The Atlantic Asks: What’s The Worst Spidey Story?


OMDRYVThe Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates offers an opinion on what constitutes the “worst Spider-Man story ever.” I politely disagree with the eventual ‘winner.’ The author starts off first by agreeing with i09’s rundown of their four worst Spider-Man stories ever told:

While anxiously awaiting the retconning/re-marriage of Peter Parker, I came across this io9 list of the four worst Spider-Man stories of all time. The contenders are The Clone Saga, The Gathering Of Five, Sins Past and One More Day. I’m not sure if these are in order of awfulness or not, but I agree with the listing—these are all pretty bad.

I know of one person who liked Sins Past, and I know some have enjoyed the Gathering of Five. One of our resident Webheads, Spideydude, is all about the Clone Saga. But in the years since it was inflicted upon us I have never seen someone, aside from Joe “Breaking the Toys” Quesada, who has ever said they enjoyed One More Day. Even most of the vitriolic Parker marriage haters I’ve listened to over the years have have acknowledged that OMD was a terrible story but accepted the poor storytelling as a means to an end.

Coates later makes the choice:

So which of io9‘s four do I dub truly most baleful?  My disdain for One More Day is fairly well known, and I feel like, at this point, it’s a little too easy to hate on. I’m going to go with The Clone Saga for the great sin of resurrecting Norman Osborne.

And here is where I politely disagree. While I’ve gone on record, many times, about how bad the Clone Saga was, and about how Norman Osborn never should have been brought back, and about how awful trying to pull a switcheroo on readers as to who the ‘real’ Peter was just for the sake of having a single Peter once more… One More Day was by far the worst transgression in Spider-history. The Clone Saga was a poor choice; a bad idea that went on way too long. It even made me stay away from Spidey comics for over two years. But there has never been a more egregious breach of trust between Marvel and their readers than One More Day, which was done largely to satisfy an EIC’s personal whim. Is it the worst breach of trust in comics ever? I wonder about that a lot. Was One More Day worse for Spidey fans than, say, Dan Didio’s New 52 was for DC fans? And in the end, which was more selfish?

One thing is important to point out here. While you can look at One More Day and The Clone Saga and debate which one ultimately was worse, the root cause for both was the same: editorial trying to bring back a ‘swinging single’ Peter Parker. Both stories also returned Osborns to life. The Clone Saga brought back Norman who, admittedly, was part of some very interesting stories after. One More Day brought back Harry, completely retooled (emphasis on tool) his personality – then quickly forgot about him and sent him away when his stories & subplots tended to be more boring than unbuttered toast.

Many Spider-fans would agree with me when I say that One More Day needs to be addressed, fixed and ultimately thrown back into the creative emptiness from which it was spawned. But what makes me nervous as we approach the upcoming Jonathan Hickman Marvel reboot/non-reboot is the fact that Renew Your Vows is being handled by people of the same anti-marriage mindset that forced One More Day on us in the first place. I suspect it will be used as a blunt force weapon to “show” us why a married Peter just won’t work, despite decades of stories showing us precisely the opposite. Either way, it does make me nervous about what’s coming up. Not that good kind of nervous you get when you see Wanda freaking out during the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. No, that kind of nervous that comes from a place of cold dread.

Spider-Man as a character has suffered many wounds over the last seven years. Different teams have tried to forcefully wedge Spidey into whatever role and personality they prefer, rather than what’s natural and sensible for the character. Much of it has been done with all the clumsiness of a toddler trying to hammer a square peg through a circular hole.

We’ll see what Renew Your Vows brings us. The third part of the ‘opus’ Quesada started with OMD? A story that heals all wounds – or makes those wounds infected? I know what I am hoping for, but history tells me what we’re getting. At the end of the day, hope holds the door open and welcomes disappointment.

–George “Dreading the Summer” Berryman! 

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(45) Comments

  1. PeterParkerfan

    I think we can all agree on the fact that ONE MORE DAY is the worst Spider-Man story. I HATED the garbage that is called "Sins Past", but OMD totally dropped the ball on the floor. I'm so glad I stopped reading ASM for four years and spent the money on MARVEL ADVENTURES books instead.

  2. Ironbear

    "most people who are diehard “Peter and MJ must stay married” advocates, are mostly under 35 who “grew up” reading books with the marriage as status quo" *snort* I'm 50. Born in 1960 and started reading comics at age 7, so I actually grew up (no scare quotes) with Spider-man from very nearly the beginning of his career as a comic book character. So I was 27 when the now infamous marriage that "everyone over 35" hates and had been reading the character through thick and thin and battles with Firelord for twenty years at that point. I also didn't and don't hate Spider-man/Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey, nor Spider-man/Black Cat. Like the marriage and the death of Gwen, I see all of those and the relationship with MJ as an integral part of the character's growth. All of those things and the events that went with them combined to make him the character and person that he was, and that a lot of us liked and even loved from childhood as we were growing up with him. We hate OMD and the destruction of the marriage because it destroyed the integrity of the character. It made "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man!" into "Not-Peter Parker, the Incredible Making Deals with Demons Man!" We hate OMD, OMIT, and BND because it destroyed and betrayed nearly 40 years (for some of us) of consistent character growth and evolution that we lived through and experienced happening as readers and fans of the character. And it did it in favor of one writer and editor's preference of his particular fanfic interpretation of "what the character should be" placed in ascendance over 40 years of character history and characterization and 40 years of older fan history with the character. We grew up with the character, and the Peter Parker we grew up with wasn't a man who would make a deal with Mephisto and piss his marriage and his future down the memory hole. That's not Spider-man. We're not sure who the hell that is, but it's not Peter Parker. "I feel that " Well, ya see now, there ya go. You were feeling instead of thinking. That gets more people in trouble than almost any other contributing cause. It ranks third in that right after "Hey, ya'll, watch this!" and "Here, hold my beer for a moment - I'll be right back!" Kick your feelz to the curb and grab a seat on the reality train, kid. Your feelz are wrong. Don't try to crap on my cupcake and tell me it's frosting. Dan Slott and Quesada do enough of that as it is. And get the heck off of my Spidey-lawn. ;) Whippersnapper. Regarding the new version and what they're doing now... I quit reading and buying Marvel during the mid 90's, in the early Clone Wars era, IIRC, mostly because I got tired of the Multi-Mega-Crossover Event dujour thing where I was noticing that I was having to spend increasing amounts of cash chasing stories across umpteen different titles just to find out I was reading stories that weren't really all that good. One More Day made me glad that I quit buying and reading. Dan Slott and everything he's done up to and inclusive of this new direction is really not inclining me to change that decision. I'll continue reading Spidey at the library on rare occasions, and voting with my wallet - against Slott, Quesada, and Whacker and their destruction of a character that I used to love, thanks. I'll continue keeping up with the various titles via reviews here and at Chasing Amazing and other review sites. I can see what I'm not missing via the reviews and synopsis, and it won't cost me four bucks a pop. Thanks for all your hard work on this stuff, George. It's appreciated.

  3. Cheesedique

    @17--ASM #400, PP #75 and Lost Years, yes, all classics. But I found Blood Brothers to be about as crappy as the rest of the bad parts of the Clone Saga..

  4. xonathan

    I never get tired of these debates. Here's my two cents. Hate the current status quo and I personally prefer Peter to be married for all the aforementioned reasons and more. But, we have to accept that there is a group in fandom that prefer Peter single. The status quo after MJ's plane blew was reverted rather quickly (around 18 months I think) when JMS came on board. Marvel is not stupid, Marvel is a business and it is about money. If the current status quo were making Marvel lose money they would have reverted. The sad truth is, is not. I don't think it's making them more money, but they are not losing money. And there's the added benefit that with a single Peter again the writing can be lazy and repetitive, bringing tired cliches like "peter can't come to a date on time" or "i can't tell her my secret identity." It's easier to write about Charlie (from Peanuts) not being to kick the football over and over again that come up with something original.

  5. Riablo

    I’ll have to agree with the analysis that OMD was a selfish editorial decision. It’s definitely the worst Spider-man story I can think of. I think one of the main flaws of the OMD era is that is represents poor brand control. The main point about having a brand is to grow and extend it. Prior to OMD, there was some excellent growth and variety with the Spider-man character. You had a married Peter in the JMS run, young teen Peter in Ultimate Spider-man and a Toby Maguire Spider-man on the big screen. In the OMD era there’s been too much duplication/stagnation. Single man-child Peter in ASM and single teen Peter (or Miles) in Ultimate Spiderman. Superior Spider-man, Venom and Kaine running in Parallel (3 anti-hero Spider-men). Silk, Spider-woman and Spider-Gwen running in parallel (3 Spider-women). Additionally in the entire run of the OMD era, I can’t think of a single story that has properly grown the character or a story that people will look back on years from now (most likely they will skip over the OMD decade when collecting). This all confirms for me that this is an editorial issue. Either the editors are fighting to maintain their “preferred” interpretation of the character (instead of offering it in parallel like in the JMS era) or the editors are confused about what the “preferred” interpretation should be (via too much duplication).

  6. Jack

    It looks to me like Spider-Man has seldom really been hurt by his writers, but **often** wrecked by insane editors.

  7. ac

    I agree OMD takes the title as worst spider-man story, but I think it's close with a specific part of the clone saga...the part where it is suddenly revealed that the peter parker I'd read about for twenty years was a CLONE. Sure, it was reversed, but the intension always was to make this the status quo. Maybe if OMD were ever somehow reversed, it would reduce it's infamy? (not that I see that happening.) Both stories made me quit buying comics, so in my mind choosing between them is like being on death row and choosing between the firing squad or the electric chair...

  8. James Deen

    Spider-Man works best married, get over it, his girlfriend Gwen Stacy sucks (an manipulative bitch who when Ditko drew her was incredibly rude to Peter and people want this twit to be with him? Why is it that the bad guys are winning these days?) and stop trying to live through your own high school shitty ass life because that's done and over with, that happens to EVERYONE not just Peter and for you to want him to go through this again and again shows that you shouldn't be reading comics as you want things to be boring all the time. That's like saying I want to have fish and chips everyday, you're seriously telling me you won't get sick of it? Stop using marriage as an excuse for stories being bad! There were some god awful stories of Peter being single so your arguments don't hold any value!

  9. George Berryman - Post author

    @22 - <i>"George I have to ask out of morbid curiosity who honestly enjoyed Gathering of Five?"</i> I do not remember who but it has come up on the podcast a time or two.

  10. George Berryman - Post author

    @27 - <i>I always thought that Quesada was EIC during the entire Mackie/Byrne run, specifically that issue (ASM #13). So I checked the Marvel wiki, and Bob Harras was EIC for #12 and then Quesada was EIC for #13. So technically he was EIC when the “MJ dies in an exploding plane” issue came out”. I have no idea what the transition of EIC was like or how long the overlap was, but I assume technically when Quesada took over he could have stopped the story if he wanted to, but he let it go. And all of the issues after that about everyone thinking MJ was dead and telling Peter to accept it and move on, that’s under Quesada’s watch."</i> I looked at the Marvel wiki for those issues, and you're right - they list Quesada. But in the actual issues, Bob Harras is still listed as EIC in ASM #13, on the very page where MJ's plane is exploding. He is listed as EIC in the issues through ASM #23. Quesada is not listed as EIC until ASM #24. Marvel Wiki is wrong on those issues. The exploding plane/MJ death was 100% Bob Harras. Quesada himself felt that killing her off (and making Peter a widower) would've been as bad as divorce in terms of aging the character; he said as much in, if I recall correctly, that five-part CBR interview he did when trying to justify OMD. Harras and the hit on MJ was the reason I started covering comics at the site where I met J.R. 15 years ago. From J.R.'s website: http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/DeepThoughts/OneMoreDay.html <blockquote>The second time, in issue #13 of volume 2 of Amazing Spider-Man, where Mary Jane appeared to be killed in a plane crash, happened when sales were tanking again because the storytelling was horrible, and I believe this is universally considered to be one of the worst eras in Spidey’s history. For all of the talk about Marvel not revisiting the Clone Saga, even in flashback, think how many times the pre-JMS period when Howard Mackie was writing both titles is referenced. The explosion that gave both Spider-Man and Doc Ock a similar origin? Those great new villains such as the Ranger, Senator Ward, Shadrac and Evil Spider-Woman? The Stacy family? Mattie Franklin (Bendis using her in Alias doesn’t count)? I don’t think Marvel really wants to claim that period, either – it went into oblivion with former EIC Bob Harras. Plus, even most proponents of a single Peter Parker did not want Mary Jane killed off, because killing off a second serious Parker love interest was dramatically lazy, particular after what happened to Gwen Stacy, and threw the titles into a depressing tail spin. Plus, it was just a further evisceration of a supporting cast which had seen so many other deaths, and if Joe Quesada can be taken at his word, he doesn’t approve of killing off such characters.</blockquote>

  11. Ronny

    @ #31 Al Yes! I wanted to mention that too but didn't want it to be too long. A lot of movie goers get inspired by great film to read comics from the beginning. Look at the popularity that the Daredevil Netflicks series brought to the comics at marvel.com. Plus even a current Spider-man could have back stories or a whole series itself of the untold tales of Spider-man while still keeping him current maturity &amp; married.

  12. Al

    @#29-There is also the fact that Bill nelgects that someone under 35 could maybe get invested through pre-marriage Spider-Man or maybe can read a lot of it after the fact

  13. Big John

    Thank you, George Berryman. You and the Crawlspacers are why I'm still reading Marvel comics (here that Marvel?!) The fact that you're still staunchly holding the same ground and refusing to accept anything less than great Spider-Man stories has kept me from dumping the hobby several times over the past year (well, you, "Foes," and 2099)

  14. Ronny

    @ #18 Bill. I like hearing people's different opinions however, I'm not understanding how you seemingly arbitrarily say a lot of guys over 35 are anti marriage along with Spider-man "newbies". Then say you're just generalizing here. Usually when people say that the consensus is most obvious in the favor of the statement. I don't get that impression here. In fact I get the opposite... I think that's a mistake some Marvel editors make as well because I've actually asked kids &amp; have done polls. What I hear is that most think Peter Parker is the marrying type &amp; feel he should be with MJ or the pretty red haired girl...Makes sense as a child I related to that aspect as I envisioned being the marrying type when I got older &amp; not the playboy or cliché superhero relationships that make them less human. (I'm in my 20's) Also I have to know @Bill did you see yourself maybe getting married or the marrying type maybe when you got older, when you were at the time a kid or teen?

  15. Spider-Dad

    I am not a fan of the return of Norman Osborn, but OMD is hands down the worst offender to the Spider-Man mythos. For someone that grew up with Spider-Man, watching him slowly progress was one of the best parts. The marriage is what got me back into ASM...and no I don't want Peter to grow old and die with me. Instead I would prefer to see Peter attempt to live a normal live while being Spider-Man and keep the rich progression of learning from his mistakes. That is what OMD robbed from Spider-Man fans. It ushered in a "new" Peter that is more of a man-child that is led by his impulses instead of being smart, insightful and maybe a bit socially awkward. I miss the true Peter Parker, the one we had for almost 45 years...when he returns to ASM, so will I.

  16. hornacek

    @21 - "In fairness to Quesada, he wasn’t EIC when that went down. That time MJ had been targeted by EIC Bob Harras. Back then Quesada was the Marvel Knights line editor, along with Palmiotti. Harras lasted another eleven months before James gave Quesada the EIC job." I always thought that Quesada was EIC during the entire Mackie/Byrne run, specifically that issue (ASM #13). So I checked the Marvel wiki, and Bob Harras was EIC for #12 and then Quesada was EIC for #13. So technically he was EIC when the "MJ dies in an exploding plane" issue came out". I have no idea what the transition of EIC was like or how long the overlap was, but I assume technically when Quesada took over he could have stopped the story if he wanted to, but he let it go. And all of the issues after that about everyone thinking MJ was dead and telling Peter to accept it and move on, that's under Quesada's watch. So while you're right, I still put this decision under Quesada with an asterisk.

  17. Al

    @#18-God...this again? a) An editorial mandate which involves Spider-Man making a deal with Satan is a thousand leagues above any other editorial mandate. The marriage as a mandate could never come close b) Spider-Man organically progresses through life. Marriage is a part of that. marriage is a responsibility. Responsibility is LITERALLY what the character is about. Ergot he marriage was entirely logical c) In Spider-Man vs. Wolverine Peter Parker’s thought caption when he’s with MJ literally reads: “Mary Jane isn’t my girlfriend. I don’t have a girlfriend. And if I tell myself that enough times maybe I’ll start to believe it”. So...NOW tell me it was forced? Oh and the writer of that story? Yeah, it was the guy EDITING the book just before the marriage d) What end result? Spider-Man having OOC one night stand or him having an OOC fuck buddy relationship? How about him doing the same boring ass tedious shit with losing a girlfriend he was doing BEFORE he got married which had been old for 20 goddam years e) Your precious single freewheeling Spider-Man was a lie. Because take a second look at the canon. Peter was with betty, then MJ, then Gwen, then MJ, then sorta Betty, then Deb, then Felicia, then MJ again, then he married her. He was SINGLE an overwhelming MINORITY of the time. And STAN had intended him to get married as early as the Silver Age. He talked about getting married all the time. You were never ever at any time ever betrayed even a little bit, you got what the character was organically moving towards for decades but you personally just disliked it f) And I know shittons of people who did grow up with the pre-marriage Spider-Man who not only accept but LIKED the marriage. Including a certain Mr. Fettinger who is older than 35 and was reading since the early-mid 1970s. The anti-marriage people of that generation aren’t the majority and if they are care to provide empirical evidence to back you up? g) If the marriage ruined the character for you despite doing nothing to fundamentally alter the character’s M.O. or core concept then frankly that’s a little suspect no? It’s not like it was ABOUT him dating loads of women as if he was 007 h) And your personal likes/dislikes of Spider-Man stories are an objective standard because? And....you seriously loved EVERYTHING before the marriage? EVERYTHING after the marriage was godawful. Because ASM #289 doesn’t suck balls. The O’Neil run was tots awesome yo. And Kraven’s Last Hunt was godaweful amirite? i) Yes, Sins Past was obviously the worst story ever because...um...it developed Gwen’s character and made more than a worthless crybaby Silver Age girlfriend. It’s MUCH worse than the story where Spider-Man makes a deal with Satan obviously. It’s MUCH worse than Maximum Clonag

  18. herbiepopnecker

    Another stupid story was "The Origin of Spidey's Banter", otherelse known as "Learning to Crawl". What a gawd-awful stretching out of a ten-page story!

  19. Al

    People bare in mind according to DeFalco the Clone Saga was initiated more to compete with Knightfall and the Death of Superman moreso than ending the marriage. Additionally DeFalco had the behind the scenes plan of letting the writers replace Peter before eventually bringing him back with the baby in tow. Those plans went out the window when DeFalco was no longer EIC during the early days of the Clone Saga. I think it’s foolish to lump Maximum Clonage in and look at the Clone Saga as a whole. For one thing it presumes that Maximum Clonage was so bad all the good stories in the Clone Saga don’t make up for it and secondly we’re talking about over 100 issues at a bare MINIMUM for the Clone Saga. It isn’t a story it is an ERA, and therefore has highs and lows. It’s misguided to try to rate and grade it next to a single story. You wouldn’t compare Joss Whedon’s opening arc of Astonishing X-Men to the entire Chris Claremont run. You wouldn’t compare the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run to Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut and the Death of Gwen Stacy. This is the same thing. Yeah there were a lot of subplots running through it, but Sins Past didn’t have multiple arcs within it’s six issue story. The Clone Saga did. How would one even go about grading it? Doing the pros and cons of EVERY issue of the Clone Saga and then grading it up? it doesn’t make sense. Maximum Clonage was during the Clone Saga era and it sucked. ASM #400 was during the Clone Saga era and it did not suck. They were on other ends of the extremes. Thus looking at it as a singular story is a messy business indeed.

  20. matthewaos

    Whoever believes that the clone saga is a bad story is wrong, for the same reason hornacek said. It's like saying Brand new day is a horrible story. It's an era that contains a big storyline yes, but inside this era there are some good stories, some not good and some awful. If they said Maximum clonage, or those stupid scarlet spider stories, before becoming spider-man again, and so much terrible stuff there are there yes. But you include stuff that have great storytelling. Personally I don't hate the clone saga, nor I had a problem with Ben be the original. I accept change, though it never really happens, and to be honest I want for comic book stories to not publish the same stories all over again. But that only happens on indy comics. And in any case, everyone forgets the Mackie/Byrne era, I think not because they don't consider it a bad story, but because they want to pretend that it did not happen. Like me with catwoman, the movie. I never point this as the worst comic book movie because I pretend it does not exist. And when we are talking about selfish moves from creators, let's talk a little about byrne, the "reinventing guy" who thinks that his and only his version of the charachter is great. Some stories were good, yes, but a bazillion years back. Chapter one, or whatever was called was not. His take on the Hulk was not.

  21. Al

    George I have to ask out of morbid curiosity who honestly enjoyed Gathering of Five? The only time I’ve seen anything approaching sincere love of OMD is when they say “I think it had potential and could’ve been better” or “It was okay”. I think Mister Mets in an article he wrote said he felt OMD was okay. I don’t agree with him about Norman. Norman was bigger and badder as a Goblin than anyone else (I love Roddy but it wasn’t as personal) and he wasn’t made into a new character at all. Norman in 1997-present is the same Norman from the Child Within and Spec annual 1994. His resurrection didn’t take anything away from the mythology, it simply changed something we knew and not only gave a lot back but made it better. ASM #122 is a tragic ending, but now it’s merely a sinister seed planted which we know will grow into something massive to torment our hero.

  22. George Berryman - Post author

    @20 - <i>"Joe Q wanted to get rid of the Spider-marriage for a long time. He tried it during the Mackie/Byrne era (when MJ’s plane blew up) but fans revolted (and the story was revolting – rim-shot). Most people would realize “Ok, this didn’t work, the fans don’t want it, I’ve learned my lesson.” But he tried again, even though he had first hand evidence that it was wrong for the character (and the fans)."</i> In fairness to Quesada, he wasn't EIC when that went down. That time MJ had been targeted by EIC Bob Harras. Back then Quesada was the Marvel Knights line editor, along with Palmiotti. Harras lasted another eleven months before James gave Quesada the EIC job. <i>"They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. He only did it twice, but he clearly expected a different result the second time. Or maybe he just didn’t care what the fans said at this point. He just floored the accelerator and went full speed towards ruining the character. And that’s why I say that it was a selfish decision on his part – he didn’t do it for the fans, he did it for himself."</i> Accurate on all counts except for OMD being the first time. Though technically OMIT was the second. :cool:

  23. hornacek

    @18 - I guess that for every decision there are people that will like it and people that will hate it. But I find it hard to wrap my head around someone saying that the Spider-marriage ruined the character. Put me down for another one that is not in the "under 35 who 'grew up' reading books with the marriage as status quo" group. For some reason, I enjoyed reading a character that evolved and grew up, and him getting married was the next logical step. I'm funny that way. The marriage a betrayal? People (and some comics book characters) grow up. Peter has not been 15 years old for a long time. Could him going to college be seen as an equal betrayal of the character? Moving out of Aunt May's home? Buying a motorcycle? Getting a full-time job? None of those things were in the character in AF #15. But that's the great part of a character the develops and matures. Like real life people, they are not the same person that they were a year ago. They accumulate experiences every day and become a new person based on those experiences. That's what Peter did, especially in the 80s. I'm re-listening to the old podcasts (for some reason) and in one George talked about an ASM issue before the marriage where Peter wanted to quit being Spidey but had to fight the Hobgoblin (ASM #275ish). He mentioned how Peter and MJ (who knew Peter was Spidey and Peter knew that she knew) were hanging out together all the time at this point in the comics. They were having personal and meaningful discussions with each other, and she was at his apartment all the time. And this had been going on for a few years. At this point, it was like they were married already - they already had the relationship, they were just missing the ring. When the proposal happened, I remember thinking at the time "Yeah, why aren't they married already?" Joe Q wanted to get rid of the Spider-marriage for a long time. He tried it during the Mackie/Byrne era (when MJ's plane blew up) but fans revolted (and the story was revolting - rim-shot). Most people would realize "Ok, this didn't work, the fans don't want it, I've learned my lesson." But he tried again, even though he had first hand evidence that it was wrong for the character (and the fans). They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. He only did it twice, but he clearly expected a different result the second time. Or maybe he just didn't care what the fans said at this point. He just floored the accelerator and went full speed towards ruining the character. And that's why I say that it was a selfish decision on his part - he didn't do it for the fans, he did it for himself. Sorry, rant over.

  24. George Berryman - Post author

    @18 - <i>"I feel that most people who are diehard “Peter and MJ must stay married” advocates, are mostly under 35 who “grew up” reading books with the marriage as status quo. However, for a lot of us who are a little older, and grew up with a single and more freewheeling Peter Parker, the marriage was as big a betrayal for us, as OMD was to the more newbie generation of Spider-Man fans. "</i> I'm 42. Started following Spidey in the mid-70's. I was in high school when the marriage went down and freakin' loved it. For a character that is all about "responsibility," there is none higher than being married and starting a family. <i>"Joe Q made a lot of bad decisions as Marvel EIC, but nullifying the Peter/MJ marriage was not one them. To say it was a selfish decision that only he wanted is not only incorrect, it comes off as a little bit whiney and childish."</i> It wasn't <i>just</i> a selfish decision; it was a <b><u>very</u></b> selfish decision, producing the single worst Spider-Man story ever told. Bar none. It was so big of an ego trip <i>they named Peter's next girlfriend after the EIC's daughter.</i>

  25. Bill

    They should never have undone Peter and MJ's marriage, because they should have never have had Spider-Man get married in the first place. At the time, it was almost as bad an editorial decision as OMD ended up being. I didn't like the way they undid the Parker marriage, but I do have to agree with end result. I feel that most people who are diehard "Peter and MJ must stay married" advocates, are mostly under 35 who "grew up" reading books with the marriage as status quo. However, for a lot of us who are a little older, and grew up with a single and more freewheeling Peter Parker, the marriage was as big a betrayal for us, as OMD was to the more newbie generation of Spider-Man fans. (And I'm not saying that everyone who is over 40 is anti-spider-marriage, I'm mostly just generalizing). But, until fairly recently, I was a loyal, avid, and borderline obsessive Spider-Man reader, and I remained so even after Peter and MJ got married, even though I hated the decision (and I mean HATED IT). It came very close to ruining the character for me. But I stuck with Spidey because I couldn't not read Spider-Man. However, after the marriage, there is not a single issue of any Spider-Man title that I would put in my personal Top 100 Best Spider-Man stories of all time. But all of my Top 10 Worst Spider-Man stories are post marriage. And squarely at the top of my "Worst of the Worst" Spider-Man list is "Sins Past"! Hands down the worst Spider-Man story ever written. A piece of retcon garbage that should itself be retconned out of existence. Joe Q made a lot of bad decisions as Marvel EIC, but nullifying the Peter/MJ marriage was not one them. To say it was a selfish decision that only he wanted is not only incorrect, it comes off as a little bit whiney and childish.

  26. hornacek

    I have a problem including The Clone Saga in with those other choices. The Gathering Of Five, Sins Past and One More Day were all self-contained stories with 4-6 parts. They had a beginning, middle and end. The Clone Saga was 3+ years long. It was made up of many many individual stories (with 4 books being published each month - that's a lot of content). It's more of an era than a story. It's like saying Brand New Day is a story, or the Micheline ASM run is a story. Besides, how can The Clone Saga be considered the worst story of all time when it includes A+ content like ASM #400 and PP#75? Lost Years? Blood Brothers? Yes there's a lot of crap in there, but there is some greatness too.

  27. Enigma_2099

    ""So which of io9‘s four do I dub truly most baleful? My disdain for One More Day is fairly well known, and I feel like, at this point, it’s a little too easy to hate on....’ ,,, that's because it's that godd*** bad. So you make up some convenient excuse to exclude it. And somehow you think the clone saga was somehow worse? The effects of the Clone Saga have not permeated through the books like the black hole of s*** that is One More Day. And the main argument against your opinion... BEN F****** REILY! The Clone Saga is the better story of the two by default!

  28. Erik

    It's a nice idea, spideymaddox, but it's very hard for me to imagine that they would do that. It was similarly suggested at the time OMD came out that Marvel could have simply let Ultimate Spider-Man be their young version, but they were very insistent that it has to be the original 616 Peter. I can't imagine that sentiment would have changed just because Miles is coming along.

  29. spideymaddox

    I know Marvel keeps saying Spider-man needs to be about youth and that was one of the reasons given for taking away the marriage in the first place, but it dawned on me that after this big "reboot" or whatever that Marvel is doing we will have 2 Spider-men in the 616 -Peter and Miles. what Marvel should do is use the "Renew your Vows" story to restore the marriage and establish Peter as a Husband and father which would appeal to us older long time readers who grew up with Peter and then let Miles be the "youthful cool" Spider-man for the newer readers. if they are going to have 2 versions of Spider-man in the same universe they should take care to make them as different as possible . so that my opinion....married ,responsible dad Peter as Spider-man for old dinosaurs like me and younger, hipper, modern Miles for the young readers.

  30. Jason

    Like One Moment in Time is lumped with One More Day, I'd say Maximum Clonage is included in the Clone Saga.

  31. Hobo-Goblin

    Yeah, I would amend the Clone Saga choice to just purely "Maximum Clonage" and maybe the stories immediately surrounding it. Maximum Clonage was abysmal on all levels, but there a lot of scattered gems within the Clone Saga as a whole.

  32. George Berryman - Post author

    @9 - "How come OMIT is not there? In some ways, it was even more stupid than OMD." I think it's because most folks lump it in there alongside One More Day. OMIT was the second part of a trilogy that Joe Quesada threatened Spider-fans with yet fortunately never finished. Where OMD created a wound. OMIT tried to 'fix' the infection by dressing the wound with rotting meat. So OMIT doesn't come up by name since most view it as an extension, or at least the bookend, of OMD. One half of a whole.

  33. Fisk

    I think with the coming of Renew your Vows, we will have the 5th contender for the worst Spidey story of all time. How come OMIT is not there? In some ways, it was even more stupid than OMD. OH, and I liked the Clone Saga (mostly...up until Max Clonage) and Sins Past as well, so my tastes may not represent the majority.:)

  34. Jason

    @7 I actually liked the Clone Saga the second time around...maybe because I knew the end result. *L*

  35. Francisco

    If you pretend stuff like Maximum Clonage never happened, Clone Saga was actually a (quite) flawed but decent story. It explored themes like the nature of humanity and identity and gave us compelling characters with both Reilly and Kaine. The thing with OMD is, you can't even pretend it didn't happen.

  36. tevya smolka

    i think what caused more damage was one more day why you ask it's simple really because one more day ruined spider-man aka peter parker as a character and he still hasn't recovered from it and i am so sick of it i want the marriage back and i want peter parker and mary jane finally back together and i can't take it anymore in my opinion

  37. writrzblok

    For One More Day and Clone Saga trying to undo the marriage, it's about the writers and editors writing out their own fan-ficcy power fantasies instead of writing compelling, action-packed Spider-Man stories.

  38. xonathan

    I agree with 1, what more damage can they do? I stopped reading after OMD. The only thing I could think they can ruin more with RYV is disillusion BD even more and prolong his hiatus.

  39. Jason

    I was one, of I'm sure many, who stopped reading Spider-Man after the Clone Saga. I just didn't want to believe the Peter Parker I had been reading for years was only a clone. Year later my interest was renewed. I filled in the years I had missed and I'm still reading today - even after One More Day. Ending the marriage has been horrible, as has the writing since.

  40. Erik

    I'm equally skeptical that renew your vows will be anything we want to see, but I don't dread it because at this point it's just more of the same. It's not going to make things any worse than they are, it just won't make them better either. If OMD were ever actually undone, then we'd have something to worry about -- it being taken away again. Right now I figure there's not a whole lot of damage they can do they haven't already done. I'm not reading it anyway, so I'll wait to hear what happens as a result of RYV, and if by some miracle I'm proven wrong, I'll surely buy it to show support.

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