Friday, May 12, 2006

Does this Quesada point make sense?

In the continuing drama of the Spider-Man marriage, Joe Quesada (in his always interesting, at the very least, weekly column, Joe Fridays) wondered why people weren't discussing a point of his, which he seems to think is a big winner. Says Joe,
What I found interesting is that no one seemed to address a very important point I made last week. Knowing that having a child or getting divorce, annulled, separated, or widowed and all those sorts of things aren’t an option, there is not a single story of a married Peter Parker that can’t be told with a single Peter Parker. On the other hand, the exact opposite isn’t true.
I don't get it.

Does that make sense? Does he have some big winner here? It doesn't seem to make sense to me, as I don't see how that is that strong of a point. I mean, PICK a Spider-Man change. Like the organic webspinners. Is there a story out there with organic webspinner Peter Parker that can't be told with webshooters Peter Parker?

In the alternative, does the fact that you can tell stories with Spider-Man living in Avengers Tower that you can't tell if Spider-Man lives in a shitty apartment make the Avengers Tower thing a better plot device? I don't see how it does.

If it's just "The marriage is constraining," then fine, I think people get that - they acknowledge it.

But otherwise, what am I missing here that makes this an awesome point?

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Blogger Jake said...

I think his main point is that he has the ability to make 35 year old men FREAK OUT over the internet whenever he wants them to.

This latest point is him just proving it.

5/13/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Axel M. Gruner said...

You think Quesada is into semiotic S&M?

5/13/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Sean Whitmore said...

"There is not a single story of a married Peter Parker that can’t be told with a single Peter Parker."

How about the story in which the marriage took place? Though I can't tell if that's technically a married Peter Parker story or a single Peter Parker story...

Quesada made no point. He made the opposite of a point. He made a non-point.

5/13/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Bully said...

"There is not a single story of a married Peter Parker that can’t be told with a single Peter Parker."

I would argue that a married Peter Parker--a committed and in-love Peter Parker, whose secret identity is not secret to his wife--is a man who is more passionate and driven for justice than a single man (not that that single man was ever not driven, but this adds an extra layer...)

Mary Jane gives Peter a foundation of safety, hope, love, support and reality. All the stories of the 70s in which Peter agonizes over an aspect of his life in which it is patently clear he just needs to be able to talk to someone about are now a thing of the past. In other words, the lonely Spider-Man is not a story that can be told now, and I think that's a good thing.

Don't get me wrong. Things should never be easy for Spider-Man. He should have to struggle against fate as well as villains, against bad luck and karma and the Daily Bugle as well as his enemies. Every moment of every day Spider-Man should need to realize that with great power comes great responsibility, and that's a heavy burden at the end of the day.

But at the end of the day, when he swings in through the window and kisses his loving wife hello, she gives him hope to go out and do it all over again. And thus I say that Uncle Ben would have wanted it that way: Peter has grown and evolved to the point where he doesn't just do it for the guilt or the responsibility...he does it for the love and the protection of the people in his life, and by extension, for all of us. He has evolved (in the hands of the right writers) from being driven to make right the wrong of letting a burglar pass, to making the city safer and free out of the care and love for the special people around us...and the other people in their lives...and their families...and their friends...and the folks next door...Love has made Spider-Man the hero and the heart of New York City.

5/13/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger C.Brown said...

"There is not a single story of a married Peter Parker that can’t be told with a single Peter Parker."

I'm sure there could be, if it was actually taken as an active part of his character in the new regime.

Those stories concerning his marriage, his actual job and to an extenuated extent, his relationship with his immediate family and friends shouldn't be considered a part of his life, because nobody is going to buy a t-shirt with Peter in a lab coat discussing physics with Flash Thompson.

There's also no way to write them into the New Avengers or this hulking Civil War hodgepodge, so naturally Quesada is unconcerned.

5/13/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I *still* wonder what Joe Quesada's wife thinks about his opinions on marriage and how interesting it makes a character.

5/13/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous thekamisama said...

Talk about flogging a dead horse. Is Quesada trying to convince fans of himself?
Ignore him and he will go away.

On a side note.
You ever notice how the various "changes" at Marvel these days are really not all that different from the shit they did in the early/mid 80's? The Hulk is on another world. "Secret Wars" are being fought. Spidey has a new uniform. Wolverine crosses over into everything. I know Quesada got his start at Valiant, but just recycling everything that Jim Shooter did as editor and chief is just taking swiping too far

5/13/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger dernjg said...

That comment was bugging me, too. I'm going to have to swing back over to Newsarama with a shower epiphany, though.
Early thought was yea, there's a ton of marriage stories that could be told that don't hold a candle to single life. I've been married for four years, and it's a huge change - probably the biggest in my life (no kids atm).
Here's the best example of stories that could be told in married that couldn't be told in dating: Aniversaries. Dating aniversaries are the lamest thing ever. They can be fun, but they can also be a sign that your significant other has OCD. Wedding aniversaries, though, are life and death matters. MJ will become Peter's archenemy if he blows that.

5/13/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Pheley said...

I keep wondering whether Quesada's just testing the waters for a retcon of the marriage, or if he's just whining in public. Could go either way.

I find it interesting that both Marvel and DC had recent world-changing events that could have been used as excuses to undo the marriages of their flagship characters (which many fanmen seem to think were mistakes) and neither took the opportunity.

5/13/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

Michael said...
"I *still* wonder what Joe Quesada's wife thinks about his opinions on marriage and how interesting it makes a character."

Well, now you're mixing up reality with fiction. Joe isn't dissing actual, real marriage. He's just saying that, from a creative standpoint, marriage puts limitations on the types of stories that can be told for a fictional character. And I see his point.

5/13/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Brack said...

It's an odd point he makes and gives the impression that he seems to think the only interesting things that could occur in a marriage that can't outside one are children and the marriage ending.

5/13/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wedding aniversaries, though, are life and death matters. MJ will become Peter's archenemy if he blows that."

Also, cheating (and temptation to stray) is a rather more serious matter for a married couple.

Basically, marriage raises the stakes, and should greatly increase the stress caused by Peter's double identity - if single, they can easily break up.

But these things can't really come up so long as MJ is largely treated as sentient furniture in Peter's life.

Ideally, there'd be a current-continuity comic focused on MJ's life as a struggling actress, which would create an independent work and social life for her, which could tie in with Spider-Man plotlines periodically, and provide a source of conflict.

That's not likely to happen, though, but perhaps they could have someone create something in-house, a written monthly sketch of MJs life with some dialog but without art, just something to keep track of MJ's independent life, on which Spider-Man writers could draw for ideas and plots.

Hell, maybe they could have a writer do an in-continuity MJ blog in which she talks about her own off-panel life, and (importantly) doesn't just exist to promote Marvel's latest products.

5/13/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

"nobody is going to buy a t-shirt with Peter in a lab coat discussing physics with Flash Thompson."

Nobody but me!

5/13/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous muldertp said...

Much as I disagree with him on his points that he makes from this assumption, it is true that marriages limit the stories you can tell.

Of course, so does making Peter single. And making him Spider-Man. And killing Uncle Ben. And...well, you get the point...

Basically, any identifying characteristic about a character limits the story. THis is not a bad thing and will not stop a good writier from telling a good story.

5/15/2006 01:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Jer said...

Quesada's a tool - I swear the man doesn't think before he opens his mouth (or his keyboard). Or maybe he just likes to send people into spastic fits or something.

What a stupid thing to say "there is not a single story of a married Peter Parker that can’t be told with a single Peter Parker." Its blatantly untrue AND its completely idiotic.

Now, if what Quesada's REALLY saying is "it's really hard to retell those old Stan Lee stories about Spider-man with a different gloss over them when he's married instead of a single loser", then its still idiotic, but at least its not blatantly untrue. And I think that's what MOST writers are really saying when they say they hate the marriage, or that it was the worst thing to happen to the character, or whatever. It DOES make it really hard to rip off the old stories, paint a new veneer over them, and convince everyone that they're actually new stories. I'd say that's a good thing, but then I'm not an editor for a major comic book company, so perhaps I'm wrong.

5/15/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

The point makes no sense. Anybody should be able to come up with ten story ideas (or at least aspects of a story, with something else also going on) that can't be done unless he's married (or otherwise in a committed relationship, since legal marriage isn't required for all of them):

1) The latest battle in Spider-Man's life threatens his ability to make good on his promises about this year's wedding anniversary dinner.
2) Peter and Mary Jane have a pregnancy scare and have to figure out how they feel about kids.
3) Peter and Mary Jane decide they want kids but discover they have fertility issues - is it because of Peter's radioactive spider's blood? Will Reed Richards moonlight and help them out with IVF?
4) Mary Jane thinks Peter is cheating.
5) Peter thinks Mary Jane is cheating.
6) One or the other gets in some legal trouble and the other gets to claim spousal privilege.
7) The in-laws are coming, don't know about Peter's secret ID, and must be dodged while he changes back and forth.
8) Peter and Mary Jane must of necessity go visit the in-laws or attend a family function far out of town, and pick one: some kind of trouble occurs back in NYC and Peter must get back there, or coincidentally some kind of trouble crops up at the new locale. Points if the area is too rural or suburban for web-slinging to work as a mode of travel...
9) How many different ways can Mary Jane find to cover for Peter with this whole secret identity biz?
10) Mary Jane gets a new job opportunity, that a) brings much more of a public spotlight on the couple or b) calls for her, and therefore Peter, to move to the West Coast (since bicoastal worked so poorly before).

That's just off the top of my head... and it wasn't hard.

Y'know, what stories can you tell with Tony Soprano married that you can't tell with him single?

5/16/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/22/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

I second the somments by Bully, Jer, and Michael. Quesada's a tool. The Country of Marriage, as Wendell Berry called it, is WAY more emotionally complex than single life, and I hope Spidey doesn't suffer from Quesada and Stracinski's limited and emotionally immature imaginations. Remember when you outgrew Star Trek, because every serious relationship that might actually change a character's life is killed off by the end of the episode? Remember the high marks that Hill Street Blues won because it actually showed the struggle of an ongoing relationship? Remember the depth of the heartbreaking changes wrought on the characters of Joss Whedon's Buffy and Angel, simply because the characters stayed together as a family? It also made for funnier jokes, because we were familiar with the characters, just as Jack Benny was able to get a laugh simply because of what the audience already knew about him. It would be easy for Spidey/Peter to score with his best lines on a new character-- but MJ has heard them all before, so now he has to deal seriously with the woman in his bed and life.
Marvel makes grotesque editorial decisions these days, and DC is consistently outdoing them in cover art and appeal-- this, from a lifelong Marvel fan.

Word Verification: lepoul= the starter on a French lawnmower, or an uncomfortable masturbation technique.

5/22/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Torronto Pearson Aiport Taxi said...

I would have to agree that the writer should get credit for creating a character. After all, would McFarlane have even drawn Venom without Michelinie? Probably not. On the other hand, the reality is that Venom is visually striking and that's what made the character popular.

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