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  1. #16
    The Detective Man The Dying Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    The point is Marvel clearly understand it's still sustainable, but they'd rather condition people into thinking it isn't just to justify a stubborn need for status quo, afraid to look forward where it counts. It's a very weird stance to take.
    Whether they realise this or not should technically be translated into either not doing One More Day or even just letting Dan Slott take advantage of the plot thread he left behind when the Regent invaded the main universe to restore it. But they still don't do it. The most that has changed is Mary Jane and Peter now being on better terms but that's as far as it could go at this point anyway. I'm under the impression that Marvel allows these alternate universe stories where the marriage was never undone to exist so that they can keep the hardcore marriage fans buying their comics. It might be them trying to have their cake and eat it too.
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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteshark View Post
    Err,or Cunningham have a diferent opinion of what work for Spider-Man is not the same that what works for the Superman family.
    And considerating that 90% (or more) of all super heroes that have a comic book are bachelors this idea that married protagonist work less better that single characters is not that far fetched after all.
    Absolutely agree with the first part - I think Cunningham makes it clear he has a problem w/Peter, specifically, being married for what he considers a foundational part of Spider-man stories (the soap opera - which, if you think about it, makes MJ having been a mediocre soap opera actress pretty funny). Inferring anything about Superman is a bit of a stretch (Lois Lane is absolutely foundational to Superman's mythos in a way that Gwen or MJ are not), especially since it seems clear to me that Lois missing is not a precursor to Lois being gone - it's more that she's out of the picture for a specific story reason that hasn't been revealed yet.

    As to the second part, I think calling a lot of super heroes bachelors might understate the degree to which many of them have an off-and-on significant other. Carol Ferris and Hal, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Cap and Sharon Carter, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, etc. Sure, they aren't married, but there are significant chunks of those characters' histories in which good stories are told with heroes in long term relationships and the relationship history matters (and it matters to the point that you'd expect that SO to be in a movie as the primary love interest).

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    If a person is creative enough she or he can tell a compelling story within any status quo. Anyone who says otherwise is simply a lazy writer who is looking for excuses. That is my final comment regarding this subject.
    When one creative team after another is saddled with working with a status quo that was shoehorned onto the book in the first place and the book is one that's going to continue for as long as the publisher is still publishing, it's the status quo that needs to change.

    The marriage was forced onto the book. Everyone who worked at Marvel at the time says as much. It was a sales grab/marketing stunt that went out of control.

    There should have been an exit plan out of the marriage from the start - the fact that there wasn't was just editorial short-sightedness.

    That some marriage fans insist that every creative team who worked on Spidey till the end of time should have been shackled to the marriage and should have just been creative enough to find a way to "make it work" is ridiculous. The clear solution was to get rid of the marriage.

    And the argument "what about character progression?" is stupid. Peter and MJ as a married couple would always be a married couple in their mid to late 20s. There would never be any room to see the true evolution of a married life between them and all the ups and downs and life events that entails. Serialized superhero fiction isn't about tracking the trajectory of a life. It's about telling stories set within an eternal pocket of time, where characters all magically grow and age in only the most incremental ways.

    If OMD never happened and Peter and MJ had continued to be married in the book all these years, their relationship would be absolutely the same, a narrative cul de sac that the book would be forever driving in circles in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    It still took them 20 years to back away from it, proving just how viable it proved to be.
    No, it just proved how hard it was to get out of without making Peter either divorced or a widower, neither of which would have been a viable solution. Either of those moves just would have compounded the initial mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    Also Stan and whoever helps him produce the strip has spent the last 31 years also proving how viable a long-term union of the two is.
    The newspaper strip is for old farts and for people who think like old farts. Seriously. Spider-Man as it's written for the newspaper surely fits right in along side the deadening, calcified likes of Marmaduke and Blondie and Hagar the Horrible and whatever other stale geezer fodder that still populates the funny pages these days.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob/.schoonover View Post
    Absolutely agree with the first part - I think Cunningham makes it clear he has a problem w/Peter, specifically, being married for what he considers a foundational part of Spider-man stories (the soap opera - which, if you think about it, makes MJ having been a mediocre soap opera actress pretty funny). Inferring anything about Superman is a bit of a stretch (Lois Lane is absolutely foundational to Superman's mythos in a way that Gwen or MJ are not), especially since it seems clear to me that Lois missing is not a precursor to Lois being gone - it's more that she's out of the picture for a specific story reason that hasn't been revealed yet.
    Superman is a different character than Spider-Man.

    Superman's love life never played a real part in the book. The only romance that ever mattered in Superman was the love triangle between Clark, Superman and Lois.

    Clark was always his own main competition for Lois and there was never any viable other woman beside Lois for Clark.

    Having them get married seems like a true inevitability. I do think the book lost some of its appeal when Clark finally stopped chasing Lois but it's justifiable in the sense that how long can that be sustained? Unless you reboot and put those characters back at square one and begin that love triangle all over again, you have to resolve it at some point.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob/.schoonover View Post
    (Lois Lane is absolutely foundational to Superman's mythos in a way that Gwen or MJ are not).
    How are Gwen and MJ not foundational to Spidey's mythos?

  6. #21
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool View Post
    Except they tried several times to back away over those 20 years until finally doing it (despite the poor method) with OMD. Look, I am not arguing about whether or not good stories were/can be told with Peter and MJ married; just that, as a corporate entity----and that's what comic book characters are----it was not a sustainable status quo regardless of the 20 years they spent married in the comics (don't forget the Clone Saga circa 1994 tried to undo the marriage by replacing Peter with single Ben and then the horrid Howard Mackie story circa 2000 tried killing off MJ in that plane crash so a good chunk of time was spend during that 20 years undoing the marriage).
    I think it's understandable that a lot of creators who grew up on Spidey in the 60s and 70s thought marriage was an incompatible concept.

    That said, I think the stories that followed established the marriage as a viable possibility. Not the only possibility, mind you, but one that was in fact sustainable. The 80s was a really fertile creative period because they were fleshing out characters in ways that hadn't been conceived before, mostly because no one foresaw them still being as popular twenty-five years later. It's funny to think how big a deal Marvel's 25th anniversary was at the time. Now, no one blinks an eye at the idea that these guys are around forever.

    Oddly enough, I find Spidey's team affiliations much more antithetical to his core concept. Once he gets active support from the superhero community, his fierce independent streak is gone. He loses that edge that made him special. His marriage, on the other hand, was a private matter and an added responsibility. Aunt May wasn't the frail old woman constantly on death's edge, and Peter needed another kind of relationship that made his superhero life more complicated. KLH passed the torch with a variation on the classic moment where the thought of Aunt May inspires him to lift the debris he's being crushed by. This time Peter rises from the grave with thoughts of Mary Jane.

    I think changes like this can be generational. There's an age where you're more open to newer concepts. Kids who've grown up with Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming are going to think very differently about what works and what doesn't. They're fine, for instance, with Pete having a teen tech support guy who knows his secret id. Or getting all his tech from Tony Stark. But for me it's like a completely different character.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I think it's understandable that a lot of creators who grew up on Spidey in the 60s and 70s thought marriage was an incompatible concept.

    That said, I think the stories that followed established the marriage as a viable possibility. Not the only possibility, mind you, but one that was in fact sustainable. The 80s was a really fertile creative period because they were fleshing out characters in ways that hadn't been conceived before, mostly because no one foresaw them still being as popular twenty-five years later. It's funny to think how big a deal Marvel's 25th anniversary was at the time. Now, no one blinks an eye at the idea that these guys are around forever.

    Oddly enough, I find Spidey's team affiliations much more antithetical to his core concept. Once he gets active support from the superhero community, his fierce independent streak is gone. He loses that edge that made him special. His marriage, on the other hand, was a private matter and an added responsibility. Aunt May wasn't the frail old woman constantly on death's edge, and Peter needed another kind of relationship that made his superhero life more complicated. KLH passed the torch with a variation on the classic moment where the thought of Aunt May inspires him to lift the debris he's being crushed by. This time Peter rises from the grave with thoughts of Mary Jane.
    ...A moment that could work just as well if they were a committed couple living together. She doesn't have to be his wife for that moment to have meaning. And for that story it work, it didn't even have to be MJ. Had Peter been dating some other cast member at the time, it still would have been a powerful moment.

    As for Spidey being more accepted in the superhero community, I also think it's a mistake it have him be too much of a team player (likewise with Logan). I lament that the "loner" aspect of Spidey has kind of been phased out. The difference between Spidey being an Avenger and him being married, though, is that it's not any kind of narrative hurdle to have him suddenly on the outs with the Avengers or any other team. Moving him from a married man to a single one, however, is not nearly as easy a situation to extricate the character from.

  8. #23
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    ...A moment that could work just as well if they were a committed couple living together. She doesn't have to be his wife for that moment to have meaning. And for that story it work, it didn't even have to be MJ. Had Peter been dating some other cast member at the time, it still would have been a powerful moment.
    Like I said, marriage is a viable possibility, not the only possibility. I do think that, generally speaking, a marriage commitment adds another dimension to a relationship, if not for the couple then at least for those on the outside looking in.

    And sure, Peter could have married different people from his supporting cast. It's only after they were married that she became, narratively speaking, "the one." But it happened and the stories were viable enough that a good portion of the audience developed an emotional connection with Peter and MJ as a couple that was destined to be together. No one really gives Hank McCoy or Warren Worthington's original feelings for Jean Grey the same weight as Scott Summer's relationship with her, even though it could have gone differently.

    As for Spidey being more accepted in the superhero community, I also think it's a mistake it have him be too much of a team player (likewise with Logan). I lament that the "loner" aspect of Spidey has kind of been phased out. The difference between Spidey being an Avenger and him being married, though, is that it's not any kind of narrative hurdle to have him suddenly on the outs with the Avengers or any other team. Moving him from a married man to a single one, however, is not nearly as easy a situation to extricate the character from.
    Marital complications can range from still together but emotionally estranged, to separated but trying to work things out, to divorced and all the shades in between. There's not really a lack of options there. Spouse gets their dream job in another city and they're trying to make it work long distance, for instance. Or because it's comics, hero was presumed dead and spouse moved on, then hero turns up alive and well. Or hero was captured and spouse was unwittingly living with a clone! I mean, you know, comics.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I think it's understandable that a lot of creators who grew up on Spidey in the 60s and 70s thought marriage was an incompatible concept.

    That said, I think the stories that followed established the marriage as a viable possibility. Not the only possibility, mind you, but one that was in fact sustainable. The 80s was a really fertile creative period because they were fleshing out characters in ways that hadn't been conceived before, mostly because no one foresaw them still being as popular twenty-five years later. It's funny to think how big a deal Marvel's 25th anniversary was at the time. Now, no one blinks an eye at the idea that these guys are around forever.

    Oddly enough, I find Spidey's team affiliations much more antithetical to his core concept. Once he gets active support from the superhero community, his fierce independent streak is gone. He loses that edge that made him special. His marriage, on the other hand, was a private matter and an added responsibility. Aunt May wasn't the frail old woman constantly on death's edge, and Peter needed another kind of relationship that made his superhero life more complicated. KLH passed the torch with a variation on the classic moment where the thought of Aunt May inspires him to lift the debris he's being crushed by. This time Peter rises from the grave with thoughts of Mary Jane.

    I think changes like this can be generational. There's an age where you're more open to newer concepts. Kids who've grown up with Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming are going to think very differently about what works and what doesn't. They're fine, for instance, with Pete having a teen tech support guy who knows his secret id. Or getting all his tech from Tony Stark. But for me it's like a completely different character.

    David, I totally agree with the idea you put forth here, especially how Spidey joining the Avengers and being accepted by the rest of the superhero community dulled his edge quite a bit. I recall all those Marvel Team-Up stories from the 1970's and, despite teaming up with Thor or Iron Man or whomever monthly, it was always a bit awkward and the other heroes rarely fully trusted or even respected Spidey. Not in a bad way but in a "he's an outsider and I don't know what to make of him" way----the character lost a lot when they left that behind IMO.
    I miss Kevin Nichols. Not as much as bacon, but still...

  10. #25
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool View Post
    David, I totally agree with the idea you put forth here, especially how Spidey joining the Avengers and being accepted by the rest of the superhero community dulled his edge quite a bit. I recall all those Marvel Team-Up stories from the 1970's and, despite teaming up with Thor or Iron Man or whomever monthly, it was always a bit awkward and the other heroes rarely fully trusted or even respected Spidey. Not in a bad way but in a "he's an outsider and I don't know what to make of him" way----the character lost a lot when they left that behind IMO.
    I really wish Marvel would bring that fierce independent streak back to Spider-Man's world. I feel like he should alternate between working well with others and being standoffish, all depending on his mood and personal problems at the time. And other heroes should be, quite frankly, a little afraid of him. Like, "I think he's a decent guy, but God help us if he ever loses it." That was always the sense I got from wiser heroes like Reed Richards and Steve Rogers. They understood his potential and why it wasn't a good idea to push him too far.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    How are Gwen and MJ not foundational to Spidey's mythos?
    I'll happily join you in a separate thread, if you want, to debate this point, but I'd rather not derail this here. Briefly, though, I'd say neither is foundational and I'd ask you to consider three points: 1. Neither was around at the beginning and are not important parts of Peter's hero life or alter ego job (that is, they're part of his home life, not work or heroics). 2. It's impossible to imagine WB putting out a Superman movie w/o Lois Lane in it; Sony/Marvel are happy to skip both. 3. Not being foundational doesn't mean one isn't important - The Night Gwen Stacy Died is an important piece of the SM mythos, certainly, but if Conway had just had Gwen run off w/Norman to raise their babies instead of killing the two of them off, and Gwen was never seen again (or died off panel), would current SM comic books look particularly different?

    I would note that Ultimate MJ is absolutely, without question, a foundational part of Ultimate Spider-man's mythos (well, Peter, just to be clear - Miles can roll w/o her easily). She's the first person Peter tells, she's the girl next door, and she grows into a den mother of sorts for his ragtag team of heroic roommates. She's integral to how that story developed. I just think the same is not true of 616 MJ.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    How are Gwen and MJ not foundational to Spidey's mythos?
    To be foundational, shouldn't they need to be there from the start? You know, to be part of the foundation? Gwen didn't show up until the college years, and was meant as a romantic interest the same way Betty Brant and Liz Allen were during high school. MJ was only mentioned in the second year of the title, and didn't appear until a couple of years later. Her role then wasn't as a romantic interest. They evolved as the story went along to have more significance, but they were add on characters compared to Flash, JJJJ, and Aunt May who were there from the start.
    Last edited by Rincewind; 06-12-2018 at 07:23 AM.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
    To be foundational, shouldn't they need to be there from the start? You know, to be part of the foundation? Gwen didn't show up until the college years, and was meant as a romantic interest the same way Betty Brant and Liz Allen were during high school. MJ was only mentioned in the second year of the title, and didn't appear until a couple of years later. Her role then wasn't as a romantic interest. They evolved as the story went along to have more significance, but they were add on characters compared to Flash, JJJJ, and Aunt May who were there from the start.
    Spidey is a bit like DD, in that there is a second foundation of sorts. You've got the Lee/Ditko foundation, and then there's the Lee/Romita Sr. one. Lee/Romita Sr. established the relationships that most people tend to think of and they've been retroactively worked into his high school years in a lot of media adaptations. No one really thinks of Gwen Stacy or Harry Osborn in the terms that Ditko established for instance.

  14. #29
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    I'm not sure where one would draw the line with regard to Spidey's foundation. First eighty issues? A hundred? You could even make a compelling case that you go all the way to Gwen Stacy's death. I suppose the foundation gets a little broader as the house gets bigger! Spidey being over fifty years old now.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
    To be foundational, shouldn't they need to be there from the start? You know, to be part of the foundation? Gwen didn't show up until the college years, and was meant as a romantic interest the same way Betty Brant and Liz Allen were during high school. MJ was only mentioned in the second year of the title, and didn't appear until a couple of years later. Her role then wasn't as a romantic interest. They evolved as the story went along to have more significance, but they were add on characters compared to Flash, JJJJ, and Aunt May who were there from the start.
    Even though MJ wasn't physically there, she still had a presence in the book since Aunt May first threw out the idea of Peter going out with her. She was first mentioned in ASM #15. That's only ONE issue after The Green Goblin first showed up. And it's also the same issue that saw Kraven the Hunter first appear.

    (And it seemed, for a time, that Aunt May's whole role in the book was getting Peter to go out with the neighbor's niece.)

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