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Crawl Space: Keeping with the favorite issue theme. What is
your favorite Spidey story ever printed?
Howard Mackie: Well it's
tough to beat Amazing Fantasy #15. Stan and Steve gave us EVERYTHING we
needed, l wanted or could ask for in the least possible space. Every
single person who retells the origin never improves on the original ...
they simply expand it.
Spider-Man Crawl Space: Who
is the toughest person to write in the Spider-Man cast? Paul Jenkins said
that Aunt May was a tough old broad to write.
Howard Mackie: Jonah. Tough
to maintain the spirit of the character without making him seem like a
caricature of the character that Stan created
Spider-Man Crawl Space: Is
Mary Jane a tough character to write? Pros and Cons of the red head.
Howard Mackie: Mary
Jane is NOT tough to write. The MARRIAGE is tough to write. The marriage
allows for far too static a situation for a character who has been around
for many years and hopefully will continue to be around for many years to
Spider-Man Crawl Space:
The marriage between Peter and Mary Jane has been debated a lot as of
late. In your last issue in the 2001 annual you had them split up and part
ways. Why the separation, do you think this is the best for them? Is a
single Peter better than a married Peter?
Howard Mackie: I was
always torn about the separation. Sometimes I thought it was the stupidest
thing to do and at others I just couldn't see any other way out of what
was an untenable scenario. As I said earlier, the
marriage is static. It eliminates one of the most interesting elements of
any ongoing drama ... sexual/romantic tension. Now many
people would say that the biggest mistake of the Spider-Man continuity was
the marriage. I would argue that things went askew earlier on with the
Death of Gwen Stacy. One of the best stories ever written, but I think
from that moment on Mary Jane and Peter were destined to get married.
We had the perfect triangle between Gwen, Peter and
Mary Jane. One which could have been exploited for years to come. No
death= no marriage= no baby= no clones. See! You can blame STAN for the
Crawl Space: Concerning the stalker storyline in your most
recent run on Amazing. What were your original plans for it, and how did
they get changed if any?
Howard Mackie: The Stalker
storyline went through many transitions. It started out as a relatively
short storyline which was going to focus on Mary Jane's life as a
model/celebrity. Wanted to show that not ALL things which happened to the
Parker's were Spider-Man's fault. I think THAT is a problem with many of
our established characters these days. Often they are their own worst
enemies. Crimes are committed, battles arise, stories are created around
old and established enemies. I have often felt that if the Avenger's, the
Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil and most other super-heroes really
wanted to reduce the crime wave in New York City... they would simply
move. THAT would take away all the stories in which Avengers Mansion, FF
HQ, etc... were attacked and put innocent lives in harms way.
At some point the story mutated into something else entirely. I
think Ralph planted the seed in my mind that the Stalker might be MJ
father( who we had not seen in many years) and would give us the
opportunity to explore the relationships that MJ has had with ALL the men
in her life. THEN all the major editorial changes at
Marvel occurred. New editorial edicts. I wrapped the
storyline up in the way you saw.
Spider-Man Crawl Space:
Comics have many sub-plots and dangling cliffhangers. Were there any that
you wished you were able to resolve that you didn't get a chance to?
Howard Mackie: Never look
back. I don't. I did have a follow up to the Joey Z
storyline that I wanted to do... Primarily I am
grateful that I was given the opportunity to wrap up the Stalker storyline
and to provide a clean start for the next writer.