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Marvel asked fans to avoid spoilers of its major death, then spoiled it themselves - here's why

Executive editor Tom Brevoort explains the thinking behind officially spoiling Amazing Spider-Man #26 two weeks ahead of release

Amazing Spider-Man Spoiler
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

There was some confusion last week when, faced with an online leak spoiling the end of May 31's Amazing Spider-Man #26 — which involves the death of a major Marvel character (surely you know by now) — Marvel Comics' initial response was to ask fans to avoid spoilers wherever possible… before officially announcing the spoiler itself, via an Entertainment Weekly story just hours later. Why would Marvel change its mind so quickly? This weekend, longtime Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort explained all.

Why Marvel spoiled Amazing Spider-Man #26's "shocking" death after warning people to avoid the spoilers

In the latest edition of his 'Man With A Hat' newsletter, Brevoort responded to a fan asking him to explain the thinking behind why Marvel would spoil the story two weeks ahead of release by saying, basically, that hadn’t been the plan originally.

“In this instance, we had coverage all set with Entertainment Weekly that was slated to be dropped when the issue came out. The negotiation for that coverage guaranteed them the exclusive to the story. So when somebody took a few blurry photos with their phone and posted them publicly weeks ahead of time, we were put into a corner,” Brevoort wrote. “At that point, we really didn’t have much of a choice other than to go ahead and authorize EW to release their story immediately. We could have waited, but then by the time their piece dropped along with the book, it would have been old news and not gotten them the eyeballs and traffic it was intended to. So that choice was made by us, by Marvel publishing, in the service of not burning our partner in this announcement and thus making it impossible to get similar coverage in the future. Again, we don’t love having to do this —but given the situation, it was about the only honorable avenue left to us.”

So, there you have it: the Entertainment Weekly story ran not because Marvel wanted to help orders for its upcoming comics, but because Marvel felt obliged to live up to an existing obligation to EW - even if it meant not only confirming the spoiler, but releasing more details than was originally leaked.

Following Marvel's decision to officially announce the spoilers however, it did begin taking orders for two second printings of the not-yet-released Amazing Spider-Man #26. One featuring an unrevealed Kaare Andrews cover, and the other a 'spoiler' variant by Gary Frank which will presumably spoil the book's ending on the front cover. The second one will be a ratio'd variant, meaning in this case retailers will need to order 50 copies of the main second printing to qualify to order one copy of this 'spoiler' variant.

Going back to where it all started though, this does bring to mind once again the question of just who leaked the image in the first place, but at this point, that ship might have sailed…

Amazing Spider-Man #26 will be released May 31. If you can’t wait that long, you can already find out how it ends. For those wanting more behind-the-scenes Marvel stories and a lot of comic book history, subscribe to Tom Brevoort’s newsletter; it’s a fun weekly read.

There are benefits to getting the word out early on plot developments, intentionally or otherwise.