Blah Blah Blog – Viewer Mail

Another old post from my Marvel blog in which I answer questions posed by the audience.

Viewer Mail

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Got a lot of feedback the last couple of days, so let’s hit some Viewer Mail…

I think that’s a dangerous thought, Tom.

The Spider-Clone story galvanized the audience. It made them feel passionate, and it drove them away in massive numbers by the end, even after exciting a lot of people in the beginning.

Posted by MattDiCarlo on 2007-03-29 07:38:53

I think the differences are that A) The Spider-Clone storyline went on forever, way too long, and B) kept changing its parameters along the way as people got nervous about the story or the response to the story. It’s a very easy thing to trot out a past storyline that didn’t go over so well and use it as an excuse not to ever try anything–but there isn’t a one-to-one correlation on this stuff.

>The problem here that I have is with the statement, “The plain fact of the matter is that the characters are all fictional; they’re all lines on paper. It is therefore incredibly difficult to “disrespect” them in this sort of a manner. You can disrespect their histories, you can disrespect their historical importance, but you cannot disrespect them, because they don’t actually exist to take any offense.”

The problem with this is that Joe has stated time-and-again that this is supposed to be real. Happening in “our” world. Yet when we say they are not acting like a real person would given their history and psychological make-up, then it’s stated that they’re NOT real. Which is it?

Posted by riotgear on 2007-03-27 02:30:07

I don’t think Joe has ever stated that any of the events in Marvel Comics are “real”. he has said that we strive to reflect the real world around us in which we live, but that’s not the same thing. And when you say that so-and-so isn’t acting like a real person would, well, everybody’s life is full of instances where they did things that were seemingly out of character; human beings are far more complex and capable of contradictory behavior than what we typically allow from our fictional figures.

>I think you are generally correct, and the term “respect” and “disrespect” are over- and improperly used. But aren’t there times when the writers intentionally dismiss and make fun of characters in their story in ways that are damaging to the character down the road? For instance, just a few years if not months ago, Iron Fist was a punchline character that was basically there just to make everyone remember the “horrors” of the kung-fu craze of the 70s. Now Fraction/Brubaker have made this guy have a comeback, and their job is maybe a little more difficult because of the baggage put on him by others.
And for that matter, will Pulsar ever have another successful run after what NextWAVE did to her character? Is there a point where a writer is intentionally discrediting a character to the point where it is no longer usable?

Posted by bigdaddyhub2 on 2007-03-27 16:17:07>

In 99 44/100% of all cases, all that stands between any old character and success is just one good story. And your example of Iron Fist is a good one–I don’t think Danny was ever played as a joke, but he was a character who had maybe not been taken all that seriously by the majority of readers. but all it took was one issue by Ed, Matt and David, and the guy is suddenly back on the map. That’s how quickly things can change. From my point of view, nothing that was done with Monica in NEXTWAVE did her any more permanent damage than can be fixed with one good story.

Do you know if there is a comic book or web site that contains information on the crossovers of the marvel super heroes’ appearances, There was a comic book(hulk) that I was reading a couple of weeks ago that was continuation from another comic (captain Marvel). can you help me, Thanks

Posted by Jackomac62 on 2007-03-26 11:16:45>

I’d need more information to be able to help you in this specific instance, but as a general rule, just about anything you could want to know about old storylines can be found somewhere online. So my best advice would be to run a google search on the pertinent story info (Hulk, the name of the villain, or whatever) and see what comes up.

>I didn’t encounter Peggy back in the 70s, but I do agree with Anthony.

I do not see how folks can insist on the whole ‘sliding timescale’ thing without complaining about the fact that Peter Parker can give a whole speech in the time it takes him to land a punch. 😛

Clearly time is wacky in the Marvel Universe (or people speak/think exceptionally quickly).

But what about Aunt May? Why does this not seem to apply to her? Surely by now she should have been retconned into Peter’s “great Aunt”? 😉

Posted by Adrian J. Watts on 2007-03-13 17:52:12>

There’s a difference between the convention of people being able to make a speech between punches, which is a convention of the medium and the way that comics are read and digested, and the notion that these characters have been around for 45 years but really haven’t aged. The latter requires a much greater suspension of disbelief for the majority of readers. And within that discord, there’s no consensus, no one way that everybody would like to see the situation handled. So, over time, we made the best decisions that we could.

And in the case of Aunt May, there isn’t a problem, as there aren’t any elements of her backstory that are so completely intrinsically connected to a given period of time, in the same way that Captain America is forever connected to World War II. All this means for Aunt May is that the stories that detail her life growing up in the 1930s or whenever get updated and shifted forward–in the same way that Reed and Ben Grimm were once said to have fought in World War II, but that element has been revised. It’s not critical to the character in the same way it is for somebody like Cap.

>Two numberings?
I think the best solution for the numbering of the Marvel comic books is to have two different numberings. For example, New Avengers #1 should have been called New Avengers #1/Avengers (Season 2) #504. I think the reboots should have a new numbering AND keep the old one. For instance, Joss Whedon Runaways could have been rebooted so that his first issue would have been called : Runaways Season 3 #1 (Issue 37). I think it is the best way to beneficiate from “the number one hype” AND to keep the continuity of the series since its beginning in the 60s or so. (I’m sorry if my English isn’t quite correct, I’m French)

Posted by softverre on 2007-03-13 18:41:00>

The biggest drawback with the two-numbering system is that it satisfies nobody, but confuses everybody. And that’s not an effective solution.

>As Captain America #25 sold out 2 weeks ago, the owner of my shop told me about a little joke he played. You see, he wanted to see if he had any other Captain America #25s in stock- which he did- Volume 3 and 4 (volume 5 being the current run) he told a customer about the sellout of the issue and how he had older issues that were also #25. Some poor schmuck (who listened in on the whole story) bought vol 3 for $4 (more than it was worth)

Posted by twl7569 on 2007-03-20 18:23:07>

Apologies to your retailer, but this doesn’t strike me so much as a “little joke” so much as somebody deliberately taking advantage of the ignorance of potential new customers to take them to the cleaners–going for short term gain over long term profit. When that customer realizes that he’s been deceived, do you think there’s much of a chance that he’ll ever set foot into a comic shop again?

More later.

Tom B

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