Cobwebs #10: Still a Better Love Story…

spidermannycHere it is, another year down and time for introspection, resolutions, and hopeful enthusiasm for the year to come.  I wanted to do another holiday themed  post, but the biggest New Year’s Eve reference to Spider-Man was dealing with a promo for Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I just couldn’t put myself through anything dealing with that movie. 

So I decided to look elsewhere.  Just like the Roman god Janus who has two faces, one to look forward and one to look backwards, this time of year is not only to look ahead at what is to come, but also to look back at what was.  I’m going to merge these two together and give you some new information on something very old – a Jim Shooter film treatment and graphic novel that if either had been made, would have really changed the Spider-Man we know today  (barring devil deals, of course).

All that and a Spider-Man New Year’s Eve Kiss to boot!


Marvel_Vision_Vol_1_28As you can tell, being the astute reader that you are, I am not a fan of the Amazing Spider-Man 2.  If you liked it, all the more power to you and I’m glad you enjoyed it, but for me the negatives outweigh the positives.   However, in the ‘80s, Jim Shooter wrote a film treatment titled Operation Z that could make #2 look like a classic.  Jim Shooter said he was going to post the full treatment on his blog, but life probably got in the way because he never did.  Somebody else put up a story synopsis for a graphic novel that Jim Shooter says was “loosely based” on his treatment. 

The story of the graphic novel was released in an article about stories that never were in Marvel Vision #28.  I am not familiar with this magazine.

The graphic novel is titled The Manhattan Project. Here is how it goes:

Over a period of three weeks, Spider-Man gets shot.  Peter Parker meets a rich girl named Lynn and falls in love with her.  They quickly get engaged.  In a move that seems much more like Miguel O’Hara, Peter signs on to play basketball with the New York Knicks.

I’m pausing my story synopsis here to inform you that I am not making this up.  If you have a copy of Marvel Vision #28 you can see a pencil drawing of Peter Parker shaking hands with one of his Knicks teammates.  If any of you readers out there have this issue, I fully expect a scan of the image posted in the comments section.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the Knicks.  O.K., Lynn and Aunt May get kidnapped.  The Kingpin and Bullseye learn who Spider-Man really is.   Spider-Man is unsuccessful in rescuing Aunt May and Lynn and watch helplessly as they get gunned down.  Vanessa leaves the Kingpin.  He then kills Bullseye.  Spider-Man confronts the Kingpin and learns that Lynn and May are both actually alive.  This doesn’t stop Spider-Man from killing Kingpin in the fight that follows this revelation.  We wrap up the graphic novel with Peter Parker and Lynn planning their wedding.

Now, I know this existed, not only because Shooter references it in response to a comment on his blog, but also because Larry Lieber drew pages for it.  The original artwork (67 pages in all) and script went up for sale at an auction and fetched (supposedly) $1207.50.  Now that should have been a Christmas present for someone on the last podcast.

And if you think three weeks is not enough for all of that to happen, in the script’s defense, it is four times longer than Romeo and Juliet had to meet, fall in love, kill a few people, and then commit suicide.  Oh wait, spoiler alert…

Some of the pages were released online for the purpose of the auction:





You can see more of them at:

How much of this story line is similar to Shooter’s treatment remains a mystery.  He says he didn’t have anything to do with the graphic novel, but that it seem to have been pulled from his Operation Z idea.  Somebody has put this up as the plot for the newest Sony movie on the Marvel Movies Fanon Wikia, but as it appears that he took the plot straight off of Shooter’s blog and it is still so early in the process, it is unlikely that this theory holds any water.  Plus, I am not familiar with that site and it doesn’t look like it has any actual value whatsoever.  It seems more like a fan fiction news release site, if such a thing exists.

Am I alone in thinking this is, umm, less than a perfect treatment for our wall crawling hero?  Anyone out there hoping to see this as MU version of Spidey?


I’ll leave you with this New Year’s Eve Kiss from Spectacular Spider-Man:


Happy New Year!


credible hulkSources:

Kintounkal. Comment. “An Answer to a Comment (25 June 2011).” Jim Shooter. Blogger, 26 June 2011.  Web. 26 Dec. 2015.

Shooter. Comment. “An Answer to a Comment (25 June 2011).” Jim Shooter. Blogger, 27 June 2011. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.


Spider-Man Times Square Ball Drop (Source almost gave my computer a virus, so I’ll spare you the link)
Marvel Vision #28
Manhatten Project Original Art
Credible Hulk






(19) Comments

  1. Tue Nguyen

    If you're wondering, because I was the one that put up the Marvel Fanon Wiki, to be as if it happened and I wish it would happened.

  2. Spider-Dad

    Wow, that treatment sounds awful and am glad that did not move forward in any fashion. @ #4 TASMFan, I agree with your assessment of ASM#2 to a point. I know I am in the minority, but I found it substantially better than ASM#1, (Horrible Captain Stacey and the cranes helping Spidey swing to action???) and better than Spider-Man #3. To your specific items: 1. (Spider-Man is happy to be Spider-Man.) Garfield is a wonder Spider-Man, terrible Peter Parker. Tobey was an OK Spider-man, terrific Peter Parker. 2. (Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone wonderful chemistry.) Better than Tobey and Dunst, but how much is that acting, since they are dating in real life? 3. (The web slinging has never looked better.) Agreed 100%. All the action scenes are better, except the Rhino bit. 4. (Gwen Stacy dies and I care.) My daughters cried at that scene, even though they knew the original comic. MJ dying? I would be pissed since it is not canon. 5. (Aunt May is a dynamic character) I like Sally Field as an actress, but not as Aunt May. I do not really like Aunt May in the comics, but liked Rosemary Harris' portrayal. 6. (I find the parents plot to be interesting). I wish this would have been dropped. This is a main reason the movie is criticized. The scene in the subway station was ridiculous. I can see why fans do hate on ASM#2. For every good part, it was bogged down with the Rhino, Electro not that interesting, Harry shoehorned in and the Peter's parents bit that was not compelling. For me ASM#2 is pretty good (2.5 stars out of 4), but not great. But compared to what is considered above, ASM#2 looks like a masterpiece...

  3. Al

    Hahahaha, it just sort of came to me in that moment. I will admit part of my enjoyment of ASM2 was in a weirdly sadistic way. I was really disenchanted by all the people ripping Raimi’s films to shreds because they were campy and by contrast praising ASM1 for it’s ‘realism’ and ‘seriousness’...and then it’s sequel was like at least AS campy as a lot of stuff from Raimi’s films. So I walked away happy in a ‘take that’ sort of way although like I said the movie was a fun thrill ride. It’s action scenes were at the very least well done. In fact I can safely say outside of Avengers movies the Spider-Man films maybe have the best live action super hero action scenes around. Larry Lieber’s art on the newspaper stuff has always at best seemed functional to me never ‘great’. The Sunday strips by Saviuk though kick ass

  4. Thomas Mets

    That was an oddball project. It's probably for the best that it never saw the light of day. There is a possibility that Larry Lieber introduced me to Spider-Man, since he was one of the artists who worked on the comic strip and that's what made me a fan of Spider-Man.

  5. Mark Alford

    @#12- Not to mention Romeo and Juliet being a rip off of Gnomeo and Juliet. Come on! He barely even tried to hide it.

  6. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#9 - You don't have to defend Shakespeare to me! :) Your assessment is pretty spot on. All his stories are about extreme emotions. Hamlet is extreme teen angst. Macbeth is extreme ambition. Othello is extreme jealousy. Romeo and Juliet is extreme young love and passion. (Of course there are more things to it than just that, but I'll spare you guys the English lesson (even though I am the best English teacher ever).) I just got sick of teaching Romeo and Juliet. What was that Dumbledore quote in the Half Blood Prince? "Ah, to be young and feel loves keen sting." In the book Brave New World, you have a guy who has only learned how to deal with his emotions from reading Shakespeare, so his reactions to the weird events around him are pretty messed up to say the least. I've never met you face to face, but after reading several of your comments and message board posts, I've, of course, form some images in my mind. I've got to say that those images never had you using the words "shizzle dizzle" before. :) My son's liking for the movie faded too, but he still really likes it. When we talked about it, I told him I didn't enjoy it, but I didn't try to take away his enjoyment of it. Rather, I try to improve my view of the movie through his eyes. It didn't work. Maybe if I watched it again and just skipped the parts that bother me the most I could get more enjoyment from it. @#10 - This story line sound so unlike Shooter to me. I had to check to see if it was part of an April Fools posting to be sure he was telling the truth.

  7. Cheesedique

    I never cared much for Larry Lieber's art, at least in the Marvel Team Up issues I saw it in, but the art in those scanned pages looks great. This also the first I've heard of Shooter's proposed Spider-Man graphic novel. Good thing it never got fully produced.

  8. Al

    How I would love to sample this proposed story...and the drugs they were on when they dreamed it up. I walked out of ASM2 loving it...that changed after awhile. I maintain it’s a fun thrill ride if only because web-swinging NEVER looked as good as it did in that movie...and the suit...that suit is the shizzle dizzle. Also in defence of Romeo and Juliet i’s not so much a love story as much as it is at worst a story about young (and dumb) love or else really it’s a play about letting go of your shit before it kills your kids. @#3: If you look at Conway’s run he didn’t just go ballz to the wallz with Gwen and Norman, he killed Doc Ock and Mysterio too remember.

  9. hornacek

    Garfield and Stone have great chemistry. Most people I've heard bash ASM2 have not done so because of the two of them. Garfield is great as the joking Spidey. I would say that the most recent Spidey movie, whatever it is, would have the best web-swinging special effects (as long as they don't skimp on the cash). Gwen's death - very well done. I've mentioned before that I saw this movie with my sister's family and not having read the comics she had no idea Gwen was going to die and it really affected her. But the parents ... ugh. I really don't care about them, and yet the filmmakers thought they were the most important part of the entire Spider-Man mythos and that the viewers would care that much too. I've never read the USM comic; I've heard that Peter's parents are more involved in the stories than in the 616 universe, so it's likely that the ASM filmmakers focused on the USM comics for their research than the 616 comics. But they missed the whole point. Peter is an orphan whose parents only matter in that they left him with his uncle and aunt and then died. Ben and May, they're his "parents". His real parents, beyond that, don't matter. I was completely bored by their storyline in ASM2 (which took up SO MUCH SCREENTIME). And of course, Electro, the main villain, was stupid and boring. His motivation was that of a whiny child. He is my least favorite SM movie villain. Yes, even behind Venom. Here's to the MCU Spidey! It can't be worse, right? Right?

  10. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#4 - I'm glad you enjoyed the movie. My son did too. I did not. As far as the "you people" comment, I should point out that any opinions stated on Cobwebs are mine and mine alone. I have no contact with the rest of the Crawlspace site or podcast anymore than you do through front page and message boards. Movie opinions are just that, an opinion on the movie. It is not a statement against those that liked or disliked that movie. Hey, liked the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck, so take my movie opinions with that in mind. To address your particular likes - 1. I love the scene where Spider-Man has on a fireman's hat and is helping with the hose. You are right when you say that Garfield is a great jokester. I think that is great Spider-Man. Spider-Man is not always a jokester, however, and when Garfield broods, he is not as good in my opinion. 2. Great chemistry there. Certainly better than MJ and Peter in the original trilogy. However, i am in the minority and actually liked Dunst's MJ. For me she got the I'm really a sad person who pretends to be happy go lucky (the scene where she opens up to Peter in the backyard and then completely changes as soon as Flash drives up in his new car drives that point in. 3. The web slinging is great in both runs. Of course I grew up in the '70s, so anything better than the old TV show is great web swinging. 4. The death of Gwen was very well done. I agree. I would have cared about MJ's death too, but like I said, I'm a minority there I felt it was cheap to throw MJ off the bridge in the first movie when that scene had so much more weight from the comics. The other Gwen, well, we really didn't get much of a chance to connect with her, so of course we don't care. Plus she was overshadowed by too many other characters. However good the death scene was, it was then killed by the awful brooding that came after. 5. I liked both Aunt Mays. Totally different portrayals. The older "doddering" Aunt May makes me feel more like Ditko and JR. The Sally Field Aunt May was a good character and I enjoyed her take on it, it just didn't feel like an Aunt May to me (not that I claim to know what an Aunt May feels like...). 6. This is where I completely disagree with you. The whole parent sub plot really took me out of the movie. It was long and I found it boring. It extended the movie too long and I was glad to see the credits roll because of it. Maybe if it was the focus of the movie I would care more about it, but it felt like one more thing crammed into an already crammed movie. On top of that, the Green Goblin and death of Norman was long and distracting and while I like the actor for Electro, I did not care for the change in the character's portrayal as the picked on loser. For me it is not a matter of Garfield vs McGuire, it is whether or not I enjoyed the movie. When all was said and done, I just did not like ASM#2. Maybe we can both agree that the new Spidey set in the MU is something to look forward to.

  11. TASMFan

    I don't get why you people hate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 so much. I love it, and here's six reasons why 1. Spider-Man is happy to be Spider-Man. He cracks jokes like Spider-Man should, unlike McWhiner 2. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have wonderful chemistry, unlike McWhiner and Dust 3. The web slinging has never looked better 4. Gwen Stacy dies and I care. If Dunst's Mary Jane died, I would cheer. If Howard's Gwen Stacy died, I would cheer. Emma Stone's Gwen dies and I'm sad for Peter. 5. Aunt May is a dynamic character, not a doddering old lady who spits proverbs. 6. I find the parents plot to be interesting Quit hating on this movie. It's much better than either Spider-Man 1 or Spider-Man 3, and I hold it above Spider-Man 2, purely because that movie contains Tobeyface, and I hate Tobeyface. At least when Garfield cries, there's usually a good reason, and its not just "I'm sad and this is the only way I show emotion"

  12. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#1 and #2 - Naw, they don't die. I was just trying to trick you. They live happily ever. Hamlet, on the other hand... @#2 - I had already decided that if I had to teach that stupid play one more time, I was going to start in act 5 right in the tomb and finish it in one day. Thankfully, I've moved on the senior English and we get to do Macbeth. Now there's a REAL play. No stupid love story there. I've heard that about the attitude of the future of comics around the death of Gwen Stacy too. I'm not so sure that that viewpoint was all that unlikely. I've read several places that Marvel almost went under until Star Wars pulled their rear out of the fire. They almost went down again in the 90s. I do remember Marvel Age, but I don't remember the particular graphic novel you are referring too. It would be interesting if we could peak behind the curtain and see the scrapped story lines and why they never made it (other than they are crap stories that doesn't always seem to be a factor).

  13. hornacek

    I haven't finished Romeo and Juliet yet, I thought it was going to have a happy ending! :( That synopsis sounds like something they would come up with back when Conway killed Gwen/Green Goblin. i.e. he said they thought comics would only be around a few more years so everyone figured "Why not kill of Gwen and the Goblin?" If this wasn't an alternate universe tale or an everyone-forgets-this-happened-after-it's-over story, it could only be done if they knew that Marvel and/or Spider-Man was ending forever and hey, let's go crazy. I've never heard of Marvel Vision before, but I remember reading a story in Marvel Age about a Spidey graphic novel in progress written and drawn by Bob Layton where Spidey is fighting some gangsters and is wounded. He is nursed back to health by the daughter of the head gangster, and of course, falls in love with her. The Marvel Age story included some panels, similar to the ones in this post, so it wasn't just a proposed idea, it was actually in production. But I never heard about it again. Can't remember when this was, but maybe the marriage ended it?

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