Sunday, January 06, 2008

Protest One More Day Now...Avoid the Rush!

Well boys and girls, I hope you all had a happy year-end festivities (It is Festivus for the Restofus!) I know I did. Spent the last six or so weeks of the year working on a big project for a brand-spankin’ new client of mine (racking up a ton of hours sos I can pay for my own little shindig)

Well, all of that aside. I have a new rant that I want to lay down on you all, and as you can see, it is about the latest crap being foisted on us by Marvel in the absence of any real story content. Yes, I mean One More Day. As you all know, this is a retcon (or retroactive continuity implant) that is being gengeneered by Marvel, or — more specifically — by Joe Quesada who has long held that Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson was a mistake.

All of which is fine, but instead of simply having the two of them break up, separate, or get divorced (some of these storylines have already been explored in the series), he had Mephisto — Marvel’s literary substitute for Satan — neither of which are Spidey villains) pop in to “trade Peter’s marriage” for the life of May Parker. That’s right, he had Peter cut a Faustian deal with the Devil.

OK, let’s ignore for a minute that utilizing Mephisto as a (if you’ll pardon the expression) Deus ex Machina to “fix” a problem that only Joe Q seems to have is a not only a huge conceit on Quasada’s part, but something that comes out of nowhere for the character and fans (especially the utilization of a non-cannon character to manipulate the events). Let us also ignore that cutting a deal with “the Prince of Lies” is, well, stupid beyond belief.

Yeah, yeah, I know that Peter was desperate because the bullet that put May in a coma was meant for him, and yea, it was because he (wrongly) sided with Tony Stark during the Civil War Event, and then stupidly revealed his identity to the world before switching sides and taking up with Captain America. (All of which was manipulated, but again let’s ignore all of that.) Let’s talk about the fact that this ending (the use of Mephisto) was considered and then dismissed as unbelievable as a possible ending for The Clone Saga.


Joe Q. has stated that the only thing that The Mephisto Deal has effected is the actual marriage of Pete and MJ. He has indicated that they have spent the past several years together as live-in lovers, but never actually got married, OK, that’s all well and good, but then why, at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #545 did the long dead Harry Osborne show up? Does this mean he never died? Did he ever marry and have little Normie? Are there any other inconsistencies in previously-established Spider-continuity? At this point, we don’t know.


What we do know is that this is a seminal and earth-shaking an event as the death of Gwen Stacy The one important difference is that the Death of Gwen moved the series forward, this moves it backwards, and we are all the poorer because of it.

My suggestion is that you read the book and make your own decision and write to Joe and Marvel (as well as post on whatever blogs and board to which you regularly post) and let them know what you think.

If you haven’t as of yet patched into what I think, here it is. I think that One More Day is a bone-headed, badly conceived, poorly-executed, sloppily written act of self-indulgent, intellectual masturbation that disrespects us fans, the pros who have been writing Spider-Man for the past couple or three decades, and is the ultimate form of cop-out that loudly proclaims to the world that not only has Marvel run out of ideas, but that it’s writers and editors really can’t write themselves out of a paper bag.

It is a really bad idea that is so bad it really isn’t an idea as much as it is the admission that no one has an Idea, and anyone that actually does, simply isn’t to be tolerated, and will be asked to leave the room.

This entire dirty episode is such a reflection of what is going on culturally and politically in this country that it is an effin shame. Still, that topic is the subject of an entirely separate rant. For now I’m done, and will move on to other topics for a bit.

I thank you all for your indulgence, and respectfully ask that you leave comments expressing your own views, observations, and concerns. Personally, I’m going to have a strong drink, shake the dust off my dry bones, and hope I live long enough to see this contemptible mockery be put to rest and Spider-Man be reverted to his former glory.


This just in, I’ve been quoted by Newsweek on this storyline. Yes, you read that right, Newsweek!

How Wicked-Cool is that, eh?


Tommy said...

Heh, man, you hit a nice point there on how this reflects today's society.

Sometimes I wonder if this is done to mainstream things for everyone, but there's a big problem with this: It isn't natural, nor does it add to the series.

What Marvel could always say in the past, was that their heroes had their own problems and their own faults, but for the most part, even when a character did something wrong, there was always a kernel of who that character was, or something redeemable so that things could come full-circle, and the character would be better for it.

However, the current stories in Marvel seem to abandon these characterizations, they recycle problems and have (insert character here) now fail at something they should be able to handle and overextend the drama and think it's something awesome.

To a new reader, it's not going to be as noticeable, although things are so blatant, they're going to pick up on it within a few issues.

And for those of us who have read for several years, it doesn't feel like the character anymore and then we can't see this as a window into another universe anymore, but rather, it's like some awful dream that is being made into actual canon.

Life can be like that too sometimes, but since the rules and events are dictated by people for this universe we hold in our hands, I'd expect something that made a bit more sense.


Now for the storyline itself, I think Pete and MJ should be left alone from Gods and Devils and be allowed to evolve more, not put up with more b.s. that is wayyy too contrived.

OMD is so wacky, it's actually something that can be done away with more easier than if they had written the Parkers getting a divorce. I'd find that more serious and wrenching.

And Harry's appearance made absolutely no sense now that more stuff has been explained.

By the time Pete and MJ were to be married, Harry and Liz were married and had Normie.

I can only figure they divorced and Harry became some spoiled manwhore w' his money and the people in SOHO may have died without him being a responsible guy and working on a cure for that virus in the 1st Corona storyline in Spectacular Spider-Man (MJ being fine if they never lived there, and Pete...well, I don't know...maybe Reed stepped in without Harry?)

Heh, it's a mess.

If you check out FF Plaza, the site owner has quit FF for several reasons, one of which is how Reed was during Civil War.

I think this is the general feeling from everyone. Dark times indeed.

fino said...

Well, I think, for some reason, the readers won´t stop buying the comics. Hey, I'm a collector too, but when the storyline isn't good/fair enough, that's the moment when I start searching for another fun stuff to do/read.

And also, It's very complicated to explain a point of view without sounding very critic with the american society of today. And that's not realy the point. But in Brazil the reader's comments are like:"WTF?!? He cannot get divorce, he cannot seems to have had sex before marriadge (that was amazing how a former nerd had has so many hot girlfriends, and the comic was so funny at that time)... but it's realy ok to sell his soul to the devil? Man! Something's GOT to be wrong!!"

I use to say that the last "pure" time at spidey's life was when Mcfarlane was drawing it. That was the honeymoon with the readers. New enemies, new look, the woman we love with us and the whole future standing in the horizon.

Man! It was never so hard to be a spider reader...

Scott Sheaffer said...

You're 100% right, bob. I'm with you on this one.

Steve Kanaras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Kanaras said...

I feel that having Peter make a deal with Mephisto is the most important breach of "with great power comes great responsibility." Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Peter Parker would never make that moral choice. I felt Peter's initial stance in Civil War was bad enough, but this character is not Peter Parker. I would rather see them reveal that the clone made the deal with the devil. This story is just terrible. Bob, I feel terrible because I know the love you have for the character. Shame on Marvel for this.

Robert J. Sodaro said...

Thank you so very much for the kind words, Steve (and you other folk).

I can while I agree with Steve about Peter's initial decisions during Civil War (initially siding with Tony) I feel that those actions were well withing the established perimeters of the character. He was a brilliant but fatherless child who grew up poor. when presented with the acceptance, protection, and credibility with a brilliant, wealthy father figure, he (temporarily) succumbed to the temptations that life offered.

Needless to say, he ultimately realized the error of his ways, and did the only thing that a man could do. He admitted his mistake, and reversed course, no matter what the cost to him personally.

Peter is a moral man, and Marvel (for whatever reason) just isn’t getting that. It’s a damn shame.

haroos said...

you are so right, it's hard for me to remember a rant I read on the web, that I so agree with, and I am a guy who writes in political forums !

so many reasons piss me off on this new one more day, but just as a starter :
pp got augmented by the queen and the other story lines.
those two story lines were a neccessary part of pp evolution, but this new one more day just tears it all up like nothing, and that angers me.

it's like marvel intentionaly wants to make him a loser who somehow wins all his combats.

if it wasn't hard enough for me to read about how pp gets his ass kicked by ordinay humans (kingpin, elektra, others), I would somehow go around it and say, "yeah sure, the guy can lift ten tons, but he gets his ass handed to him by a guy who lifts 100 pounds", ah ha, ok.
small things like that irritate me, but now they just went the whole way.
making him, again, a guy with high abilities, great inteligence, and always no money.

maybe make him use his brains ?
maybe make him use his abilities for his own gain as a story arc, but making him start from scratch ?
from 30 years ago ?

it stinks of cowardice, IMO, it tells me that marvel doesn't want to deal with more adult story lines, but are content with the same old stories about how he has to get the meds for aunt may or go fight a villain on the other side of town ... same old thing over and over and over.

I just hope that aunt may knows he is realy spidey too.

The Reviewer said...

I doubt that Marvel will quickly over turn their decision about this any time soon and frankly I won't be reading the book to find out if it does. I'm sorry Bob, I know all to well about collecting but I've had to learn to stop reading a book when it's bad, collector's are what keep the sales high and that doesn't tell Marvel that they've done anything wrong. Frankly I'm going the Indie route.

arcwynd said...

Spider-Man has been my favorite read since about the late 1970's. Some stories I've loved and some not so much. I've always enjoyed the story lines and character development overall, though.

However, I simply cannot bring my self to continue reading Spider-Man any more. I'm not kidding. What Marvel did was a sucker punch to dedicated readers. Perhaps it wasn't so much what they did as how they did it. If the story line isn't working, fix it. If the marriage was holding spidey's adventures back, KILL M.J! You can always bring her back later. If you didn't like the whole spider god thing, change it within the story. Instead, the editors chose to alter reality and undo decades of incredible work by Straczynski. (Writers' strike, anyone?) But the deal with the devil was just that - both within the story line and in real life on the business end. Those deals always look good on the outside but end up turning out for the worse in the long run.

A huge company like Marvel (let's not forget the bankruptcy in the 90's) can justify a lot. But this is too much. Marvel's decision makers have lost my respect. I will let my Spider-Man subscription finish itself out and will not renew, and the comics I receive will likely sit in a box unread.

MAX Y LULA said...

One more day is the confirmation that there are no more ideas in Marvel... they had to take Mephisto from the "101 ways to end the clone saga" comic. Sure.

¡Go home Quesada!

Robert J. Sodaro said...

That this post is still drawing comments astounds me. I’ll be posting more on this topic soon.

Australian Tea Party said...

If you tell a story, no matter how bizarre, but keep the core of the character intact- whether people like the result or not, that is pro storytelling. Push the envelope stuff, get people defending their own vision of the character. Good.

As opposed to- a literal deal with the devil. Not good. Not keeping the core of the character intact. Bad.

And to compound the bad with slimy bullshit like "MJ was the one who actually made the deal" just makes me think that Marvel is not only run by talentless morbidly obese losers, but that these people in need of gym classes also have some tremendous insurmountable issues with the opposite sex, and indeed with American popular culture and with Spider-Man himself as a character. Because they do not "get" the character.

And the final straw is the way the mayflies of Marvel- fleeting position holders one and all- treat their remaining 30,000 comicbook buyers with utter contempt online, spewing vitriol at any dissenters.

Make mine (genuine) indie.

Robert J. Sodaro said...

2 years later and this post is still drawing comments (that seem to agree with me), seriously, how cool is that?

microftx said...

I have occasionally picked up an ASM just to see what was going on (in the back of my mind I really want to start reading ASM again). After buying the most recent one, it just seems as if Spider-man's story has turned into a farce. Without getting into too many details, the whole thing doesn't seem to be working. Sales, the storyline, characters, nothing. They had to give in on no one knowing his identity, but that just didn't (and never will) make any sense at all in the Marvel Universe. They had to rewrite history (what an incredible amount of work that was) with Peter's marriage, and I don't see how anyone could buy into something like that. I'm not protesting BND, I have no desire to read it at all. But in the absence of my former favorite character, I have found many other good writers at other companies, and I've realized that it really is about the writers, not the characters that makes me say "Make Mine mmm...whatever's good."