Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 8

Another post from my Marvel blog of days gone by in which I answered questions from the readers. I no longer seem to have the photo mentioned in the text, sadly.

Reader Questions 8

September 23, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Okay, let’s answer a few more questions before I have to book out of here this afternoon:

>Tom, do you think that Marvel could be a bit more honest with your covers? It can be frustrating to expect something based on the cover image and find it does not happen in the issue. Two recent examples being New Avengers #50 (which implied there would be a New Avengers/Dark Avengers fight in the issue) and Dark Avengers #8 (which seemed to promise X-23 vs. Daken). I realise that not every cover is going to give you a preview of what happens in the issue but the two examples I cited seemed to make promises that the books failed to deliver on.

Posted by rialb on 2009-08-27 16:28:55>

Rialb, I get as frustrated by this sort of thing as anybody, especially when the characters in question aren’t in the book, or the situation presented doesn’t remotely occur. But this is all a byproduct of the fact that we need to produce our covers so far ahead of time for Previews, and so are usually creating the cover image before the script has been written, based upon what the writer tells us is going to happen, And sometimes we get it wrong. Of course, there are also degrees of wrong, and this can be a very subjective thing. In the examples you cite, the X-23/Daken cover feels legitimate to me, in that the issue it appeared on did feature a throwdown between the Dark X-Men and X-Force, the teams on which these two characters serve. But it is something that we’re trying to prevent from happening on a regular basis.

>I have read a few times recently at least once from Wacker, that the BND status quo stuff has been on the cards for ages, Joe Quesada even had Spidey being single again on his to do list on getting the EiC chair. So my question is this:

Why did you “allow” JMS to write Peter as the married man, with a interesting proper full time job, reastablishing the Peter/MJ marrige/relationship even though it was on the rocks, present the character as being in his late thirties, have Spidey himself state how neccessary MJ was to his happiness and emotional well being, have the character go through a much needed and well earned power-up complete with costume change if you KNEW you were going to double back.

Im not asking why you did OMD/BND but why you did the stuff before it if you knew the retcons were on their way, it seems counter productive to let interest build in a status quo you were gagging to do away with. I would just love to hear your thoughts on this. >

Well, there are a couple different components to this question. First off, you speak as though Marvel is one big group mind, which isn’t the case-there are hundreds of different individual personalities that make up Marvel, creators and staff members alike, and each one has his or her own personal preferences and perspectives. But when you as “why did you”, you’re really asking about any number of people who make up that collective you.

And like with anything, while Joe Q did have on his to-do list to at some point deal with the marriage (as did pretty much every other previous Spidey editor at one point or another), it was just one item among many items. You can’t change or fix everything at once, that way lies madness. When he came onto the series, JMS seemed very interested in picking up the characters where they were, and propelling their story forwards, and the feeling was that the best thing you could do for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN at that point was to put top-flight talent on it, and raise the profile of the series in that way, which did happen.

Eventually, after five years, JMS was beginning to get ready to wrap up his run, Joe Q broached the subject of wanting to find a way to take care of the situation with the marriage, and the two of them brainstormed the crux of the story that became OMD. And then, of course, what happened happened.

But it’s not like there was a definitive plan to undo or reverse everything-simply a desire to correct that situation at some point. The story hadn’t been worked out, the mechanism was untested-and until such a point as those particulars had been figured out, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to let JMS and Paul Jenkins and everybody else tell the Spidey stories they wanted to tell. None of the things they did either impinged on our ability to get to an unmarrying storyline at some point, nor did they create additional permanent complications for the character. The only event that would have created such complications was the unmasking-and by the time we’d gotten up to that point, we knew that the OMD story was on the way, and that it would serve to reverse that beat.

> Can you explain what the Skrulls did with their abductess to me in a way that made sense, the problems I see are this; We dont need living specimens for DNA samples so why did the skrulls who are much more advanced then us, why keep them all together in one ship, why did they have the ship in easy reach of a second hand iron-man armour, if they needed them as barganing chips as suggested in the issues, why not de-power or mutilate them to the point where they were still wanted back but not a threat to skrulls if they ever escaped, why were powerless generic hydra and sheild agents allowed or required to be kept alive and finally upon loosing why didnt the skrulls just orbitally bombard us?

Posted by TheLethalProtector on 2009-08-27 19:15:06>

I think this is a bit more than one question, but let me see if I can’t answer it all in a way that makes sense to you. The quasi-mystical process that the Skrulls used to absorb the minds and memories of the people they were impersonating (as opposed to simply replicating their forms) required a live subject to transfer from. And, as we saw in the case of the many Hank Pym replacements that were necessary, there were instances when a new Skrull was forced to pick up the impersonation begun by another Skrull agent-and so needed to undergo that selfsame process. And at the time of the invasion, the Skrulls no longer had a homeworld, so their subjects were at this point aboard that ship because pretty much everyone and everything was. And the rest of your questions could really be applied to almost any super hero story in which the villain doesn’t instantly execute the heroes.

>when will Aunt May learn that Peter is secretly Spider-Man to me it is stupid for her to not know. >

Not in the near future, I’m afraid. And while you may think it’s stupid, May not knowing plays an important role in the structure of the series. The most basic conflicts for Peter tend to revolve around needing to balance out his life and responsibilities as Spider-Man with the demands of his civilian life as Peter Parker. He constantly needs to juggle the elements of both lives. But as soon as the people in his civilian life know his secret, all of the tension goes away. Aunt May can’t be mad at Peter for missing an appointment or not picking up groceries or whatever if she’s aware that he’s Spider-Man, since (unless she’s completely heartless) she realizes that saving people is more important. Spidey having an entire network of people who know his secret and can help him to maintain it takes a lot of the fun and the drama out of the series-it makes things way too easy.

>Spectacular Spider-Girl needs to be longer can you do anything to get it longer.

Posted by strawberry2k8 on 2009-08-27 20:22:38>

We could stretch her on a rack, I suppose, but I don’t think that’s quite what you’re talking about. However, there are additional Spider-Girl stories being produced for the new WEB OF SPIDER-MAN series, so you can get a new fix of Mayday goodness there.

>My question: What is on your desk right now?

Posted by robcat5 on 2009-08-27 22:40:26>

This stuff. (See left)

More later.

Tom B

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