Saturday, April 29, 2006

Spider-Man Marriage Puzzler

Right off the bat, let me say, I really don't have much of a problem with Spider-Man being married. It's fine by me. I really don't think writers are all that constrained by his marriage. Him living in Avengers Tower? Okay, that's a bit of a constraint, but him being married? I don't see it as much of a constraint. But if he wasn't married, that'd be fine by me, too.

So, here's my puzzler. In his most recent Joe Fridays column, Joe Quesada goes on for a bit about the marriage, and how lame it is, and how much it hurts the character of Spider-Man. Anyhow, he ends by pointing out how the hard part, and the reason why nothing has been done with the marriage is because, "How do you fix it, how do you fix it without saying that years of Spider-Man books didn’t count?"

That's my puzzler.

How is THAT a reason for not fixing the problem?

Who really cares that years of Spider-Man book didn't count?

And I am saying that not as a "continuity is lame" thing. Honest! I am saying, in the grand scheme of things, erasing his marriage will just get a lot of bitching when the story happens, and then life will go on. I do not see Quesada's biggest problem with the idea being much of a problem at ALL.

Look at the whole "crazy Wanda" storyline in Avengers.

Story made basically no sense. Ignored a bunch of continuity. People bitched about it. People pointed out that it made no sense.

And guess what?

Life went on.

Do people even still complain about Wanda going nuts during Avengers Disassembled?

It's just, like, a given now. Just like how it would be a given if some random villain, like, freaking Hyperstorm or some shit like that, shows up and alters reality so that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are no longer married.

Major uproar. Tons of people will bitch. People will point out the story is lame (as the story most likely WOULD be lame). People will say it makes no sense.

But life would go on.

And, in ten years or so, you'll have a generation of readers who grew up with THAT being the status quo, and they'll accept nothing more than Spider-Man not being married.

If it is REALLY "like a burr on my saddle grating on the biggest hemorrhoid you’ve ever imagined, coupled by the fact that I’m riding a smelly horse," then "making years of stories not count" is a pretty sorry reason for not making the change.

So, all said and done, I really don't get how Quesada's biggest concern is much of a concern at all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Quesada also thinks that the problem with Dr. Strange is that he's too darned magicky, so there you go.

4/29/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Every time Quesada opens his mouth I just think to myself, "THIS moron is running Marvel Comics?" I'm hard-pressed to name a single instance where he's demonstrated a keen and intuitive understanding of what makes any given character work (as the most recent Newsarama feature painfully demonstrates). At best he offers vague generalities; at worst he completely fails to understand the appeal of the very characters and titles he's in charge of.

As far as the actual MJ/marriage issue goes:

1. The problem with Peter Parker's marriage, or Clark Kent's marriage, has never been the marriages themselves. It's been years of clueless writers who never got a handle on those marriages. It's obviously going to be easier to do the "Spidey as geeky loner with pathetic love life" thing because Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did that for years and their run is still the prototype. But more essential to their run was the notion that Spider-Man was, despite his superpowers, an everyman, and the notion that you can't write a married everyman is patently ridiculous.

2. Quesada's phrasing is pretty troublesome, implying that he's not just trying to write MJ out of the picture but that he's trying to retcon the marriage away entirely (anyone remember "I Married A Skrull"?). Frankly I'd be happier to see Spider-Man get a divorce. As stupid as that would be, it'd be easier to stomach - and easier to undo when the next generation of writers and editors decides to bring MJ back.

4/29/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous SanctumSanctorumComix said...

Not much else I can add than what these 1st two replies commented upon.

(The Dr. Strange thing was my FIRST thought when reading the post)

Basically, EVERY time I read a comment by "Q" it proves that he might LOVE comics, could be an excellent business planner, may be an artist with some serious "skillz", but...deep down, at his core...he just doesn't "GET" comics themselves and how they function.
The tremendous amount of suspension of disbelief they require - before you turn the first page.
And, as such, that once you look inside them...ANYTHING is possible, as long as you MAKE IT (semi) believable (or at least come up with comic-book science/metaphysics/rationale) for it to happen.

I've never read any of his "written" stuff (DID he write any comics?), but I'd imagine that they'd be fairly pedestrian tales with absolutely NO true depth or imagination whatsoever.


I work in a corporate environment.
I'm a professional artist.
(I'm also a writer, but those skills aren't asked for at my current gig)
And I can't TELL you how FRUSTRATING it is, to have executives and marketing guys (and, so called "brains" behind the creation of stuff) who have...(wait for it)...NO CREATIVE ABILITY. AT. ALL.

SO, while I would imagine that to be the case in MOST of Corporate America, to see that same lack of vision in a STORYTELLING MEDIUM (where, frankly, as a lad, I grew up reading some truly mind-bending tales - early to mid Dr. Strange, Man-Thing, F.F. and) where today, it is lacking much of that feel of wonder.

All due to muddled thinking like what we get from "Q".



4/29/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chad said...

So, is Joe Quesada is the stupidest man on Earth?

Hey Joe, you want to get rid of the marriage? Here, I'll give you the story. You can get your pal Bendis to write it.

Needs about three issues. Bendis can probably stretch it out to nineteen. Spidey fights some weird-ass villain. Something really small and stupid happens.

Maybe said villain breaks Mary Jane's favorite childhood Pez dispenser.

Mary Jane doesn't freak out, but she kinda deflates a bit. She actually starts thinking. I know that characters thinking about their lives is not the Marvel way, but she might try some introspection anyways.

She realizes that being married to Spider Man is ridiculous. It all comes crashing down on her: no matter how much she hopes otherwise, Peter ain't never gonna stop being Spider Schmuck.

So she leaves.

And here's the bonus: in a couple of years when you've given Spider Freak a new girlfriend you can bring Mary Jane back and do a lot of press about how Mary Jane and Spidey were always meant to be together and you can have them get married again!

And I think people are resigned to the ridiculous retconning of the Quesada/Bendis Marvel. The Scarlet Retcon was hideous. The De-Morrisonification of X-Men was hideous. After a while you just get resigned to the inherent awfulness of QB Marvel.

Eitehr that or you do what I did: stop buying most all of the Marvel stuff you had been buying.

4/29/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger --Greg Hatcher said...

If Joe Quesada really has no idea how to approach the idea of a superhero being married, why in heaven's anme doesn't he look at the times it's been done well and heed the lesson?

In the Sinister Six trilogy by Adam-Troy Castro, the prose Spider-Man novels that he did for the line of Marvel novels a few years back, Castro absolutely nailed how to do it right. Diane Duane's novels, same thing.

You want to get back to Spider-Man being an everyman, a working-class hero? One easy solution. Mary Jane's not a supermodel. She's a struggling actress. And Peter's a high school teacher. Presto, poverty. And it was poverty that drove all that 'everyman' stuff that people get so wistful about. It's got nothing to do with the marriage. It has everything to do with living in Avengers HQ and working for Tony Stark and having a goddam BUTLER waiting on them and.... rrrgh. It annoys me every time I think about it.

I get annoyed every time I hear some bonehead comics writer mouthing off about how married people aren't interesting, to be honest. It insults married people. Your life doesn't just, you know, settle down and stop throwing problems because you got lucky enough to marry happily. It just closes off dating storylines. But it opens a host of others, something that I think only a handful of writers have gotten over the last twenty years. All the others panicked over the no-dating-melodrama option and choked.

Personally I think it's a symptom of the same arrested-adolescent fear of women in general that seems to permeate mainstream comics, but that's just my hip-shot opinion.

4/29/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous dj anderson said...

JQ just doesn't see that the simplest, and most elegant solution to the problem is to remove Mary Jane from the equation.

Any of a million stories could do it. Mind wipe her, put her in a coma, kill her, abducted by aliens, turn her into a villain, whatever.

Marvel still has her for ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, so removing her from the ASM/FNSM/SSM world won't effect their copyrights or anything.

But that's not the current Marvel way. Its got to be complicated and non-sensical. If they were smart, they'd ask Steve Englehart to do it. Instead, they'd ask Daniel Way.

4/29/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What happens is that we as creators forget that there are always new readers coming into comics, why shouldn’t they experience Peter as we did when we discovered him."

Gee, Joe, if you really felt that way, maybe Spider-Man wouldn't have turned into a REAL SPIDER because of a TOTEM SPIDER GOD and had his EYEBALLS EATEN ON PANEL, only to emerge from a SPIDER COCOON and gain a STUPID LOOKING COSTUME WITH TECHNO-GANGLY LEG THINGS HANGING OFF IT.

For that matter, maybe Gwen Stacey wouldn't have cheated on Peter and done the nasty with someone OLD ENOUGH TO BE HER FATHER in a stupid retcon.

Right when you ask yourself "how else can they stomp the character of Spider-Man into the ground", Marvel provides an answer!

4/29/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

As people have mentioned, I don't get it. Is divorce illegal in the Marvel Universe? Is cancer? I mean, I'd like it a lot more if Mary Jane died a "normal" death with all the storytelling possibilities that brings up than if something cosmic happened to the status quo. I wouldn't like it all that much, because I happen to like married Peter Parker, but it's pretty simple to me.

I really wanted to say that what we really should do is get Joey Q and Dan DiDio in some sort of cage match to the death. The winner gets to be Larry Young's ottoman for life.

4/29/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Could you imagine if we ever told a story about either Spidey or MJ cheating? We would irrevocably destroy one of the two characters by doing it."

I guess by that definition, Marvel irrevocably destroyed the character of Gwen Stacey. Thanks for clearing that up Joe!

4/29/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

Marvel has already proved that Spider-Man is nigh-invulnerable, when it comes to shitty stories. Whether it's clones, Intelligent Design, Sugar Daddies or snarky little jokes at the readers' expense, they can literally do no wrong, because people keep reading.

It occurs to me that the problem isn't confined to Quesada not getting Spider-Man, but everybody else, as well.

The real question here, though, is this:

If the marriage went away, what would Marvel put in its place?

The Black Cat comment is a telling one. Felicia's story - or, at least, the part relevant to Peter Parker - ended twenty years ago. She had a place in the Spider-Man mythos - she loved Spider-Man, rather than Peter, failing to understand that "Spider-Man" didn't really exist, and therby failing to understand Peter Parker at all. She couldn't stand the "normal" life that Peter Parker strove for, and tried to keep that side (the only real side) of the character down. This ultimately doomed their relationship - Peter Parker coming between Spider-Man and love for a change, rather than the other way around.

Stripping away the text, we see that Felicia is the sort of wild, crazy girl that comes into a man's life, turns it upside down for a few months, then moves on, never to return.

The enjoyment we get from the Black Cat nowadays is derived from three places:

1. The nostalgic frisson by proxy of Spider-Man running into an old girlfriend.
2. Her ginormous plastic tits (thank you, Terry Dodson).

So, if you can't go back to Felicia, where do you go next? You can't really try another "super" woman who's more into Spidey than Peter, because that's repeating yourself. And despite Bendis's best efforts, I don't think you can really do a "super" girlfriend story that focuses on Peter, either, because it compromises the thematic integrity of the series - that it should be about more or less a normal man trying his best to lead a more or less normal life.

(of course, there is no thematic integrity to Spider-Man anymore. But bear with me)

So where do you go? Back to normal women. But who would they bring in?

Howard Mackie tried to persuade us that Jill Stacy would be a good choice. But again, that was predicated on nostalgia. As was Dan Jurgens' Jessica Carradine, in the end.

So, assuming we can't go back to someone old, or even someone related to someone old, where do we go? Someone new?

I can see the attraction, I suppose. Creating a new love interest for Spider-Man would, perhaps, be akin to creating a great new villain. Indeed, it would be much harder, for a good villain doesn't have to compliment the hero as much as cast a reflection on or of him.

(Hello, Shathra, Mithras and Moth-Ra)

But in a series where even the love of his life, the woman that his half-senile (foster)MOTHER realised would be perfect for him takes second place to the memory of a dead girl, how could Peter ever really find a new love? He'd be haunted beyond endurance by TWO women, now. And he (and we) would be constantly comparing the new girl to aaaalllll the old ones.

So what's the answer? Stick with Mary Jane? Why the hell not: after all, she's as integral to the series as Lois Lane is to Superman. She was on the scene before Gwen Stacy, she was there for Peter after Gwen died, and more importantly, she's capable of a life outside of the relationship. Can Lois Lane say that?

You can either accept MJ or remove MJ. If you take her away but leave her alive, then she'll just come back. If you kill her, then she just becomes another martyr. The last time Peter Parker was a widower, he ended up sleeping on the streets. Paul Jenkins got a little bit of bittersweet humour out of it, but that's a seam you can only mine once.

If you accept that Mary Jane is always going to be there, even if the marriage was rushed into (in and out of the comics), then you may as well run with it. But how do you proceed?

By respecting the thematic core of the series: that Spider-Man is always going to come between Peter Parker and an ordinary life. That Spider-Man makes Peter's life (and the lives of the people around him) hard, but not impossible to live.

While Spider-Man is, on some levels, a romance comic, it is manifestly NOT about Peter Parker the Player. Even the romantic aspects were more about finding a single, stable relationship than anything else. Remember the SEVENTEEN YEAR-OLD Peter contemplating marriage to Betty Brant? If marriage really was the end of Romance, then nobody would do it, either as common-law, civil, or full-on blancmange.

The threat of loss is ever-present in the Spider-Man coics, whether it's the loss of Peter's anonymity, the ill-health of his Aunt May, or the death of his wife at the hands of a psycho. It would be the same if they were merely boyfriend and girlfriend.

Spider-Man is about Peter Parker trying to cope with the hand that Life - not Fate (no destiny but death) - has dealt him. Being married brings with it awesome responsibility.

And who knows more about THAT?


4/29/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Robinson said...

Very well put, Matthew.

4/29/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Plain and simple, all of this is just a ripple effect from killing Gwen Stacy. Honestly, that's the single biggest mistake Marvel ever did, and every other problem since has emanated from that decision. He's had a general lack of direction since then and no one's really know where to go from there. If you think Gwen wasn't a huge loss, think about what's happened to MJ since Gwen died: they basically erased everything that made her MJ outside of the red hair and just turned her into an actress version of Gwen! We find out that the party girl personality was just a front (despite decades of thought bubbles to the contrary) and that she's really a sensitive soul. Now you basically can't tell her apart from Gwen personality-wise.

In Ultimate Spider-Man they have to use Mary Jane rather than Gwen because they don't want readers getting too attached to someone they know is going to have to die. But what do they do for her characterization? Give her the personality of Gwen! They introduce Gwen Stacy as the MJ character and promptly kill her off! It's almost like Bendis, even if it was subconsciously, is admitting that the wrong girl was killed the first time around in the regular Marvel U.

Same with the movie, Kirsten Dunst is basically playing an uglier version of Gwen Stacy with red hair. And they even follow it through with a bridge scene, except this time around Spider-Man saves her. Yet another subtle indication that many creators think the death of Gwen Stacy was a mistake.

Also, if Gwen didn't die we wouldn't have had it hanging over the Spider-Man character like an albatross all these years. MOst of the really bad Spider-Man ideas were directly spun off of Gwen's death: the death of Green Goblin, the first clone saga, the second clone saga, the Jackal, the return of Norman Osborn and even the marriage to MJ to a certain degree.

4/29/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

Gwen's death reinforced the value of maintaining Peter's secret while at the same time solving the problem of what to do with a character that, really, would have been a dead end.

Gwen never would have accepted Peter as Spider-Man, after what happened with her father (not to mention Peter's other deceptions), so they could never have gotten married (What IFs be damned), and she couldn't really have remained in the series afterwards.

Plus, obviously, once you've been Goblined, you never go back.



4/29/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Actually, killing Gwen's dad was the second biggest mistake because it painted the writers into a corner regarding how to deal with Gwen and they took the easy way out by killing her. But honestly, they could have gotten out of the scenario.

It's like Cronin says, readers can get over things. Have her find out Pete is Spider-Man, she gets mad for a year, he does something extra-heroic that wins her over and they get back together and with time, people go for it no matter how unlikely it is in real life that she'd ever forgive him.

Heck, on General Hospital Luke raped Laura and years later they married those characters to each other, and it was wildly popular with the viewers, who conveniently forgot that there ever WAS a rape.

And I disagree with Gwen Stacy being a dead-end character. If she was so dead-end, why do creators keep trying to reincarnate her in Mary Jane. And is she any less well-rounded than the original Lois Lane and Lana Lang (who existed simply to find out who Superman was) or Iris West (who existed solely to tell Barry Allen he was late again) or the Silver Age DC heroes (who all head interchangeable personalities)? Most characters were one-dimensional back then. With time, later writers would have given her more depth as comics started becoming more sophisticated.

Killing both Stacys was a horrible, irreversible mistake that sapped all the fun out of the Spider-Man mythos.

4/29/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Waah, we don't want Spider-Man to be married anymore because we're all too lazy to think up decent storylines taking advantage of this plot point. BUT please check out a very special issue of Storm where she will be marrying the Black Panther in OMG THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY featuring Galactus in a very special role. Cuz marriage rulzzzz and will add so much to these characters. Huh, what was that about Spider-Man again?"

4/29/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Omar Karindu said...

My own argument about the death of Gwen Stacy has always been that it represented the point at which the superhero aspect of Spider-Man's title gained permanent precedence over the everyman stuff.

An everyman can lose a girlfriend because she doesn't get over her brother's death (Betty Brant). He can do something irresponsible that hurts someone else (the origin, arguably the death of George Stacy). He can even accidentally hurt the people around him because he's got conflicting responsibilites (pretty much every "Aunt May is upset that Peter didn't call/snuck out/isn't wearing a sweater in October because he had to be Spidey" scene).

But an everyman does not lose his girlfriend to a psychotic mastermind who hates him. No, that's an experience that isn't taken from real life and translated into genre terms, but rather, an experience that only happens to genre characters and possibly people in 14th century Italy who piss off the Medicis.

And the continual refrain -- "realistic" or otherwise -- about the martyred Gwen ended up removing a little piece of the magic that made the first 120 or so issues of Spider-Man generally work. Of course, it was already starting to happen to the series anyway, with stuff like the amnesia storyline (#56-58), six-armed Spidey vs. a vampire (#100-102), Peter and JJJ going to the friggin' Savage Land (#103-5) and so on.

But those were generally isolated, silly adventures. The death of Gwen wasn't -- it was something that the series had to deal with at length. And that has made all the difference.

4/29/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

"if Gwen didn't die we wouldn't have had it hanging over the Spider-Man character like an albatross all these years."

This is as simple to fix as the MJ "problem": you stop writing Peter with the Gwen obsession. You stop writing the damn bridge scenes. You let him get over it, going through the same healing process everyone else is allowed to go through in real life.

You also retcon away the Norman Osborn resurrection and reveal the current Goblin to be a clone/robot/shape-shifting-synthezoid or whatever. As long as Gwen Stacy's murderer is strolling around, the constant angst kind of has a point; if Norman Osborn is buried, the Gwen Stacy ghost can get buried with him.

4/29/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

"that's an experience that isn't taken from real life and translated into genre terms"

Sure it is. It follows the same "everyman hero" theme of every successful Spiderman plot: sometimes doing the right thing isn't glamorous or glorious, and sometimes it causes you incredible pain. If Peter had never become Spiderman, he never would've made enemies of the Green Goblin, and never would've ended up on that fight on the bridge, and Gwen would never have been hurled off it just to spite him. If he ignored his responsibility to help other people, he could be living a much happier life - but he'd be a worse person. That's a dilemma that resonates far beyond the genre conventions of a superhero comic.

4/29/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Melanism said...

I think if Spidey gets outed during Civil War, MJ may get killed by one of his rogues.

4/29/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg Hatcher writes: ". Mary Jane's not a supermodel. She's a struggling actress."

Or maybe better, a former struggling actress who gave up on hopes of *stardom* and instead became a high school drama teacher.

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of MJ, it seems like it would be easy enough if she stays as an actress - she goes to Hollywood for her career, Peter stays in New York, and the relationship frays and ends. She could even rationalize it - he 'died', after all, right? Til death do us part, and all that.

(Incidentally, how long as MJ been a struggling actress? Wouldn't she go to Hollywood? I'd think nowadays Manhattan would largely offer only stage and soap opera jobs. )

4/29/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jon H said...

"Waah, we don't want Spider-Man to be married anymore because we're all too lazy to think up decent storylines taking advantage of this plot point."

I'd also add that the whole "struggling actress" thing lacks potential for good storylines. That career path is too chaotic, shifting, rootless. Presumably she goes to auditions at various places; if she doesn't get the role, she may never again see anyone at the audition; if she gets the role, she does the work at some place, but after it's done, she may never return, and may never work with the same people again.

We know who Peter works with and for, and they have provided rich fodder for stories for decades. But as far as I'm aware, MJ has no such stock of long-term colleagues, does she?

MJ should find another line of work. A switch to charity work with the poor would put her in contact with the fringes of society. A switch to corporate work, perhaps in PR, could put her in contact with corporate crooks and disgruntled employees. A change to being a high school teacher could put her in contact with poorly-adjusted youth with newfound powers. In any of these situations, there would be colleagues and supervisors who could complicate matters or show particular strength of character (ala JJJ and Robbie).

And, also, it seems to me that 'aspiring actress' is kind of dated, isn't it? I mean, obviously lots of people still do. But it seems like a characterization that might have had more resonance in earlier decades than it has now. It kinda sounds like an aspiration a woman would have when women didn't have many other career opportunities.

4/29/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"(Incidentally, how long as MJ been a struggling actress? Wouldn't she go to Hollywood? I'd think nowadays Manhattan would largely offer only stage and soap opera jobs. )"

They actually DID the "MJ in Hollywood" storyline. That's how they wrote her out of the books for the beginning of JMS' run.

The creepiest part was that they sent her off - then didn't have Peter even MENTION her.

See, that's the kind of idea fans CAN'T go for. They'll go for whatever random idiotic plot device for her not being married to Peter, but they WON'T go for the books just choosing not to reference that Peter has a wife.

4/29/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

MJ's been to Hollywood. It was one of the devices used to try and keep her away from Peter post-Mackie.

Also, MJ tried going back to college under DeFalco, trying her hand at Psychology, motivated by her time in therapy post-Baby May.

Also also:

I think if Spidey gets outed during Civil War, MJ may get killed by one of his rogues.

If Mary Jane and Aunt May weren't mashed into the ground like so much fertilizer by one of the intelligent, nasty villains who SAW PETER PARKER'S FACE in New Avengers #1, then I wouldn't put too much store in that sort of sensible logic.


4/29/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Cove West said...

I'm usually strongly opposed to Crisis-style retcons in the Marvel Universe, mainly because the MU seems to have a built-in mechanism that self-corrects any "wrong way" storylines. But in this case, I think that if people want to get rid of Mary Jane, wife, the only "safe" way to do it is to retcon away the entire marriage.

I see four options for undoing the marriage:

1) Treat it as a years-long marriage that simply ran its course, and now Peter and MJ have tired of each other (as the readers have tired). They divorce.

2) Compress it into a short-term marriage, maybe a few months, and portray it as a coupling that never really worked for either. Either an amiable "it just wasn't meant to be" divorce or a crash-and-burn divorce.

3) Simply ignore the marriage as though it never happened. Maybe in ASM #XX0, have a "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" retrospective/swansong of the Marriage Era, then in #XX1, Peter's story reverts back to pre-marriage without explanation.

4) Big event, drama and explosions and space/time wonkiness. As a result, the Marriage Era is erased from existence.

From the less-confusion point of view, I like 1 and 2. The biggest problem, however, is you end up with Peter as a divorcee. Is that really something Marvel would want? Or even the readers? Divorce becomes a MAJOR part of Spider-Man's "short bio" sheet, probably overtaking the Death of Gwen Stacey as the centerpeice of the post-origin story. 2 has an advantage in that it makes the marriage more of a "blip," but then you run into the dreaded Marvel Time problem, and things like Onslaught and House of M happen within weeks of each other for Spidey but months apart for the rest of the MU.

Option 3 really screws with Marvel Time, unless you do something like "everything that happened during the Marriage Era still happened, just without the marriage." I like the simplicity of it, and the fact that keeps Peter from becoming Ross from "Friends."

Option 4 is the Crisis option. It could be done Marvel-wide (and probably should, if they go this route at all, to prevent something worse than DC's post-Crisis mess), but a Spidey-exclusive version could still work. For instance, maybe some weird Madame Web thing happens, there's a big Spidey-titles crossover, and at the end, Peter must make a choice to erase the Marriage Era. Something like what Whedon and Minear did on Angel with Connor, except rather than just messing with memories, it affects the timeline as well. So at the end, while the rest of the MU went on its merry Marvel way since the marriage, Spidey simply skips over the intervening years. The Spidey writers spend the next few years reintroducing whatever from the Marriage Era they want to keep, and then they move forward again.

None of these options is completely appealing, but it can't be done without breaking a whole mess of eggs. The choice would depend on what's more important: saving the relative innocence of the Spider-Man "legend" at the expense of continuity, or trying to salvage continuity and letting the creative mistake become a character mistake. Not that I'm totally sold on the idea that the marriage was a mistake in the first place, but the longer the marriage goes on, the harder it will be to remove without causing catastrophic problems.

4/29/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

They could always say that the marriage license was invalid.


4/29/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if they find a legal loophole that results in the marriage having never been a legal marriage to begin with. Then one or both parties have reservations on whether or not they want it to continue (a series of marital problems, perhaps having to do with Peter's role as Spider-Man, or being cooped up in Avengers Tower, could precede all this).

(Hey, at least Peter won't have to be labeled a "divorcee", a "widower", or someone who was once married to a Skrull!)

4/29/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous muldertp said...

"They actually DID the "MJ in Hollywood" storyline. That's how they wrote her out of the books for the beginning of JMS' run.

The creepiest part was that they sent her off - then didn't have Peter even MENTION her."

Does no one remember that later in the run, MJ and Peter actually did separate? She left him because she couldn't deal with Spider-Man, and Peter revealed his identity to Aunt May. It actually got me buying Spider-Man again because it actually dealt with the marriage, rather than ignore it.

The reason most marriage comics are boring is because writers try to write around it, rather than address it or portray a marriage as anything but sunshine and lollipops. That's why Reed and Sue are rarely interesting and also why Cyke and Jean lost their edge. You can only write the "temptation" story line so many times.

Marriages have much more dramatic problems than comic writers address (or are willing to address) and I suspect a lot of it is because a lot of the new "up and comers" that Marvel and DC like to give their flagship titles to aren't married and don't have the experience to know what a solid lasting relationship (or even a co-dependent, unhealthy one) should look like.

Also, was I the only one surprised that Peter and MJ were still married after all the crap in House of M? It just seemed like the least original thing they could do, so it seemed obvious Marvel would do it. If that's what Quesada wanted, he missed his window. For two months. Until the next crossover.

4/29/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger admin said...

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is.

Obviously this problem can be solved by Janet Pym killing MJ as part of a plot to make Hank worry about her more.

4/29/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is hillarious that when Marvel people bitch about Spidey being married, they use things like the movies as an arguing point. Since Peter is single and has romantic problems in the movies, they cannot do it in the comics anymore. But in the grand scheme of things... is it more confusing to the "average kid" who might pick up Spider-Man to see him married to the girl of his dreams in the movies... or to see Spiderman running around with mutant claws and an Iron Man/Invader Zim suit?

4/29/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yeah, the movie part always seemed to me to make the marriage make sense. The cartoons, too.

I mean, Peter loves Mary Jane, and then this little reads the comic, and they're married - is that really supposed to put off a new reader?

However, I honestly don't have a problem with the armor. It's one of the rare times when a new costume actually has a real, deliberate story purpose. It's almost charming, in that regard. A new costume with a planned purpose?!?


What is this, 1967?

4/29/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous JR said...

As to the "How do we do this without saying these issues 'never happened' bit" here's a lazy cut and paste from my CBR posted idea:

I think the mind alteration thing would be the way to go and even figured out an approach they could take. Let's say some evil demon type has it in for Mystic Totem Spider-Guy in a bad way, conviently learns that Totem Spider-Guy is married and so kidnaps MJ. Demon tosses her in some sort of mystical trap thing that allows other demon types to hitch a ride to Earth in order to jaywalk, cowtip, catcall, and generally run amok. Dr. Strange shows up, tells Spider-Man "this is all your fault and we've gotta stop it now!" and the two set off to find MJ. Now the catch is that when they do, they can't free her, turns out that the mystic whammy has it so that MJ and Pete's love for each other is what's keeping her trapped. So Spidey's "whatta we do now?" and Doc is "Well I erase any knowledge of her love of (and marriage to) you from her and the rest of the world along with any evidence (papers, photos, etc.) thereof". So after some soul searching Pete finally says "do it" and when everyone wakes up the next day the name Mary Jane Watson will largely be known as Tony Stark's supermodel girlfriend, except of course in the mind of one Peter Parker (and probably Dr. Strange). Oh the angst!

So that would be a way to do such without having the issues "never happen", they happened, just nobody knows they happened (except Pete and Strange). Dr. Strange used to alter minds as a matter of course ("Hey it's Monday, time to screw with some people's heads!"), so this isn't a particularly huge thing for him to pull off. Hell, they could even throw in a jab at DC with it: "But what if it causes some crisis in her mind and she looses her sense of identity?!!?" "Who do you think I am, some cheap stage magician with no clue at what they're doing?? I'm Dr. Strange!!".

So yeah, if he REALLY wanted to he could do such and for all the complaints he'd get many of the people who read Spider-Man consistantly would likely keep reading just like they did during all the other "controversial" storylines.

4/29/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous JR said...

Oops, got ahead of myself a bit there.

As to why he just doesn't go ahead and "fix" I figure that it's either:

A) Not as important to him as he says it is
B) Is still on some level worried about a "Clone Saga" style reaction. Since that story would be roughly the last time they tried to go the "what you think happened didn't" route, and it backfired on them.

Spider-Man's a bigger franchise than alot of their other titles so maybe he feels they can't be as flexible with it as with others. Even with the no-more-mutants thing they kept the major characters like Wolverine around so as not to tip the boat too much.

4/29/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Teej said...

Hey, I've got a great idea! Why don't we go back to about, oh, 1975, and take a rather obscure story about... hmm... I know - A clone!

The Peter we know isn't the real Peter Parker! It's this other guy - named Ben. Hahaha! It's genius and the fans will just love it!

Seriously though, fans can only take a small amount of change to an iconic character. That's why Superman isn't electric, Wonder Woman isn't Artemis, Batman isn't Azrael, Robin isn't the Spoiler, Spidey will have his real costume back sooner or later, and invalidating the marriage to MJ is a bad idea.

4/30/2006 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I don't buy that, only because Spider-Man being married to MJ IS a change!

4/30/2006 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Stéphane Garrelie said...

For well writen maried Spider-man people should read the David Michelinie "Amazing Spider-man" or the JM DeMatteis/ Mike Zeck "Kraven's Last Hunt".
The mariage isn't a problem at all and perfectly fit the pseudo-biographic form that is the one for the Spider-Man book since the Stan Lee days.
Sadly most of the writers (and amongst them some of the best, like Roger Stern)don't like the idea of married Spider-Man.
Even if his work as an a EIC isn't stellar, when Joe Q's contract was reconducted I thought he had deserved this extension, and that under his direction Marvel, even if not at its best level, was by far better than under Harras (the worst Marvel EIC ever). But now I am more than sceptical about this second Queseda mandate. Begining in july, excepted the Claremont books and NextWave i will not have any Marvel book on my list. The last time such a thing happened it was in 95, when i was so much disgusted by Marvel that I was following only DC (monthly), Dark horse and Vertigo books (mainly in tradepaperback).

4/30/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

"For well writen maried Spider-man people should read the David Michelinie "Amazing Spider-man"

Wow, couldn't disagree more. Michilinie's depiction of the marriage was horrendous, just (1) months of syrupy, sappy bliss, (2) a really forced token fight followed by (3) a really saccharine, maudlin reconciliation scene, (4) repeat.

4/30/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Jordan D. White said...

Holy Crap, JR... I love that idea.

Seriously... I grew up with Peter/MJ married, and I loved their relationship for a long time as a reader. Over time, the arguments against the marriage seemed to convince me. Thematically speaking (as Kurt Busiek points out, I believe) anything that overall gives Peter support rather than complications is going to take away from his main themes. Since then, I have moved into the camp sort of regretting the marriage. But I never liked the idea of divorce or death of MJ, so I never thought they could actually pull it off.

But I think that idea is excellent. I actually think I could get behind that. It seems obvious in retrospect, but yeah, all you have to do is erase it and make sure PETER remembers the real version. That way, the comics "really happened" and the readers are in the same boat with Peter, remembering them. It turns it against him, because it makes him suffer, but in a way he knows he has to keep doing. I love it. Seriously.

4/30/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in general agreement about some points with regards to the marraige status quo question. I enjoyed portions of JMS's run particularly those regarding MJ and Aunt May. The whole Avengers Tower thing for me seemed to have a temporary componant so it really hasn't bunched my panties. But I'd rather see them head back to Queens.
I think Peter's larger cast in general has been long neglected. With respect to the writers that gave us the Peter as High School Teacher storylines, they have not helped this nor have they supplied any real or firm replacements to that cast.
The marriage in many ways could or should provide opportunities for the couple to reinvestigate Peters stock cast and also introduce characters that react to them as a couple. This should provide brand new complexties for both of them and not be viewed as a deterrant.
As an aside, I'd love to see Pete flashback to a happy time with Gwen, shrug his shoulders and say, damn MJ those were good times. but this is better. Thank you. Their its done. I've moved on finally. No rainy scene in a cemetary. No wacky super criminal desicrating his memories of Gwen. Just a little bonafide moment.
It would be good to see Peter actually engage the city that he lives in again. Too many spider totems and stories in France and Avengers/Iron Man issues have muddied the Spider-waters. Peter/Spider-Man hasn't been dealing with anything intrisically his own or at least within the characters realm of believability for more than a year. This might be a fine way to approach Wolverine who can essentially be written all over the place because he can viewed as a rouge drifter cowboy type with no roots etc. But Peters character suffers extensively when removed from his cast and catalyst for introspection that they provide.
Peters job as a photographer was great grist for this. The attempts to make him a street level Reed Richards are silly. Peter can't engage the world from a Lab or realy from Avengers Tower for that matter.
Which brings me to MJ. She needs a frickin job, something more than substantial than acting. She's supposed to be smart, proactive and intelligent. But she's consistantly mopey, introspective, unsure and in trouble. She should be a college graduate. She should have a job that provides financially and also contributes story material.
In this respect if anyone works for Tony Stark, I'd argue that it should be her. Its a big company right. this would provide a basis for her to be within the context of Spider-Man's world of Super this and Evil thats. It also has the ability to potentailly address MJ's vanity by creating a Tony/MJ/Peter triangle and thereby create friction within the Marriage.

4/30/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll disagree. That marriage has to stay, damn it! Because it's the only character bit left in Spider-Man! That is, that doesn't involve mourning the dead, usually the dead of forty or so years ago. Seriously, think about it: outside of Wolverine and Tony Stark, Peter hasn't made a new supporting cast member in eons, and all his old ones have pretty much gone the way of the dodo, so the marriage is just about the only tool left in the drawer. It'd be silly to throw it out. Use it for something, instead. Because let me tell you, whatever you do, MJ will not be gone for long, and then we'll be right back where we started. Only we'll have suffered through a big crappy retcon to get there again.

And what's the point of that? Who wants to read that? Besides, who's he gonna date while MJ is gone, Deb Whitman? Madeleine Pryor? Jeez. I think the idea that for thematic purposes Spider-Man shouldn't have anything go right for him is a dangerous one: if he just suffers and suffers and suffers and never has any chance of anything turning out, then I don't want to read him. Isolating him too much just makes him The Punisher, it's boring...without the things that go right, the things that go wrong are meaningless.

And Quesada should be worried about getting into a big Spider-Clone problem with that, because it's exactly what it is, i.e. something that can't work. They've tried it.

4/30/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But hey, I posted before seeing that last guy before me - hear, hear, other anonymous person! The high-school thing was obviously supposed to supply subplots and secondary characters, and didn't. So something has to. F'r chrissakes, Peter Parker doesn't even see JJJ anymore! That's where the trouble is, not in the marriage.

4/30/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Another reason why I think the death of Gwen and her father was a bigger mistake than the marriage is that it signified a huge thematic shift in the character.

The origin established that Peter is a crimefighter because he brought harm to one of his loved ones by not stopping injustice when he could. But once Captain Stacy and then Gwen died, the tone became different. When his loved ones directly start dying as a result of his criminal negligence (Captain Stacy) or because they are targeted by his archenemies (Gwen), he has reached the point where being a crimefighter doesn't help his loved ones but endangers them. That means that fighting crime is now something that hurts his loved ones, whereas it was originally something that kept his family safe. After causing those 2 deaths, each time he continues to fight crime in costume, he's willfully doing something that is irresponsible, and when your motto is all about great responsibility, acting irresponsible reeks of hypocrisy.

The death of Captain Stacy and eventually Gwen Stacy caused the current mess of problems. His supporting cast continued to unravel more and more after that: Harry goes insane and periodically becomes a supercriminal, Flash gets repeatedly injured by Spider-villains, Betty Brant is never seen, the Bugle makes token appearances but the interactions feel forced. Now Peter and MJ and married but all their friends and associates are criminally insane, dead or estranged. Their existence is depressing and solitary. It's just a man, his wife and his aunt.

To me, that's what makes the New Avengers era at least somewhat interesting in that it puts him in the context of a bigger group to play off of and now for the first time in a while he has a supporting cast of friends, family and coworkers again. These things, I think, will help the marriage seem better written over time,

4/30/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Jordan D. White said...

I agree in regards to the supporting cast- I think he definately needs to get back a lot of those people. I think the supporting cast issue is FAR bigger of a problem than the marriage one. The Avengers should not be making monthly appearances, there should be regular people making appearances. If I had my drothers, I would get him out of Avengers Mansion, make him lose his teaching job (because he is constantly missing work for 'no reason'), give him money troubles, and have him forced to go crawling back to Jonah for work. Again- it emphasizes the idea that being Spider-Man is a burden on his life- that he might be better off without it, but that he would not be as good of a person if he didn't do it. Right now with being an Avenger, living in the tower, getting help from Stark, and his whole family knowing his secret... being Spider-Man is easier on Peter than it ever has been. It doesn't get in the way of his life at all, because Peter doesn't have a life outside of Spider-Man right now.

Also- I would note that some writers HAVE tried to bring back the old cast and create new ones. Most recently, Jenkins invented an apartment building full of neightbors for Peter... but they were widely ignored, and unfortunately not much came of them. I was intrigued by that sinister dog next door. Also, of course, Mackie's run back when MJ was "dead" added a bunch of people- you had Randy Robertson, who I enjoyed, and a number of others. It was not a very good era for Spidey comics, but at least he tried to being the cast back.

So yes- if the marriage went away somehow, I think it would be VITALLY important that the cast come back into the picture. But even with the marriage- give us some normal freaking people. Enough with the Avengers! I hope he has a major falling out with Tony and co. during Civil War.

Oh- and one other note... I think Ultimate Spider-Man goes a long way towards emphasizing how important the supporting cast and soap opera aspect of Spidey is. Back in the original comics, there was maybe 2-4 pages of soap opera per issue... but those are the BIG things we remember. Peter dating, or working, or whatever. He fought each villain like fifty times, so each particular fight does not stand out as much as his personal life does. Hence, now with Ultimate, MUCH more attention is paid to his personal life and who he is dating, etc.

4/30/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous JEM said...

Personally, I think the mark of a good writer is being able to deal with the history of a book/character. Retcon is the cowards way out (which is why I hate the current Infinite Crisis at DC). Yeah, history means baggage, and who doesn't have baggage? I certainly haven't been able to retcon my life. Of course, I've grown older, too. Beside, as even JQ mentions, there is the Ultimate line of books. If they retconned Spidey's life, why would they have two good-selling lines?

4/30/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

This is along the lines of what Jordan said, but I really think part of the problem was that JMS apparently doesn't want a surrounding cast. He never really had Peter interact with any "regular" people, except that tailor, or maybe a cop.

Jenkins had given Peter all the neighbors in the apartment. Goofy, people, friends, a really hot neighbor that seemed moderately interested in Pete. Mackie had him living with Randy Robertson, and frequently going out on the town with Randy, Jill Stacy, and Glory Grant. He knew people independent of Spider-Man. That's all vanished for somereason.

As for the marriage, I don't feel that's it's a problem that needs to be removed. Get them out of the Tower, get Peter teaching or working at the Bugle, get MJ doing the theater stuff, but something else that can pay bills more regularly than that. Modeling, or maybe fashion design, which is something she's apparently very good at in the Spider-Girl Universe. She'd probably have to go to school first, but it would be a start.

But I don't think divorce will work, and killing her, well they've tried that already, so let's just move on. Short of that suggestion of making evryone except Peter forget about the marriage, I don't think there's a way you can fix it. And honestly, I'm not sure how I'd react if they tried that.

4/30/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous JR said...

Holy Crap, JR... I love that idea.

Heh, I wish I could take full credit for it, but it's really just me giving my own tongue in cheek spin to an idea Mark Waid and Grant Morrison had for a rejected Superman run involving Brainiac. Wasn't sure Spidey had a villian who could do that sort of thing but then realized Dr. Strange could easily.

.... Wait a second am I being honest on the internet? Er... of course it's genius! I created Star Wars too! Even though it came out the year I was born... but that's just how fast I work! Yeah... that's the ticket.

4/30/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

I think JR idea is pretty good (it even has the easy way out of Strange give her memories back with it backfires to the point that fan blackcash get to Clone levels). But I really don't what's the drama about a divorce. I can see why DC can't divorce Clark and Lois, but Peter? There's no written rule that say his life should be perfect? People like to see Peter as an everyman, and well have your marriage ran it's course is something that happens quite often to avarege guys. Just make MJ realizes that shen doesn't love Peter enough anymore to put with all the spidey's crap. If well written this don't make any less of either carachters and future writers can even bring the two back together. This might even be a good way to put the more avarage side of Peter Parker as carachter back at the center of his book. I actually think Joe Q has a point that at the time of the marriage when MJ was a super model this was a problem for Peter's image (altough Machilinie did do some good work around the problem) but it's long gone and good writing can find many good subplots to Peter/Mary Jane as a couple, it's silly and lazy to think otherwise.

Now, I agree that the real big problem is the lack of average people in the supporting cast. It should be said that PAD has bring back Flash as regular supporting carachter as the new coach in Peter's school (a real good idea)and has already use in a very short time JJJ, John Jamenson and Robbie. I have the feeling PAD has indeed approach Friendle Neighborhood Spider-man as the less- big scale spider book which is probably why it's the first Spiderman book Marvel put in ages that actually feel like a real spiderman comic (I just wish he got a better artist than Roger Cruz). Which get me to the real problem, it's hard to write a real supporting cast when you only writes 6-issues arc for trades (like JMS does), because they ended lost in the process.

5/01/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bully said...

This I swear: I shall not rest until they bring back DEBORAH WHITMAN.

5/01/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PAD has brought back Flash after an ubsurd amount of time in a coma after a ludicrus story pitting Norman against Peter ala the Killing Joke. Even so PAD now seems to have a handle on the necessity of giving Peter a cast. But my problem with Flash being back on the scene is his insipid retcon, the Ultimatizing of the "real" Peter's reality. They brought back Flash to be a high school Bully fer fricks sake.
There was something a little touching in all of those old stories that slowly brought Flash and Peter into an adult relationship that could support friction without being encumbered with that Bully/Geek dynamic. Played for laughs this will be fun for all of 2 more issues.
These characters are adults now. Its drastically unbelievable when they are clearly operating in the context of a grown up day to day world but written to interact largely as 16 year olds might in a 1960's high school. Flash as a character was fully articulated before the coma. He had a past and problems and a former relationship with Felicia. But is he brought back in order to play to any of these strengths?

The other Anonymous said...
if he just suffers and suffers and suffers and never has any chance of anything turning out, then I don't want to read him. Isolating him too much just makes him The Punisher, it's boring...without the things that go right, the things that go wrong are meaningless.

I agree entirely. My point is, develop Peter and his cast dynamically. The marriage is part and parcel with that. Peter is allowed to be an a adult now. It doesn't take away any of his core themes if he has some real grown up problems, which can include being married. We've had forty years with him riding the fence and now we have the Ultimate line or the sublime Mary Jane Digests to satiate us if we need that mainline of High School Melodrama.
The elsticity of Peter, his cast and his mythos deserve to be explored. There are constraints of course but as Marvel has shown, one of his latent Spidey abilities is most certainly being able to retcon at a moments notice. Its just too bad that he doesn't know how to control that one as well as his organic web shooters.

5/01/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

PAD wasn't responsible for that Flash and Green Goblin story that ripped off Killing Joke. That was Paul Jenkins. It was truly horrible.

5/01/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I know that PAD didn't write the horrible Killing Joke rip off. I didn't intend to insinuate otherwise. I referenced the story merely to point out the absurdity in retconing Flash as a dim witted bully after a terrible story that was written for batman did away with his character for an obscene amount of time. I probably wrote unclearly but I was trying to crame a number of thoughts into a small space so please forgive. I hope the gist of it made it through.

5/02/2006 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

I reread the post, I think my own reading comprehension was the problem. I get what you meant now.

5/02/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous FGJ said...

Why does it bother Joe Q that kids who are new to comics might prefer to read Ultimate Spiderman?

Wasn't that exactly what the Ultimate line was created for?

He's bitching about a problem that he and Jemas already solved (and then solved again with Marvel Age books).

I think this is just the equivilant of one of those stupid fan-boy rants that he likes to make fun of.


5/03/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some very well thought out comments here. I think some good points have been raised.

I is pretty dumb for Quesada to deride Spidey being married when his writers have changed just about EVERYTHING ELSE about the character.

I have two points:

1) Spidey has been married in the comics SINCE 1987. For NINETEEN YEARS. For a character that has been published since 1962, that is a huge percentage of his time as an ongoing comic book character. People are not bailing on Spider-Man because he's married. I was in fifth grade when Peter married Mary Jane, and I certainly didn't bail on the character. This aspect of the Spidey mythos is CEMENTED, man. It can't go anywhere.

2) Characters are meant to CHANGE and GROW. Some people get married, it's a part of life. If anything, being married makes Spider-Man MORE of an "everyman" hero. Trying to jettison his marriage would be a significant step BACKWARDS for the character, like Wolverine returning to struggling with his animalistic side after mastering it in the Claremont/Miller WOLVERINE mini-series, or Professor X losing the ability to walk again after having regained it after the X-Men's adventure in space fighting the Brood. It is far more interesting to see characters move on to new phases of their lives then to wallow in the same old status quo.

And yeah, I agree, Peter's supporting cast needs to be brought back. What made Spider-Man comics cool once upon a time were his network of friends and associates. They, too, would change over time and provide a lot of story fodder for the Spidey comics.

By the way, whatever happened to Peter David's character Joy Mercado, the daring Daily Bugle reporter? She was a great character, and her hard-nosed pursuit of stories made her a great foil for Peter. Similarly, what happened to Kate Cushing, the tyrannical City Editor at the Bugle?

Once Spidey's time in the Avengers is up, I would love to see him from time to time in a new incarnation of the Outlaws, his ad hoc assemblage of former enemies who have all banded together. These guys, with Spidey's help and inspiration, have all left criminal backgrounds to walk the straight and narrow, and look up to Spider-Man. The Outlaws could have Rocket Racer, Prowler, Will-o-the-Wisp, Sandman, Molten Man, and maybe even the Grizzly. A bunch of misfits and also-rans, to be sure, but much more Spidey's type of team than the Avengers. I also used to like Black Cat and Silver Sable as his frequent allies, and Paladin as a foil to Spider-Man. Where have these characters all been? Marvel is missing out, I tell you.

5/03/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous jake saint said...

If you want MJ out of the way, maybe Black Adam could POKE HER THROUGH HER HEAD. I'm sure he rents for cheap.

Then, in a more seriously-minded suggestion, Peter could hook up with Martha Conners. That's good for 18 months of complications and an ugly finish.

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