SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
One of the most memorable Spider-Man storylines of the 1980s remains J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which featured the ultimate battle between Kraven the Hunter and Spider-Man. Now, nearly three decades later, Marvel has enlisted Neil Kleid to author a prose adaptation, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt.
To mark the novel’s release today in comic stores, Kleid talked with me about the nuances of the adaptation. He’ll appear today at 6 p.m. for a book signing at JHU Comic Books in New York City.
“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ. And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking! … So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
— The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star, and longtime Spider-Man fan, Andrew Garfield, recounting to Entertainment Weekly a conversation he had with producer Matt Tolmach about Mary Jane Watson. (The actor even has a male MJ in mind: Friday Night Lights and Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan.) In the process, Garfield may have just restarted the game of telephone some mainstream-media outlets played in 2011 when Marvel announced that biracial teen Miles Morales would be the new Ultimate Spider-Man.
Remember those faked Marvel pulp covers by Calamity Jon Morris? Well, I’ve just came across these by Tony Fleecs (you may well remember his “adorable tragedies” series of illustrations), riffing on a similar theme. Fleecs will be selling prints of these designs at his many upcoming convention appearances (listed at his blog). More pulpy goodness can be found below. Continue Reading »
“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.”
This morning’s exclusive announcement on The View of the impending nuptials of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu in the pages of Astonishing X-Men probably didn’t go quite like Marvel envisioned, as a giggling Joy Behar could hardly wait for the applause to subside so she could ask, “Do you think Batman and Robin could come out of the closet now?” And Whoopi Goldberg’s more heartfelt observations about the diversity represented on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #51 were quickly forgotten so they could move on to the next item about an unfortunate typo on the sign for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
But as awkward (and, some would suggest, over-blown) as that promotional rollout for this wedding may have been, Robot 6 contributor Graeme McMillan reminds us that it could be worse by taking us back in time to 1987 and “the tongue-in-cheek ceremony” at Shea Stadium for Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson — officiated by Stan Lee, and attended by 50,000 baseball fans. Below, you can watch Entertainment Tonight‘s coverage of the publicity stunt, as well as the bizarre and excruciatingly long preview on Good Morning America in which the interviewer asks “Spider-Man” and “Mary Jane” whether they would have “children that were like, you know, little spider-babies or would they be normal, human babies.” You can also check out the much shorter segment on The View.
J. Scott Campbell’s never been the most realistic of comic artists, and that’s part of his charm. But the notorious pranksters at 4chan have taken issue with the way he posed Mary Jane Watson on the cover to Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #601. You’ll need to click after the break to see 4chan members acting out the contortions.
This brings up a broader point about cartooning: Since their inception, comics have largely strayed away from realistic depictions of characters, be they humans, anthropomorphic animals or anything else. While Campbell’s poses might not be anatomically realistic, part of his style/aesthetic/appeal lies in that bending of reality. Having real people act out some of the exaggerated poses of Campbell, Rob Liefeld or Jack Kirby would show how unrealistic they are … but then again, that stylistic exageration is what makes illustration different from photography and part of the appeal.
That out of the way, seeing people act out Campbell’s poses below is engrossing.
You can love someone, but not be “in love” with them. Divorce rates in the United States will tell you that people can enter into marriage and then learn it’s not for them. I don’t think any of them will tell you that they split because of demographics.
Peter Parker did. He stopped being married due to an editorial decision that was made to make him appeal to a larger demographic and, as much as it pains me to say it, Joe Quesada was right.
Give me a minute, that was hard to say.
Joe Quesada was right because an unmarried person will, in this day and age, appeal to a larger audience by pure numbers. Emotional attachments to characters and years of storytelling, continuity and respect aside, yeah. It’s true. Spider-Man should fit in the “all ages” group that can entertain young and old, married and unmarried alike. Technically, more people can relate to being unmarried than being married. And while people have debated this technicality, the bottom line at the end of the day is Joe Quesada was and is editor-in-chief and was looking at a bigger picture than we, the fans. Quesada was looking at dollars, longevity and demographics. We just saw Peter Parker.
(WARNING: One Moment in Time Spoilers and Sadness inside. Grab a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #638 through #640 and read along! And then go visit CuteOverload because this isn’t pretty.)
I guess it’s all we could talk about. Over and over and over, Joe Quesada had to bear the unbelievable weight of his “One More Day” storyline. Fans would not stop their onslaught of questions and demands at each and every convention since, shaking their fists and arming themselves with pitchforks and torches at panels and demanding to know the whole story.
Just imagine how the editor-in-chief would toss and turn at night, staring up at the ceiling as sad indie rock would play, the camera panning away from him. What can I do, he might think to himself. How can I lay my burden down?
And here is that burden: The Nixon Tapes of Amazing Spider-Man as released this week in The Amazing Spider-Man #638, starting the storyline “One Moment in Time.” And while you may think this is only the humble chart-topping hit of Whitney Houston for the 1988 Summer Olympics, you’d be right. AND WRONG! For “One Moment in Time” takes us back to that fateful day where Mephisto got up all in Spidey’s business and destroyed the one thing that was holding his life together — what might seem like, in the aftermath of its destruction, the holiest of holy bonds.
Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane.
I know! I can almost hear the teeth grind at the very sight of those words, the fury unleashed at remembering that infamous “deal with the Devil.” Oh, sweet merciful God, why hast thou taken away my hot red-headed wife?
Quesada has finally had enough of the hiding and evasion. He wants “One Moment in Time” — when I’m more than I thought I could be — to explain the truth behind what happened to MJ and Peter so we might be let in on the secrets of an audacious editorial stunt.
No one needs to read this. Some secrets are better taken to the grave, and just because “we demand it” doesn’t mean you should print it.
This can only end in tears.
WARNING: Spoilers for “One More Day,” Redwing’s secret past and how many lumps of super Peter Parker takes in his coffee. SHOCK!