Sunday, January 13

Spider-Man: OMG!

It's old news now, but Peter Parker gave up his marriage to Mary Jane in order to save Aunt May from the icy hand of death. He and MJ made a deal with the devil (Mephisto) to wipe out years of wedded happiness (mostly) in order for the old lady to live. (Jeez, didn't she die years ago! I even managed to get past her recovery from that nasty bout of death and kept reading.) Oh yeah, Mephisto also threw in the resurrection of Harry Osborne into the deal just to spice it up. It had to be done; apparently, no one under the age of 19 could ever be interested in a married super-hero...its like reading about your parents with super powers. According to all the hip guys that run the House of Ideas, this will solve all problems! Now they can retell the same melodramatic stories that were done before the wedding. By completely wiping out any real character growth and forward movement for Spidey and his cast, they have averted the Crisis.

Yes, I am one of those selfish fanboys who likes his heroes' journeys to actually progress and eventually end (albeit in very slooooow comic book time). I realize that it doesn't work that way, but my love of the comics keeps me around in spite of this.

I think all comic characters set in a pseudo-realistic setting should age and pass the mantel on to a new generation of heroes. DC teeters on the edge of this idea without letting go of the big money characters. I've never been able to figure out why the need to have the same character behind the mask was so important for licensing. As long as the hero/costume looks the same, they should still be able to make the sales. Passing the torch to the next generation of characters seems a logical step for keeping them fresh for the next generation of readers.

If I were 12 years-old and just starting to read comics, I wouldn't want my heroes to be my father's heroes. I would want my stories and characters to be familiar to my dad but not the same as my dad's. I realize that I am in the minority and am seen as selfishly wanting my heroes to grow old with me; I won't apologize for that. I won't apologize for not buying the stuff that doesn't appeal to me either. Marvel and DC can reset the clock for their universes and characters as often as they see fit. DC managed to do it in a fashion that kept me reading. Unfortunately, Joe Quesada wanted to keep the rest of the Marvel Universe the way it was and just reset the clock for Peter Parker. The plot and motives of the characters were forced and ridiculous and the regression of Peter and his cast puts way too much strain on the suspension of disbelief for this reader. So I won't be reading anymore. That's saying a lot... I even enjoyed (somewhat) the Clone Saga and liked Ben Reilly. I thought Marvel should have stuck with their plans then instead of losing faith in their own fix of the marriage problem.

I'll stick with Ultimate Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Girl for my Spidey fix.

To everyone else, enjoy the Brand New Day.

1 comment:

The Bunnyman said...

I agree with so much of what you've said here. And yet... and yet...

I can't go to ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN; that way lies madness. And while I agree in general that I'd like to see all my favorite superheroes progress and change and grow and eventually pass their legacies on to new characters... still... for whatever reason, comics companies are too lazy or scared to try to do that. Given what we're going to get, I can't really mind the dissolution of the Parker/Watson marriage. I always thought it was a terrible idea; if any one woman that Petey ever dated was totally wrong for him, it always seemed to me that it was MJ.

I don't know who I would have rather seen Petey end up with... it always seemed to me that his true love was Gwen, and he should never really get over her.

Spider-Man has always been the ultimate loner; as such, he should not join teams and he should not be married. Having Gwen be his particular Lois Lane or... whoever Batman's destined future wife/true love is; Selina Kyle these days, I guess... just seemed appropriate to me.

It's what differentiated Spidey from characters like Supes and Bats. Spidey's true love was dead, killed by Spidey's arch enemy, a failure on Spider-Man's part that would forever haunt him, and that, in fact, pretty much represented the end of the innocence, not just for him, but for his entire fictional universe.

I don't expect any writer currently working for Marvel to get all that; I expect, as you say, it's mostly simply a case of convenience for them, and a hope of appealing to their callow base. But, still, a single Peter Parker still haunted by the death of Gwen seems to me to be a truer rendition of Spider-Man than a happy go lucky married guy who has long since gotten over his greatest failure.

Not that it matters; the only comics I buy these days are Silver Age reprints anyway.