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Monday, October 03, 2022 

60 years to Spider-Man's creation, and the history articles remain superficial

Australian Broadcasting ran a history item for Spider-Man's 60th anniversary, another article of its kind that inexplicably makes no mention of Mary Jane Watson, to name but one example of a lady in Peter Parker's life:
The superhero's true origin story is fuelled by rejection, but the very reasons for that rejection are why Spidey has become Marvel's most iconic and relatable superhero.
And all this in an article that rejects Peter's most significant romantic partner from his 6 decade history, Mary Jane. And apparently doesn't consider the co-stars relatable, if at all. And, lest we forget, ignores much of the past 2 decades, when Spidey's cohesion began to self-destruct under Joe Quesada. So what's the point? The following is particularly slapdash:
"It explored what it would be like to live in these two different worlds, where you can beat up a villain and you can stop a robbery, but you can't ask a girl out or you can't figure out your friendships," she said.

"It blended the world that we know with this fantastical world really well, and it made it really accessible."

Former comic book store owner Garry Fay agreed, noting that the key to Spidey's success was his relatability.

"From the time he came into being, he was young, he was dorky, he lived with his aunt, he had to pay rent, he wasn't rich, he wasn't great with girls, he was a bit of a nerd — he was kind of all the readership, wrapped into one,"
Fay said.
Sounds more like somebody didn't read the stories where Peter asked a girl out on a date in the premiere story from Amazing Fantasy #15, or the time where he asked Betty Brant out on a date, or even got involved with Gwen Stacy, let alone Mary Jane herself. Why, there's no mention of MJ's aunt Anna Watson either, who was good friends to Peter's aunt May Parker, and that's how Peter got to know MJ initially. To think, as though it weren't bad enough the Clone Saga preceded the collapse of Spidey's coherence as a serial adventure book, now a press company's doing exactly what Quesada would've wanted, and obscuring much of the more valid developments, which includes Peter's going on to work in university instruction around the Bronze Age, not to mention his subsequent marriage to Mary Jane, who didn't exactly become staggeringly wealthy as her modeling/acting career continued either, their residence in a penthouse notwithstanding. What's that about relatability again?

In any event, what's sad is all the PC advocates, not the least being Quesada himself (and Bill Jemas) who began lecturing that it's not "realistic" for Peter to be married to a successful model/actress, as though he couldn't obtain higher paying jobs than just a freelance news photographer, if that's what it took to add more plausibility, and as though MJ herself couldn't undergo a career downgrade to something more simpler like a teacher or secretary, if even that's what was needed for more plausibility. The sad actuality is that it they never wanted the marriage in the first place, no matter what Lee thought. That's why you get Peter, under the pen of the awful Dan Slott, becoming CEO for a big business, but he cannot be married to MJ, period. And that's also why, as C.B Cebulski indicated recently, anybody's hopes the Spider-marriage would be fully restored have been dashed.
Many of the new heroes languished in anthology comics for a while before getting their own ongoing series, or, like The Incredible Hulk, had their own titles cancelled relatively quickly, with the characters only surviving in team-up titles such as The Avengers.

But Spider-Man was an instant and enduring hit, his popularity growing to the point that a second simultaneous series was added in 1972, then a third in 1976, and a fourth in 1990.
And this too is a distortion that ignores how the Hulk made a comeback in the pages of Tales to Astonish a year after the original 6-issue run was cancelled, and come to think of it, ignores how there was a fifth Spidey series, Web of Spider-Man, added in 1985. Not that journalists like these are really in the profession to make serious sense. At the end, it's told:
Stan Lee loved to point out that Spider-Man's mask played a key role in the character, beyond protecting Peter Parker's identity.

"What I like about the costume is that anybody reading Spider-Man in any part of the world can imagine that they themselves are under the costume, and that's a good thing," he told Newsarama in 2015.

This has been taken literally by Marvel's comic writers, who have created an entire multiverse of different Spider-people, with the best known versions being Miles Morales and Gwen Stacey AKA Ghost-Spider, who both appear in Into The Spider-Verse.

But across all the different iterations, Spider-Man has remained Marvel's most human character, Fay said.

"I think it's the core idea — [that Spider-Man] could be anyone," he said.

"Who hasn't wanted to be bitten by a radioactive spider?"
Well if there's something we definitely would not want to be bitten by, it's a brown recluse spider, which is poisonous, or a black widow spider, which is lethal. In any case, this all throughly ignores what kind of stores in the comics proper have been produced in the past 2 decades or more, recalling the Clone Saga was an early - and very regrettable - example in the sad decline of Spidey as a comics franchise. And no mention or critique of J. Michael Straczynski for his pretentious run that saw the original Gwen Stacy tarnished, and MJ made to look bad too. Indeed, how mysterious no appreciation or concern is given for any of the most significant ladies in Peter's life. And how can he remain human if he makes a deal with Mephisto circa 2006's Civil War?

It should also be noted that the different takes on Spidey like Morales were written as little more than social justice political pandering, and how does that alone equal entertainment merit? They don't get into queries like that here. But, the disappointment was surely expected, and it's a shame how Spidey's been reduced by the above multiverse to little more than a costume, not character focus, as a result of all these PC machinations that're little more than a silly cash grab. How can there be any real humanity or character drama if that's all it amounts to?

And again, let's not forget Mary Jane Watson. The way this article is watered down so badly, how can one truly appreciate anything about our Friendly Neighborhood Spidey's history?

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About me

  • 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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