The world of Spider-Man comics contains a treasure trove of iconic moments that make the universe ripe for adapting to the big screen. Over the course of the movies, Spider-Man fans have witnessed many all-time great storylines get a Hollywood spin, such as Spidey's origin (at least twice), the death of the Green Goblin (Sam Raimi's Spider-Man), the death of Captain Stacy (Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man), the death of Gwen Stacy (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Spider-Man No More (Raimi's Spider-Man 2), and the Sandman's origin (Raimi's Spider-Man 3).
As universally loved as many of these comic book stories are, the Spider-verse is also chock full of controversial and demonstrably awful moments that would be a poison pill for any Hollywood studio that dared to reimagine them on the big screen. When it comes to these moments, no amount of money or talent would be able to save these hypothetical Spider-Man movies from the fan or political backlash they would unquestionably inspire.
In some instances, these storylines were so reviled and rejected; they sparked a steady decline in comic book sales. So, theres definitely no way a major studio will sink hundreds of millions of dollars into a Spider-Man film, only to watch its investment flop tremendously because one of these 10 storylines was selected.
9. Kravens Suicide
Kraven's Last Hunt, courtesy of J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck, is considered by many comic book fans to be one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever written. Yet, there's one moment in particular towards the end of the six-part arc that also makes it one of Spideys most controversial stories ever, and a likely hard sell for a Hollywood adaptation.
After shooting Spider-Man with a tranquilizer and burying him alive, Kraven the Hunter dresses up as Spidey and sets out to prove himself as a superior Spider-Man. Spider-Man eventually pulls himself out of the Earth and confronts Kraven, but before Spidey can get his revenge, the Hunter throws one last obstacle his way, releasing the animalistic Vermin into New York City. As Spider-Man deals with Vermin, Kraven reflects on his life and finds himself content with the fact that he proved himself as a superior Spider-Man. He then inserts the barrel of a rifle into his own mouth and pulls the trigger, killing himself.
Critics of the storyline claimed the scene glorified suicide. DeMatteis and Zeck addressed these complaints a few years later with the tepidly received Soul of the Hunter one-shot, which showed Kraven's spirit stuck in a purgatorial state because of his suicide.
Many Spider-Man fans have lobbied for a Kraven's Last Hunt adaptation over the years but, if it ever happens, Kraven's suicide would likely be cut out or totally re-imagined somehow. In addition to morally alienating a significant portion of moviegoers, graphically depicting Kraven's suicide as it appears in the comics would most certainly bump the rating up to an R, a kiss of death for a summer blockbuster.
Mark is a professional writer living in Brooklyn and is the founder of the Chasing Amazing Blog, which documents his quest to collect every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, and the Superior Spider-Talk podcast. He also pens the "Gimmick or Good?" column at Comics Should Be Good blog.