Robot 6

Quote of the day | Tom Brevoort on Peter & MJ vs. Northstar & Kyle

“No, because different characters require different things. This is similar to arguing that it’s unfair that Reed Richards is so smart–that works for his character, but wouldn’t work as well for, say, Ben Grimm. Different character. Also, and take this from somebody who was there as a reader and watched it happen, the marriage of Peter and MJ was absolutely as forced and sudden, probably more so. It’s just had the advantage of having been a status quo for so long that a lot of readers grew up with it and accepted it. We’ve never said that no characters should be married, the point is that Spider-Man, the most popular youth-based character in the entertainment world, probably shouldn’t be married.”

Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, responding to a fan who asked, “Do you not think there’s hypocrisy in undoing the editorially mandated marriage of Peter and Mj and then doing something like the marriage of Storm and BP and Northstar and Kyle? The marriage of Peter and Mj felt far less forced or sudden.”

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31 Comments

Obviously he was going to defend the Pete & MJ thing. It was his boss’ idea from day one. Of course literally making a deal with the devil to undo a longstanding hetero marriage of your most popular character while pimping the gay marriage of a perpetual Z-list nobody doesn’t even REMOTELY add fuel to the One Million Mom’s argument. /sarc

BOOOOOOOO Tom Brevoort Boooooo to you sir BOOOOOOOO!!

As a Spidey reader at the time of the Pete/MJ marriage, I totally agree with Brevoort. It did feel forced and sudden. In fact, it was so jarring to me as a long time fan that I dropped buying Spidey titles for years.

Tom’s statement is as simple as this:

“Northstar/Kyle and BP/Storm getting married sells books. Peter/MJ getting split up sells books.”

It’s got nothing to do with marriage or bachelorhood, and everything to do with what is more marketable. He as much as said it himself with the comment about Spidey being a “youth-based character.”

I agree. Spiderman should not be married. Wally west got married and had 2 kids, and to me after that the book was never as good as it had been previously. Some may say otherwise but characters that are married just arent as interesting as the others.

Its this part…

“It’s just had the advantage of having been a status quo for so long that a lot of readers grew up with it and accepted it.”

…that completely ruins his argument. Because if it stuck around for 20 years and an entire generation of fans grew up with it and accepted it, then how can he argue…

“…the point is that Spider-Man, the most popular youth-based character in the entertainment world, probably shouldn’t be married.”

Those two thoughts make no sense coming from the same argument. You can have your personal preference that Peter remains unmarried, but the fact is that Spider-Man still sold incredibly well when Peter was married. Peter works just as well as a married guy as he does single. That shouldn’t be your argument. Its like if Marvel/Disney decided to completely ignore the fact that their movies are interconnected from now on because some corporate suit thought a cinematic universe was stupid, saying, “Yeah, that probably isn’t the best idea. These characters work better on their own. Look at Spider-Man. Those movies had no other heroes and they worked.” Well, yes, this is true. But Avengers worked really, really well too. So you need a better justification than that. You know, one that doesn’t half heatedly tell that same generation that grew up with the version of the character you don’t like that their tastes about the character are wrong.

Bizarre, illogical analogy alert!

When I started really reading comics intensely, I was about 10 years old. Peter & MJ were married by that time, which I didn’t know when I read some Spidey comics. Peter was also a famous published author/photographer. I thought to my 10 year old self “that’s weird” and moved on and enjoyed the comics for what they were.

Kids don’t give a crap about details like that, as long as Spidey does what Spidey does.

SWAGSWISHBALLHARD

May 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

When I was a kid, Spidey had a wife, maybe some weird clone kid, and a beard. I didn’t read another issue of Spider-Man for years.

Oh boy, I can’t wait to dust off this old debate.

I agree with Brevoort.

If anyone remembers the actual Pete/MJ wedding, it was really forced. The creative team had to wrench MJ back in the book and undo their very recent break-up. The original marriage was also a “forced mandate”, although people forget that.

It’s a case by case basis… but I do agree Spidey works better as a single guy.

Mike McNulty aka Stillanerd

May 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Regardless of whatever rationale Tom Brevoort, Joe Quesada, or anyone at Marvel gives about why Spider-Man has to be single, all of their arguments really boil down to two reasons:

1. It was more about Spider-Man the brand than it was about Spider-Man the character. Or least what the character of Spider-Man had developed into. The template for Spider-Man that Marvel touts is that he’s the young, hard-luck “everyman” superhero who has money and girl problems. Notice how nearly very adaptation of Spider-Man outside of the 616 comics always depicts Peter Parker as a kid in high school or college, somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21? That’s the image Marvel wants to project to potential readers and why Brevoort states that Spider-Man is about “youth,” despite the fact that Spidey is currently in his mid to late twenties and hasn’t been a teenager in decades. Heck, I believe that if Marvel could, they would like nothing better than to have Spider-Man in the 616 be virtually identical to how Peter was depicted in Ultimate Spider-Man (and probably believed that one of the reasons why Ultimate Spider-Man was initially outselling Amazing Spider-Man back when it first debuted was because it had Spider-Man as a kid again). A married Spider-Man goes against the template Marvel is trying to market towards the general audience.

2. They feel Peter and MJ’s marriage is dramatically boring because it essentially means Peter is only allowed to have sex with MJ as much as he wants when he could be trying to score with other women like Black Cat, Ms. Marvel, Carlie Cooper, etc. along with Mary Jane. Heck, Joe Quesada went as far to say that the heart of Spider-Man that distinguishes him from every other superhero out that is “the soap opera that is Peter Parker’s life” saying that Peter being married made him “cut off from many of the social situations and settings that put him at conflict with his family, friends, and especially the girl he was dating,” and that “if Peter ever gave in to temptation [of having an affair with Black Cat] or even considered it, he would be, in the eyes of the fans, the lousiest guy in the world.” (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12246) And let’s face it: sex sells, especially in an industry that targets teenage and young adult males.

As for Brevoort saying that the marriage between Peter and MJ was “forced and sudden” compared to the more recent and upcoming marriages such as Black Panther and Storm, at least Peter and MJ had a long-time on again/off again relationship for many, many years prior to them getting married–including Peter previously proposing marriage to MJ once before (not to mention that the reason why the newspaper strip decided to have Peter and MJ get married and thus prompting the “forced and sudden marriage in the comics, was because MJ revealed that she knew Peter was Spider-Man in the comics a full three years before the marriage). They had to virtually create Black Panther and Storm’s romantic history–including retconning how they first met–based off of one issue of Marvel Team-Up and a few scant guest appearances. And lets not forget that the real reason why Black Panther and Storm’s marriage happened was to boost the sales of Black Panther’s solo series by putting in a popular character from the more marketable X-Men comics. Well, not only did Black Panther’s solo series ended up getting cancelled anyway, Marvel has continually kept trying to come up with ways to bring in Storm back on the X-Men and away from the Black Panther despite her martial status and now they’re literally trading blows thanks to Avengers vs. X-Men. So how is Black Panther and Storm being married to one another right for those characters again?

Jake Earlewine

May 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Of course Spider-Man works best as a single character. Shame on the knuckleheads who married him up.

There needs to be a special punishment for writers, artists and editors who WRECK popular super-heroes by marrying them, turning them into villains, or changing their sexual preference.

And these writers, artists and editors dare to call themselves “creators” when they spend the majority of their time jerking around other people’s creations.

Jake Earlewine: So you’re saying you want creators to just tell the same stories with these characters over and over again? That’s not very “creative.”

And anyone who thinks a married hero is inherently more boring than a single hero probably isn’t creative enough to be writing for a living. And I say that even though I’ve been enjoying Peter’s swingin’ single days quite a bit lately.

@Jake

Spider-Man was ruined by getting married?? LOL – overreact much?

Mike McNulty aka Stillanerd

May 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

@Jason Green “And anyone who thinks a married hero is inherently more boring than a single hero probably isn’t creative enough to be writing for a living. And I say that even though I’ve been enjoying Peter’s swingin’ single days quite a bit lately.”

Exactly. There were good and bad stories when Spider-Man was married, and there are good and bad stories when Spider-Man is single. It’s the quality of the storytelling that matters.

There’s so much wrong with Breevort’s statement that it’s not even funny.

Seriously, Spidey being the “MOST popular youth-based character in the entertainment world” is so wrong and ignorant you have got to figure at this point it’s just spin.

I mean, Harry Potter, Twilight, Naruto, Avatar, all are very popular and feature WAY younger protagonists than Spidey at this point.

He’s clinging to this “youth” thing as the end all be all explanation, but there’s absolutely nothing “young” about the books NOW than there was before. It’s just a hollow talking point, not to be taken seriously.

@Bill Wanko

I’m not sure how Mary Jane could have been forced back into the books given that she had already been reintroduced into them about 4 years prior.

However, I do agree that the marriage did happen in a gimmicky manner. Although Breevort’s response in no way addresses the point the person was trying to make with their question, and as always is just another dodge with a familiar yet meaningless statement that avoids the issue rather than gets to the heart of the issue.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand………………………….. out of the woodwork they come! It’s really ironic someone just said “hollow talking point, not to be taken seriously”. Hey, here’s an idea, instead of being so wrapped up and obsessed with a fictional marriage that was removed 5 years ago, try focusing on your own marriage or relationship. Marvel had their reasons why they did what they did and they’ve said so many, many times. They’re not dodging or avoiding the issue and it’s certainly not “ignorant” or “spin, they’ve already answered these questions and they’ve already moved on. Some of you guys should try that. Have fun reading Amazing Spider-Man!

@mrb

Lol – so we no longer can comment on the hucksters and their snake-oil-salesman double talk?? Get real. There’s always room to tell it like it is – no mater how much that bothers you

Excelsior!

I started reading Amazing Spider-Man during the “Fearful Symmetry” storyline and wasn’t throw off by Spidey being married. Heck, MJ’s presence added to the suspense of Kraven killing Spider-Man and replacing him.

I agree with Mike McNulty that it is the WRITER not Spidey’s marital status that determines if an ASM comic is a good read. The current run on the series really hasn’t impressed me due to bad writers.

Not to mention, there isn’t ONE good thing in the current storylines that couldn’t have been done if Peter was still married to MJ. Like, I didn’t see fans clamoring for the Peter and Carlie Cooper relationship. It is a misconception to label Dan Slott’s run as “Spidey’s single swinging era reborn”, as not only does it undermine Slott’s stories but Peter’s singlehood is actually an incredibly minor and replaceable part of the current issues, if it is even that!

As mentioned before, this all comes down to a combination of lazy writing, lack of creativity and marketing agenda.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the marriage ‘ruined’ Spidey, I think the book has definitely been better off without it. So I for one am glad OMD happened.

The whole marriage-retconning affair helped me realize who Spider-man is.
Since my childhood, I had thought his stories are about growing up and doing the right thing. I thought he is about accepting responsibilities and moving forward.

It turns out, he is a boy trapped in a perpetual state of self-loathing. Forever young, forever dumb.
Certainly, not a character that I can like. I don’t care about brand recognition. I don’t read comics to get more $$$ for Matvel. They helped me realize that and move on. There are better comics, and better characters.

Spider-man has a nice costume design, and can be funny. That is all there is to him and that’s not enough.

I think married/bachelor is just writers’ semantics.
The important part for Spiderman is if people can connect to him on some level.
I can’t no more, because I see these strings pulling at his arms and legs.
I mean, that’s corporate comics, do the same stuff all over again, all the time.
Sometimes, I accept it, but with spidey, I stopped.

@cich

I agree. I can’t read Spider-Archie anymore. But, at least there’s the back issues to fall back on (the 60′s, 70′s and most of the 80′s stuff is great)

@Jason Green “And anyone who thinks a married hero is inherently more boring than a single hero probably isn’t creative enough to be writing for a living.”

How many successful adventure/action/super-hero characters in history have been happily married? Dating and romance are avenues that are easier to explore with single characters.

“Seriously, Spidey being the “MOST popular youth-based character in the entertainment world” is so wrong and ignorant you have got to figure at this point it’s just spin.

I mean, Harry Potter, Twilight, Naruto, Avatar, all are very popular and feature WAY younger protagonists than Spidey at this point.

He’s clinging to this “youth” thing as the end all be all explanation, but there’s absolutely nothing “young” about the books NOW than there was before. It’s just a hollow talking point, not to be taken seriously”.

I have a feeling about 90% of the general population, if not more, would not recognize Naruto or Avatar if shown those characters. Oddly enough, Twilight basically ends with marriage, and Harry Potter has marriage and family come as the thing AFTER the story is done. Making Spider-Man a married guy, takes away a LOT of the youthfulness regardless of what else is going on.

@Ian

You’re bringing your skewed perceptions of Spidey to the table and pretending that that is the end all, be all of the character. I read Spidey in the 70′s. There was very little youthfulness in the character, and the character was great, and the stories were good

It’s poor writing that is to blame for poor stories – nothing else

Oh, and for your married request – Fantastic Four ring a bell???

I dropped Spider-Man at the time of the marriage too. It ruined the character.

@Leocomix “I dropped Spider-Man at the time of the marriage too. It ruined the character.”

How?

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