Thursday, June 10, 2010

I just recently read Web of Spider-Man #8, and I have a huge issue with a small portion of the storyline. I already sent a version of this post off as a missive off to the Spider-office, but as I'm reasonably certain that it probably won't see print, I wanted to share it here.

The specific sceen to which I’m referring is a one page bit that happens very early on in the story, before the main action, and does not in any way reveal anything of substance from the story itself, so you should be able to read this post without it ruining the overall story, if you haven’t already read it:

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Dear Spider-Writers:

I have something of an on-going gripe (yeah, who would have seen that coming, eh?) with the first story in Web of Spider-Man #8.

I’m really not enjoying the way that some (several, many) of you are portraying Peter. The first story of this particular issue is a prime example of what I mean. A newly-unemployed Pete is registering with a temp agency because he is now unemployable as a photographer (for faking the pic of JJJ). OK, I get all that. I can see how the bit is meant to be funny (“Peter Palmer?” “Parker.” “Palmer Parker?”) Yeah cute. Only what follows it totally out of character.

The Rep asks Pete about his use of “Word” “Excel” and “PowerPoint” (Microsoft’s word processing, spreadsheet, and slide generating programs) and Pete (apparently) hasn’t a clue as to what she is talking about. Really? You expect us to buy this drivel? Who do you think we are? I mean, seriously?

You want me to accept that when I was 7 Pete was 15, and now he is 20something and I am, well, much older. Fine, I’m good with that. You want me to believe that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and put on spandex to fight crime? I’m totally there. You want me to accept that he pals around with Norse gods, mutants, un-frozen WWII Super soldiers, and other assorted super-friends, you bet! The he married, er, lived with a supermodel? Abso-posa-lutely!

But now you want me to swallow that he doesn’t know the three most basic computer software programs that have been bundled with virtually every PC for like 20 years or better? Sorry, I’m just not buying it. Yeah, yeah I know that Pete can sometimes be something of a lunkhead (especially in social situations, mostly because he is a science nerd), but that’s my point entirely. HE’S A SCIENCE NERD!

At 15 he developed the unique polymer fluid that became his web fluid, as well as the means to dispense it (in multiple formats). He designed an electronic device that reacted to his Spider-sense (During Civil War there is a scene where Hank Pym is astounded that Pete built the tracer when he was 15, and states that — even by Pym’s standards — Pete is wicked smarter than him). Pete went on to graduate high school with top honors, get into ESU (on a full ride?), and go on to graduate school. Then work with and become employed by a number of scientists and hi-tech firms (including, but not limited to Dr. Connors, Reed Richards, and no less than Tony Stark himself).

You guys have to stop writing Peter like he’s a moron. He is a friggin genius! Can you imagine that someone who can MacGyver spare electronic parts together into something so high-tech could possibly NOT know software that is being used by Middle Schoolers (the audience, I might remind you that you are trying to reach)? Pete isn’t an aging baby boomer, he’s a technical whiz-kid of epic proportions! My son was doing fully animated PowerPoint presentations in the 5th grade, and built a web site in 7th. My daughter is doing Photoshop and video-editing as a HS freshman. Both learned keyboarding in grade school. You simply can’t convince me that someone who is clearly as smart as Peter is supposed to be (in science, math, biology, and chemistry) doesn’t know how to type, use a spreadsheet or the simplest graphic package ever built (hey, he obviously knows Photoshop, a much more complex program).

Sure, sure is a superhero and a photographer, but he’s also worked in a newspaper and around journalists, scientists, and engineers for 10 years or better. So you can tell me that he doesn’t know how to use a washing machine, an iron, or even a lawn mower, but please don’t try to insult my intelligence and tell me he doesn’t know (the simplest of) Microsoft programs. That really is just too much of a stretch!

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