Posted at 12:23 PM Sep 30, 2009By Andrea Grimes
I always knew Peter Parker was a whiny weenie, but a rapist? I mean, he's such a good guy! (Then again, that's what they say about Roman Polanski.) Okay, I'm being intentionally misleading: because while someone posing as Peter Parker did (maybe?) rape a girl in in a recent issue of the comic The Amazing Spiderman, it wasn't THE Peter Parker. Seems Villain Chameleon posed as Peter, then seduced Peter's roommate, Michelle, under false pretenses. Nina Shen Rastogi over at DoubleX explains:
In this issue, Chameleon/Peter comes home and finds an irate Michelle--and decides to defuse the situation with a kiss. The scene ends with the two sinking to the floor, out of the frame, with a speech bubble from Michelle that reads, "GIGGLE," covered in little red hearts. When the real Peter comes home, he's confused to find Michelle wearing his T-shirt and boxers, demanding cuddle time, and generally acting like a pushy girlfriend from a cringe-worthy sitcom.Courtesy of io9, here's a scan of the scene:
But was it rape?
Not according to the storyline writer, Fred Van Lente, who was asked by a fan:
Van Lente backpedaled once fans got irate, with one blogger noting that in Britain at least, pretending to be someone you're not and having sex with someone because they think you're the aforementioned someone else actually is rape even if you didn't hold them down. This is also true in Andrea-land. But Van Lente said:
My understanding of the definition of rape is that it requires force or the threat of force, so no. Using deception to trick someone into granting consent isn't quite the same thing. Which is not to say it isn't a horrible, evil, reprehensible thing that Chameleon did. He is a bad man. He insults parapelegics and dips people in acid too.
First off, while I believe he had the best of intentions, the poster "DrSevarius" wrote me under his real name and asked me a question I thought I was answering in private, to him. He posted my response without my permission and without telling me beforehand it was supposed to be for public consumption.In a later issue, Van Lente has defended his original response by saying it's going to be revealed that Chameleon/Parker and Michelle only made out, and didn't have sex. So do we downgrade to a sexual assault by deception? I mean, the real Peter Parker comes home later to find Michelle prancing around in his underwear. That implies sex to me. And even if they didn't screw, Michelle was deceived, certainly, into some kind of sexual activity.
I don't know much about comic production schedules, so maybe ya'll can enlighten me: could the "they just made out" argument be backtracking to avoid controversy?