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Sunday, May 12, 2013 

Dan Slott keeps up his lethargic defenses for bad storytelling and defamation of Peter Parker

Newsarama interviewed Dan Slott about his repellant story in Superior Inferior Spider-Man. Some of the snoozers he offers up include:
Now let's see what kind of Spider-Man Doc Ock is going to be without Peter Parker on his shoulder as a Jiminy Cricket. This is still a Doc Ock Spider-Man that has experienced, because of the sacrifice Peter Parker made in #700, all the things that gave Peter the lessons of Great Power and Great Responsibility. And especially after his hero turn in issue #8, he realizes he wasted his previous life on villainy, and there are deeper rewards to being a hero. He does want to give this a shot. But now he's going to do it his way. And it's going to get crazy. Everything you've experienced up till now in Superior Spider-Man has been with the parking brake on — and now the parking brake gets ripped out of the car, and the foot is just about to slam down on the accelerator. People are going to be like, "What the hell? What's going on?" It's going to get very cool very fast.
Yup, so "cool" it's going to be too chilly to stay in the lake the Volkswagen he's trying to sell crashed into, lest we get pneumonia. Doc Ock hasn't realized anything if he doesn't recognize the wrong in becoming a body-snatcher and deceiving everybody else in Peter's life about it. Slott even jokes about the following:
Nrama: What it also seems to do is remove the perceived predictable ending that many fans might have assumed would happen — Peter is going to eventually get control of his body back — and, as a result, the future seems more wide open at this point then it might have felt before.

Slott: I love the fact that we bring the gold Octobot back on frame. "Oh, look, there's the back-up Peter Parker personality. Let's delete that, too." You know the thing you thought was a lifeboat? We burn it! [Laughs.] Mind wiped out, back-up wiped out, gone, done, boom. Now let's move forward. New age. New Spider-Man.
His thinking the mindwipe is entertaining is equally disgusting. As is his attempt to justify how he's erased the "backup" of Peter's mindset, which involves the endangering of a girl Doc Ock was operating on:
Nrama: Wanted to ask about one scene in particular in issue #9…

Slott: Here it comes. I know the scene you're going to talk about. It's the one that Tom Brevoort said, after he read it, "This is my favorite part." And it's mine, too.

Nrama: … where it's revealed that Peter Parker's defeat is effectively secured by the revelation that he wanted to prevent Doc Ock from performing surgery on the girl in #8, because he feared it would lead to him being discovered.

Slott: Yep. It's that one moment where he goes, "I knew the minute you did that, you'd get that helmet, and I'd be on your radar, and I'd be in trouble. And for a moment, I hesitated." In the end, he doesn't. But he has that moment. Maybe it was for a nanosecond. Maybe it was for a billionth of a nanosecond. But it was there.

There's a legion of fans that have grown up with Peter — especially the last 20 years — where they look at Peter Parker as a paragon of humanity. As a saint, who would never make the wrong choice. Would never do anything less than true heroism. Who would never have a dark thought or impulse — even for a billionth of a nanosecond. Somewhere down the line, people starting thinking of Pete as Steve Rogers with spider-powers.

Sorry, that's not Peter Parker. Peter Parker is that guy in Amazing Fantasy #15 who has all the powers of Spider-Man, and is going to selfishly use them for him and his family, and to hell with the rest of the world. He goes right into showbiz, and that burglar runs right past him, and he could have stopped him a million ways, and he couldn't be bothered. And then that guy goes on to kill Uncle Ben, and that's when it resonates. That's when he learns that with Great Power Must Come Great Responsibility. If that burglar had shot someone else's uncle, Peter would just be going along jim-dandy, two shows a night, matinees off on weekends.

But he did learn that lesson, and from that moment on, it does not mean he's perfect. It doesn't mean he's suddenly baptized, and born again as a saint. What it means is, over the years, when he has those moments — when he has that moment of human imperfection that all Marvel characters have — even for a billionth of a nanosecond — the guilt slams down. But he still has that moment.
In the '60s, you get these moments where boy, does he want to punch Flash Thompson. And he's fantasizing about it, and he's ready to do it. And there's that time where Flash dresses up as Spider-Man, and Doctor Doom kidnaps him. And Peter Parker is walking down the street, whistling about it. "This is great! Flash got kidnapped by Doctor Doom! That'll show him! Hahaha!" And then the guilt slams down. "Aw crap, I gotta go save him." But for one moment, he's a horrible human being. This is Doctor Doom we're talking about! He could atomize Flash Thompson in that moment! A moment where Peter gave into that thing that we'd all love to give into, for a moment.

And it keeps happening. This isn't some adolescent flaw. This is his nature. People can talk about "growing up" and "maturing" — but if that were the case, every old person in the world would be a paragon of humanity. There are some truths to us that go all the way to our cores.
Since when did anyone ever think of Peter characterized as a saint, or even expect him to be? Of course he made mistakes even long after the debut and motivational setup. But if there's any mistake he certainly knew better than to make, thanks to better writers, it was endangering innocent people's lives deliberately, especially children, and even his secret ID isn't worth that kind of risk.

Slott's description of how Peter thought of Flash is also a distortion, since, in the story in issue 5 of ASM where Doom kidnaps Flash under the assumption that was the real Spidey, Peter didn't even know he'd been snatched until Liz Allen called him up. And while he wasn't very fond of Flash, he realized immediately that letting Flash rot as Doom's hostage would be wrong. And, he was at home when he learned all this. He didn't even whistle, nor did he actively engage in imperiling defenseless lives, more on which below. Slott doesn't have his facts well sorted out at all.

And the idea that Peter would risk a youngster's life all for the sake of preventing his discovery is ludicrous in the extreme. This was after all the same guy who, after capturing the same burglar who'd murdered his uncle Ben a second time in 1980 and the creep asked why Ben was so important to him, yanked off his mask to let the crook know who he was. If the crook hadn't perished from a heart attack, he could've blown the whistle on Pete, who surely realized the risk and sacrifice in that. It didn't happen, but it could have. Why then should Peter have any problem with his secret being discovered (or even Doc Ock figuring out there was still a shred of memory left inside his brain) when an innocent's life is more important than that?
Everyone always focuses on the panel before, where he's admitting to his sin, and everyone skips over the panel after, where he goes, 'It was only a moment." And it was. Because we're allowed to be horrible monsters in that one moment. We're allowed to consider the worst of us, and be the worst of us. As long as we don't act on it; as long as we fix it immediately. I think Superior Spider-Man, on the level of heroism, would be a much better hero with Peter Parker on his shoulder. As far as heroes go. But let's see how effective he's going to be without Peter there. Do you want a hero who's more heroic, or a hero who gets more heroic things done? Would you rather have the man or the results?
What I won't have is this kind of trash littering up my bookshelf. In the past, Peter may have foolishly entertained the idea of letting certain things happen, but instantly realized why it would be bad. And when he did make mistakes, it didn't involve deliberately endangering innocent lives for personal gain. The worst part is that this was done in order to justify obliterating Peter's backup altogether, which just goes to show how forced and contrived this whole direction is.
Someone on my feed asked a very sincere question: "How could Peter Parker be guilted into believing something that Doc Ock argued?" Then I went: Stop right there. If you're asking, "How could Peter Parker be guilted," you don't have to compete the sentence. Peter Parker can be guilted by a strong breeze. That's who he is. Doc's got a list of sins infinitely larger than Peter Parker. He's the guy that tried to burn the world. But that's not the way Peter's thinking. Peter's so self-absorbed, and so in his own head — in this case, literally — that he looks at that one mistake he made, for one tiny moment, and he damns himself, because that's who Peter Parker is. Peter Parker is the man who would damn himself. Doc Ock would never do that, in a million years. His ego wouldn't allow it. But Peter Parker, king of guilt? Yeah. That's who Pete is.
And that's where Slott's defense falls apart. The only reason why Pete would be a guilt-tripper is because Slott wants him to be. If he really loved Spidey, he wouldn't want him to be that far into guilt-city. During the 80s, the writers and editors in charge moved past a lot of that, and any massive guilt trips he could take by that time were kept to a minimum. Slott's awful steps remind me of the Clone Saga when Peter savagely beat Ben Reilly and unintentionally injured Mary Jane (why was she endangering herself and the scientist they were with cowering on the sidelines? Oh, because contrived mandates dictate that), only here it's even more ludicrous.
Nrama: Wanted to touch on the job Ryan Stegman did in issue #9 — couldn't be easy for either of you to construct an issue that basically takes place in the characters' heads.

Slott: Ryan killed on that issue. He was, and always is, fantastic! My favorite panel that Ryan has drawn to date is the anguished Peter Parker looking up when he can't remember Uncle Ben's name. That's a gut punch, and it's all from the acting. It's all out of Ryan's pen. It's beautiful. What a tortured Peter Parker.
Another reason to question Slott's fandom. If he's gleeful about the above, I doubt he was ever a real fan to begin with. Newsarama restored reader comments via Facebook, and one person says:
I'm sorry but I have to say that your story, Dan Slott, is absolutely insulting to any and all Spider-man fans especially the fans of Peter Parker/Spider-man. After reading this interview it is apparent that you have no idea who Peter Parker is if you think a character who has grown over the last 50 years would knowingly sacrifice a child to prevent Doc Ock from finding him out. The whole idea of Peter Parker is that yes at one time he used his powers for selfish reasons and he lost his Uncle because of that choice and from that moment forward vowed never to put his needs before the needs of others. If it came down to it Peter would lay his life down for that child, hell he would even say "Hey Doc I'm here let me help you and we'll settle our thing later." I can't wait till you have no control over the story anymore so I can finally enjoy reading my favorite character again.
To which Slott pathetically replied:
I think where we differ here is the difference between "knowingly sacrifice a child" to "contemplate a terrible thing for a moment." Peter WANTS to take the lesson he learned of Great Power & Great Responsibility and put others needs before his own-- Yes-- Absolutely-- that is Peter's desire & goal.

But he IS human and that same 50 year history shows MANY times where he does have a moment where he does contemplate putting HIS needs first. That's called "being human." Does he act on them? No. And did he act on it here? No. (And, if you go back and read the interview, I gave examples from practically every decade of Spider-Man's history to illustrate that point.)

You're getting caught up in trying to make Peter Parker some kind of saint. And he isn't. He's a guy from Queens trying to do his best. He's flawed. He's imperfect. That's what Spider-Man is all about. Peter Parker is NOT Superman or Captain America.
Again, nobody expected him to be perfect, but nobody thought after many years of plausible character development he would risk a youngster's life either, and Slott's not being very honest about it. The whole premise is sickening, and he doesn't seem to care. The guy Slott replied to then said:
You're right he's not Captain America. He's the only guy in the Marvel Universe that Captain America looks up to. And I read the current issue and Peter was actively trying to prevent Ock from getting the helmet and admits to the fact in the recent issue saying that he had to try and stop ock because if he didn't ock who find him out. I think you just have a serious problem with the idea of Peter Parker and you feel the need to take him down a few pegs for whatever reason. I thought your early stuff on the run was actually pretty good, but I'm sorry I think this stuff is absolute trash. The Peter Parker who made the armor suit and said no one dies would never let a child die. I really don't understand what the point of this storyline is other than to drag Spidey's name through the mud, so i will no longer read the dribble you call writing and wait until you are off the book entirely or go back to writing good comics again which ever comes first.
I don't think Slott ever wrote very well to begin with, and at this point, he's well beyond salvaging his reputation. I have a hard time envisioning him going on to write creator-owned books, because why would anyone with common sense want to read any of his dreck?

And only if and when Marvel's publishing arm is under the ownership of different folks with more respect for the casts and potential (obviously not Disney, considering their track record so far), will it be possible to expect good writing again.

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God, they've really gone down the proverbial drain. I remember when Marvel actually wanted to entertain its readers as opposed to finding new ways to piss them off. And what's worse is that the hardcore fanboys will buy this crap and then defend idiots like Slott no matter what.

I feel sorry for non-comics fans who have seen the recent Andrew Garfield/Emma Stone movie and pick this trash up thinking it's going to be just like what they saw.

And it doesn't matter if it's selling, the people who are buying it are a very small minority of fanboys who buy the stories just because they feel they need to.


Hype it all you want. No one believes this is going to stick, Dan.

At some point (probably before the next movie), Disney honchos are going to order that Peter Parker - who currently is Spider-Man in NO Spidey books - be restored. Ock will return to villain status, likely with no memory of all this nonsense. And that will be that.

And we'll no longer be forced to endure the creepiness of an old guy pretending to be the adopted son of a woman he was once engaged to. Brrrr.

"The Peter Parker who made the armor suit and said no one dies would never let a child die."

THANK YOU! I've been thinking the same thing. Peter Parker would berate the Black Widow during the 'Ends of the Earth' storyline because a few of North Korea's gulag overseers may have died during their mission to save, umm, 6 BILLION people, but he would risk the life of an innocent child? I don't think so.

Great post, Avi. This is an epic post, and one anyone who is considering reading SSM should check out.

Indeed, Dan Slott seems to take great glee in torturing Peter, by his own admission. Who does that? A sick man.

Slott seems to like to twist things to make his point. How do you go from “no one dies” to “let the little girl die”? Slott is a shock jock of a writer which shows his lack of talent. Killing Peter is a cheap way to generate sales which will fade away as people leave from the book from disgust. I really do not think that Slott understands the character or he is jealous of Peter. I think deep down Slott is a sad man and he feels that he needs to take others down a notch to make himself feel "SUPERIOR".

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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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