This villainous character, whose real name was Stan Carter, was a police officer turned serial killer that graces the pages of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider Man. Although only in a handful of comics that spanned a three year period, the Sin Eater was a pivotal character in the Spider Man mythos, Peter David’s “The Death of Jean DeWolff” brought life and character to the books title character that had not been seen before. The Sin Eater had no special super powers and wore a purple jump suit with green gloves, boots and mask. He occasionally wore a purple utility belt to hold additional ammunition for the double-barreled shotgun that was his weapon of choice.

Carter became unhinged and set off on a mission to kill public officials whom he thought were corrupt and polluting the system. His first victim was his lover, Captain Jean DeWolff. As luck would have it Carter was assigned to head up the Sin Eater investigation. The Sin Eater’s next victims were a minister and a judge that he deemed corrupt. Spiderman and Daredevil became involved in the case.

During the investigation a reporter Eddie Brock ran a story in newspapers based on interviews he had with a man confessing to be the Sin Eater. This made Brock, who was a struggling journalist, until pressure from the authorities forced Brock to give up his source. It was discovered that Brock’s source was really a lunatic who falsely believed he to be the serial killer. Spiderman discovered the true identity of the Sin Eater, and this discovery destroyed Eddie Brock’s personal career. Subsequently, Brock’s new found hatred for Spider Man led to his joining with the alien symbiote that had once been Spider Man’s black costume from after the Secret Wars. This was where the character Venom came from.

At one point in the manhunt Spider Man was able to catch up with the Sin Eater, whereupon Carter fired the shotgun that had become his signature weapon at the web-slinger. Spidey easily dodged the blast, which struck down a man in the crowded streets around the fight. This is something that Spider Man regrets to this day. When he finally caught the Sin Eater, who at this time had been unmasked as Stan Carter, Spiderman was so enraged that he beat the criminal to a point near death. It took Daredevil pulling Spiderman off the Sin Eater from him beating Carter to death. It was later revealed that this beating crippled Stan Carter. After his release from a mental institution Carter, whose psyche was so tortured by his criminal alter ego goaded the police into killing him by threatening a child with a shotgun, which was later discovered to be unloaded.

One of the greatest character traits of this character was the fact that the reader was allowed to see the internal conflict between personalities of Stan Carter, a fine upstanding police officer, and the Sin Eater, a raving lunatic bent on murder. In just a few short issues Peter David created a character that you could despise for his cruelty, be shocked by his viciousness, feel pity for his internal struggles, and eventually mourn for in his death. This is the first comic series that I read as a child in which someone died, and it moved me severely. I remember talking with my friends and wondering how this would change the Spider Man world, and being shocked when Carter was finally unmasked. He is truly a symbol of realism shaping comics, and that you don’t have to be a super man in comics to make a super impact.


  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #107 (First Appearance, Death of Jean DeWolff)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #108 (fires into crowd)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #109 (revealed as Stan Carter)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #110 (captured)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #134 (Released, and revealed to be crippled in last fight)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #135 (Stan Carter saves Spidey)

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man #136 (Death)

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