EW Teases Renew Your Vows

RYVArt1“A difference… between what your readers want and what your readers need.”

Entertainment Weekly has remarks from Dan Slott about the upcoming Renew Your Vows storyline, as well as preview art from Adam Kubert.

Some highlights: (Emphasis mine)

EW has the first details about the Secret Wars tie-in that will bring back Peter Parker’s marriage and child for what’s being billed as “The Last Spider-Man Story.”

“There are legions of Spider-Man fans that are passionate about changes that have happened to Spider-Man continuity,” says Renew Your Vows writer (and current Spidey scribe) Dan Slott. “They are upset that the baby went missing, that the marriage went away. Spider-Man has been around for fifty years, and the marriage was around for twenty-five. So now we’re seven or eight years into a world without a married Spider-Man. It’s a big itch that people want scratched.”

In fact, one of the most popular Spider-Man spinoffs, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz’s Spider-Girl, was set in a world where that baby definitively survived and grew up to replace her father. In Renew Your Vows, Slott is particularly interested in really diving into how the role of husband and father would affect Peter’s heroic mission.

“Spider-Man, when you get down to it, is a character about responsibility. And the second he’s a father and a husband—he has a responsibility to share his powers with the world, but suddenly he has two people that are his whole world. That changes everything, the complete dynamic of what it means to have great power and great responsibility,” says Slott. “You need to be there for your daughter, you need there for your wife—in a way that he hasn’t had to be there for anyone else. And that drastically changes what it means to be Spider-Man.”

So yes, Baby Parker is a pretty big deal to both fans and the general goings-on behind Renew Your Vows. But, as Slott notes, there’s a purpose to it all, and it’s probably not what you think it is.

That’s something I’ve been warning people about recently on our message boards. Don’t expect any of this to last. Expect it to stick around long enough for Marvel to pour salt in the wound, piss you off again and then switch to something else. 

More: (Emphasis mine)

“With any story where you give people what they want—there’s a difference, as a storyteller, between what your readers want and what your readers need. In a good Peanuts story, you want Charlie Brown to kick that football. But if Charlie Brown kicks the football, it’s over!” says Slott. “All the best stories in serialized fiction–it’s always about teasing the greatest wishes and wants, but monkey-pawing it. Always giving you what you want, but not the way you want it.”

“You haven’t seen Spider-Man’s classic villains the way you know and love—I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eddie Brock as Venom in this story,” teases Slott. “Or Sergei Kravinoff as Kraven the Hunter in this story. There’s going to be a lot of bullets in the gun for things you wanted to see in a Spider-Man story that you haven’t seen in a while. This is the ultimate classic feel. This is the last Eddie Brock story. The stakes have never been higher for Peter Parker because he’s never had so much to lose. So he has never been this close to the edge. And these are the Last Days.”

You can read more at EW’s site, which also has more preview art.

–George Berryman!

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(144) Comments

  1. forexfury

    I've been surfing online more than 3 hours as of late, yet I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the internet might be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  2. hornacek

    @142 - In this scenario I think we would have gotten back to the original status quo (which was Marvel's ultimate goal). We reveal that the MJ that Peter married was an impostor, she is removed from the story (either she dies or degenerates or returns to the Skrull homeworld or whatever, just as long as she is GONE), the real MJ is returned and as far as she knows the last time she saw Peter was back when they were just friends so she has no current romantic feelings for him. It gets them to where Marvel wants them - Peter is single, MJ isn't killed off. With the robot parents, he had his parents taken away from him. But in this scenario, the real MJ is still alive and in his life. He will miss her as his wife, but he will realize that that was a different person, it wasn't the real MJ and he can't hope to make her do something (i.e. fall in love with him and marry him) that the impostor did, so he will (eventually) move on. Wasn't there a time skip at the end of part 4 of BND? Again, these are all terrible ideas, but I think this is a better situation than what we got.

  3. Al

    @#140-We dunno if this IS a reboot yet. @#139-But you don't get back to the original status quo. Quoting JR here but: "I do know that some divorced couples do get remarried and make it work better the second time. But I do not believe that such could not be the case for Peter and Mary Jane. For example, I know that personally, if my wife and I divorced – that would be the end – there would be no resurrecting the relationship – because everything would have been tried and failed, and considering how long we’ve been married, we are who we are and if we haven’t changed our ways by now, we aren’t going to. If Peter and Mary Jane divorced, they could never get back together, because the circumstances that drove them apart in the first place, which would logically be connected to Spider-Man, could never be resolved as long as Peter is Spider-Man. There would be just way too much pain for them ever to reconnect. You could argue that the only reasons that Peter and MJ are still happily married in the Spider-Girl Universe is that Peter suffered a disabling injury that forcibly ended his superhero career. In this case, I think Quesada is indeed leaving that back door open – just in case… Also, to have them divorce would defeat the purpose of dissolving the marriage in the first place, so that Spider-Man could be turned into a variation of “Porky’s” with Peter trying (and often failing ) to get laid. If he divorced, I honestly think it would simply be too emotionally devastating for him to be able to pick himself off the floor and try again. Because as I indicated in my Mary Jane series, it was a love that was built over time, tested, thwarted, and finally blossomed again when it was ready. After what the two of them have been through, there can be no other love for Peter Parker. They will all pale next to what he had in Mary Jane, and we will know that. No matter who he dates in the future, who he screws, they will all come in a distant second to her. It’s one thing to read a series about trouble, ups and downs, etc. – but what’s the point of reading about futility?" I don't agree with all of that, but it makes a good point. It also relates to another point. Why on Earth would Peter bother/consider to go back into dating. After all the crap he's been through with MJ and how unique she was to tolerate it his chances of finding someone who fulfills his needs in a life partner are next to nil. Finding out she was an imposter would be like her dying and him losing ANOTHER love. It'd be even worse and recall the Robot parents fiasco where he lost his parents AND was cruelly betraeyd and made a fool of. He's not gonna recover from that, not really. There was literally no way to do this and get a good result for the charctes, the series or the readers. For Peter to move on you literally need to take him out of character, either through bad writing or through something contrived like mental manipulation. Just him learning his wife si a Skrull isn't gonna do it. In fact one would wonder why he doesn't just try to maybe form a relationship with the Skrull MJ?

  4. Spec Spider-Fan

    With the imminent reboot....(God how many reboots can we tolerate?) are any of these stories, namely the new run, gangland story, evil Felicia, etc. and the pre-knowledge of the "Regency" reality which incorporates aspects of the MCU -2/May Parker/Spider-Girl universe with 616 to create this "last Spider-man story" before annihilating it in the monstrous amalgamation of both Ultimate and reg universes, is there simply any point?Honestly, between Secret Wars and Convergence at the other end via DC....is there simply any point? I am going to take a tactic that I hope many will use....you guys remember the "choose your own adventure" books? I am going to choose to end my adventure pre-marriage and maybe in a few more years when they have rebooted the reboot, I will try to come back. It's enough. It's too much really. Sorry guys, reading up on the latest ventures going into December 2015 has just made me both angry and sad.

  5. hornacek

    @138 - I think most (all?) readers will say it was a mistake to break up the marriage. BUT, if you *have* to have the marriage broken up, I think having MJ being replaced with an imposter/clone/Skrull/whatever before the marriage is a better (and I use "better" in the loosest possible sense) solution than making a deal with the devil. Have the original be returned, the impostor is done away with, Peter realizes that he was not married to the real MJ, he goes through grief, angst and heartache, but at least he acts in character and you get back to previous status quo without destroying his character. Like I said, these are all bad ideas. But if you're told that you have to get from point A (Spider-Marriage) to point Z (Spider-Marriage No More) and you have to come up with the best possible solution, I'd rather have had something like that then the deal with the devil. It still would have angered me, but at least I wouldn't have had Peter act wildly out of character trading his marriage away so that Aunt May could be alive for a few more years.

  6. Al

    @#134-God no! First of all there is a shitton of rapey implications from something like that and it was tantamount to not only regressing MJ’s character but basically pulling a Clone Saga trick on us. Yes it’s a lesser evil (I guess) but we shouldn’t be debating a lesser evil. And frankly as I said it’s only a contrived cheat which gets you to the conclusion of them separated. But it’s a conclusion we shouldn’t have. @#136-ac the Kristy thing was less a marriage story than a story relating to MJ which happened to occur in the marriage though. We could say that we hate single Spider-Man stories because just look at ASM #289. @#137-Yes but that was sacrilegious too. A bad idea int he past doesn’t justify one now. They’re just two bad ideas.

  7. hornacek

    @136 - It's like they said in Argo - there are only bad ideas, but this is the best bad idea we have. And hey, they did it the kidnapped-and-replaced thing with Aunt May.

  8. ac

    Let me be clear. I never had a problem with the marriage. I would have been perfectly happy if they left it be, I loved the MJ/Peter relationship in the JMS run, for example, my point was that there were some married stories that didn't work for me. but I still own every appearance of Kristy, unlike the white hot mess published under the guise of spider-man now. Just that if they felt like they had to end it, I would have preferred they do it any other way than how they did it. #134 better...maybe, but still awful. They were together for too long to say, "hey the MJ that peter's been married too for 20 years, she's a skrull." That would be like saying the Peter Parker you've been reading about for the last twenty years is really a clone...

  9. Jack

    MJ being found in a cryogenic bunker, then living as a 1970s woman trying to adjust to the modern era as well as to Peter, would have been a lot more interesting than MJ-who-sells-her-marriage-to-the-devil-then sleeps-with-bobby-carr-then-has-nothing-to-do-for-years.

  10. hornacek

    @132, 133 Regarding how the marriage was ended, I'm sure I'm not the first person to make this comparison (I can't remember seeing it mentioned in all this time but it probably has) but your posts reminded me of how Tom DeFalco did away with the Johnny/Alicia marriage in Fantastic Four by revealing that (spoiler alert?) Alicia was actually a Skrull and had been replaced months earlier, and she only became romantically involved with Johnny as part of her cover (because the Thing stayed on Battleworld after Secret Wars). And when they rescued the real Alicia they realized that she had no romantic feelings for Johnny. So DeFalco undid this marriage, reinstated a previous status quo, and besides some angst by the characters involved (and some of the readers, myself included), no one was written wildly out of character (and this was in DeFalco's SECOND issue on his FF run - he didn't even wait a year to plot out the story, he just undid this marriage right away). So, if you HAD to get rid of the Spider-marriage, would this type of scenario have been better? I know MJ being replaced by a Skrull may seem completely out of place in a Spider-Man book, but more than Mephisto showing up in a Spidey book? Wouldn't the married MJ being revealed to be a genetically-modified actress or a clone that is killed off make more sense? And then the real MJ is found but she was kidnapped before the marriage and she could say "Oh Peter, no I don't want to marry you" (she did say no to him the first time he asked her to marry him back in ASM 180s (?)). Like I said, if I HAD to have the marriage undone, I'd have rather had something like what DeFalco did than what we got.

  11. Al

    @#132-I respect that, but at the same time the subjective aspect of your feelings undermines the notion that Kristy or that storyline was a sign of problems with the marriage. I mean Silk is one thing. Silk under Slott made NO sense and undermined the protagonist, which is objectively bad writing. There is no objective standard to say Kristy is annoying therefore, etc, etc. I don't think she was in the series often enough to cause any real harm, and really she was just...harmless honestly. She helped expand MJ's character and added a younger character to the cast. No harm done really. Of course I hated the way they ended the marriage. Divorce would have been preferable but it is just a lesser type of unnecessary BS that makes zero sense. It's an academic debate really. Divorce or the Devil. Neither one is an acceptable option and we shouldn't have to choose. As I said, it makes no sense for their characters to divorce. Even you wrote it well, it still requires them to be OOC and therefore automatically fails as a story.

  12. ac

    Kristy. That's right. It wasn't the subject matter of the story that bothered me, it was Kristy. I thought her character was annoying and I couldn't stand her, which is why I didn't care for the story, I didn't care what happened to her. Just one guys opinion. And al, you can't possibly be telling me you like the way they ended the marriage did you? That a magical demon waves a magic wand and 20 years of spider-history is wiped away? If the marriage had to end, it needed to end as part of the story. Maybe MJ has too close of a call and Peter ended it to keep her safe. Would have been still been controversial, it would depend on the writing on how believable it was, and I'm not even saying its what I would have wanted, but it would have been a hell of a lot better than the Mephisto crap.

  13. RDMacQ

    I seem to be having trouble with my posts being seen. They keep getting caught in the spam filter.

  14. Jack

    Exactly. Brevoort, Quesada, Slott, and all those guys chatter like there is some cosmic writer's force hanging over their heads, dictating to them what they can or cannot do. The fact is, they can do **whatever they want**. Or whatever their boss Dan Buckley allows them to do.

  15. Rama

    This whole "Be Careful what you wish for" monkey paw stuff is crap. Marvel is creating the stories. If it is bad for Peter being married then it is only because they made it that way. You can't write this story and when everything is bad for Peter as a married father and go "see...there is proof he is better off single." because YOU made it that way. You could just as easily write him as the best off he has ever been in the same situation. He could be the top staff photographer at the Daily Bugle married to his model/actress wife and they pick up their daughter from Aunt May's house every night after May taught her little namesake how to make those famous wheat cakes. Things can be good for a married Peter. If they aren't it is only because Marvel has an agenda to advance. I started really collecting Spider-Man comics in 88. All I ever knew was a Married Spider-Man. When Joey Q and the like reset Spider-Man to what they fondly remember, they did it at the expense of people like me and what we fondly remember.

  16. Al

    @#125-I dunno if divorce was a viable idea. Partially because Marvel felt it made Peter too old which was their entire rationale and partially because, even before the marriage the idea of MJ not being able to handle the stress of life with Spider-Man was laughable because she had literally been doing exactly that for years and years beforehand. That was part of the cool character arc for MJ. It was a classic case of actions speaking louder than words. She says she can't handle being with Peter because of the stress and yet before the marriage they were practically dating and she continued spending most of her time with him, worrying about him, providing TLC and support and having her life endangered to boot. Given everything they'd been through together before the marriage AND during it, like Kraven's Last Hunt and Venom, if they weren't going to split up after those things then there weren't going to split up period. The one and ONLY thing which could have made a split happen was after their miscarriage. It would've made sense for them to fall apart after something as awful as that. Except it wound up bringing them even closer together. Once they've gone through something like that (which is much worse than any silly fictional superhero plotline writers can dream up) and they stay together your window of oppertunity is closed forever and it becomes disengenuous/contrived to split them up thereafter

  17. Al

    @#125-That wasn't a bad plotline though. It addressed something which not only happens in real life but was/is also a serious issue. People complain about the lack of soap opera elements in Spider-Man due to the marriage and honestly that is classic soap opera fodder, literally no different to the Drug Trilogy of the 1970s. Why is it okay for the Drug Trilogy to have happened with zero build up beforehand (I love it and it does make sense, but Harry was all of a sudden an addict and had been for some time) but the slow steady build up and culmination of Kristy's bolemia (NOT anorexia) is bad? In particular when you consider it was handled in a mostly realistic way. My mother has dealt with people with similar situations and was even in the same boat herself when she was young. Partially motivated by media idealisations of women and mostly motivated by neglect or mistreatment by her parents Kristy began to hurt herself to make herself 'better' and at the same time exert control over herself when she felt she had none. It wasn't something which consumed ALL the of the series and it introduced an interesting enough supporting character who helped to flesh out and show a few new sides to Mary Jane. And she showed back up in Spider-Girl as well

  18. ac

    I'll give you another bad MJ plot line...the anorexic cousin, ( I forget her name.) I was following the comics every month at the time they decided to get married, and it did seem a bit out of the blue. There were a lot of good MJ moments once they were married, a few bad ones too, but I enjoyed the development. I could have even lived in a world where they got divorced, maybe because a villain got to close and peter couldn't stand the thought of another gwen, or because MJ couldn't handle the superhero wife life, or any other logical reason, and if that happened, I might but still be buying comics. But they waved a magic wand and pretended the marriage never existed, and at that moment, continuity was destroyed, stories don't matter any more, because, hey, you never know, we might just wave a magic wand and make the next thing go away. That's the real failure of bnd, and no matter how well they do a simple 4 part story, the utter destruction of history is something, in my mind, they could ever fix.

  19. Al

    @#199-I don’t know what Marvel’s business model at the time dictated but the recycling of readers concept was an idea which creators to this day fail to realise DIED in the 1960s when Stan implemented continuity. Continuity by virtue of being continuous and building one event on top of one another doesn’t work when you recycle ideas like that and it operates by making the audience members get on the train and stay there. It has to keep moving forward. The cycling of readerships business model ONLY worked in the days before the Marvel Revolution in the 1960s and/or for series which have begun and stuck to that business model. DC abandoned it eventually and went in for continuity much like Marvel did. Ostensibly Marvel and Spider-Man were DESIGNED in such a way that readers could not reasonably be expected to leave and be replaced. You just got younger readers joining the older ones who’d been there for a long time. When you have that set up you need to do what the Spec Spidey cartoon did and write on multiple levels. Do things which service old fans and new ones alike. In particular that business model doesn’t work in the modern day or reprints and digital media where people are all too aware of recycling of plots. @#120-I agree although I’d argue we’ve already seen SOME very good stories with a married Spider-Man. But obvious ideas were never tapped. E.g. why did Peter Parker never meet or try to form a relationship with his father-in-law for instance? This man is in a sense now related to him and he caused a lot of pain to the woman Peter loves most in the world. But last we saw MJ forgave him. How does Peter feel about that. Are there any worrying parallels between them? Or do they (as seems to be the case) represent polar oppositions. Does MJ’s father perhaps not approve of Peter in some ways, and could his good intentions and genuine concern for his daughter (decades late) cause conflict given how poorly he raised his daughter in the first place? Or maybe in trying to be a good father he does bad things like try to drive a wedge between Peter and MJ so he can be there to comfort MJ. People talk about the marriage limiting the soap opera elements of Spider-Man but what I have just described is classic soap opera drama. What about MJ’s sister and children. How does Peter relate to his nephews? Maybe Gayle moves to NYC and her kids are endangered by Peter’s life. Or maybe she forms a romantic relationship with one of the supporting cast members (like Flash) or something?

  20. Al

    @#110-lol, and after i more or less retyped it in chunks all over again. Thak you and sorry for the inconvenience and taking up so many posts. @#119-I appreciate that they maybe felt hard done by for one reason or another but honestly...it’s like your job dude. You wanna write Spider-Man? Well that’s part of the deal. And really it’s not like it’s the be all or end all of Spider-Man’s character anyway. It doesn’t change anything beyond having him go on dates with endless streams of women. A plot line which had worn itself out long before the marriage happened and with those women, honestly they were going to be in Gwen, MJ and Felicia’s shadows by that point anyway. Couple this with all the development and stuff Peter had been through with MJ and it was honestly redundant to try and hook him up with anyone else. From a creative POV she was the best romantic match for him in universe as well as for the purposes of generating stories. Look at every over girlfriend he’d had since the 1970s. Except for Felicia none of them stood out except for Jean DeWolff which was not only a mere tease but something which wasn’t going to work out in the long run anyway. There is no point in engaging in a doomed to fail scenario with multiple love interests who stand little chance of being remembered if you already have a brilliant character who works well with your protagonist right there and waiting. At the same time you know...they could’ve told NON-romantic stories. Spider-Man doesn’t live or die by romance stories. He is after all a superhero narrative. Michelinie and Mackie and even Stern were not happy with the marriage initially but they sucked it up and did their jobs. And if the mere fact that you can’t have Spider-Man go out on dates is going to put you off writing him then as a reader I don’t really trust or want you on Spider-Man if you are that petty about it. Especially when you consider what an honour it is to write that character full stop.

  21. Jeff Gutman

    Yeah, a decently happy marriage isn't the end of Peter's journey. For a good writer, it should be the start of it. There are amazing stories to tell with married Peter. I don't think Slott is the guy to tell them...

  22. Jack Brooks

    The marriage never caused any real, objective problems for writers. A lot of them at the time it was introduced were peeved by the fact it was forced on them by the hated Jim Shooter, and I bet that sentiment has passed down through the years. Others today feel marriage takes away a useful romance story-engine (and their chance to hopefully add a lasting female character to the ASM legacy). But that was based on the VERY old-fashioned idea that ASM fans stopped reading the series after a certain age, so Marvel could just re-cycle Peter's romance tropes every 7-10 years and no one would get bored or disenchanted. They didn't foresee decades of fandom, or the rise of omnibuses, TPB collections, ASM CDs, movies Spider-Man movies with Dunst and Stone in them, and scanned digital resources going back to the very beginning. So Marvel keeps impatiently wanting to "move on" with new, fresh, interesting (to them) girlfriends for Peter, while MJ Watson keeps winning new fans while not losing any of her old ones. At this point it's Peter's singleness that's the problem. Peter Parker, as far as characters go, is the marrying kind. He's a middle class guy from Queens who grew up in a loving, stable home. He isn't James Bond or Tony Stark. And their insistence that a decently happy marriage represents the end of Peter's journey is just plain stupid. Either they're just using that argument in an insincere way because it serves their editorial opinions of for the moment, or they really are that dumb.

  23. Al

    @#114-With all due respect to Salicrup he was right in that it was forced and a gimmick, but again it was a gimmick which made sense. Also he changed his tuen evidently since in a (I think wizard) magazine article in 2007 which was a roundup of creators on the marriage he came out in favour of it. So did Michelinie, Peter David, DeFalco and Stan Lee

  24. Al

    @#114-I don't entirely agree because many writers either DID know how to write a married Spider-Man or tried their best with what was uncharted territory. To use a weird metaphor late 1990s Marvel colouring sucked ass. Cut to 2005 and it looked great. That was because people in the 1990s hadn't gotten to grips with the tech yet. The marriage for some people (like Michelinie) was like that. There was ZERO precedent for it so they tried different things and inevitably stumbled at times, whilst the pressure of deadlines meant they stuck with what they felt worked. Michelinie it should be noted admits he was inexperienced to write the marriage having little romantic experience himself. He wrote ASm and thus his run is what people look at but DeMatteis wrote it much better and that was at the same time. JMS was the best marriage writer but he was far, far, far from the only one http://mrsspidermanmaryjanewatsonparker.tumblr.com/post/110349380346/top-10-writers-of-the-spider-marriage-master-post

  25. Jeff Gutman

    Excellent points Al. I think we essentially agree on many issues. I think ultimately the marriage was a victim of timing. It occurred right on the cusp on the 90s and comic writing took a major downturn across the board around that time. I think a lot of the writers on Spidey had no idea how to write a married Spidey, and it showed. I think that JMS was pretty much the only writer who did it right. When I visited Jim Salicrup in the Marvel offices back in 1987, it was right before the wedding issue came out. We had a chance to talk in his office extensively and he told me that he felt the marriage was a gimmick being pushed on editorial at the time. But you're correct in stating that was just the opinion of editorial.

  26. Al

    I didn’t know she was based upon Cindy Crawford visually but that’s neither here nor there really. No. It wasn’t. MJ NEVER wanted Peter to NOT be Spider-Man outside of the Clone Saga or the Mackie run. She wanted him to take a break from it at times or to not go out when it was especially dangerous to straining upon her. It was never a case of she literally said she wanted him to out and out quit. In the Mackie run that was just 100% out of character and in the Clone Saga not only did she flip flop on that but she was heavily pregnant. I think we can cut her some slack on that one don’t you? As for the smoking thing, I’ve literally heard that example brought up multiple times and the thing is I’ve never heard any other valid example besides it. Furthermore the smoking plotline is treated as this inherently vile concept when...it’s not. it ran too long and wasn’t executed well. There was nothing wrong with it in theory whatsoever and Peter’s contentions against it are frankly valid given that he doesn’t want his wife to give herself lung cancer. And the fact that she smokes because she is stressed and she’s stressed because Peter endangers himself but he endangers himself because he is Spider-Man is frankly an entirely valid concept to generate conflict between them. It was just not executed well but again...why wholesale blame the character or the marriage on that one? As if it’s poor execution was inevitable or something? And on a sidenote the smoking thing ran in the other titles. Speaking of which I’ve noted you seem to more or less just be citing things that apply to Michelinie’s ASM run (and not even all of it). There were in fact 4-5 titles at the time and ASM wasn’t the only one of those that mattered. DeMatteis for instance was at the same time writing Mary Jane VERY differently to how you describe her. And of course Michelinie’s run is far from the sum total of late 80s-90s Spider-Man or the marriage. Even putting that aside it wasn’t as if he couldn’t write MJ or the marriage well either as this post (from the same blog actually) notes: http://mrsspidermanmaryjanewatsonparker.tumblr.com/post/109307013992/top-10-writers-of-the-spider-marriage-david As for the Mackie/Byrne reboot...seriously? You are gonna cite that? Dude EVERYONE was out of character in that era. Spider-Man decided it’d be a good idea to sleep on the streets like a homeless person. Flash Thompson LAUGHED at him for being a widower. Peter was lying to MJ continuously for months and she didn’t tell her goddam superhero husband she had a stalker. C’mon bro that’s a kinda desperate example to reach for isn’t it? That is one of the worst periods of Spider-Man of all time and when the characters are THAT out of character there is no valid reason in counting it when interpreting the characters or series. You might as well have built arguments around how Peter and MJ acted in One More Day. Oh and FYI Mackie and Byrne were MANDATED to get rid of the marriage and make people hate Mary Jane during that era. Does this mean they were deliberately trying to piss fans off and make them glad for the marriage to go away??? Actually yes, that is exactly what they were doing. Citing that in your argument is like citing why Peter Parker is a terrible human being because just look at when he smacked his wife in the Clone Saga. And what about all those times the marriage and problems WEREN’T forced? Like during the clone saga when MJ was pregnant, or when their baby might have been deformed? Or when Mj wondered about if her and Peter moving would deep six her career? Or when they lost thier money and home? Or when Harry was playing head games with them? Or when peter had to overcome (thankfully) his insecurities over MJ earning more money than him? Or countless villains invading thier lives? The stalkers? Venom? Kraven’s Last Hunt? Peter’s mental breakdown? Those totally ‘forced’ things don’t count I suppose? And those are only the problems. Many times the writers DID know what to do with a married Spider-Man, they just chose not to go the route of conflict or friction, but rather have MJ be an inspirational force or a confidant/psychoanalyst to Peter or an exposition device. Again, I think you are greatly oversimplifying things. And furthermore, even if hypothetically what you are saying is 100% accurate...you are talking about ONE group of writers of ONE era. This doesn’t render the wholesale worth of MJ, the marriage as a bad thing. After all Aunt May was consistently written at best blandly literally until DeMatteis got a hold of her and even he made her crowning moment her death. And then only JMS, 40 years after her creation came along and transformed May into one of the best characters in the franchise’s history. First of all, the writers of that era where categorically NOT Hellbent on getting rid of the marriage. At worst SOME of them were sour that they were stuck with it. Others like DeFalco, Peter David, DeMatteis and Mackie were at worst fine with it and at best liked it and used it to great effect. Even writers who DIDN’T like it were sometimes able to do that, look at Sterns Hobgoblin lives or parts of Michelinie’s run. At the same time the overwelming majority of the problems or poor stories of that era (which had many more good stories than people care to admit, e.g. the Lost Years, Citizen Osborn, Carnage, Best of Enemies, etc) literally had nothing to do with the marriage. You cited Maximum Carnage and the Robot Parents in your original post but neither of those had anything to do with the marriage at all. Often times (and I don’t know why this is, but it slaps me as being very alarming) fans and especially creators frankly scapegoat the problems of that era on the marriage when the problems were much more deeply rooted than that. Did Avengers the Crossing or Onslaught suck because Spider-Man was married? Is Adam X the Extreme an actual character who exists because of the marriage? No. The 1990s had industry wide problems which impacted Spider-Man as much as anyone else. And blaming most of it on the marriage, or feeling that it would’ve been better without it, is simply dismissive of the wider context of the time. I don’t think the marriage is sacred. But it does need to be reinstated. Partially to ease things over with a fractured fanbase and partially because it is simply better to have it and give the characters their full character development than have them be lesser than what they were in the past. Also from a character POV it makes little sense for either Peter or MJ to be single. At best it’s out of character at worst it’s redundant to the narrative.

  27. Al

    The argument of her character reduction is also a very simplistic one. First of all MJ being a policeman’s wife is an invalid criticism. It is a 100% appropriate analogy. He is akin to an officer and thus she is placed in a similar position. Did she have to wait by a window as often as she did? No. But you paint it as that that’s ALL that she did when that simply is not true. MJ’s character was shown in a light BESIDES that numerous times. In fact there are character building scenes that happen WHILE she’s being sexualised or ‘waiting by a window’. One doesn’t mitigate or trump the other. Also such depictions of her ‘waiting’ were around BEFORE the marriage as well. Simply put, her being a pinup or a ‘cop’s wife’ was in no way shape or form the sum total of her character during the era you outlined. It was a PART of her but even then she amounted to significantly more than that. You also neglect the nature of the market at the time. Virtually ALL comics suffered qualitywise at that period of time due to the speculator boom and the emphasis upon quantity. If you have FOUR monthly Spider-Man comic books every month telling individual stories it’s simply unfeasible for you to actually come with something creative and great all the time for ONE supporting character. In fact it’s not possible even for the STAR of the book. Had there been just 2 titles every month the story would have been different. But stuck to produce a ridiculous amount of content to meet a deadline, invariably stories relied upon repetitive crutches with MJ like the ones you outlines. But like how endless streams of high tech armoured villains showed up for Spider-Man to punch over and over again. Singling MJ out alone for all that (epseically when she wasn’t the only victim by a long shot) is grossly unfair.

  28. Al

    I wasn’t addressing the micromanagement of the annual or the artist. And to be honest I think Ryan actually did a very good, somewhat Romita inspired job. I don’t care about hot name creators, I just want quality. The lingerie criticism is to be honest very unfair and attributes blame at the wrong place. If MJ is in a sexy pose that’s an ARTIST problem not a writer problem. This blog post sort of touches upon that aspect. http://mrsspidermanmaryjanewatsonparker.tumblr.com/post/100833848841/the-marriage-sucked-because-mary-jane-was

  29. Al

    And frankly...the opinions of editorial are moot in face of the final product itself. A creator like Slott can tell us what a brilliant creative energy surrounded Spider-Verse and how everyone was into it. It still sucked at the end of the day. Editorial can have a very dour opinion of the marriage and view it as a bad thing. Doesn’t mean it’s true. If you ask Wacker Shed was a brilliant masterpiece of a story rather than a poorly drawn POS with potential rape and definite cannibalism. And then of course there is which creator you talk to. Roger Stern says the marriage was bad and was out of character. Peter David disagrees. Who gets to be right or wrong? Just look at the editorials written about the Hobgoblin mystery. The stories are never exactly the same but sometimes (read: Defalco vs. Owsley) they are entirely contradictory. Which is actually what happened there. Salicrup SAYS they weren’t a serious couple, but re-read those stories again. No they are not dating...officially...but they might as WELL have been. Their relationship had been VERY strongly built up. In fact DeFalco and Frenz intended for a wedding to be on the horizon just with a very different outcome. The decision to have them go through with the marriage was something unplanned by editorial. And it was a gimmick. But it was a rare example of a gimmick which not only made sense and luckily wouldn’t come off as forced given what had come before, but also a progressive move for the franchise

  30. Al

    Literally I wrote out a very long post in response to what your first post but the site just WILL NOT let me post my response. I’ve tried like 10 times and each time it’s blocked. As for the Howe’s book you misunderstand. My contentions were more along the idea it wasn’t built up. I am not saying the writers knew it was coming long off and planned for it. But the argument that it was out of nowhere and had nothing to back it up is simply incorrect. As for creators opinions not only can opinions and recollections be wrong due to the passage of time, but being brutally honest fans like us have a greater grasp of the minutia than most creators do. We’re the guys who can quote verbatim what Spidey said in this one issue of this mini-series 30 years ago. Most creators don’t have encyclopaedic knowledge like that. In fact not all fans do. And sometimes many people (fans or creators) can’t see the woods for the trees, taking things out of context of the big picture or exaggerating some things whilst ignoring others.

  31. Jeff Gutman

    @105 - Al, I wish you could elucidate as to what you found to be factually incorrect in my initial post. To be clear, I've just finished reading Sean Howe's book Marvel Comics The Untold Story. In that book, they give hundreds of interviews with the actual editors and writers that worked at Marvel in those days and its given me a completely different perspective on the sanctity and importance of the Spider-marriage. So if you are arguing the factual correctness of the post, know that the facts came from interviews with the actual editors of the books at the time. The opinions came from me and are factually correct as to my opinion. Since I don't know what point you think was inaccurate, I will give a bibliography of the points I made are where they come from factually: "At the time in 1987, the marriage felt like a gimmick that came out of nowhere. Peter and MJ hadn’t been a serious item in years in the serious and really the marriage only happened because Stan Lee wanted to write Peter married in the newspaper strip. Jim Shooter felt they should be married in both..." According to Sean Howes book, he states that the marriage was viewed as a gimmick by editorial at the time that was forced on them. There was a convention in 1986 where Stan and Jim Shooter were on the panel. A fan asked, "Hey is Spidey ever gonna get married?" and Stan asked Jim, "I don't know, Jim what do you think?" The fans went wild and Stan and Jim started talking about the possibility. Stan wanted to write Spidey as married in the strip and Jim felt that he should be married in the books as well. The problem was that according to the current editor Salicrup, they weren't writing Peter and MJ as a serious item in the books at the time. They felt the change to having them suddenly married was abrupt and they scrambled to make it happen so that it would sync up with the marriage in the strip. "... so they hastily threw together the marriage issue in an annual that Shooter micromanaged to hell, essentially forcing Peter and MJs courtship to happen quickly instead of a gradual progression over time. " Again according to Sean Howe's book, Jim Shooter insisted on writing the wedding annual. Jim was a notorious micromanager who sent issues back to be redrawn sometimes dozens of times. No one wanted to work under Shooter and since it was Spidey's wedding there was added pressure. So they got the artist Paul Ryan who was not really a superstar name, only because he was the artist it fell to that Shooter could micromanage best. Ever wonder why the wedding of Spider-man wasn't handled by a bigger name artist at the time? Apparently that was why. ..."Unfortunately, all of the writers seemed to want to do was depict MJ lazing around in lingerie all the time - a cheesecake pinup" There were dozens of examples of this littered throughout the comics of the late 80s and 90s where they were constantly depicting MJ in her lingerie in apparent fan service. They even parodied this during the Web of Spidey "Cult of Love" issues with the cover where Salicrup is taking cheesecake shots of MJ on the cover. As late as the 200s, there was the controversy with the giant breasted statue of MJ bent over doing Peter's laundry. My frustration lies in that given the rich history of the character MJ and the storytelling possibilities inherent in a married superhero, they seemed compelled to reduce MJ to the role of "police officers wife waiting at home for his safe return" or simple cheesecake pinup doll. "Cindy Crawford in comic book form. She lost all of her uniqueness." Its been stated in interviews that the artists of the 90s were modeling MJ's appearance after Cindy Crawford. "Whenever they tried to write some interesting conflict into the marriage it always came across forced. As in, look MJs smoking now – Peter can’t stand her smoking! MJ doesn’t want Peter to be Spidey anymore so he has to sneak around!" The MJ smoking storyline ran through the early 90s issues of ASM written by David Micheline. The MJ doesn't want Peter to be Spidey anymore was a recurring motif but the most glaring example was the 1998 reboot issues written by Mackie and Byrne. This falls to the fact that the writers seemed to have no idea what to do with a married superhero and the attempts they made to give tension or friction in the marriage seemed forced. Everything else in my post is opinion and doesn't need factual backing. I don't have a preference for married Peter - I have a preference for good stories told in a satisfying manner. The writers in the late 80s and 90s seemed so hell bent on getting Peter out of the marriage it led to some poor storytelling told poorly. Since he's been single, they've been so hell bent on proving why Peter needs to be single its led to some poor storytelling. At this point I don't believe Peter's marriage is "sacred and needs to be re-instated" - I just want good stories no matter what his marital status is. We're not going to get good stories under Slott.

  32. Al

    @#100-My posts won't post properly. Suffice it to say you are factually incorrect on most of your points

  33. Al

    @#100-My friend with all due respect…I invite you to re-read the era from ASM #259-290 (including the satellites and Wolverine one shot) and pay close attention to Peter and MJ’s relationship. Whilst the decision to have them actually go through with marriage was a quick one DeFalco and Peter David as well as other people HAD been building up their relationship. In fact in Spider-Man vs. Wolverine they kiss and Peter admits in his head that he and MJ were lying to themselves about not being boyfriend and girlfriend. In Spec #123 MJ came over to his apartment to resolve their relationship. She also went back on another day to cook him breakfast in bed. I dunno about you but if my ex whom I almost married and was in love with came over to my house (using the spare key I gave her no less) JUST to make me breakfast in bed I just might think there was something more than platonic feelings between us. My point is Peter and MJ weren’t dating before the marriage…but they might as well have been. They were doing everything two people dating would do (except kiss or anything more intimate than that) and were extremely close. The marriage WAS a gimmick…but it was a gimmick which coincidentally worked because the build up and organic progression you were seeking was 100% was there. No. That was not all the writers wanted to do. First of all if Mj was depicted in an overly sexualised way that was something which was an ARTIST problem. In fact everything you described was an artist problem and criticising her like that is rather unfair given how historically female characters have been depicted for sexualisation. Especially in the 1990s. You are talking about the era when there was FOUR Marvel swimsuit comics for God’s sake. And it’s not like sexualisation has gotten better since then. As for her personality you are also very inaccurate. Under Michelinie we saw her kick Caesar’s ass, provide emotional support to Peter„ act as a confidant, etc. In fact apart from the lingerie…she was doing the same stuff she was doing BEFORE the marriage. She even went out and partied during the Michelinie run. She psychoanalysed Peter under DeMatteis. The whole ‘she did nothing but lazed around in lingerie’ thing is frankly a truism and a stereotype which simply never happened like that. You know how people say “In the Romita era it was always Flash, peter, harry (in his bowtie), Gwen and MJ hanging out at the Coffee Bean. And MJ and Gwen were Betty and Veronica all the time. And Gwen was a super scientist and she and Peter were so in love and wonderful together. And that is what the Romita era was quintessentially like. All the time” Yeah…I’ve read the Romita era issue by issue and no that was not what it was like. Gwen was NOT a super duper scientist and she and Peter had a dysfunctional relationship. MJ wasn’t even there most of the time and the Betty/Veronica thing got resolved relatively early on. Also Harry didn’t wear that bowtie all the time and they didn’t all hang out together at the Coffee Bean every issue. All that stuff are truisms and popular misconceptions, much like how everyone THINKS the symbiote made Peter evil when it didn’t. MJ doing nothing but lounge around in lingerie is exactly like that. it happened, but not nearly as often or as simplistically as you or everyone else paints it. It also wholesale omits literally everything ever done with MJ under JMS, Peter David, DeMatteis, Sacasa or many other writers. Simply put you are taking moments featuring MJ during one or two runs from a very specific time which is not the be all or end all of her character or the marriage, then you are exaggerating them to paint things as being the norm. Except it wasn’t. Moving on, everyone talks about the smoking and I am so sick of hearing that argument, because it is literally the only thing people think of. There are no other specific examples ever cited beside that. And her smoking? Yeah that wasn’t forced. She smoked in the past. She was naturally stressed out. She began smoking. Peter didn’t like her doing it cos it was KILLING her. It was poorly executed but not poor as an idea. The sneaking around thing is also a very weak example because it happened ONLY in the Mackie/Byrne reboot era (and literally nowhere else ever). This was the era where Flash Thompson goddam laughed at Peter for being a widow. You aren’t seriously going to build an argument around that are you? EVERYONE was out of character and written poorly back then. Why don’t you cite how MJ sucks because look at how she acted during OMD why don’t you. You want a truly great Peter/MJ story from the 1990s? Okay. Spectacular Spider-Man #241, Spectacular Spider-Man #242-245, Spider-Man unlimited #7, Peter Parker: Spider-Man #75, PPSM #78 (with Morbius), Back from the Edge, Web of Death, The Final Adventure, Peter David’s Five Minutes prose story, etc. But really asking for wholesale really great stories is illogical. MJ is a supporting character in a serialised story. There are great individual stories, but more than this there are really great MOMENTS contained within other stories and I could be here all day listing them to you. In short look at almost anything done by DeMatteis with Peter and MJ in the 1990s or even a lot of Howard Mackie’s stories up until the Gathering of Five. ASM #400 has one or two touching Peter/MJ moments. Blood Brother’s part 3 has a brilliant moment. Web of Carnage does too. The Parker Years one shot has a few nice moments. Etc, etc, etc, do you get the picture yet? In asking for truly great MJ stories from the 1990s you might as well ask for truly great Jameson stories. There aren’t that many from any given decade because he has MOMENTS within stories. Yeah Jonathan Caesar? You mean that awesome story which subverted the damsel in distress stereotype and proved MJ to be bad ass? What about it? WTF has Maximum Carnage and Peter’s Parents got to do with anything? They were editorial mandates JUST LIKE OMD!!!!!!! They had sweet fuck all to do with MJ, the marriage or even the writers themselves. Also I notice you are talking ONLY about Michelinie’s run. Cos, it’s not like DeMatteis had a critically acclaimed run around the same time or Conway had stuff going on too right? Because only ASm counts obviously. And heads up mate, are you under the assumption there wasn’t godaweful writing from 1962-1987? The Hobgoblin arc dragged out and the resolution was a piece of shit. Web of Spider-Man #25? Most of Marvel team up! Doc Ock marrying Aunt May? Denny O’Neil’s run. Shit even STAN produced crap like ASM #100. And what? The stuff ever since they got rid of the marriage has been gold? Let’s be honest, the dialogue and art might be better…Post-OMD is worse than the 90s. Yeah I said it. Say what you want but 1990s Spider-Man never did rape stories and they never had Spider-Man act like a manchild. Maximum Carnage isn’t good…but shit…It’s not SHED for God’s sake Also, there were truly shitty stories from 1987-2001. Like you know…Kraven’s Last Hunt? Lost Years? Redemption? Spec #200? Spec #250? Revelations? But why remember the good right?

  34. RDMacQ

    @#101- There are a couple of reasons for why Slott would be doing this. The first is that this story wasn't part of his plan. We have to remember that there was an editorial change during Superior, and that other forces at Marvel planned on changes to the Universe that superseded Slott's "authority." It may seem like certain writers can do whatever they want, but the editors are the ones with the final say on the situation and Lowe may have had a different plan for Spider-Man than Wacker did. So the reason he is doing this is because, quite simply, he was told to do so. I wouldn't be surprised if he was told to sideline MJ for a while, but wasn't informed as to why. The second is that it was part of his plan to sideline MJ for a while, and the Secret Wars came along and upset his plans slightly, so he decided to work it into his narrative. Yes, he did ship tease Peter and MJ a lot during his run. And I am fully willing to entertain the notion that he did plan on getting them back together at some point, probably towards the end of his run. We have to remember that creators do not work in a vacuum, and that employing one plot element at a certain time is often done to set up another one later in the future. Slott "killing" off Peter and replacing him with Otto was never a permanent thing, and I am certain Slott always planned on bringing Peter back. So having Peter and MJ "break up" at the end of Superior may not have been meant to be the "final chapter" on their relationship, but merely done to set up further plot elements down the line. Whether this was done under his urging or the editors, we have to remember that in storytelling sometimes one has to set up obstacles in order to make a victory or a success later on worthwhile.

  35. Riablo

    Al made a really good point in his last paragraph. I can totally believe it as it fits Slott’s MO, think about it: Spider-Island – He was the guy who filled Manhatten with Spider-men. Super Spider-man – He was the guy to killed Spider-man. Spider-verse – He was the guy who wrote a story where nearly every Spider-man in the multiverse was killed. They’re all bold ideas, even if they are poorly written. Slott’s no doubt trying to leave a legacy in the vein of Lee/Ditko/Romitta/Stern/Conway/JMS but hasn’t quite worked out a successful way to do so.

  36. Al

    I want RDMacQ to be right. I really do. I just can’t bring myself to believe it though, either through experience, my own sense of logic or maybe I’m just doing it to avoid getting screwed over later on. But I will say this for his theory...why do this after Superior #31? Or ASM #3? With those 2 issues Slott seemed to not only write out Mary Jane but put to bed definitively what he’d been teasing since Spider Island. Why bring it up again here? Unless it really is just a troll and/or a sales boost and/or him trying to once again build up his Spider-Man legacy. HE was the guy who wrote Spider-Man as a father in the LAST SPIDER-MAN STORY EVAH!!!!!!!!!!

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