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mygif

I think you are missing one important factor, you gloss over it slightly with your comment about those people still thinking that Gwen is the one, but in ten years if they still keep him single you will be one of those people thinking MJ was the one but that won’t matter because then it will be Julie us the real one. I will agree that a lot of the stories don’t seem to have as much importance but that is due to them being not so interrelated to the Marvel Universe. they are still very seperate and there are some problems with that but under the last few years of JMS I used to read AMS about middle of the pile with FNSM near the top but now I read AMS first and am generally happy and excited to do so. Didn’t think the hammerhead arc was all that good though which was sad as I loved Deadpool and maybe expected more. Still I agree that most of the stories wouldn’t have been that different if he was married but at the same time for most of them just read them and then think he is still married and MJ just is out shoping or at work or something. Now you can read them the way you want.

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mygif

“in ten years if they still keep him single you will be one of those people thinking MJ was the one”

Well, there’s a difference of scale. Gwen Stacy showed up in 1965, and died as a character 8 years later – 90 issues.
Mary Jane showed up in 1966, dated Peter off and on for about 21 years, then got married to him in 1987. So that’s 41 years of a relationship (albeit between two fictional characters) vs. 8 years.
I guess if the point is that comics continuity is a vanishingly unimportant “long tail,” though, your point still stands.

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Lister Sage said on November 26th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Jonathan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, Deadpool was in the Hammerhead issues? (I’ve avoid Spidey like the plague ever since he got organic web-shooters as I’m against anything that makes the comics more like the movies)

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mygif

The comment is referring to Joe Kelly, who had a great Deadpool run, writing said Hammerhead arc. No Deadpool in sight.

I notice you didn’t touch on writers at all, but I may as well.

Of the “braintrust”, Zeb Wells probably had the outright just best Spidey issues – I wish they hadn’t moved him to other projects.

Slott’s been doing good too, especially Paper Doll and the mafia bit.

Guggenheim is middle of the road.

OH GOD BOB GALE SUCKS SO HARD

That about sums it up, although Bookie/Enforcers wasn’t the shittiest thing I ever read.

Jury is out on Waid and I thought Kelly did decent.

Also, right now the hot theory is MJ knows (Paper Doll arc prime evidence) and Pete just knows he did *something* but not that it’s all “sell me your marriage, oh and your ability to make webs internally. But look, Harry’s back!”. He had to have – Venom not knowing, Norman not knowing – something is up there.

Unlike most of the vocal S_D, I’m willing to wait and see where this goes.

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mygif

No, Jonathon just meant that Joe Kelly was the writer, who became known for his deadpool work.
And Spidey’s organic webshooters dissapeared with the Brand New Day rebot.

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mygif

I think making him single and the whole devil deal thing was stupid…if they wanted a teenage spidey that was single with all of those teen angsty type story lines WHY THE FUCK DIDNT THEY JUST PROMOTE ULTIMATE SPIDERMAN!?

Isnt that book exactly what they were going for?

Now, imagine this years worth of Amazing Spiderman stories set against the backdrop of him being married. It would have been far more interesting having MJs spin and take on everything. Aunt May should have died – THAT would have been FAR more interesting of a development for the character and the couple as a whole!

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Lister Sage said on November 26th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Coren and MastaP: Ah, thanks for the information. I knew that Kelly was writing for ASM, but I wouldn’t have thought he was going to bring Wade into his story. (I’m still hoping they pick him to write a Deadpool Annual.)

MastaP: While I am aware that Pete’s back on the shooters, there are so many other things wrong with Spidey that I refuse to read it.

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Lister Sage said on November 26th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

katerek: Or Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (aka Bitches Love Spider-Man). Even I buy that one. I’m a bit luke warm about Moore’s take on it, while I haven’t sat down and read the entirey of the first volume (issue 10 is my Holy Grail) Moore seems to have changed things, like I haven’t seen Felicia show up in the story yet, not even a cameo, and I know she was introduced by the previous writer, but it’s better then not having it at all. (Sorry for the double post.)

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mygif

My gut says that the “thrice monthly” thing is going to be more of a hindrance than a help in the long run, because if people are going to drop a title, they’ll drop one that they have to buy three times a month before one they only have to buy one time a month. Especially when the rotating creative teams make it difficult to build momentum from story to story.

(As an aside, I loved being able to use the word “thrice” there.)

And there’s a further problem I wanted to mention with the romance angle; in addition to knowing that MJ is his “one”, we also know that no relationship will ever be allowed to get too serious for Peter, because the editors are all on the record as saying, “A married Spider-Man is just a mistake, plain and simple, and we’re going to leave him single forever.” Kind of kills the suspense, there. :)

Other than that, your post sums up my opinions just about perfectly.

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mygif

I thought that scene in the subway was very, very good, and then you go and make it 78265487 times better.

MORE PLEASE!

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mygif

I’m going to make a prediction…

Sometime in the next 18 months, the readers are going to see the following:

Panel 1: Peter Parker wakes up and hears a noise coming from his bathroom, someone is in his shower.

Panel 2: Shot of a woman in the shower (seen only from the waist up) her back turned to us, as the shower soaks her thoroughly. The panel should be provocative without being too risky.

Panel 3: The woman turns and reveals herself to Mary Jane. She is smiling, her typical “flirty, just for Peter smile”. She says “Hello Tiger”. from off panel you hear someone shout “Daddy!”

We the reader find out the last 2 years was all a dream. We call it ‘getting Duffied’.

Mark my words.

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mygif

You can bring back the Black Cat or have him date Silver Sable

Heh. Nice What If reference.

I’m still avoiding the whole series, though I took an exception for the Anti-Venom thing, just because I love Eddie Brock too much. I decided back when One More Day happened that unless Brand New Day turned out to be mind-blowingly awesome, I would stay away out of principle. I hear that stuff like the Wolverine arc are good, but from the overall reviews I get, I just feel like I’m better off spending my comic-reading time clearing off my backlog.

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mygif

I haven’t been reading Spider-Man, and I haven’t probably in over a decade, but I admit one reason for that is I’m soured by the need to make his and M.J.’s relationship “strained”.

It’s not just Spider-Man, though. You see this in a LOT of fiction, and I think it’s a sign of weak writing. Making a single character interesting is easy. Making a character with a stable relationship interesting — OH MY GOD MASS PANIC CANNOT COMPUTE.

I don’t know. I don’t know why so many writers stammer and fail as soon as a character enters a permanent relationship. Maybe someone at Marvel realized that the constant emphasis on the “strained relationship” was boring and predictable. Maybe they wanted it to appeal to the younger set, and Peter being married doesn’t figure into that. Whatever — it’s a missed opportunity to do something interesting.

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Lister Sage said on November 26th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Stark: I hope your right. It would take a massive drop in sales first though and/or and change in editor-ship, editor-in-chief-ship especially.

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ps238principal said on November 26th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

A wild guess, but one that wouldn’t surprise me:

Someone in the marketing department said that Spider-Man would be embraced by new, young readers if he wasn’t “Spider-Husband” or “Spider-Dad,” so they yoinked the marriage.

I guess having parents precludes readers from being able to understand a married couple, and what readers really want is an unfettered, younger hero who could, if he wanted, score with a chick and not have it be adultery.*

* according to the marketing department, that is, who are a bunch of moralist wankers.

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Lister Sage said on November 26th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

ps238principal: Obviously they don’t read a lot of fan fiction because there are plenty of ways for Spidey to get some and not have it be adultery.

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mygif

Dear MGK

I’m not sure i agree with you on how this series is doing in terms of sales. A couple of months ago, i did a graph to illustrate what the trend is

http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/3647/graphzp4.png

(i haven’t been following closely the sales number, but i checked last month’s, and they still follow the trend with ASM 575 selling 68,913 copies, lower than both 573 and 574)

Basically, people check out the first issue of every new arc/creative team (usually every three issues) and that is the one that sells the most. By the end of the arc, less people are buying it. Once the new arc and creative team roll out, there’s less people buying the comic overall.

And I do believe a good chunk of these sales are just the fanboys that keep on buying the book no matter what, just to have the whole run. I keep stumbling upon blogs that cry out how pedestrian ASM has gotten, but they keep on buying it.

And, in my humble opinion, undoing all the character development that JMS had worked into Peter has been a terrible move in terms of story-telling. Say what you will about his run (Sins of Past was horrible), but he made the character evolve and grow in a natural and logical (mostly) way.

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mygif

I do think there’s been one subplot that they couldn’t have done with a married Peter. The whole arc where he was working as a paparazzo- to my mind, if he was married to MJ, there would be no way he would even consider it. Even with her out of the supermodeling game, there would be no way for him to justify it to her and it would be extra sleazy (not to mention difficult) for him to conceal it from her.

Granted, it wasn’t the greatest subplot in the world and I think retconning the marriage was stupid. But for pedantry’s sake, that is one plot they could not do with a married Peter.

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mygif

My biggest beef with BND isn’t even the “divorce” that Quesada wanted so badly. It’s like you said: the conclusion will inevitably come back to MJ and Peter getting back together. Even in the decades they were married, there were times that MJ would walk off or Peter would push her away or one of them had gas and didn’t want to be near the other.

What DOES bother me? That Peter/MJ, two very moralistic characters, made a deal with the devil or the bad guy. Heck, there have been multiple stories where Peter has been taunted or tempted by criminal overlords and gods, and he would contemplate it and then flat out turn them down. Fight ensues, etc etc, and he wins it out in the day.

In this case? The bad guy won. And with every since since Brand New Day began, the bad guy has continued to win and there has been absolutely no mention of Mephisto since then.

That’s just, plain and simply, bad writing. Mephisto working his magic and making changes that don’t make sense (“It’s magic. We don’t have to explain it”) to fix a problem that Quesada had an issue with.

Honestly, the Spidey books have left a bad taste in my mouth for ages, starting with Osborne retroactively boinking Gwen, then The Other, the new powers (that no one ever used), the new armour, the black costume coming back just to tie in with the movie, etc. Rather than just tell good stories, Marvel kept trying to do event after event to shock readers. That’s ALSO bad writing.

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mygif

Evan: Well the storyline would be a bust anyway because the girlfriend was..oh, right, MJ!

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mygif

Nick, it seems all of your problems are with One more Day, becuase pretty much non of that type of stuff is common in Brand New Day

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mygif

Peter David used the new powers, and the bad guy isn’t always winning – Spidey usually triumphs.

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mygif

I honestly wish the combined community of publishers and readers were more comfortable with just rebooting a series every so often. I’ve complained and suggested solutions for this elsewhere, but my core point would be that I want people to just reboot the damn series concept. I enjoy reading a new take on a classic character. It was fun watching Bendis take on Spider-Man in the Ultimate series, just like it’s fun reading the Mary Jane series, or watching the different television takes on Spider-Man.

On the other hand, a giant pile of continuity doesn’t appeal to me. It’s already weird that the FF gained their powers “ten years ago” since the 60s, but when you add in all the backstory…enh. Too convoluted. I’d love it if we could freely take a cue from some Japanese creators and reuse the same concepts over and over again, rather than stretching the original series well past the deformation and breaking point.

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mygif

First off — this was a really enjoyable analysis, thanks for it.

Second, do you think canceling the other Spidey titles and making Amazing into a weekly was a good idea? I specifically gave up on Amazing when it went weekly, and (at the risk of sounding like a cheap mofo) it was mostly because of the cost. Beforehand, it was one book a month, and I could ignore the other Spidey titles. Now it’s around fifty issues a year, and at several bucks a pop… it suddenly seemed very overpriced for an occasionally-good comic.

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mygif

I’ve just recently become a regular visitor here, and let me say I really enjoy it.

I have to jump in, tho, because I do want to say that I like single Spider-Man. There should be a standard disclaimer, where I agree with a lot of your points, specifically the ham-fisted way it happened with Mephsito, etc, etc., but by and large I think Marvel was right about a single Parker.

One of the things I consider is how it fits into Spider-Man’s “high concept,” the pitch, the niche, the quintessence of the character. It’s something that’s not going to be blatantly addressed every issue, but it’s the undercurrent that the entire capital-S Story hinges on. That’s very abstract, I know, because it says that a married Spider-Man can be a good Story, but not be a good SPIDER-MAN Story.

In a more concrete way, having a married Parker implicitly hurts any story that doesn’t address his marriage. Comic fans have a hard time when Kang takes over America but it is only featured in the Avengers title. For such a significant event, shouldn’t it be at least tokenly acknowledged in the other titles? Every time Spider-Man gets involved with a super-villain battle, gets called away by Silver Sable, can’t make the rent, makes a new friend, whatever, doesn’t he have to at least tokenly acknowledge that he’s married? Every time he goes home, shouldn’t MJ be there?Not every story has to be ABOUT the marriage relationship, but every story HAS to have the marriage relationship– so, yeah, the past year had stories that couldn’t have been done exactly the same way if Parker was married.

Another concrete impact is most likely Parker’s supporting cast. There’s less of a need for a supporting cast if he has regular support through his wife. There has been a conscious effort to reinvigorate the Spider-Man corner of the universe with more supporting cast, which, while not precluded in a Spider-marriage, is certainly easier to create, focus, and have stories about.

Anyway, these couple of issues are often not raised during Spider-marriage-discussions, so I thought I’d give you my take on ’em.

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mygif

Well, there’s a difference of scale. Gwen Stacy showed up in 1965, and died as a character 8 years later – 90 issues.
Mary Jane showed up in 1966, dated Peter off and on for about 21 years, then got married to him in 1987. So that’s 41 years of a relationship (albeit between two fictional characters) vs. 8 years.

More importantly, MJ has been the One True Love in all the animated cartoons and the Hollywood movies.

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mygif

Masta, you’re right. The majority of my beef with Brand New Day is because of One More Day. The ridiculous conclusion to OMD left such a bad taste in my mouth that I really just want nothing to do with the Spidey books for a very long time.

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mygif

On title alone you’ve sold me on the Sexsational She-Spider. I want a proposal on my desk by morning.

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mygif

More importantly, MJ has been the One True Love in all the animated cartoons and the Hollywood movies.

I actually had no idea who the hell Gwen Stacy was until I read Marvels, incidentally. Probably the fifth Spider-Man issue I ever read was the one where he marries MJ.

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mygif

I think it has been bad for Spiderman. I think the key to increasing the audience for comics is to try and develop more single issue stories that people can pick up and read. I’m not saying introduce a villain, insert conflict, hero defeats villain, end. But close.

I think it’s a lot more admirable to have the ability to write a tight, entertaining, single issue story than drag some overwrought convoluted 7 issue story that ends in a disappointing anti-climax.

Plus, you look at most popular TV shows, like Law & Order, CSI and House. These show’s aren’t particularly good, but people can watch one without having to have seen the last 3 seasons. I’m not trying to say dumb down the comics for masses. I just think making them more tight and entertaining as well accessible will be more effective in bringing an audience who want to start reading comics

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mygif

Well Bender, technically Spidey has that key then, seeing as there’s only been one story over 3 issues in 10 months, as well as several single issue stories.

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mygif

You take that back right now, House is fantastic 😡

Question: Do subscriptions factor into sales figures, or are we just looking at what people buy for their store inventories?

Also, I think it’s a weak argument to say that he has MJ so a supporting cast isn’t necessary – look at Superman right now. He’s got Lois. And then there’s Perry, Jimmy, all the staff they just added back in (they being Johns, Busiek and Robinson), his parents, the science police (who are their own individual characters), STAR labs characters, he’s got all kinds of supporting cast.

The problem really was that people, and by people I mean JMS, ignored them. RAS focused on them and PAD featured all kinds of supporting cast in FNSM. While the marriage was going on.

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HammerHeart said on November 27th, 2008 at 4:38 pm

One effect that One More Day had for me was tainting my respect for Peter Parker. The Peter I grew up reading about was always feeling sorry for himself, whining and struggling to do good, but in a likable way. But nowadays I look at him and see a self-pitying whiner who sold out his marriage to the devil because he couldn’t face life without his mother figure.

These days, when Peter feels sorry for himself I no longer share the pity; I’ve simply lost respect for the character.

It makes me sad. And it makes me even sadder to see so many fans who don’t mind. For all his many faults, Tony Stark at least has the strenght of his convictions… post-OMD Parker is just a pitiful loser who deserves all the angst that life throws at him. Pete HAD true love and he threw it all away; as a consequence I’m not interested in his arrested-development emo tears anymore.

But hey, maybe that’s just me. If other Spider-Man readers don’t mind that Spidey sold out to the devil and gave up true love, more power to ’em. I’ll be over here reading about heroes who I actually respect – like Mitchell Hundred, Invincible and Nova. Comics are currently too expensive for me to waste money on poorly-conceived retro pap.

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mygif

Hammerhead: I hear it was MJ who actually sold out the marriage, but I’ve yet to read that particular issue.

Coren/Bender: Related to previous comments, I consider House to be the best one-off-with-running-subplot storytelling since Joe Kelly’s Deadpool run.

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Thattitanguy said on November 28th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

I can’t say that we find the thrice a month shipping Amazing Spider-Man a success at the shop.

First off, we’re selling about half of the average number of copies of the title that we were during JMS’ run. As of the last Previews order we turned in, we’re now ordering Amazing Spider-Man in quantities that are dangerously close to the amounts the previous other two Spider-Man titles sold during that time. Now, I have 3 weak selling Spider-Man titles instead of 2. Plus, the customer pulls have dropped by about a 1/3 and we don’t often have “flagship” titles drop that drastically from our subscriber lists.

Second, the book has wildly fluctuating sales based on the beginning of story arcs and/or creative teams. My Amazing Spider-Man cycle sheets now look like a roller-coaster ride of success and utter failure. It’s proven to be an increasingly frustrating book to order. With the book having rotating teams and shipping so quickly, our ability to do order increases and decreases to adjust our numbers have been hampered to the point that it just makes sense for us to lowball our numbers and relay on re-orders to handle sell-thru issues.

Third and finally, I’ve noticed a trend over the last six months or so. Our back issues for “recent” Amazing Spider-Man issues have slacked off significantly. The traffic from the average non-subscriber has been almost non-existent. These are the people that don’t show up on new comics day and they have no interest in starting a pull. They’d come in after a couple of months and pick up 6 or so issues of Amazing and then leave until the need hit them again. After a couple of conversations, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re hopelessly lost. They’re just overwhelmed by the shear amount of comics waiting for them when the get around to making the trip to pick them up. Where once they would come in pick up about 15 to 20 bucks of comics they found that they were suddenly paying around $50 to catch up and it just wasn’t something they wanted to do. These were people who didn’t care about the ramifications of OMD or BND or any other story being told; they just wanted to read a Spider-Man story and it’s a damn shame that we’re losing them because in the long run their numbers do add up.

And that’s pretty much indicative of the market right now. I think that Marvel and DC have gotten alienating the casual reader down to a science. With obtuse crossovers and tie-ins, crappy shipping records and mistaken “relaunches/re-invisionings” of flagship characters it’s little wonder that the casual reader is a dying breed.

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mygif

It was a decision they made together – but the whole idea took plot induced stupidity to a whole nother level. Hello, the X-Men? Warren Worthington can heal people. Elixir can heal people. Beast is beyond fucking genius. And they don’t give a shit that you’re unregistered – if anyone would be the best resource to turn to, it’s the X-Men. And there’s not even the “I have a secret identity to protect” excuse.

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mygif

Eep. Sorry I wasn’t dissing House specifically. I like House too, well except for this season

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mygif

I recently wrote about this on my blog Blog.

I also feel betrayed by Marvel on this, and agree with HammerHead. How could they make so many idiotic decisions? Isn’t Ultimate Spider-Man supposed to be the revamp?

This new Peter Parker is an idiot and a coward.

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mygif

Interesting point of view. I don’t agree with it but still…
Also, noone ever noticed that every single story couldn’t be told with MJ. Because every single issue would have had Peter thinking (at least): I’ve got to go back to my wife. And one issue out of three would have had at least 3/4 pages developing the relationship. Which is boring as hell and breaks the pace.

I don’t know, maybe it’s me but the MJ situations before OMD seemed like Pootchie, the dog from Hitchy and Stratchy cartoons on the Simposns (God, I can’t remember its name).
Every once in a while Peter had to say “Where is Pootchie?”. Foolowed by “Where is my aunt?” Thank god they cut half of this dialogs.

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mygif

[…] cartoons, but I appreciate its contrariness and challenge to conventional wisdom. * here’s an analysis of Marvel’s Spider-Man back-to-being-single revamp one year in. Acknowledging the sales bump the […]

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[…] popped up on some forum somewhere and when someone “confronted” him with stuff from this post, he totally called me out for being like a net-nerd or something like that. But they didn’t […]

mygif

On the subject of “What’s supposed to happen”… don’t you think that 5 years ago people would have said Scott Summers and Jean Grey were supposed to be together? Regardless of this, there are a LOT of people who like Scott and Emma now, and I think this shows there is potential for change. Although Scott isn’t as big a character, he and Jean have arguably been a couple as long as MJ and Peter, if you count separation.

I do think that hints that it is possible for some couples to change. Though Reed-Sue is going to be there long term.

The thing about comics is that they’re serialised stories, and are supposed to change. There’s not a fixed ending…

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Joseph Aconite said on December 20th, 2008 at 5:35 am

When you dig a hole for your characters you either try your best to get them out, or like Marvel, dig a sideways pointless tunnel with no light at the end.

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Mary Warner said on September 7th, 2009 at 1:23 am

The simple fact is that Spider-Man was in horrible shape before One More Day happened. The new powers with the mystical connections, the organic webs, and worst of all, the public identity– all that should’ve had the fans more up-in-arms than One More Day. Strazcynski (and maybe some others, I’m not sure) had twisted the series into something unrecognisable. Peter didn’t even act like himself anymore, and he used to be the one character that nearly every writer could do right.
Some sort of drastic action was absolutely necessary to get Spider-Man back to normal.
But everyone is correct in that One More Day was a lousy way to fix things. And the marriage to Mary Jane wasn’t even one of the problems that needed fixing– that was just Quesadilla’s delusion, I think.
But now that the damage is done, it has to be admitted that the current team has done a great job. It actually feels like a Spider-Man series again, possibly for the first time since the early days of the marriage. And since this blog was written, they’ve done more to straighten out the changes that have occured and to explain things better, although they still haven’t explained everything. They’ve even brought Mary Jane back, though I don’t know for how long.
I’m hoping that sooner or later they will get back to the deal with Mephisto and give Peter a chance to make up for his mistake in some way before Mephisto’s inevitable booby-trap goes off. (Mephisto’s deals always contain boody-traps, after all.) But I hope they have the brains to not tackle Mephisto until they come up with an intelligent way to do it. We don’t want them to compound Quesada’s mistake.

I do think they’ve overused Osborne in the last year, but not as excessively as Marvel in general. (And bringing back Norman Osborne after he died was an even worse mistake than One More Day was. So was the whole clone mess. People should keep those stories in mind when they attack One More Day. Horrible things have happened before, but Spidey recovered eventually.)

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mygif

On the subject of “What’s supposed to happen”… don’t you think that 5 years ago people would have said Scott Summers and Jean Grey were supposed to be together? Regardless of this, there are a LOT of people who like Scott and Emma now, and I think this shows there is potential for change. Although Scott isn’t as big a character, he and Jean have arguably been a couple as long as MJ and Peter, if you count separation….

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mygif

Re: previous horrible writing having been recovered from, um no it wasn’t. Sales overall have declined steadily for two decades, and one of the main reasons is this awful sophomoric level of craft.

OMD provoked a reaction from the comicbook addicts, it didn’t provoke outrage in anyone else because no one else is still reading.

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Yvonmukluk said on March 1st, 2015 at 5:05 pm

I’m writing from 5 years after the original post to say that ‘the Sexsational She-Spider’ turned out to be a depressingly apt summation of Silk.

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