Blah Blah Blog – Spidey Answers pt. 3

A post from my old Marvel blog in which I answered more of the fans’ questions about what has going on then in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

Spidey Answers pt 3.

October 13, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Day Three of answering the Spider-Man questions you asked, and as expected, the temperature in the replies section is growing more heated. There are one or two comments there that I want to respond to, but I’m going to wait until I’m through with the actual questions. Onward!

>After this many years on the job, do you still enjoy Spider-Man (and comics in general) or does the online backlash make it too much “just a job?” I would think the potential for burn-out would be pretty high.

Posted by ted_dahlman on 2008-10-07 23:39:09>

There’s always the potential for burnout, but I don’t think I’ve gotten there just yet. Of course, if I were self-delusional, how would I know? But I still go to my local store once a week and pick up assorted books, so I can’t really be sick of it all, and I’m more likely to drop decent chunks of cash at a convention than the next guy. The online backlash can tend to be crippling; not just about this, but about everything. The guys I feel the worst for in this whole experience are Steve Wacker and the braintrust writers. While I didn’t edit any of “One More Day”, I was around to consult on it, so I was involved at least to that extent. But Steve and his crew didn’t have anything to do with that storyline, and yet are in the unenviable position of having to follow up on it, casting them in the role of “easy target.” They can do everything right, and still have angry people hate them because of where they happen to be standing. It’s not an easy thing to be working on Spider-Man right now.

>Can you please remove the post that compares a
comic book to “a cross between Jesus and a PB&J sandwich”?

Posted by herbiepopnecker on 2008-10-08 00:11:23>

No, I don’t think so. Given the level of casual insult and crazed outrage I’ve been letting through the cordon, and the specific context of what we’ve been talking about (Whether people are genuinely offended by the Mephisto deal or simply by the result) I think that’s within the bounds of fairness. My opinion, obviously, but in this case my opinion actually counts for something.

>What is the point of Carlie Cooper if she’s Gwen Stacy in all but name? I’d almost prefer Gwen to be alive than have this Poundshop version instead.

Anyway, though I loathe BND and all it stands for, I am thankful for the opportunity to ask these questions Tom, so cheers.

Posted by Derek Metaltron on 2008-10-08 04:27:41>

First off, Derek, your question made me wonder: What is “all Brand New Day stands for”? I’m sure we’ll see half a dozen snarky answers posted after this goes live, but I’m not sure that it stands for anything at all apart from the usual.

Anyway, I think you’re drawing more of a connection between Carlie Cooper and Gwen Stacy than is actually there. We knew that’d be the case with any new female characters we brought onto the canvas, at least at the outset–I can’t wait to find out who Norah really is when she shows up later this month. (Jill Stacy? Glory Grant? the Black Cat? We really should work these things out beforehand…) From my admittedly-biased vantage point, I can’t say that I really see it. Carlie doesn’t act or react at all like Gwen, and I suspect you’re drawing this conclusion by placing Lily in the Mary Jane role based on her being a party girl. On the other hand, as we get around to seeing more of Carlie, I suspect she’ll become more distinctive to you–at this point, she hasn’t really had all that much screen time.

>1)When will aunt may die she old that is what old people do
2)How much of a sales hit are you willing to take before seriously looking at what has happened to spiderman and doing something about it.

Posted by spiderFAN1984 on 2008-10-08 09:31:47>

As on Monday, two more vetoed questions that I’m going to tackle anyway, since I think there are some important aspects to each one that should be addressed.

I think a big part of the reason why people were upset about the deal was that Aunt May was the prize, and no comic book reader in 45 years has really cared about Aunt May. People have been calling for her demise since something like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3. but within the structure of the series, Aunt May serves a very important purpose, one that was eliminated during those years when she was dead (and mitigated during JMS’s run when she knew that Pete was Spider-Man.) Aunt May exists to provide complications, to cause Peter’s responsibilities as Spider-Man and as Peter Parker to smash up against one another. It’s become a cliche, but the standard Aunt May conundrum has always been “Aunt May needs her heart medicine, but the Rhino is destroying the city–what do I do?” And the fact that she’s so directly connected to Uncle Ben, whom Peter let down all those years ago, makes her the perfect person for this role. So, long story short, even if I were to kill her off tomorrow, somebody in a couple years’ time would simply bring her back (“It was an actress, hired by Norman Osborn, pretending to be Aunt May…”) because she’s a vital part of the series. That all said, we’ve got some plans for Aunt May coming up that’ll hopefully make her a little bit more interesting to you and others.

On your second question, i think you and others like you are missing the obvious a little bit. Assuming that AMAZING SPIDER-MAN sales were crashing–which they aren’t, but go with me for a minute–then we’d certainly make a change of some sort. But it wouldn’t necessarily or even likely be the change you’re looking for. I expect the first thing we’d do is to bring in different creators, then perhaps pare back the frequency of the book, all the while looking for a hook for another big storyline that could generate sales. But nobody’s first or even fifteenth option is going to be, “Let’s undo “One More Day”–that’ll get the readers back!” Because it won’t, not under those circumstances. The elimination of the Spider-Man marriage has been a long-sought goal going back twenty years, almost to the day that it took place. Over that time, it’s been tried once or twice, but nobody had the intestinal fortitude to see it through to the bitter end, and to ride out the wave of anger and hurt that was sure to come in its wake. Heck, one of the main reasons for the Clone Saga was to eliminate the marriage, and that was ten years ago. Whether you liked “One More Day” or you didn’t, I’ll give Joe Q credit not only for having the stones to go through with such a plan and stick to it, but also to draw it himself, and so put himself front-and-center on the bullseye. Now that we’re here, though, now that the hard part has been done, only a very stupid person would turn around and drive the series back into that status quo.

(And this is a bit different from, say, bringing Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern. Putting aside the fact that Geoff Johns has done some terrific things with Hal as GL, there was absolutely no overwhelming need to bring Hal back at the point where DC did so. The readership had by-and-large accepted Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern–to the point where the Kyle version of the character had started turning up in licensing and media. That change-back was one of personal choice–somebody over at DC liked Hal better as a character and thought that he gave the series more potential long-term than Kyle. But there wasn’t any great impel to switch back, all of the sturm und drang of the readership had long since died down and gone away. Bringing Hal back, though, didn’t mire the series in an untenable status quo the way restoring the Spidey marriage would–so there’d need to be some overwhelmingly mighty impel to make that happen again going forward.)

>Was the deal with Mephisto an allusion to the supposed moral decay of today’s society? >

Not deliberately, no.

>Do you see the deal with Mephisto as a more “selfless” or more “selfish” act on the part of MJ and Peter?

Posted by deadpool1977 on 2008-10-08 10:20:13>

Different people keep trying to slice or shade the argument surrounding this question a million different ways, depending on their own point of view. But for me, it’s a very simple, very easy thing to grasp. Putting aside for the moment that Aunt May is the person on the deathbed, this is Spider-Man sacrificing an intangible (his marriage) to save someone’s life. How is that not heroic? I understand that there are all sorts of mitigating factors that can be called into play every which way if you’re trying to spin this decision in a certain direction, but when you strip all of the paint off of it, I think this is what you get. And I suspect that if it had been somebody else in the deathbed, somebody the readership liked more (Jameson? the Black Cat? Wolverine?) there’d be more immediate sympathy and understanding of the deal. But the fact that no comic book reader likes Aunt May doesn’t change the fact that a life is a life here, and as much as you don’t care about her, Peter and Mary Jane care a great deal. Who among us would condemn their own Mother to death to preserve an intangible? Would you? Really?

More tomorrow.

Tom B

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One thought on “Blah Blah Blog – Spidey Answers pt. 3

  1. I have to admit that with what they’ve done with May since BND and the jettisoning the Ditko model for her appearance, I actually do like the character now.

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