This week's Amazing Spider-Man #562 ends with that most classic of superhero methods, the reveal of next issue's surprise villain. In this case -- SPOILER ALERT -- it's the Looter, and if you're like me, you've got no earthly idea who that is. In times past, a reader would be lucky to get a little asterisk with a note from the editor advising them to check out a previous issue they have no hope of finding, or just wait until next month for more information.

Obviously, there's no excuse for such practices in the 21st century, and the good people at Marvel know this. In place of such archaic ways of transmitting necessary nerdy back-story, the editors of the new Amazing Spider-Man directed readers to a specific URL! The destination Marvel.com's Marvel Universe wiki, where fans can familiarize themselves with the history and other particulars of the Looter in advance of the next issue.As iFanboy's Jim Mroczkowski pointed out, this sort of Web integration has been largely missing from the broader digital comics discussion that rages ceaselessly on this site and around the 'net. It doesn't take much imagination to extend this concept to a clickable link within a digital comic, perhaps one that takes you not only to a helpful information source, but maybe a crucial back-issue?

Kudos to Marvel for integrating this brilliantly simple but eminently useful feature.

[Via iFanboy]