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Wednesday, December 24, 2008 

Roger Stern turns against MJ

In his latest interview, Roger Stern says this:
NRAMA: [...] What aspects of Spider-Man have changed since your initial run, and what parts remain the same?

RS: Well, he's really been through the wringer, hasn't he? Fortunately for me, most of the weirder stuff -- going public with his secret identity, marrying the wrong girl -- has all been dealt with, so I don't have to.
Earlier, he just said he was against the marriage. Now, he's implying that Mary Jane is the wrong girl? It's all lip service to Joe Quesada, no doubt, but even if it weren't, he's still failing to recognize that if he's really got a problem with a character, he's got to blame the writers, not the characters. He almost hints in the following that he realizes that, but still screws up:
NRAMA: What are your thoughts on "Brand New Day" and how marriage affects the storytelling opportunities for Spider-Man? Obviously, the wedding had a bit of a rush from outside forces, but do you feel that Spider-Man could be married and still have interesting storylines?

RS: Could? Possibly. Should? Not so much. The thing is, Spider-Man is a mystery to his general public -- he could be anyone under that mask. No one would know about his marital status -- or even give it much thought, unless they were enemies looking to strike at him through loved ones. In those pre-“Brand-New-Day” stories, it wasn't really Spider-Man who was married, it was Peter Parker.

And Peter for the most part works best as a young, single guy. I would never say he should never marry. But he certainly should not be married to Mary Jane Watson. That's just crazy.

The only way the writers were able to keep that marriage going on the printed page for as long as they did was by changing who Pete and MJ were, by turning them into different people. And a lot of talented writers worked on Spider-Man during that period, doing their best, but that marriage never quite worked for to me. It was like hearing about two old friends who'd run off and made this terrible mistake.

I even wrote a few stories about Pete and Mary Jane as a married couple – Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives and an Amazing Spider-Man Annual among them -- and the one part of those stories that made me uncomfortable was the marriage. It just felt wrong.
This whole interview feels wrong, and contradictory. If he doesn't think MJ is right for Peter, why doesn't he try just what he mentioned, and change her characterization to something he thinks more satisfying? I guess I can sense the strain in his argument, and how hard it is to hide that he's really just trying to please Quesada for the sake of getting back in the writing saddle again. As much as I respect Stern for a lot of his past work, this rates a D minus.

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