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Thursday, January 17, 2008 

AP Wire delivers the worst OMD coverage of all

There's been some pretty awful coverage of the One More Day controversy, some of which is definitely tilted in Joe Quesada's favor, but I think the Associated Press may qualify for the worst article of all:
It was bad enough when Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old all-American girl, announced she was pregnant.

But Spider-Man splitting with Mary Jane, his wife of more than 20 years? We didn't see that one coming.

Which is exactly the point, says Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. It was time to shake things up in the life of Peter Parker, the nerdy New Yorker who upon being bitten by a radioactive spider attained the ability to transform himself into a web-spinning world savior. And it was easier to do that, he said, if Parker wasn't married.

Still, as the writer and artist who created the story that transformed Spider-Man into Single-Man earlier this month, Quesada has made himself about as popular with some of his readers as the villainous Green Goblin.

"When we first did it, the reaction was, 'How could you do this? This is a terrible thing to do," he recalled. "But with the first issue of 'Brand New Day' [in which Spider-Man returns to single life], our letters very quickly changed to people saying, 'This is fantastic. This is the Spider-Man we remembered. We didn't know what we'd been missing."
Yeah, what a classic defense. Reading some of the synopses of Brand New Day, it seems more like they've turned Peter Parker into a total jerk! And what does Jamie Lynn Spears have to do with all this? Is that their way of saying that people are making a fuss over nothing even about that?
To briefly recap Spider-Man's trials and tribulations, his beloved Aunt May was recently wounded by an assassin. To save her life he and Mary Jane struck a deal with the devil-like Mephisto in which she would be restored to good health if they allowed Mephisto to erase every memory of their time as a married couple.

Reaction from the critics was swift.

"Considering I have been reading Spider-Man for exactly 20 years now, and that seems to be the amount of time Joe Q. has decided to rip from Spider-Man continuity, can I simply return all of my Spider-Man comics for a full refund?" asked one of the more polite postings on Marvel's Internet message boards. Some message threads were discontinued after they became nothing more than forums to insult Quesada and others.

"It's heresy for some people," laughed Dave Pifer, who runs the Secret Headquarters comic book store in Los Angeles. Others, however, have been more quick to adapt.

"The ones who are new to superheroes like Spider-Man, they're excited about it," Pifer said. "They feel like they're starting at the beginning."

One message poster even joked that the beautiful Mary Jane, who remains in the Spider-Man cast, is free now to pursue Brad Pitt.
And so, there we have it, the AP qualifies as delivering the worst, surely most offensive coverage of all. There's little to nothing here that suggests that the AP has any understanding for devoted fans, nor do they allow any argument about why Spidey making a deal with even a quasi-devil like Mephisto is morally wrong.

They go on to suggest that newcomers have no objections to anything, and, once again, devotees are scapegoated as a "problem". It's just like the AP to do this.

And then, well, I sure hope this isn't what it seems, though I will say that they doubtless were delighted to add this to their disgusting little screed:
But what of the man who created Spider-Man? What does he think?

"I think it's a very creative idea. It should stimulate a lot of interest in the characters and the books, and I'm eager to see what happens next," said Stan Lee, who wasn't involved in the current story.

It was Lee who married Spider-Man and Mary Jane in a mock ceremony at New York's Shea Stadium in 1987.

"Amazing that they're not even middle-aged yet," Lee quipped.
I sure hope that Lee was only being taken out of context here, because the above is surely the worst thing they could use to slap fans in the face. But then...what if he did make that statement to the AP?!? You have to wonder how even the master creators can let themselves be used so cynically by one of the worst news syndicates in the world. And just look at how they imply that the marriage was fake(!), by calling it all a "mock ceremony"! It's clear where the AP stands, and that's not with morality.

But whether or not Stan actually did make those statements the way that the AP puts it, this does suggest something very sad: it's unlikely that any veteran of comics writing who disapproves will voice their disagreements. Will even Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, David Michelinie, Elliot Maggin, and various others who'd written and edited Spider-Man over the years speak out? Chances of that are almost zero, which is a shame, because if they were to back fans up, it's possible that they could have an impact.

If there is a veteran writer/editor/artist out there who does understand what's going on here who's reading this, I'd sure like to hear from you, as many others would, to be sure, about if you think this is unfair to Spider-Fans.

On a side note, upon some extra thought, I've realized that Newsweek may have taken Gail Simone's words out of context when they did that sugar-piece on women in writing last week, and while it doesn't mean that I'm letting her off the hook, I do realize that it IS possible that they warped her words for the sake of their stupid propaganda machine, which would be just like them. One difference between Simone and Lee though, is that Simone is still working in writing, where Lee has been long retired and just a chairman emeritus for Marvel, which is why I'd assume, at least on the surface, that he could speak out if he wanted to. If he hasn't, that's sad, because even at his old age, he could still have some influence.

After reading this horrific treacle, I've concluded that the AP is evil incarnate among press syndicates, and don't deserve to have any business.

Update: on this thread at Spider-Man Crawl Space, one poster has something to say that could explain why Stan is saying something favorable:
[As] much respect as I have for Stan he does come from an era where you don't speak poorly about the company you either work for or have worked for. I mean I don't think Marvel would be seek any kind of retrobution (i.e. trying to block the cameos, etc.) but Stan Lee is first and foremost a booster. It's why everyone loves the man. I'm sure if you got him alone at two in the morning at some convention the stories would be legendary, but if some media outlet calls he's going to be nice about it.
I suppose that could explain everything. Even so, I really wish Stan could stand up and defend his legendary creation more strongly, as it could have an impact. But I guess I understand why he's making the statement he may have.

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