, the first reprint has proven to be a story that was first printed less than five years ago.

Why was this story chosen for reprint? I've been thinking that any possible reboot will eliminate Peter's marriage to MJ. But, if you wanted to get your audience used to the idea, you'd probably reprint a story from before the marriage. So, does this mean that Peter and MJ will stay married? It's also a particularly long story, running about nine months. Does that mean that the reboot will begin right after it is over?

Let's look at the first week of this reprint to see if we can get any clues and to see what they've been up to. You may recall that, on March 23rd, the last new strip, Peter and MJ were on a plane bound for Australia. On March 24th, a caption was added to panel #1 of the reprint, reading, "Peter dreams of good times..." in a way to ease us into this reprint. Perhaps Peter is still on the plane and dreaming? Panel #2 has an image of Killgrave the Purple Man, who was the villain in the last new story with Spidey saying, "Killgrave revealed as the criminal he always truly was." This made little sense, because there was no question that Killgrave was a criminal in the last story, unless it is referring to a time that Spidey fought Killgrave before, which he hadn't. Once I figured out that this strip was the start of the "Marvella 2" storyline, I realized that the villain in question had to be Dr. Octopus. I searched in my strip collection to see if I had that one, and I did. The original, from November 16, 2014, has an image of Doc Ock with Spidey saying, "Dr. Octopus revealed as the criminal he always truly was." So, that's how lazy this all was. They bothered to change the image to Killgrave but not Spidey's dialogue to anything that made sense.

Having gone through the original strip, I noticed that they changed the headline in the newspaper in panel #3. It was "Spider-Man exposes Doctor Octopus! Wall Crawler Stands Alone as City's Major Criminal." Now it is "Mayor Breaks Ground For New Condo Site." So, I'll give them credit for that. The last change is a caption in panel #5 that reads, "...and not-so-good times," as MJ tells Peter that her Broadway show has closed.

The question remains. Why this story? Why one that was published so recently? On March 27th, film producer Abe Smiley arrives. On March 29th, Abe offers MJ the lead role in Marvella 2. And on March 31st, in the last panel, Mysterio appears. Oh yeah, that's right, Mysterio was one of the villains of this story. The same Mysterio who is the villain in the upcoming film, "Spider-Man: Far From Home." I think I just answered my own question. Reprinting this story has nothing to do with a potential reboot or whether Peter and MJ will stay married or anything else. It's product placement. Nothing more.