Poor, Poor, Spider-Man

Hey there readers! So I’ve been putting off my full review of Spider-Man: One More Day, just because I can’t bring myself to use that much bad language at a company that I truly love, but I feel is in a creative funk. In my opinion, the Spider-Man character is stuck in the same rut the Superman was in back in the late 80’s through the early 90’s. It seems like every story arc has to be the Big Super Special Spider-Man Event of the Millennium. When really what they need to get back to is good story telling, which can be done without putting the character through the retcon ringer or a series re-boot.

The fine people over at AICN ran a round table discussion on this very topic and it’s a great read. It covers all the angles of the topic and the people involved are everyday Joes to comic snobs. I’ll let you guys choose which one is which.

Clink the AICN link or the more button to read the AICN Comic @$$holes in action

Greetings, Faithful Talkbackers, and welcome to another @$$hole Roundtable. I’m the Moderator, the omniscient and lonely voice of reason that haunts the halls here at @$$hole HQ. For the last few weeks the only superhero fandom has been talking about is Spider-Man. In the recent “One More Day” (OMD) storyline, Peter Parker made a deal with the devilish Mephisto to save Aunt May’s life in exchange for his twenty-year marriage to Mary Jane, also reversing such changes as his public unmasking and new spider-totemic powers, in order to relaunch AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (ASM) thrice-monthly in “Brand New Day” (BND). Veteran ASM writer J. Michael Strazynski (JMS) is out and a team of writers including Dan Slott, Zeb Wells, Marc Guggenheim, and Bob Gale are in. The last OMD issue was reviewed by Ambush Bug here, while the @$$holes presented interviews with the new writer and editor of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Dan Slott and Steve Wacker, here, and with Marvel EIC and brains behind the ret-con, Joe Quesada, here. Now it’s time to find out what each of the @$$es make of the recent events and the new status quo of Marvel’s most popular superhero.

@$$HOLE Roll Call
Ambush Bug (Bug)
Stones Throw (Stone)
Sleazy G (Sleazy)
Humphrey Lee (Humphrey)
superhero (supes)
Prof. Challenger (Prof)
Rock-Me Amodeo (Rock-Me)MODERATOR: First things first, guys: what were your thoughts on the ret-con?

JINXO: Lazy, sloppy and, impressively, hate-able on multiple levels. You can be angry over the history changes, the hero making a deal with the devil, the loss of the marriage…there’s a shopping list of reasons to dislike it. That’s the beauty of it! You and your friends can all dislike it and get even angrier arguing over which is the right reason to be mad! I dislike it for pretty much every reason you can list.

BUG: Marvel is trying to go about this the same way they’ve handled other big changes that have been unfavorable to the masses. They will just plod along and say it is a big success no matter how loud fandom screams. Know why? Cause a lot of people are still going to buy the book. Sales are what matters here. If everyone is so up in arms about the story, then drop it. That’s the only language Marvel speaks. Even if a decision seems to be unpopular, if the sales are ok, they’ll think that fandom is all talk, bitch, and moan.

STONE: The only issue of ONE MORE DAY that I bought, the last one, was a pretty effective emotional issue. The problem with it is that the REAL ending to that story would have been for Peter Parker to grow up and say goodbye to Aunt May, starting afresh in his life with Mary Jane. They had him take the easy way out. What was insulting about the ret-con was how obvious and illogical the whole thing was. Really, the way it went down I think I’d have preferred if there had been no explanation.

BUG: No explanation would have left things to be dealt with by someone with a better idea that fits the Spidey Universe. Spidey is a science guy, not a mystic. To suddenly have a deal with the devil story occur in a MAJOR storyline that effects the entire Spidey story is completely out of character. In LORD OF THE RINGS, if a spaceship landed, snatched up Frodo and Sam and dropped them off at the volcano, you’d go “what the fuck?!?” Mephisto is that spaceship here. He just doesn’t fit into the overall story.

SLEAZY: As much as I hated every single thing JMS did, I’ll agree with him on one thing: even magic has to have some sort of internal logic. (MOD NOTE: Sleazy’s referring to a conversation published at Newsarama between JMS & Joe Quesada where JQ explained that magic doesn’t need to be explained in comics. You can find it here.)People forgetting your secret identity doesn’t bring the dead to life or get rid of organic webshooters. JQ did it because he wanted to, and refused to come up with a way that made sense. It’s got no internal logic and is blatantly out of character. Just because you’re not smart enough to tell the story doesn’t mean nobody can, and just because you’re powerful enough to force a stupid idea on everybody doesn’t mean you should.

HUMPHREY: Not that I’m saying I’m against the idea of a single, swinging Spider-Man, but the fact that a franchise character can be so horribly shoved into a creative direction, not because it was the natural progression of where the character should be, but because someone in a position of power simply liked it better that way, is a theme that seems to becoming very apparent when it comes to mainstream, “Big Two” comics and, quite frankly, it scares me.

SUPES: I don’t get it — restore Spidey’s secret identity?? Didn’t he just expose himself to the world? Weren’t Quesada and Marvel just saying over and over again that it’s time for a change in the character? It’s time to make him more relevant??? It’s like the “Clone Saga” all over again. We’ve got a bold new idea for Spidey but…we have no idea where we’re really going with this and we’re gonna drag it out and say it’s for the best while really knowing it’s a shitty idea and we’ll re-boot the whole thing over again so it won’t have mattered in the end anyway. That’s why I gave up on Marvel in the 90’s.

PROF: I still don’t see why the reboot here was even needed. There was a built-in setup with the Skrull sleeper agents, for a quick explanation why Peter Parker wasn’t really Spider-Man. (MOD NOTE: Prof is referring to the upcoming storyline which focuses on a “Secret Invasion” of the Skrulls, shape shifting aliens that used to torment the FF, and may very well have taken the places of certain characters of the Marvel U at certain points in Marvel history.) And there’s no reason why Pete and MJ couldn’t have gotten a divorce. In fact, a failed marriage is EXACTLY the kind of thing that fits with the classic Lee-era Spider-Man who could only succeed in life as Spider-Man while his life as Peter Parker was always a disaster.

BUG: JQ’s whole thing about the difficulty of undoing the Spidey marriage was that if they divorce MJ and Pete, then Spidey would be a divorcee and that was even harder for readers to relate to (because no one in America knows about divorce!?!?!).

HUMPHREY: That’s what really seems to bug me about this: you have the superhero character who out of all the big franchise characters is supposed to be the most “relatable”, the guy that goes through the same pitfalls we’re supposed to see in our lives and overcome like he does. So, when it comes time to finally break off something that apparently the higher ups find a little stifling to storytelling with him, what do they do? They don’t deal with it like it tends to happen in real life–that sometimes people just grow apart and can’t be together anymore, even though they still deep down love each other. They don’t have something like all the recent trauma in Peter’s life with his unmasking, constantly being on the run because of the Initiative act, and the shooting of Aunt May cause MJ to finally say she’s had enough and can’t deal with it anymore… instead we go to a stupid deus ex machina.

STONE: A divorce was really the ONLY way for the Peter/MJ marriage to end anyway – Pete’s forever torn between his life as Peter Parker and his secret identity as Spider-Man and it’s imperiling the two of them. They had a believable, dramatic, affecting and very logical way out that would have made perfect sense but chose not to use it.

JINXO: The “everything happened as we saw, only the memories have changed” bit doesn’t track either. Physical changes were made to the Marvel Universe. Aunt May was freaking SHOT. Shot so badly even magic and science from beyond the fifth dimension couldn’t save her wrinkly arse. So nothing else saves her but giving her amnesia does the trick? Did Harry just forget he was dead too? The idea that history itself was not changed is insane. It was. To try to say it wasn’t is just an attempt to placate the fans. Marvel chose to do the fix in this dumb way so they should at least embrace what they put in place. Otherwise it could end up being where the logic behind how this “fix” works is simply variable to how each new writer wants it to work.

SLEAZY: There is no logic. Quesada did what he wanted and the writers are stuck with it. You’d think that with OMD having been in the works for over a year, Quesada would have either come up with fixes to these problems or come up with a better answer, but he didn’t. And he sure as hell isn’t gonna try and explain since when, exactly, Peter and Mary Jane seemed like the type to cut a deal with the devil.

BUG: The writers of this story don’t even know the simple rules of a “Deal With The Devil” story. When you make a deal, it never turns out well. It’s already been said, but if Pete and MJ did make the deal, May should have been saved, then hit by a falling air conditioner two steps away from the hospital. Didn’t anyone learn anything from that awful Nick Cage GHOST RIDER movie? “One More Day” is the only story ever to have a deal with the devil turn out to be a good thing.

ROCK-ME: I hated the reasoning behind OMD – “a married man is a boring man”. It reminds me of the cliché that there are no bad stories, just bad writers – and that is NOT to cast any aspersions on JMS. But okay, it’s a BRAND NEW DAY, right? Wrong. Peter is single and living with Aunt May. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and it’s the whole reason Peter got married in the first place: because a single Spidey is a played-out Spidey.

JINXO: I think Joe Q misunderstands what initially made Spider-Man iconic. He thinks that Spidey can’t be Spidey unless he’s alone and troubled, etc…the core idea that made Spider-Man iconic is the core idea of the Marvel Universe in general: he’s a hero who isn’t everything perfect but is a real guy living in the real world who deals with real problems and sometimes gets crapped on and has to deal with it. The lonely, troubled stuff wasn’t what made Spider-Man unique but an outgrowth of what really made him special. So part of the reason that Peter grew up and got married is because Stan Lee stuck to that idea of, well, keeping it real. Real people do grow up, learn, change, etc. In “returning Spidey to his roots” Joe Q disrespects the character’s actual roots.

BUG: I think one of the tough things about comics is the whole serialized illusion of change thing. Sure, we can look at Spider-Man stories from a traditional standpoint that it should follow some kind of logical path in order to tell a story. Certain things should happen. Resolutions should be made. There should be some consistency to the character and the path he’s on and the decisions he makes along that path. In a story, it all makes sense because you have an intro, a hero, a problem, a struggle, a solution, and an ending. But here, with comics, you have a serialized thing going where there really is no END to the story.

That can’t happen, so while I hate the decisions made, I can understand why they did it. Spidey needs a reboot every now and then to make him timeless. If anything, OMD/BND is a wake up call to comic book readers, slapping them in the face that we are not reading modern mythology as everyone tries to say. In fact, we’re watching Charlie Brown go for the football for the umpteenth time and falling flat on his @$$ when Lucy pulls it away at the last minute. Makes following comics for the long term kind of sad and frustrating to me.

PROF: Marvel Comics fans are Charlie Brown and the Marvel editorial staff is Lucy with brass knuckles.

STONE: On one level I’m kind of relieved that Marvel have finally realized there’re limits to how far you can alter serialized characters. I mean, so much shitty stuff has happened since the 90s that the notion of the Marvel universe as one cohesive story doesn’t have a lot of swing left anyway. So if this is a sign that we’re going to stick with more of an archetype and less huge, status-quo changing events and stories inherently based around other stories from thirty years ago…then yeah, I can go along with that. But do I trust Marvel to stick to that? Hell no!

JINXO: Do I understand the need to keep Spidey from aging into an old guy? Yes. Figuring out how to deal with the situation of keeping him moving forward without him becoming a geezer is a tricky one. What we got, though, was a ham fisted, clumsy story designed less to service the characters than to generate controversy, fan outrage and, by extension, media attention. Because Joe Q loves media attention.

BUG: A better writer will come along and fix it all. Slott has pulled this off before and no one really listened. He had a perfect solution for the Spidey Unmasking shown in THE INITIATIVE recently. He also addressed all of the continuity flubs in the Marvel U over the last few years in his final issues of SHE-HULK. It’s just that Slott was never a part of JQ’s Elite and none of these “fixes” were taken seriously or even read by fans of Bendis, Millar, and JMS. Maybe Slott’s stuff will be taken a bit more seriously now. Time will tell.

MODERATOR: So has ONE MORE DAY affected your decision to purchase BRAND NEW DAY?

SUPES: Spider-Man’s been a mess for so long with only slight flashes of goodness along the way. Spider-Totem? Nope. Gwen screws Norman Osborne out of sympathy? Uh-uh. Spidey unmasks in front of the world to please his corporate master boss? Yeah, right. So if you think I’m even thinking of buying some horseshit ret-con, even if it is written by Dan Slott, you’d be wrong, bucko. I’ve started voting against comics with my wallet, thank you very much, and Spider-Man will not get one red cent from me.

BUG: What really interests me is the fact that so many people are pissed. And not just the old timers that JQ and everyone else dismiss all the time; these are new fans that are pissed about the ret-con. They’re like “Hey, I bought this Mark Millar issue or this Bendis issue or this JMS issue and now it doesn’t exist?!?! What the hell? Those were my stories. I feel like I wasted my money on that book.” New fans…meet the old fans. That kind of amuses me, because when this new Marvel Renaissance came along and so much of the past was discarded, old school readers were pissed because hip n’ trendy new writers from other mediums or writers who have never seemed to have read a Marvel comic came along and refused to do the homework about a character and just wrote whatever the hell fit their story. And people who had read comics for years were pissed. But the new readers were like “Whatever, old man. We don’t give a shit about all of that. We just want good stories.” Now the shit is on the bottom of the other shoe and the newbs are feeling what the old schoolers felt back then. Not so fresh of a feeling, huh, kids?

PROF: I’m not pissed–just unimpressed with the small-mindedness of the whole thing. It’s a dramatically weak mind that can not conceptualize any other way to accomplish the end goal here than to have the Devil do a system restore on Pete’s hard drive.

SLEAZY: Actually, this is the first time in years I’m considering buying Spider-Man and voting against those of you voting with your dollars. I can’t deny OMD is a steaming stack of horseshit, and JMS only gets to put so much blame on JQ since it’s still JMS’ words. That said, though: We’ve got a run starting with two comics writers I greatly enjoy and two TV/movie writers with long track records in comics. We’ve got world-class artists. We’ve got no more organic spider-totem nuthin’, just a dude with some web-shooters who needs a job and a girlfriend. I’m the mirror image of everybody who’s quitting now.

JINXO: Sure, JMS is out of the picture and they have new talented people coming onto the title…with the bad, confusing history. JMS is gone but Joe Q’s still around. You know, the guy who has twice pissed everyone off. Do you really think Joe Q is just going to leave the new teams alone to do their thing? He had a guy writing the book who already was an established Hollywood writer and he didn’t leave him to do his thing. You think he won’t stick his fingers in now? I’m guessing he’ll do it now more than ever, because if this thing all goes to hell (fingers crossed) his ass is on the line.

SUPES: Exactly. Who really thinks that everything will remain completely rosy and status-quo in Spidey-land before some other asinine idea is shoved down the writer’s throats? Sleazy, if by seeing the mess that’s come before BND you think it’s worth spending your money on “Brand New” Spidey stories that’ll now be good…just remember…Quesada’s still in charge here.

BUG: Or maybe the fan backlash will put the big guy in his place and allow the writers to do what they do best. Maybe this’ll humble Joey Q a bit. That’s what I’m hoping. If I did something and not one person is out there saying it was a good idea, I’d have to be pretty thick not to adjust accordingly. And if that means pulling my thumb out of the Spider-Pie, then so be it.


STONE: I can go along with the theoretical end result of where this places Spider-Man. Could I handle Mephisto’s magic getting rid of “Clone Saga”, “The Other”, the unmasking, MJ as a supermodel and all the other crap that Marvel have put the character through recently and leaving a Pete and MJ who were a financially struggling young couple, like they should be? Probably, yeah, but developing the character past where he works best always brings us one step closer to mid-life crisis Spider-Man and complete irrelevance. So as crappy as OMD was, I can get behind a more iconic, single Spider-Man as the end result. But as for Joe Quesada’s reasons for it… it’s pure ego and hubris.

HUMPHREY: Yeah, that’s the really ignorant part about it all: not only did it basically come from one man’s ego, but it also happened because Marvel obviously drove the character into the fucking ground this past half decade and really had no outs but some sort of cosmic reboot. Who here didn’t see the Unmasking turning into a trainwreck from a storytelling standpoint? But it made national news, so apparently it worked! Short term gain at the sacrifice of long term storytelling ability. Good job boys…

BUG: Yeah, Axel Alonso bald-faced lied to Sleazy G on that G4 interview, stating that they had years and years of stories on tap featuring an unmasked Spidey. Years and years…16 months…same difference.

MODERATOR: To those of you who read it, what was your initial reaction to the new stuff? Brand New Day or Brand New Dud?

STONE: I really wanted to enjoy “Brand New Day”. Dan Slott has written some of my favorite stuff at Marvel recently and I’m a lot more okay with the idea of a return to a more iconic Spider-Man than most are. But unfortunately, although there were minor parts I dug, this is a complete dud of a first issue as far as I’m concerned. I almost can’t believe they’d put out the first issue of the big new relaunch without a SINGLE SCENE OF SPIDER-MAN IN COSTUME. The whole thing just felt bizarre to me. A Peter Parker who hangs around with his billionaire best friend and beautiful girls in clubs and has no real responsibilities is obviously hugely relatable, right? None of it felt like an organic Spider-Man story, more like Joe Quesada suddenly saying, okay, we’re gonna have a retro tone for the book now. Pros were the tone of the first few pages, Pete perched on the ledge at the end of the day and Mr. Negative. Cons were the complete lack of a storyline, the awful new take on Harry, the continuing characterization of Peter Parker as a schmuck rather than someone to empathize with, and the utterly bemusing cliffhanger in which J. Jonah Jameson has a heart attack…when he hasn’t even appeared until then! In order to win people over and get them to stick with the thrice-monthly schedule they needed a belter of a first issue. This was about as dull, bland and set-up-y as you can get. Seriously, this is bad news for the relaunch.

ROCK-ME: I understand the uncomfortable position that the Spidey Brain-trust was put into, so I don’t want to seem unkind. But it just feels…wrong. They’re doing the right things, giving us the right action, the right social set-ups and tension…its well written, I think. But it just feels like a very funny joke…unfortunately told at a funeral. I guess I’m still grieving the loss of Mary Jane and the marriage. It’s hard for me to get into what they’re doing.

BUG: I don’t think the relaunch was necessarily bad–just small. And maybe that’s what Spidey needs for a while. Slott tells smaller stories. They are less flashy and more intermeshed with the Marvel Universe’s rich history.

STONE: My problem with it wasn’t that it was small. The best Spidey stories are comparatively small, but have big effects and resonance for the character of Peter Parker. This, however, I found completely uninvolving. Seriously, there wasn’t anything there that made me want to come back next week, which is tragic when you consider it.

HUMPHREY: Honestly, I’ve read both “Brand New Day” issues and I do kind of feel at “home” with the cast again. Harry’s presence still irks me, especially since there’s seemingly no rhyme or reason behind it, but this does have the atmosphere of a Spider-Man I sort of grew up with (though I have to say now, I more remember growing up with the Spider-Man cartoons than the comics themselves). But, here’s what I never got about the whole situation, and you’ll have to forgive me since I know nothing about the married life in the fucking slightest, but is there some sort of rule that says as soon as you get hitched you have to stop having friends?

SUPES: Nope, just when you have a baby…

HUMPHREY: I mean, as soon as he tied the knot with MJ did characters like Flash and Betty and Felicia all just have to disappear? Apparently Harry is the only friend Pete has ever had, and when he died Pete had to stop occasionally stepping out and having fun like a normal person? This is the kind of stuff that nags at me while I’m still trying to wrap my head around why exactly this whole dissolution of Spidey’s matrimonial state needed to occur.

STONE: I think the problems I had with the first issue of BND can probably be attributed to the spectre of editorial involvement. Dan Slott has proven he can write great Spider-Man tales with stuff like SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH, and when I think of what I disliked about #546 it comes down to way too much time being spent on the dull new supporting cast, Harry back and Peter Parker as a deadbeat living with Aunt May. Maybe if Slott had been given free rein to write the first issue he would have wanted to without being forced to set up future plot threads and establish a new supporting cast I would have been that much more impressed, and maybe once they’ve settled down it’ll feel more natural. But I’ll be hesitant to pick up future issues after the weak debut.

PROF: I don’t really blame Slott at all. In fact, I can’t really imagine anyone currently writing at Marvel who seems to “get” classic Marvel as well as him. But I have a bad bad feeling that if this reboot tanks in sales like the “Clone Saga” did that Slott will be blamed by corporate rather than the EIC. Which means more bad editorial decisions and less good writing at Marvel.

MODERATOR: What about the thrice monthly schedule? Is this something that’s going to work for Marvel?

STONE: On first thought, the idea of scaling back the character to appeal to kids again doesn’t fit too well with making you spend $9 a month… I find it depressing that we’ve reached the point where kids are now totally excluded from the main adventures of comics’ most popular character.

BUG: I don’t see the schedule being much of a problem. People are buying COUNTDOWN and it’s utter crap. 52 was pretty damn successful. Why shouldn’t it be equally successful for Marvel? It’s what led up to this that may be a tough sell to people, not the schedule. 52 had the pretty highly successful INFINITE CRISIS to lead into it. BND had OMD, which alienated a whole lotta people.

HUMPHREY: I don’t see why it shouldn’t work. Really, the majority of readers that are buying the title now are the same SPIDER-MAN faithful that were already probably buying all three of his titles before they streamlined it down to the three times monthly.

SLEAZY: It seems pretty risky to me. The Superman titles and X-books have tried this before, and it never lasts because it’s just too much to ask of a lot of the fans. I think that rolling out a new pricing structure at three times the rate (which this essentially is) at the same time as a hotly disputed change in status quo may be asking for too much from the customer base. Deeply altering the characters, the storylines, AND the cost all at once seems like it runs the risk of being severely overwhelming. It also makes me wonder if anybody at Marvel has studied macroeconomics: customers with a limited budget can only afford to buy so many books a month. If they have to drop two other books a month so they can buy two extra issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, what are the odds that lower-tier Marvel books will take the hit and end up cancelled, when they might have survived otherwise? Am I going to lose IMMORTAL IRON FIST or THE ORDER because of this decision?

HUMPHREY: I don’t really expect “blockbuster” sales on it to continue down the road, but I don’t see any reason for it not to keep selling consistently as long as they keep up with it. In my opinion I think they’d have been better off just sticking with a biweekly schedule because to me three times a month just seems kind of weird, y’know? Why ramp something up for three weeks straight and then BAM! week off to kill some momentum?
PROF: Just another example of Marvel doing what DC did years earlier. Marvel always seems to be like Burger King copying McDonalds’ actions years after the fact. Anybody remember the “Big King” (read: Big Mac)? DC did this with the Superman titles many years ago and it worked for awhile but eventually burned everyone out and DC cut them back. Short-term thinking is the hallmark of the business decisions of the JQ era at Marvel.

HUMPHREY: I just wish this would have been an opportunity for one of the companies to come out and say “Y’know, maybe we do overexpose our product a bit too much. Here you go, one Spidey title that will streamline everything and come out at a somewhat better than normal pace. Enjoy.” But going for the third issue a month seems excessive. The thing that really kills storytelling ability with a character is not the 20 or 30 or even 40 years of continuity they might have: it’s having a character that not only is carrying three or four of his own regular titles a month, he’s showing up in a team book regularly, and mini-series, and whatever big event book is going on and its tie-ins, and then multiplying all THAT over 20 to 40 some odd years. At this point I see characters like Batman and Superman and Spidey in a given year more often than my parents and five siblings combined. Maybe if Spidey didn’t show up in a dozen books a month, someone would still have something pertinent to say about the wall-crawling bastard…

SLEAZY: This is a really good point. Spider-Man, Wolverine and a couple of other Marvel characters are massively overexposed. Focusing on putting out a better quality Spider-product on a lesser schedule would be a far better choice. Twice a month would be more affordable, more accessible, and buy them more time to tell quality stories. They’re obviously trying to come up with something to compete with DC’s weekly books, but I don’t know that a single character’s regular title is the best place to do that.

MODERATOR: Final thoughts, then – is the new status quo a good thing or a bad thing? Do you see it and the thrice-monthly schedule sticking? And will you be sticking around with it?

PROF: I have a strong feeling that this new direction is going to be a “you can’t go home again” failure. You gotta move forward, and this is a huge step backward under the guise of moving forward.

HUMPHREY: What I think is the heart of the situation for me is that I could possibly see the desire to hop back to having Harry and the crew around if ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN didn’t exist. Right there we already have a book that can still showcase the old crew! I like what I’m seeing from Slott and ASM is entertaining me, but I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from the OMD debacle, and quite frankly, there’s just too many other great books and characters out there to be trying with that cash of mine.

JINXO: Unless the reboot results in an unbelievably spectacular drops in sales, I think they’ll stick with it. While I and many others are dropping the book, I don’t know if it will be THAT large a sales decline. The three times a month thing? I give it two years and then they’ll revert to multiple Spidey titles that each come out monthly. Right now, Spider-Man in any form reminds me of OMD and gets me really annoyed. Been reading the various Spidey titles for over a decade, but…maybe this is just a good chance to break away, save some money. Or maybe try some different books.

PROF: I don’t think the ret-con’s either good or bad. I just think it’s just unoriginal and lacks a creative spark. If the goal of this whole reboot was to gain new readers (i.e., paying customers) then they haven’t succeeded with me. Nothing I’ve read or heard inspires me to start dropping cash on Spider-Man comics again. So, no.

STONE: I’ll probably pick up the first issue of the next team after Dan Slott and Steve McNiven, and I do expect this relaunch to improve once editorial take their fingers off it a bit more, but really, what does it say when we sit through a huge ret-con that pisses off almost everyone but has the goal of enabling great stories, and none of us could muster up more than a “like” of the book? The only way this scheme could work is if you can’t wait to read the next issue, and they didn’t achieve that.

SLEAZY: Basically, I disagree with everything leading up to #546. But it’s now much closer to the kind of book I want to read, and it’s the first time I’ve liked the creators involved in years, so yeah–I’m going to give it a chance. I’ll stick around for at least a few story arcs and see where it goes. Their work is cut out for them, though.

BUG: I’ll probably be sticking around too. Like Sleazy, I feel Spidey is being written by writers I actually like for the first time in a long time. Slott’s Spidey is funny. Slott has an appreciation for Marvel history and I appreciate that appreciation. Zeb Wells has proven to be another one of my favorite writers that actually gets what it takes to write Marvel comics. If Fred Van Lente and Jeff Parker were rounding out the writing chores with Wells and Slott, this would be the perfect Spidey writing team. The other two guys on tap, though, have yet to prove themselves to me, but if I don’t like their stuff, I just wait a month and that changes too.

ROCK-ME: I know this may garner me some guffaws, but I will be sticking around. It would be a disservice to Slott and co. if I didn’t at least see what they will make the book when they get rolling. It’s like the last lap in a four-man relay. Slott takes the baton and sees he’s already in last place and the world seemingly set against him. But what if he beats the odds and pulls out a winner? Despite my intense dislike of the cosmic annulment, I owe Slott that much based on his prior work.

BUG: One last thing: Although people are up in arms about OMD/BND, I think taking a gander at “The Clone Saga” could give us all a little bit of perspective. Demogoblin, Ben Reilly, Spidercide, Kaine, Scrier, Judas Traveller… All of it was swept under the rug pretty quickly and ignored once the new direction happened. “The Clone Saga” was unpopular, fans were extremely vocal about it, and it all faded away. Maybe that’ll happen here.

I found this interesting tidbit from Wikipedia regarding a rejected editorial decision regarding a clean up of wince-inducing “The Clone Saga” plot twist that Ben Reilly was actually the real Peter Parker and that the Parker we all had been following for the last few years had been a clone:

“The decision to replace Peter with Ben as the regular, true Spider-Man met with a massive outcry from many readers and was also unpopular with many of the creative staff of the day. The decision was soon taken to undo this and restore Peter as the true Spider-Man. However, this proved a difficult decision to implement and many schemes were devised, including one proposal to reveal the entire confusion as having been spawned by the demon Mephisto as part of a struggle with Judas Traveller and Scrier. This was rejected as being widely out of Spider-Man’s league. ”

Mephisto? Out of Spidey’s league? Hmmm… Methinks those editors, although they may have okayed the “Clone Saga”, may have actually known Spidey better than the guys in charge today.

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Updated: December 6, 2010 — 10:10 pm

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