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S1stmj.jpg (167436 bytes)pider-Man 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 come.

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 Clone saga!

Spider-Man 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. 

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