After ASM #700 the question I got asked the most
by people who recognized me in public...
walking down the street
by my doormen
and even on live television was...
"When's Peter Parker coming back?"
And I would say, "Never. Peter Parker is dead."
Which was a bold-faced lie.
When small children would ask, I would look them in the eye and say "He's dead and he's never coming back."
One of these kids was even in an honest-to-God little league uniform, his lower lip quivering and his eyes watering up. And I told him that I was very sorry, but that in life sometimes bad things happen to good people... and, yes, Peter Parker is really dead.
At conventions, there'd be long lines, and someone would ask me every five minutes "When's Peter Parker coming back?"
And to avoid getting that asked five minutes later, I would cup my hands, and YELL so that they could hear me in the back,
"HE'S DEAD! PETER PARKER IS DEAD! AND HE'S NOT COMING BACK!"
And that would mean I'd only get that question every half hour instead.
At a convention in Mexico, I quickly learned the phrase, "PETER PARKER ES MUERTO! NO MAS! MUERTOOOOOO!"
Why would I do this to people?
Because NO WAY, pal! I'm not ruining the story for you or any of the other readers.
The Superior Spider-Man was over 33 issues (and side series and special projects), each at 20 pages or more a pop.
Pages that pencilers, inkers, colorists and letterers were going to work on day and night-- and zillions of all-nighters where I was going to be plotting and scripting for them-- and crates and crates of these comics that people were loading onto trucks-- and retailers were going to have to sell to help their bottom lines... And ALL the headaches editors were going to endure to produce them...
At some point, I'm the world's biggest jerk if I ruined all of that work for the team.
So I couldn't tell anybody.
Okay, THAT'S a lie.
I told TWO people outside of Marvel Editorial.
Stan Lee's people called me because Stan wanted to know if Peter Parker was dead. And I let Stan know he was coming back.
And while visiting the set of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Andrew Garfield (in costume) asked me if it were for real and if "he" was coming back. And I told him.
So... Stan Lee and Spider-Man. And that was it.
I mean, c'mon. Stan Lee and Spider-Man. A guy's got limits.