By Jean-Paul Salamanca ( | First Posted: Dec 26, 2012 08:56 PM EST

Marvel Comics is killing off Peter Parker, the alter-ego of their flagship character Spider-Man, in the latest edition of "Amazing Spider Man" released this week. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

One of comics' most beloved superheroes has slung his last web this week.

Marvel Comics is bidding farewell to Peter Parker, better known to comic book fans around the world as Spider-Man, who is killed off in this week's issue of "Amazing Spider Man" No. 700.

In the issue, according to Hollywood Reporter, Parker, who has donned the iconic red-and-blue, web-bearing cowl since the Spider-Man character was first created by Stan Lee in 1962, takes his final curtain call in a fight-to-the-finish with his arch-nemesis Doctor Octopus.

However, Parker's apparent death will not necessarily mean the end of Spider-Man, as Doctor Octopus, whose alter ego is tortured scientist Doctor Otto Octavius, swaps his dying body with Parker, and, in a moment of clarity, realizes that his longtime adversary was a true hero, and vows to take on Spidey's mission to protect the innocent himself.

Dan Slott, the Marvel writer who wrote the finale of the iconic comic series, told USA TODAY that Octavius's taking on the mantle of Spider-Man--which starts when "Superior Spider-Man," the spin-off, launches in January--was symbolic for many reasons.

"This is Moriarty in the head of Sherlock. This is Prince John inside of Robin Hood. This is the greatest villain inside the body of the greatest hero and trying to do good," he said. "This is a guy who was a couple steps way from a bucket list, and now he's got a whole new lease on life. That's really going to change him."

Peter Parker has been the face for the Spider-Man franchise that has launched several cartoon series since the 1980s, and four blockbuster films.

The first three, "Spider-Man" "Spider-Man 2" and "Spider-Man 3" starred Tobey Maguire as Parker and Kirsten Dunst as longtime love interest Mary Jane Watson, grossed $2.5 billion worldwide. The fourth one, released this summer starring Andrew Garfield in the role of the "friendly neighborhood superhero" and Emma Stone as girlfriend Gwen Stacy, grossed $752,216,557.

The character has even inspired a Broadway play, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."

This is not the first time Marvel's flagship wall-crawling hero has been killed off, as Marvel's Ultimate Comics brand, which prints alternate universe stories of the House of Ideas' famous characters, had Spider-Man die in a battle with his arch-enemy the Green Goblin last year.

On Twitter, fan reaction has ranged from shocked to mourning to excited.

"Dear Marvel/Disney/whatever. Killing off Peter Parker is a mistake and you're stupid for making Doc Ock Spider-Man. Sincerely, everyone," tweeted user Riv.

Derrick Goold tweeted, "Naturally, my letter on how Peter Parker is every bit the hero Spider-Man is printed (I'm humbled) in Am. Spider-Man #700, the end of Parker."

"Marvel has killed off Peter Parker. Sweat pants to be worn at half mast. T-shirts still tucked in though," wrote Sean Gabay.

"I cannot believe that Peter Parker is dead... What is going on with this world? I don't want to live here anymore," tweeted user Tacorauhl.

"So wait. Doc Ock switches minds with Peter Parker then kills his own body, leaving him as Spider-Man. Who does Marvel think they are, DC?" joked user Hubbit Ducreax.

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