There’s some cool stuff available for Spider-Man fans. Some of the best runs ever have been collected in beautiful omnibus hardcovers. If you’re in the New York City area, the Society of Illustrators has an exhibit until the end of the month with hundreds of pages of impressive original Spider-Man art.
But there’s some material that fans don’t have access to. These are the artifacts that aren’t available now, but might be some day. Let’s start with…
JMS’s Original Script for One More Day Parts 3 and 4
It’s no secret that J. Michael Strazynski’s original script for the end of One More Day was different than the final product.
When I was halfway through issue three of OMD, we received Joe’s script for issue 4. After reading it, we (Axel, Tom and myself) all quickly realized that we had a problem — the script we had just received was not the one we were expecting, and the events that were being set forth in that issue were going to conflict with the work that was already being done on “Brand New Day.” I thought that perhaps Joe had forgotten some of the stuff discussed at the summit meetings and the subsequent e-mails and discussions that followed, but that didn’t seem to be the case; this was the story he wanted to tell. In his story, Mephisto was going to change continuity from as far back as issues #96-98 from 1971. In Joe’s story, Peter drops the dime on Harry, and that helps get him into rehab right away. Consequently, MJ stays with Harry, and Gwen never dies and never has her affair with Norman, etc., etc. And in the end, Peter and MJ are never married.
Quesada described the effect of some radical differences to the script.
Anyway, we discovered all of this midway through the third issue and it became very evident to us that we had a problem. Not only that, now knowing what we knew, issue three had to be changed slightly in order to set up the things we needed in issue four. Joe fought hard for his story and you have to respect any creator for supporting his vision, I know where he was coming from. But by the time we knew what he was shooting for, I had to make a decision that served the greater good and what everyone had signed on for. Eventually, Joe told us that he would try to give us what we wanted in issue four, though he disagreed with it and also felt that it wasn’t the kind of story that he wanted to tell. He was a trooper and, while I know it couldn’t have been fun for him, he gave us a script that served as a road map to help us along — because when we received the new version, we were still missing some beats to get all the things across that we needed for the “Brand New Day” run. Joe gave us an okay to do what we needed, so stuff had to be repaginated, and reconstructed. We used a lot of Joe’s dialog, but some of it was mine, or Axel or Tom’s — everyone had to chip in, especially since now the issue was going to be over thirty pages in order to get us to the closing scene at the party. It was a lot of work, but everyone pulled through and we got it out. Like I said, the fact that it made December is a Christmas miracle.
The next time Marvel publishes a One More Day collection, this would make for a fascinating extra. That said, I can understand if they’re reluctant to open up that can of worms, and provide a new reason for fans to argue about One More Day.
Another cool extra might be…
Dan Slott’s Notebook
When Dan Slott became the solo writer for Amazing Spider-Man, he had a notebook of plans ready. As he explained in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter..,
I can do this forever. Spider-Man isn’t just my favorite comic book character, he’s my favorite character in all of fiction. He is my guy. This is the job I’ve wanted since I was 8 years old. Not to go off and do a Spider-Man movie or whatever, to do this: to write The Amazing Spider-Man comic book.
When they gave me the book solo, the then-editor Stephen Wacker and I had a confab. We went to lunch, and I had a yellow legal pad and I started walking him through [my plans for] the first few months. And, you know, the drinks are coming, the hors d’oeuvres, and I’m going through the next few months, taking him through the next year and eventually he just grabs the legal pad and he’s flipping and flipping and flipping before saying, “We are not gonna talk about this over lunch! A year and a half is fine!” (Laughs.)
Some of the plans have changed. Spider-Man 2099 came to the book due to the response to a fan asking about it in a comic-con. A CBR poster’s constant comments about why Cardiac is underrated led to his appearance in a Superior Spider-Man two parter. Slott came up with the idea for Superior Spider-Man while writing Amazing Spider-Man #600, and considering the implications of a scene where Doc Ock had access to Spider-Man’s brainwaves. The Spider Island eight-parter was plotted over the course of a weekend because Marvel wanted something big, and was interested in Superior Spider-Man earlier than Slott wanted. But it would still be a fascinating extra. It would also be interesting to see any updates, like the stuff he wrote more than an year into his job as Amazing Spider-Man writer.
The Amazing Spider-Man/ Amazing Spider-Man 2 Lost Footage
A final artifact would be all the extra material in the two Amazing Spider-Man films. Devin Farici of Badass Digest (now birthmoviesdeath.com) listed all of the things cut out from the first Amazing Spider-Man that had made their way into various promotional items. Similar material exists for Amazing Spider-Man 2, including the entire performance of Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson. On Youtube, you can view the alternate ending in which Peter’s dad shows up alive and well.
With Spider-Man: Homecoming topping both Amazing Spider-Man films in the box office, and doing much better in reviews, we’re probably not going to see Sony emphasize their earlier takes on the character (Unless they end of adapting Spider-Verse for a twentieth anniversary film bringing together Maguire, Garfield and Holland’s versions of the characters; a man can dream) which reduces the chances of a special edition. Part of what makes it so interesting is what makes it so unlikely to be collected. The lost scenes may take the stories in such radically different directions that it would require significant time to be spent editing a new version of the film with a narrative that makes sense, and the reviews of the finished product were poor enough. It’s unrealistic to expect anyone involved to take the effort to show the stuff that didn’t work in a film. This wouldn’t be the Richard Donner cut of Superman 2 where the deleted scenes add up to a clear vision. Everyone involved in the Amazing Spider-Man films seemed to make movies seemed to throw whatever they could at the wall to see what would stick, using the multimillion dollar budgets to reshoot when necessary. This would be a compilation of all the stuff that didn’t stick. That’s fascinating, but not particularly commercial.
How about you guys? Would you be interested in seeing this material? Is there stuff that’s out there that hasn’t been released that you’d like to see? If so, what?