UPDATE 3:05 PM PT CBR spoke with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about the leak and its affect on the industry.
"It's always disappointing when someone decides to spoil a big story by posting it on the torrents," Alonso told CBR. "Piracy affects fans, creators and retailers who look forward to a big comic book to put some cash in their registers -- which 'Amazing Spider-Man #700' definitely will do. The fact that physical copies of the issue exist, but are accessible to a select few, is, of course, alarming."
When asked if Marvel would be taking any measures to further investigate the leak, Alonso said, "Yes, Marvel is investigating this matter."
SPOILER WARNING: This story contains hints to events concerning the currently-ongoing arc of "Amazing Spider-Man."
In late November, before the release of Marvel Comics' "Amazing Spider-Man" #698, scans of the issue's massive change in status quo appeared online at least five days prior to the issue shipping to retailers, indicating a massive leak of information. Today, new scans appeared online, this time for "Amazing Spider-Man" #700, the final issue of the series and ending to Dan Slott's 100-issue slow burn of a Spider-story.
The leak comes nearly two weeks in advance of the issue's December 26 street date, and the uploader posted a summary of the issue along with scans of pages by Humberto Ramos from a physical copy of the book. The scans were posted a good four days before retailers were scheduled to receive the issue in advance of the Christmas holiday from Diamond.
CBR has independently confirmed with multiple retailers and industry sources that the issue has not yet shipped to retailers, but has been printed, meaning the leak likely comes from an individual involved in the printing, distribution or publishing process.
It's unknown whether the uploader is the same scanner that leaked the "Amazing Spider-Man" #698 pages, but it's unlikely this will be the last instance of major spoilers getting leaked from major comics issues. The breach in security should force all those concerned in the industry to restructure how information and advance copies are distributed.
The ending of "Amazing Spider-Man" has been one of Marvel's best-kept secrets, with writer Dan Slott going into internet silence about the issue, presumably due to the scans, and asking other readers to do the same.
"A story is a beginning, middle, and end in context," Slott said via Twitter. "A story is in the telling -- not in the second hand recounting by others. If anyone put their mind to it they could tell the world's worst beat-for-beat version of 'Citizen Kane' or 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' -- and with very little effort, make them sound horrible. It's not that hard to do. Please do us the favor of reading the story as we intended it. Please look at this story with pages shown in their entirety, instead of partially chopped and framed to highlight some dialogue but leaving other parts out. Please let us tell you our story. It's a story I've wanted to tell for some time. It's a story we've seeded for one hundred issues. This is not a fly-by-night gimmick or slapped together plan. This three part arc -- and especially this final chapter -- is my favorite story I've ever told in comics!
"I am very proud of this one -- and all the hard work and stunning artistry Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, and Chris Eliopoulos delivered on the page," he continued. "Hell, our editorial team of Steve Wacker and Ellie Pyle worked tireless hours through a hurricane to get this to you! Please, please, please let us do our jobs and present this project that we all care about to you in the manner with which it was designed."
"Amazing Spider-Man" #700 hits stores December 26.