Blah Blah Blog – Spidey Answers, Part 1

Here are a pair of entries from my old Marvel blog in which I put out a call for questions specifically concerning the situation surrounding the Spider-Man titles, as well as my answers to teh first batch of questions that I received.

Spidey Time

October 7, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

It seems like I can’t write anything on this blog without people in the comments section trying to make it about Spider-Man, or drag Spider-Man into it, or just complain about Spider-Man. I could post about the weather and HiddenVorlun would respond that the sun hasn’t shined since Mary Jane went away.

And yet, I’m about giving the people what they want, and what it seems like a bunch of you want at the moment is to talk about Spider-Man. So let’s go. We’ll use the standard blog rules on this one: each poster gets to post no more than two questions, and any poster can veto any question for any reason. We’ll collect whatever survives this culling process up towards the end of the week, and then I’ll answer them over as many days as it may take.

A few obvious caveats: I’m not going to reveal anything that spoils upcoming storylines, so there are going to be some areas that you’ll want answers on that I’m not going to be able to give you much on. And, as always, let’s all try to stay civil. There’s no need to insult any creators directly here; let’s maintain some decorum.

Other than that, all you irate Spider-Man non-readers, lay ‘em on me.

More later.

Tom B

Spidey Answers pt 1.

October 9, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

All right, people, I’m calling it. We’re now closed for Spidey questions and vetos—hope you’ve said your piece and gotten everything off your chest, because now we’re going to move into some answers.

>(1) Is Marvel going to start offering an option to subscribe to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY? >

Ah, an easy one to start off with. I’m not sure whether we’re going to be offering a subscription to FAMILY just yet, but we’ve been talking about the possibility of having the book come out monthly, and if that were to happen, the odds for it getting a subscription push would improve.

>(2) Any plans to have Peter David do any Spider-Man work any time soon?

Posted by Mardochaeus LXX on 2008-10-07 18:51:16>

Nothing in the immediate future, I don’t think. Peter just recently finished doing two years on a Spidey title, and he’s written Spidey a number of other times over the years. Nothing says he couldn’t come back to do some more Spidey stuff down the line, but at the moment we’re looking to try some more newer people first.

> Tom, what did you really think of The Other? The general reaction seems to have been poor, as much of the storyline was either ignored or quickly done away with (one of the very best things about BND, in my opinion).

Posted by Moorish on 2008-10-07 19:28:47>

I don’t think it’s any great secret that just about nobody involved with “The Other” was incredibly happy with how it all turned out. Sometimes that happens with stories, especially ones constructed in the manner of “The Other.” However, it was invaluable as a trial balloon at doing a thrice-monthly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (even if that wasn’t the plan right at that moment) and the advantages and pitfalls of that kind of a system. I think we assembled a production machine and a creative team for Brand New Day that worked much more effectively and harmoniously having gone through “The Other.” That said, the story still sold very well, and it seems like people are constantly asking about the added powers Spidey got from it—as we’ll see in just a few questions–so it wasn’t a calamity or anything.

>1) If everything in continuity happened, except for the “I do”, how come dead people are back? (Basically a Spider-man continuity question, what did OMD change, although I’m guessing, that’s the definition of upcoming story lines.) >

I think people are more vexed by this than they would typically be, and it’s really our fault for folding a number of things together and doing it all at once rather than parsing things out. But we wanted to get to the “meat” of the new status quo faster rather than slower, and nobody wanted to go through six months of “try-to-explain-stuff” stories to start out with.

People come back from the dead all the time in comics, and all the time in Spider-Man comics. Norman Osborn was dead for years, and now he’s alive. Aunt May was dead, and now she’s alive. Pick any villain—dead, then alive. Happens all the time. Putting One More Day aside for the moment, if we just did an issue in which, on the last page, there was a knock on Pete’s door and Harry Osborn was standing there, back from the dead, nobody would think twice—you’d just wait for the backstory, and you’d either buy into it or you wouldn’t buy into it.

That’s precisely what’s happening here. Harry’s return doesn’t have anything to do with Mephisto’s deal, and the circumstances surrounding it will be revealed and covered in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #581-582. So yes, everything in continuity happened except for the wedding.

>2) How old is Peter Parker? Strictly years and months. None of this early 20s, mid-20s stuff, please.

Posted by thomas more on 2008-10-07 19:46:36>

You’d be hard-pressed to get a definitive answer to this question on any of Marvel’s characters, especially given the way that “Marvel Time” functions (constantly compressing the entire publishing history into a relatively finite space. But Peter was 15 years old when he got bitten and became Spider-Man, and it’s been somewhere between ten and twelve years “Marvel Time” since then, so he’s around 26 years old.

> Now I am sure you’ve heard this alot, but… You, Quesada, and others have repeatedly stated: The only thing that’s changed was the Marriage not happening. I can post a link to every site where this is said. Spidey’s normal powers would have enabled him to keep up with such thugs, and his enhanced powers from the Other certainly would’ve made it a breeze to keep up with people like Screwball. But as we saw in BND, Screwball got away.

My question is: If the only thing that’s changed is the Marriage, then what happened to Spider-Man’s powers from the Other, and the experience he accrued over the years? >

There are two components to this question, so let me take them one at a time.

What happened to Spidey’s powers from “The Other”? Nothing, so far as we know. But his crazy totemistic attributes would only come out when he was dealing with another totemistic-based threat, and we haven’t put him up against anything like that just yet. They may have gone away, they may not have, but there’s nothing in the books themselves to indicate one way or the other. The only thing we know for sure is that Spidey is back to using mechanical web-shooters—but that could be as simple a set of circumstances as the power-up Spidey got from his experiences with The Queen wearing off naturally.

The second one speaks to Spidey’s experience and ability, and those aren’t a solid-state circumstance. The same thing is true with all of our characters: the question of who-beats-who has as much to do with the individual circumstances of the altercation—when and where it takes place, the physical and emotional states of the two fighters, who “wants” it more, and any of a million other variables. This is why sporting contests are just that—contests. Just because a particular player has a better set of stats than the guy he’s up against doesn’t guarantee a win. (If it didn’t, we wouldn’t need to have boxing matches anymore. We could just parade the two fighters out, read off their stats and declare a winner.) Everybody has good days and bad, upsets and triumphs.

Now in terms of relative power levels, Spidey’s got a long, storied history of being vexed by people with ordinary strength. One need look no further than the Kingpin. Spider-Man is strong enough to lift a Volkswagen (at least on a good day), yet the Kingpin who possesses no superhuman strength or abilities at all would routinely bat him around the room. The same thing is true of guys like the Enforcers. The same kind of thing is true of guys like Doc Ock or Electro, who, while they have specialized powers, aren’t innately more durable than an ordinary man and should fold into a heap after one blow from a guy who can lift ten tons. I blame this escalation of power sets on the Marvel Handbooks, which in the 1980s reported the absolute pinnacle of a particular character’s power levels, rather than their typical levels., From there on, a super-powers arms race began, with successive writers treating the characters as though they could typically reach the levels that previously they’d only attained under extreme duress. So while it took every ounce of Spider-Man’s strength and determination to lift the giant machine off his back when he was trapped in the Master Planner’s lair in AMAZING #33, these days he’d be able to hoist it without breaking a sweat.

All of this is irrelevant in the case of Screwball, however, who does possess superhuman abilities (despite what any number of those online sites you mentioned seem to think. It’s generally a safe bet to assume that the creators know more about characters who were just introduced than the readers.)

> I understand Marvel is busy with comics and what not, but would it be possible for you and others to at least pay the message boards a visit at least every once in awhile?

Posted by Aziroth on 2008-10-07 20:00:50>

I’ve popped by those boards once or twice, but the honest truth is that they are a colossal time-eater, and I don’t have enough time as it is to do everything I need to get done in order to have the books come out every month. So while I know it’s fun for you guys to be able to interact with the creators and editors and such, you probably benefit more in the long run from us using that time to work on the books instead.

More Spidey tomorrow.

Tom B

One thought on “Blah Blah Blog – Spidey Answers, Part 1

  1. This is especially fun to read now, as Harry Osborn’s survival was properly explained (and in a great way, IMO) this year!


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