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Sunday, June 29, 2008 

J.M. deMatties' comments on Spider-Man

Comicon's Pulse (via Spider-Man Crawl Space) interviewed J.M. deMatties about a story he's going to write for ASM, and this is what he said about the Spider-Marriage (and even Superman and Lois Lane's marriage):
THE PULSE: Some writers think a single Spider-Man works better than a married Spidey. How do you feel about that? Did you view his marriage as a hindrance?

DeMATTEIS: I wrote many, many stories about the Peter-Mary Jane marriage and never viewed it as a hindrance. (Strangely, when I wrote Superman I absolutely found the Clark-Lois marriage a hindrance. I think it’s because I believed in Peter and MJ’s love and commitment far more than I did in Clark and Lois’s. The Parker-Watson marriage seemed much more authentic to me.) That said, I was certainly aware that many other people did view the marriage as a problem. It made Peter seem too old, less of the clumsy, anxious kid he was in the Stan Lee era.

In fact, one of the things we’d hoped to achieve with the (dare I say it?) Clone Saga was a way to give the readers a single Peter Parker (Ben Reilly) and maintain the Peter-Mary Jane marriage, giving the Parkers the Happily Ever After they deserved. But we never did get a chance to reach that end-point.
Like some other writers who've bent over backwards to please the upper deck, I think he's slipping when he says that it made Peter seem "too old", but I'm willing to give him credit for giving some signs that, contrary to what may have been the claim, not every writer ever had a problem with the Spider-Marriage in years past. I read some of the older Spider-Man issues I've got in my collection by people like David Michelinie and Gerry Conway, and they for some seemed to quite enjoy what they were working on, even on the marriage aspect. Even if they didn't come up with any serious tension in their marriage, they still seemed quite comfortable with its being, and it certainly didn't get in the way of what stories they were telling.

Unfortunately, deMatties glossed over why they never reached the end-point of the Clone Saga, and why it's considered so embarrassingly bad: a short time after it began, they claimed that Ben Reilly was the one whom we'd been reading about for almost two decades since he'd first officially turned up in 1975, and Peter had been the one wandering around out-of-town, and was never really married to Mary Jane. That whole switcheroo was what turned people off, and that's one of the main reasons why, if they were really trying to pass on the baton, they never succeeded.

In fact, that could also explain why many of the audience, myself included, did not like Marvel's attempts to break up the marriage: because they never did it realistically to begin with. That's why all these attempts to get rid of the marriage have been so reviled.

And deMatties fumbles the ball when he answers the question about the deal with Mephisto in a prior question:
THE PULSE: What did you think of the whole deal that Spider-Man recently made with the devil? Were you following the story?

DeMATTEIS: I haven’t read it, so I certainly can’t pass judgment on it. From what I’ve heard, the main purpose of that storyline was to clear the decks a little, open up some new storytelling possibilities; so, in the end, it doesn’t really matter if the Mephisto story was a work of genius or an utter disaster. What matters is where the Spider-books go from here. As long as Marvel continues to turn out smart, entertaining, emotionally-involving Spider-Man stories, I think the readers will be happy.
Sorry, but it does matter, and as long as it's going to be held hostage by these mandates, then I can't accept even deMatties's current contributions. As long as Quesada's mandates continue, I for one, won't be happy.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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