If you’re reading this article, then chances are you’ve been on a superhero fansite at some point in your life. Whether it’s discussing the latest storyline, reading movie rumors, or finding a community of friends, internet fansites can be a special place. They can also be a chaotic place (it is the internet after all). This is a good time to mention that I honed my craft by writing articles for various fansites. Love them or hate them, they’re a big part of our culture.
But how do fansites function within the fictional Marvel Universe? The citizens of the 616 can’t complain about the latest X-Men writer or bemoan endless crossovers. So much of our conversations about superheroes focus on the stories they star in. If Spider-Man was real, then the conversation would change.
According to Uncanny Spider-Man #1 (written by Si Spurrier and penciled by Lee Garbett), internet fansites in the Marvel Universe are not that different than the ones in our real world. Let’s take a look.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Uncanny Spider-Man #1!
Surfing the web
Throughout Uncanny Spider-Man #1 we get various references to SpideyStans, an internet fansite devoted to all things Spider-Man. The website is so well known that even low-level crooks use it. A robber and his partner are fleeing from Spider-Man (who is actually Nightcrawler in disguise) and decide to cut through Central Park. “I got the idea readin’ SpideyStans,” the first crook says. “Wait – the fansite? You’re a member?! That’s a serious conflict of interest,” his partner replies. “Hey, I got multiple facets! There’s more to me than stealin’ organs for the mad-science market, okay,” the first crook says.
The crook then explains that Spider-Man needs tall buildings to swing, and the lack of structures in Central Park will leave him grounded. Unfortunately, they’re dealing with Nightcrawler, who uses his teleportation powers to make quick work of them. However, this moment does reveal an interesting aspect of superhero fansites existing within the Marvel Universe.
Criminals can use these sites to get intel on the heroes and develop strategies for beating them. I’m now wondering if Red Skull and Doctor Doom have ever browsed the internet, hoping to find that one weakness they overlooked.
After Nightcrawler (still disguised as Spider-Man) saves a jogger, she reveals that she’s also a frequent SpideyStans user. “I have GOT to ask – it’s aaaaall they talk about on SpideyStans – what else can you do with that tail,” she asks. That’s right, fansites spend a lot of time discussing strange superhero anatomy. Does this surprise anybody?
What does SpideyStans talk about?
As a fun bonus, Uncanny Spider-Man #1 features a screenshot of SpideyStans’s forum. If you’ve ever participated in an internet forum, some of the posts might seem familiar to you. The SpideyStans users are discussing the appearance of a new Spider-Man, and their posts range from angry, to thirsty, and needlessly sarcastic.
“Vibing hard for that CREEPY CRAWLER,” the moderator wrote in a sticky post. “HE’S SO HOT!!!! OMG that bod! That butt! That TAIL,” another user wrote. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the SpideyStans is incredibly horny.
The usual internet complainers are on there as well. “Lame DD/Spidey mash. (Mods, can we pin the LIST OF SPIDEYS thread? Nobody bothers to check any more,” wrote one user. “Am I the only one getting new spidey fatigue? Like, I thought we were here to highkey the original? Blue/red, kinda goofy = GOAT. Why can’t new heroes get their OWN thing,” an angry user posted. It’s amusing that people within the Marvel Universe are debating the overexposure of Spider-Man variants, the same way fans in the real world do.
Here's another interesting piece of fansite lore – one post mentions that the X-Men fansites were all taken offline after the Hellfire Gala massacre. This is probably akin to Reddit removing pages for controversial topics. Speaking of the X-Men….
Why is Nightcrawler pretending to be Spider-Man?
As you’re reading this article, you might be asking yourself why Nightcrawler is pretending to be Spider-Man. Life for the X-Men has been incredibly complicated lately, even by their standards. An organization called Orchis recently framed the X-Men and their allies for a series of murders, turning humanity against all mutants. Orchis has also used Tony Stark’s technology to remake the deadly mutant hunting Sentinels into Stark Sentinels.
In other words, giant androids with Iron Man tech are hunting mutants around the globe. It’s pretty dangerous to be one of the X-Men right now, and Kurt Wagner has nowhere to hide. The Stark Sentinels can detect the X-Gene, and even if they couldn’t, Kurt’s blue fur makes it hard for him to hide.
That’s where Spider-Man comes in. The Wall-Crawler is allowing Nightcrawler to use one of his spare suits and pretend to be a new Spider-Man. Since Spider-Man’s costume covers his entire body, Nightcrawler can disguise his blue fur. Most people assume the tail is some kind of gimmick. Nightcrawler has also found a way to mask his X-Gene from the Stark Sentinels.
For better or worse, Kurt Wagner is the Uncanny Spider-Man. Does this mean he’ll be invited to the next Spider-Verse event? If he is, then I’m sure SpideyStans will have plenty to say about it.