Blah Blah Blog – Spidey Answers pt. 2

A post from my vintage Marvel blog in which I answer more questions that fans had about the three-times-per-month AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I drew the Steve Wacker caricature below at some point while we shared an office.

Spidey Answers pt 2.

October 10, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Day two of all-Spidey answers all the time.

>1) I understand that with the dissolution of the Spider-Marriage, it was a good idea to give Mary Jane a break and keep her away from the book for a while, even though she’s one of my favorite super-significant others in comics. So my question is are there plans for Mary Jane to return to the books as a major supporting character? Cameos of her dating Bobby Carr and the mystery of Who is Jackpot are entertaining as hell, but I feel like the book is one of its major moral centers without the sassy redhead. >

You’ll see more of Mary Jane in 2009, yes.

>2) Steve Wacker seems like a really funny guy, so here’s a two part question: Make him write a comedy book like a deadpool or aaron stack one-shot, i think thatd rock. Also, how in hell do you put up with him in the office?

Posted by cryhavok01 on 2008-10-07 20:20:27>

Steve’s an editor, rather than a writer, so you’re not likely to see him helming a book while he’s still here on staff. As a general rule, we don’t want the editorial staff writing the books, as there’s a clear conflict of interests and too much opportunity for cronyism.

And it’s not at all easy to put up with Steve in the office, as he plays old television theme songs randomly and cackles at his own Marvel Apes jokes. But I have the patience of a saint.

>How can a good character make a pact with evil incarnate and still be a good role model? >

This question was vetoed, but ultimately I get to make the rules, so I’m going to at least pick around it, if not answer it directly, because there are a couple of facets to this question that I think are worth discussing, and which I haven’t seen brought up anywhere.

I feel like the catch-phrase “Spidey made a deal with the Devil” has become something akin to a politician’s talking point; an easy-to-grasp, simplified and dumbed-down version of the facts that’s easy for people to take an unearned moral high ground on. I find it pretty unlikely that all of the people who wield this statement like a cudgel are actually at all morally offended by that storyline—it’s just a convenient phrase to parrot by people who are upset by the results of “One More Day.”

Similarly, I don’t think most people who talk about Spidey no longer being a “good role model” are at all truly concerned about that. Again, it’s just an easy statement to repeat to try to make the fact that they didn’t like the turn of events in a fantasy-fiction storyline seem like a bigger deal. It’s ironic that many of these same people scoff and sputter when we talk about how Marvel characters can no longer smoke cigarettes, because we want to avoid influencing children towards taking up that filthy habit. I think there’s a much greater chance that a kid is going to be able to get ahold of a cigarette than it is that he’s going to be able to summon up the infernal hell-lord for some high-spirited bargaining.

I’ve heard assorted people say that it would have been better or more acceptable if A) Loki had been behind “One More Day”, B) Peter and Mary Jane had just gotten a divorce, or C) fill in your own eventuality here. But I think that’s a crock. I think that if we’d gone any of these routes, there’d be just as many people upset with the story, and just as many people saying that version A, B or C destroyed the character, raped their childhood and offended their sensibilities. I don’t think the problem people have is with the methodology so much as with either the elimination of the marriage itself or with their feelings that the time and money they’ve spent on twenty years worth of Spider-Man comics was all wasted—and those sentiments would still be present in any of these other scenarios, to one extent or another.

Mephisto’s been a character in the Marvel Universe since 1968. He’s pretty clearly not “The” Devil—in fact, his Marvel Universe Handbook entry says, among other things, A Class Two Demon or Hell-lord, Mephisto rules a fiery nether realm that he refers to as Hell or Hades, though it is neither the Biblical Hell nor Pluto’s Olympian Hades. So sure, he’s a devil-figure, but he’s not “The” Devil. (And if you’re genuinely concerned about how your kids might respond if “The” Devil shows up on their doorstep to offer them a bargain, you’ve got much bigger problems to worry about than a comic book story.) In the context of the Marvel Universe, he’s simply another fantasy element, albeit one with a supernatural rather than a scientific bent, no different than Galactus or Eternity or Death. Mephisto’s been in dozens of stories before this one, and nobody outside of the most extreme fringe elements have taken any issue with him. (And yes, I know that’s different from a character actually making a deal with him, but we’ll get more into the mechanics and morality of Spidey’s choice in answering some later non-vetoed questions.)

>) Was the deal to supposed to screw Mary Jane or Peter?

Posted by kyle-latino on 2008-10-07 20:28:10>

Based on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #545, the deal was supposed to screw God out of Peter and Mary Jane’s union.

>1. I know for a fact that quesada said that Peter ‘forgot’ about his awsome “Other” powers rather then not ever having had them. This is supported by -nothing was ERASED except the I DO although some was forgotten- statement. So my question is not will they ever be addressed? my fist question IS SPECIFICALLY “IF a writer wanted to bring them back in soon or later would you let them?” >

I can’t recall anywhere that Joe Q said that Peter ‘forgot’ about his “Other” powers, but I’ll take your word for it. In any event, if there was a good story reason to bring them back, then sure. I don’t really see that happening any time soon, but there you go.

>2. Will Kaine and the Gwen clone ever be seen or mentioned again if only to be killed off? limboing characters is worse then killing them OR badly writing them. This has to be adressed one day so can you tell me IF AND/OR when it will be. come on lets get this one out of the way sooner rather then later pretty please?

Posted by tobys on 2008-10-07 20:29:02>

I disagree completely about “limboing” characters as you call it. I fail to see the point in bringing a character back simply to kill them. Why bother? All you’re doing is bringing more attention to them, and it’s always possible that somebody else could do something worthwhile with them down the line.

It’s likely that we’ll see Kaine again at some point. The Gwen clone I don’t know about—I think the only reason to bring her back would be to try to explain her now-infinitely-complicated backstory or just to wipe her off the map, and there’s really no point in that. What happened with the Gwen clone is a good example of why “Limboing” characters is preferable.

>have there been any discussion of plans for a possible new Paper Doll arc? She really had a great intro Amazing that really kind of left me wondering where she could be taken next.

Posted by Dr. Chaos on 2008-10-07 22:34:39>

Dan Slott’s talked about an idea for another Paper Doll story, but it would probably appear in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY rather than the home book, and it’s not scheduled just yet.

>1). What was the backup plan in case OMD/BND backfired so severely that you had to reverse said events? I can only assume that the backlash wasn’t bad enough where such a possibility was exercised. >

There was and there is no back-up plan to reverse “One More Day.” Eliminating the Spider-Man marriage was seen at all levels of Marvel as a necessary step, something that had to be done in order to secure the future of the character. So nobody has ever hedged any bets on this. In fact, one of the smartest things that Joe Q said at one point was that it was going to take five years for the hullaballoo over this storyline to die down, so that’s the kind of timeframe we’re planning against, the long haul. Now, this is comics, and absolutely anything can be reversed at any time if you don’t mind the collateral damage, so it’s not like this move can ever truly be set in stone. But I genuinely agree with Joe, and feel that in five years’ time Peter being single again will be accepted the same way that Norman Osborn being alive again is accepted, and Aunt May being back from the dead is accepted, and so forth.

>2). Any plans to have Peter be made aware of the decision he made in OMD, be it near or extreeeeeeemly far future? If so, what would he do with that knowledge?

Posted by DRock1 on 2008-10-07 23:27:25>

No plans, no. The only reason to do that, and really the only eventual outcome that such a knowledge would bring, would be to undo the events of “One More Day.” It’s not impossible that somebody might decide to do this in the extreeeeeeeemly far future, but you’re talking about a future in which Marvel has a new Publisher, a new Editor in Chief, a new pair of Executive Editors, a new Spider-Man editor, and probably new ownership overall. In other words, everybody at Marvel at the moment is very much committed to seeing this course of action through.

More Spidey answers on Monday.

Tom B

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