Saturday, November 18, 2006

I understand Joe Q a little more now

Let me make it clear that the title Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane does not exist. Peter Parker did not meet Gwen in high school. Peter Parker did not meet every, single, freaking person no matter how fleetingly, who would later become a feature, significant other, hero, villain or aquantaince in his life in high school. Reading that title is like suffering through Flintstone Kids Syndrome, where characters that were clearly introduced initially in their adult personas nonetheless show up in their incarnations as children, and as old established friends. The same thing happened in those awful A Pup Named Scooby-Doo cartoons.

That said, after reading a bunch of my old Spider-Man comics I understand a little more why Joe Q wants to make Peter Parker single again, through one means or another.

One of my favorite Spider-Man eras is the one all about College Freshman Peter Parker. This is the kid who was now a young adult, hung out at the Coffee Bean and tried to figure out where his life was going. This Peter Parker was interesting and sales on the book showed that kids and college students agreed.

In this era Gwen Stacey was a new girlfriend and Mary Jane was a predatory party-girl. Norman Osborne was a pal and not yet a pill-popping psychotic. Peter tried to do the right thing but was often his own worst enemy. His other life as Spider-Man sapped resources and time away from his social life, making him appear to friends and family at times to be careless, frivolous or selfish. What money he made by choreographing crime photos was usually re-directed to other ends. If his half of the rent was due, Peter would often spend it on some expensive web-fluid additive that allowed him to capture the Lizard by putting it to sleep.

A miserable, stressed-out Peter Parker makes for good stories. Many writers forgot this and made the error in turning him into a depressive whiner that actually made me want to strangle a fictional character and put him out of my misery. I'm not a fan of the Get-Along-Guy Bendis-era Spider-Man. I much prefer the Spider-Man who worries about how he is going to afford to eat dinner even as he is punching out the bank-robbing villain the Kangaroo. You can still do that with a married Peter Parker. While I liked the single Peter Parker that was then and this is now. So maybe I understand what Quesada is going for in his proposal to change Peter's marital status. I don't agree with it but I get it.

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6 comments:

  1. I just wonder if making Peter single again would actually bring all that back. He wouldn't be 'single' any more, just divorced/widowed; and that wouldn't lend to the college-era atmosphere. The Ben Reilly Spider-Man was the closest we got to Spider-Man being an uncertain and single youth again.

    Also, when it comes to listing shows where people who meet as adults meet up as kids, how could you leave out Smallville?

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  2. Smallville occupies the same place in my brain as Spidey Loves MJ.

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  3. It would bring back his loser mojo. Imagine him swinging past a billboard of MJ in Times Square, everyone knows who he is and everyone knows he was married to a (former) super-model. Welcome to Loserville, Parker!

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  4. I shall dance a little dance the day the Spider-Marriage is ended.

    I agree that ending it might not bring back the glory days, but after twenty years of MJ turgidity (is that a word? It should be) I can't see how it could make things worse. Except that all the MJ fans would then howl their distress nonstop until she's brought back, just like they did that time Howard Mackie pushed her out of a plane.

    Steve is right. Parker == Loser.

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  5. I forsee a pregnant MJ in witness protection and Aunt May dead. Ostracized by other heroes because he sided with Iron Man.

    I think it is clear they are going with Ben Reilly as who is actually Spidey, and Pete went along with the gag as either a scam to make some cash off the public as a faux celebrity or as some kind of plan by the Pro-Registration crowd. Either way the public and employers won't trust Peter anymore.

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  6. Pete didn't date Gwen ih high school but he DID meet here there since she WAS there.
    So there.

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