Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Re: Was Peter Always Immature?
Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 05:46:29 am EDT (Viewed 166 times)
Reply Subj: Was Peter Always Immature?
Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 12:04:50 am EDT (Viewed 19 times)

    There's been a lot of comments lately about Slott writing Peter as immature, which is why this review of Web of Spider-Man 55 raised some interesting questions for me:
    "Joy Mercado stops Peter and asks him to talk to Glory, who they both know has been having a relationship with Eduardo Lobo. So Peter goes to talk to Glory, and in the best of all possible openings, Glory tells Peter without prompting that she's been dating a criminal and wants his advice. And Peter just... i mean, WTF, Peter? What's going on here?"
    "He's late to meet Mary Jane at the latest dump of an apartment they are considering renting, but that's at least partially just an excuse for Peter being (in his own words) "lame" and "cliched". I guess he's at least got this insight: "When it comes to personal problems, I'm no better handling someone else's than I am at handling my own." I've seen him do better than this, but i guess if this is deliberate characterization it's a little better. One of the criticisms of Spider-Man being allowed to get older is that they still write him like the kid with all the hang-ups from the early years, and now that he's married and has a job, he just looks like basketcase instead of a mixed up kid. I guess this is a good example of that."
    Now, if Slott had written this, we'd be up in arms. So was Peter portrayed immaturely even before Slott?

It is always possible to find moments where some author wrote the pre-OMD Peter in a way that can - plausibly or at a stretch - be interpreted as immature. After all, there were bad writers back then too and even as great a writer as Gerry Conway (IMO one of the top three writers in Spider-Man's entire history) can have his off-days. So even if this were a clear-cut example of Peter acting immaturely it would have to be weighed against Peter's general behaviour at the time. And one of the most common arguments for undoing the marriage used by the proponents of OMD/OMIT/MOUSE was that since the wedding Peter had become too old and stuffy, in other words too mature. And the extreme difference between Peter's 1987-2007 and post-OMD behaviour was immediately noticed both by the supporters of NuSpidey and the sceptics.

Personally, I think Peter always acted pretty maturely, even when he still went to high school he was more mature than you would have expected a typical 1960s American teenager to behave. He acted a lot like his first writer Stan Lee who grew up during the Depression and was forced to grow up and get a job quickly.

The scene in WOSM #55 is not one of Peter's stellar moments, but does it show him acting immaturely? I'm not convinced. For one thing, being "lame" and "clichéd" in one's response to a situation does not necessarily equate to immature - you could say thes words also about a lot of stuff that e. g. Aunt May or JJJ say. And wouldn't a variation of "say no to dating criminals" have come over as just as trite and clichéd as what he in fact did say? Also, I would dispute that Glory Grant provided "the best of all possible openings" for Peter. It was actually a pretty bad opening, because what he had wanted to do was to tell her that her boyfriend was a criminal (presumably hoping that this revelation would be enough to make her put an end to her amour fou), and now it turned out unexpectedly that she already knew. Also, it is worth recalling that although a lot of readers weren't aware of it Glory is not insignificantly older and more experienced than Peter (Gerry Conway as her creator would have remembered). So he would have felt an understandable reluctance to peremptorily tell Glory how to run her private affairs.

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