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Subj: Re: Spider-Man Revisited 46: David Michelinie Part Two
Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 06:23:44 pm EDT (Viewed 3 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Spider-Man Revisited 46: David Michelinie Part Two
Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 05:11:29 pm EDT (Viewed 5 times)
Quote:Now here's hoping I don't screw up the quote boxes...
It's getting tricky, isn't it?
Quote:Those were hurdles to overcome, and they were fairly well addressed here. However, those are issues to true romance, not to Peter asking a close friend to marry him out of the blue. I have much bigger issues with Peter's logic than MJ's.
Quote:Hmmm... good point. Then again, the first proposal was out of the blue too, so I guess at this point we have to call it a character trait.
Or two instances of out of character behavior.
Quote:I would also argue that the core appeal of those characters would not be diluted by a marraige. I know that there are plenty of readers who would disagree with me on this point,
I know, I know.
Quote:but I think most creators (including the current powers-that-be) DO agree with me, so
Quote:I'd be interested in seeing what creators who grew up with the marriage thought, though. Most of the people denouncing the idea got attached to the character when he was single, so that's the Right Way to Do It in their heads.
I'd also like to see what they think. I grew up with the marraige, but eventually came around to be against it. I wonder if they'd buy in to my theories about the storytelling limitations of serial fiction. I'm certainly not a writer or creative type, so in general I have a hard time understanding how they think / go about their craft.
Quote:Speaking of temptation, who was "Bruce" supposed to be? Bruce Willis?
Quote:I guess. That's the only popular Bruce I can think of.
That's always bothered me. Actually, most of the pop culture references / celebrity appearances that i can place because they're too dated bug me a bit. I like being in on the joke. I bet the Well/Mafood MTV spring break / sandman beach story will be the single worst offender to future generations.
Quote:I'll agree with you that it should have been addressed before now. I'm pretty sure we'll see the "what really happened as of now" story in 600.
Quote:I believe they've said as much.
Same here, although I can never find a definitive quote when I want one.
Quote:Which they've been working to burn down ever since... and finally succeeded for the most part. (Must... avoid... OMD... bitching.) Ahem. Sorry.
Quote:OMD is an awful story. Go ahead and bitch.
Quote:Yeah, but I've done it way too often and have nothing new to add.
Quote:Also, with my interpretation of what the new status quo is (pending the new "marraige" story), the releationship wasn't burned down, just the marraige portion of it.
Quote:I was talking about burning down the "points" they earned with the marriage story, not the relationship itself. (Although it remains to be seen how they address the reasons why they didn't get married, never got married, and broke up in the end. If it's anything close to the reasons why MJ dropped Peter in the 70s, I ain't gonna be happy.)
Ah, gotcha. Well, I've got my fingers crossed for you to be able to stomach it (I figured saying "like" was probably too extreme).
Quote:I still was relatively pro-marriage until just about a year and a half ago when I finally read Tom Defalco's Comic Creators on Spider-Man and saw all the negativity towards the marraige from the creators I most admired (and that I felt had the best understanding of the character).
Quote:I'm well aware of the creators who weren't fond of the notion (haven't read the book, but Back Issue had a round table interview with a number of the folks who I imagine were interviewed in the book). Thing is, most of those guys grew up as fans. And like any other fan (including me), they're most attached to the character as he was when they "met" him. (There are always exceptions, of course.) I have zero interest in Peter Parker as a High School student (beyond the occasional "visit" to those days), but there are others who feel the character hasn't been his best since Stan and Steve had him graduate. So it goes.
Stan and Steve's run is my favorite, so I guess I kind of fall into that category, although I don't mind seeing him mature to an extent.
Quote:Finally, seeing how much I'm enjoying the post OMD era was the final piece for me.
Quote:Yeah, I'm generally finding it okay (after a rough start), but the aspects I do like have nothing to with the OMD-generated status quo so it does nothing to convince me they did the right thing. But you've said in the past that all of these stories could have been told with a married guy. Would you have gone from pro to anti-BND if they had left the marriage intact?
I don't think I've ever been anti-anything when it comes to Spidey. (As in totally against an entire era.) Even bad Spider-Man stories have at least some appeal to me. So no, I wouldn't have gone from pro to anti, especially if everything had come out the same except for Pete's marital status. I think I would have said it was a lost opportunity to separate them (like House of M and Secret Invasion before them).
Quote:That's all personal preference, though. Objectively, I have yet to find an anti-marriage argument that makes that much sense to me. (There are a few that have come close to getting me to concede that it may have been a mistake to do it at all, but none that have managed to justify the "any means necessary" approach towards coming up with options to get rid of it.)
Quote:Well, it all comes down to how much of a mistake you believe it was to begin with.
Quote:I see the logic. The problem is that a bad fix can do more harm than good. A lot of people are complaining about "disassociation" with the character. It all works out if new fans come to take the place of the old, but who knows if newer generations will be able to make the same connections to the character as the older ones.
I can emphasize with those that feel "disassociation". I was very bitter for about a day or two after OMD and thought about dropping the book. Most of my issues were with Harry's return, which seemed illogical and I felt completely ruined continuity to that point. I stuck it out for a number of reasons and was overjoyed to hear that there was a non-demonic explanation for Harry being back and everyone just going along with it. I still would have preferred an explanation for the break up that didn't alter continuity in any way. It's easier for me to rationalize things because my pet peeves have been addressed and I actually prefer a single Pete, but I still remember my initial reaction to the story (and I still sting from Ben's unceremonial dismissal so I know what it's like to have major status quo changes happen that you strongly disagree with).
Quote:It's similar to how they ended the Clone Saga and how they brought back Aunt May. Sometimes, bad stories are needed to "fix" thins, and then you sweep them under the rug and eventually the roars of protest die town to grumbles...
Quote:Well, yeah. The difference between those examples and the marriage is the time frame involved. I tend to think that the "retcon window" for major stuff is about 5 years. After that, suck it up and move on.
Well, the Clone Saga undid Norman's death at the same time, and that was well over five years (and is in your list of top five least favorites if I recall...) I don't agree with putting a limitation on retcons, especially if the outcome is worth it. For instance, it's been over 10 years since Ben Reilly's death, and I would still welcome him back with open arms.
Quote:The permanency and the lack of relationship drama (other than making MJ bitchy, or start smoking, or some other thing) are the biggest to me.
Quote:Well, making the "love interest" bitchy is basically the number one source of relationship drama in Spider-Man, so... (See Gwen dumping him every five minutes, girls angry at him for ditching him, etc.)
Oh, there are plenty of bad single stories, and plenty of the same traps can be fallen into during any long term relationship. I just think the range of relationship highs and lows is limited with a married character, and if that's one of your main plot points, that's long term death.
Quote:His romantic life is a big portion of this,
Quote:I'm starting to wonder about that. I'm pretty deep into the pre-married material now (obviously I needed to stockpile these to ensure I met the schedule ), and the big source of drama is Peter's constant need to be in (at least) two places at the same time. Romance was one aspect of that, but so was work, school, Aunt May, etc.
Yeah, it's just a piece of the pie, but I think it's a significant one, and being married removes that piece or elevates that piece to a constant winning scenario which softens the blow of other losses, and also takes away a segment of the soap opera where you can have losses.
Quote:As far as romance goes, the big drama from the 80s on was basically a girl who loved one aspect of Peter/Spider-Man having to deal with the other one, and that continued with MJ in the wife role. (For the late 70s, it was more Peter trying not to be a complete dick to whoever he was with, and that's not an era I need to see done over again.)
To me, it's more about the future possibilities verses what actually came before, but I'll admit you have a pretty solid point on his pre marraige love life in the 70s and 80s.
Quote:and with the marraige instead of a roller coaster, we essentially flatlined or had a permanent high. I feel that a lot of the drama was lost, and that the attempts to force the drama in were unappealing at best.
Quote:The problem came when the drama got shoved in in ways that didn't make sense from a character perspective. When written like any other couple going through bumps I thought it worked. When written like "Peter has to be miserable dang it!" it didn't. Thing is, I don't the creative types responsible for the "false drama" would have done any better with the single status quo than the married. (I'm trying to be nice and not name names but read the previous posts and it shouldn't be hard to come up with some. )
Oh, the bad ones will be bad no matter what. However, maybe if Pete was single, they wouldn't have tried as hard to force the issue of false drama. Nah, they'd still find a way to stink it up. I think that the bumps of a normal married couple are less of a rollercoaster and less compelling than the ups and downs of a single person trying to make it in the world (from a storytelling perspective, I'm very happily married myself).
Quote:Unfortunately, the other part of his appeal is that he grew and matured, starting out as at 15 year old sophomore and graduating high school withing 2 1/2 years. The readers who grew with him wanted to see him continue on that journey with them, and Marvel knew that at some point they'd have to really stunt that growth or they'll lose some of what made the character special to begin with.
Quote:Yes and no. If the character keeps going, then that becomes part of what makes him special. (One thing that makes, say, Conan stand out from other barbarian type characters is that we're able to see him at all phases of his life.)
Yes and no back at you. Mostly cause I don't see the appeal of an older Spider-Man in the mainstream continuity being as strong. I didn't know that about Conan. I haven't read many of his stories. One thing about Conan is that it's a flashback to another era, so you can flash to different times easily. I saw an article by Erik Larsen once that suggested a solution. Instead of trying to make the Marvel characters (and Spider-Man in particular) a character for every generation and essentially reach the point of stagnation, to keep them in their original settings. So Spider-Man was always a child of the 60's. Most of the stories would be set in that era, but now you could also tell stories of an older Spider-Man in the 70's, 80's, etc, and maybe get glimpses of his life down the road without it feeling like a "possible future" or "what if". I don't know if I like that idea or not, but it would be kind of neat to see.
Quote:But this gets into what I said about "an argument that can convince me it was a bad idea in the first place." The key to keeping a character known for "growing" vital is to make the book feel like it's a possibility that the "growing" will continue, even as you do everything possible to slow it down and do subtle changes that aren't really changes. Otherwise you pop the bubble and Spider-Man comes across as Archie in a supersuit. Great for those who have a particular vision and don't want a change, but possibly limiting the appeal overall.
I think my most base argument is that by the very nature of serial fiction, Spider-Man at its core is limited to being Archie in a supersuit. Without an end point in sight, there are stories that must be off limits to protect the integrity of the product for years to come. That's why it was a mistake (IMO) to kill Aunt May or Harry, even though those are my two favorite Spider-Man comics.
Quote:If you say "fine, no kids" you're stuck in the static marraige which is reducing the drama you can insert into the character's life.
Quote:The short term solution is to tease the notion of kids. Long term, yeah, that's a risk. But you could also just have the kid and age it realllllllllllllllllllly slowly. Works for Franklin Richards.
But even then, you have to age the kid more rapidly than you would a twenty-something adult, because age differences are so noticable in kids, and even if you stuck them in the 4-6 year age for decades, that's still another 4-6 permanent years tacked on to Peter.
Quote:However, when dealing with an (for all intents and purposes) infinite serial fiction, it doesn't really fit the story, because the stability removes the necessary drama.
Quote:I think that's the key to our dispute. IMO, marriage alters (doesn't remove) one aspect of potential drama. That's it. There's still work, school, MJ's job, family, friends, associates and super villains, plus the occasional bump in the marriage itself to provide all of the drama you need to tell stories. So you still have plenty of stories for your ongoing "infinite" serial fiction. And to me, constantly opening new doors does more to keep the serial going than restricting yourself. (Within reason.)
It's definitely the key, alright. I agree that the marraige is just one aspect of the drama, but it's a significant one. Sure there are plenty of other stories and avenues for drama. I just think that long term, the stories suffer without having that relationship drama available.
I think the one (and really only) thing that we can't agree on is that I think the marraige reduces / removes potential drama, where you just find it to be an alteration. I also think that it closes more doors and provides more restrictions than saying he can't get married, where you feel that not allowing marraige is a bigger closed door / restriction.
Quote:I will say it took me a long time to come around / come to grips with the concept of an infinite serial production and the limitations it proposes.
Quote:To me, the only limitation is that you can't tell stories in real time. That's it.
Quote:(well, that and a few decades of seeing what happens to the stories once he is married).
Quote:Maybe, but do you think the people who wrote the stories you didn't care for would have done a better job without MJ in tow? I don't have that kind of confidence.
No, they'd still be bad. I think it would be one less crutch for them to lean on and abuse, and it's my biggest pet peeve, so I'm thinking it's better not to have it for them to lean on.
Quote:I guess there's the argument that writers who could have been telling great Spider-Man stories were driven away by the marriage, but there's no way to know if that would have been the case.
Quote:Pete's appeal comes from (or at least initially came from) somewhere else, and since that's the Spider-Man I like the best, that's the core concept.
Quote:Well, sure. But what did the appeal come from? Keeping in mind he was evolving as a character as of Amazing Fantasy #15. To me, marriage fits the core concept as it developed over the years, long before MJ and Peter got anywhere near the altar. (Even if you feel it wasn't a good idea to "pull the trigger," that doesn't mean it doesn't fit the concept.)
In a different world / medium (say movies or a tv series that have to be more finite due to the fact that actors age) I'd agree that Peter could / would get married eventually. Because it's comics and they'll never end, I think it's a bad idea, and something to stay away from.
Quote:Fiction is one thing, infinite serial fiction with heavy soap opera elements is another, and I for one don't want to have to resort to the temptation of cheating or smoking as the soap opera drama bits (which seemed to be all we got after the marraige).
Quote:Well, cheesy drama is where you find it. I don't want to knock the relationship build up or anything, but there were plenty of times pre-marriage where the drama was all "she loves me, but hates Spider-Man" or "she's mad at me for being elsewhere when she needed me but I was busy fighting Doc Ock." There's potential for abuse in all status quos. I didn't find the marriage stuff to be more "vulnerable" than the pre-marriage stuff. (The big problem is that there was a lot more post-marriage material and hence a lot more opportunities to stink. Had post-marriage been kept to 2-3 monthlies permanently, we hopefully would have missed out on some of that stuff.)
The glut of titles certainly hurt the overall quality. But even so, I still think the limitations were felt, even by the best of the writers.
Quote:He should get the girl. He just needs to have the potential to lose the girl still out there.
Quote:Well, there was always the potential to lose the girl. It's not like superhero divorce is uncommon either. Once a girl is fully established as The One, there's no more potential to lose as a single person than there is as a married one. MJ was well on her way to that exalted status even without the marriage, so...
I see your point, but think it fits into "real life" more than comics. Plus, Gwen was already "the one" at one point, so the doubt would still be there (or at least the reader's feeling that a new "the one" could come along if something went bad).
Quote:Marraige screws with that, because divorce and widowing are very unappealing stories for Peter.
Quote:So? I'm sure there are still people bummed that he dumped the Black Cat. Stories like that are supposed to be unappealing in a way. But when done right, they leave the possibilities open for the future. I don't think Marvel can so much as tease anything major for Peter right now because no one believes it would happen. (Or be resolved in anything resembling a satisfying manner if it did.) That kills far more of the drama potential than any ring.
Marvel's at an interesting point in their history as people are more and more aware of the limitations on character growth, but I'm personally happier just to read good Spider-Man stories than deal with major status quo changes (unless they want to bring Ben Reilly back).
Quote:(So are magical demonic pacts to retcon a marraige, but at least it's not referenced in the books all the time, and I can forget about it while I'm reading. I imagine if I couldn't forget that as I read, I'd be more pissed off still...)
I know, I know.
Quote:I do think that the marraige made the books too focused on too small a cast. MJ had way too big a part, but she kind of "had to" because she was the wife.
Quote:Depends. She missed her fair share of stories, too. She warranted a mention in every issue for obvious reasons, but she didn't need to be in every issue.
With only 22 pages (tops) to cover a story, I feel she was definitely stealing screen time from someone, more so than she would have if they weren't married.
Quote:I think that the lack of (compelling) soap opera parts is a bigger issue, though.
Quote:I thought they did mostly fine up until the reboot. Well, at least there was always a creative team or two that was doing fine. Getting back into "more opportunities to suck" territory, though.
Quote:Also, while I have no problems with Untold Tales (love 'em in fact), when the most compelling stories of your ongoing character can only be told via untold flashbacks,
Quote:You're making a faulty assumption from my perspective. I don't think single Peter stories are inherently more compelling than married ones.
I know you don't. I do, though, so I'm exploiting your words to prove my point.
Quote:There are a handful of stories that work better with Peter being single, just as there are a handful that work better with him being married. The vast majority work either way.
Quote:I don't really buy this, especially when the significant other knows of the dangers involved.
Quote:That gets into another can of worms, and is probably why I'm all for the married characters (Clark, Wally, Peter, etc.). One thing they all have going for them is that the S.O.s know about the superhero thing. So the relationship is more... even. The spouses know what they're getting into, which appeals to me more these days than the standard dramatic irony bit.
Quote:I do think that the responsibility of being a father would be enough to coax Peter to retire, but that's as much due to his personal experiences of having lost his parents to danger at an early age as anything else.
Quote:I thought DeFalco did a pretty good job of covering it in Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man. Yeah, he doesn't want to leave his child without a father, but he certainly doesn't want any other child to go without theirs. And if he has the ability to do something about it...
I suppose it could go either way. I tend to believe he'd retire based on personal experiences, but I do see how he could have trouble letting go. I guess that's why Tom forced his retirment with the leg removal over in Spider-Girl.
Quote:My arguments are all used up. If you haven't read Comic Creators on Spider-Man maybe that'll do it. That's what really caused my turnaround.
Quote:One of these days, but I highly doubt it'll make a difference. Mainly because they can't just convince me it was a bad idea. They also have to convince me that the methods used to "fix" it are justified.
Quote:I've read a LOT of Spider-Man comics, and I have just as many favorites post-marriage as I do pre-marriage. A lot of my post-marriage favorites were enhanced by the marriage and a lot of my pre-marriage favorites would have worked as well had he gone home to MJ after. (That said, while I'm pro-marriage, I also really liked that there was a nice long build-up to it (aside from the swift kick at the end , with multiple love interests along the way.)
Quote:For you, the marriage was just the way the character was. For me, it was a key part of me having so much affection for the character. So I simply can't call the marriage a mistake.
Yeah, it's hard to reconcile the other view when it's not what you personally experienced.
Quote:It's highly unlikely that comic creators who I respect disagreeing with that notion would change anything.
Quote:(It IS true that all of my least favorites are post-marriage, but I'm sure there would have been plenty of clunkers without the marriage simply because the worst of the 90s crowd was worse than the worst of the 60s-80s crowd. )
Yeah, things did get rough for a while and the blame doesn't all fall on the marraige.
Quote:Nothing wrong with your ramblings even when you don't like something. It's been very entertaining to see a different point of view on everything from someone who's as well read and passionate about the the subject as I am.
Quote:Aww... you'll make me blush.
Gotcha! Seriously, though, it's a ton of fun having these discussions.
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