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  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    That happened because in the 1960s when the story was originally published, it would've made sense to have the original Nazi Red Skull as the one Richard and Mary went undercover to beat since World War II would've only been 20 years prior to what was then the present.
    I think the real problem with Peter's parents being spies is that it takes away from his everyman origins if it turns out he's the son of special super-agents and heroes and so on. That was a bigger problem in Ultimate Marvel where Peter's Dad is this genius scientist. Fundamentally, Peter's parents are not important to the story and it's a kind of dead end. At the same time, Peter's parents are written by Stan Lee himself in the Lee-Romita era in Annual 5 so it's as canon as they come.

    Speaking of Untold Tales...Peter David announced a new story called Symbiote Spider-Man set in the period where Peter wore the Alien Costume but before he got rid of the symbiote...so that's very much in the spirit of the Untold Tales and Spider-Man: Blue.

  2. #122
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    Spy parents was a mistake, but they've done a good job of handling it over the years by not making it too important to the mythos and just going back to it sometimes for nice stories.
    "The monitor is lagging, I can't stop throwing up, I'm better than you"

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Speaking of Untold Tales...Peter David announced a new story called Symbiote Spider-Man set in the period where Peter wore the Alien Costume but before he got rid of the symbiote...so that's very much in the spirit of the Untold Tales and Spider-Man: Blue.
    Well, looks like I got my wish haha
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  4. #124
    Oblio Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    Hi. I grew up on MJ knowing and it never undercut who she was to me. Her later portrayals saw her grow and mature significantly, proving noone in Spidey's world need stay in amber.
    The "later portrayals" I'm referring to are the ones from later than AMAZING FANTASY #15, which was made the point at which she knew.

    And too many later stories have her acting like she doesn't know (because Stan and John and others didn't think she did), in a way that's cruel and thoughtless if she actually does.

    I don't think MJ is cruel and thoughtless, so I think saying she knew as of AF #15 undercuts those portrayals by giving a layer of meaning to them that makes her look like a shitty person.

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  5. #125
    Oblio Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    One thing I didn't get is that they later retconned the Red Skull who dealt with Richard and Mary as an imposter.
    It had to be an impostor -- the story says the encounter took place "after the war," but a year earlier they'd established that the Skull went into suspended animation during the fall of Berlin, and was only awoken by AIM recently. Stan forgets these things, possibly because Kirby would have done most of the plotting on the one story and Larry Lieber did most of it on the other.

    So the real Skull wasn't around to have that adventure, but the Commie Skull of the 1950s was.*

    kdb

    *of course, nowadays Peter's parents weren't fighting Communist agents in the 1950s, because they weren't born yet. But back then it worked.
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  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    The "later portrayals" I'm referring to are the ones from later than AMAZING FANTASY #15, which was made the point at which she knew.

    And too many later stories have her acting like she doesn't know (because Stan and John and others didn't think she did), in a way that's cruel and thoughtless if she actually does.
    That's easily summed up as a human being being very young and having difficulty adjusting to the knowledge of a secret, having a difficult family background, and juggling it with her genuine feelings and concern for someone as well as commitment issues that compel her to justify fleeing from those feelings in a variety of ways. I don't exactly want to sum it up as "girls are weird" but I don't think I have a choice in this case. It's very much like Helga Pataki in Hey Arnold, only without the stalking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    It had to be an impostor -- the story says the encounter took place "after the war," but a year earlier they'd established that the Skull went into suspended animation during the fall of Berlin, and was only awoken by AIM recently. Stan forgets these things, possibly because Kirby would have done most of the plotting on the one story and Larry Lieber did most of it on the other.
    Thanks for the history lesson. I've had my experiences with a couple of stories (via the 1960s cartoon), but I don't read much classic Cap to keep up to speed on these things.
    Last edited by Miles To Go; Today at 01:52 AM.

  7. #127
    Oblio Kurt Busiek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    That happened because in the 1960s when the story was originally published, it would've made sense to have the original Nazi Red Skull as the one Richard and Mary went undercover to beat since World War II would've only been 20 years prior to what was then the present.
    Nah, it didn't make sense even when published. It was a No-Prize winner type glitch.

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  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles To Go View Post
    That's easily summed up as a human being being very young and having difficulty adjusting to the knowledge of a secret, having a difficult family background, and juggling it with her genuine feelings and concern for someone as well as commitment issues that compel her to justify fleeing from those feelings in a variety of ways.
    Not to me. I think it makes her look terrible, and was a mistake.

    The later claims that Aunt May may have known from very early on are even worse -- if May knew, then the way she acted was sadistic.

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  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    Spy parents was a mistake, but they've done a good job of handling it over the years by not making it too important to the mythos and just going back to it sometimes for nice stories.
    The weirdest Spidey series to deal with the parents thing was the tail-end of the 90s animated series, where Electro was the Chamelion's brother, a Nazi and the Red Skull's son.

    Yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    Not to me. I think it makes her look terrible, and was a mistake.
    That's understandable I guess. Not every illogical character turn can be accepted by everyone. The best you can do is patch the holes, and you did the best you could with what history gave you, and helped her character along, so thanks for that.
    Last edited by Miles To Go; Today at 01:58 AM.

  10. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    That happened because in the 1960s when the story was originally published, it would've made sense to have the original Nazi Red Skull as the one Richard and Mary went undercover to beat since World War II would've only been 20 years prior to what was then the present. As the gap between the "present" and the "past" continued to widen over the years, it wasn't so feasible to have the original Nazi Red Skull malingering all that time without having significantly aged or without Richard and Mary (and Peter) being older than they were intended to be, so the Red Skull that orphaned Peter was retconned as a Communist impostor trading on the Red Skull's name and reputation. After all, with Nazism defeated and safely in the past (or so most would presume), Communism became the new ideological foe of Western civilization, and that was what a lot of Marvel Comics stories traded on in the heyday of the 1960s to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Or maybe all that was just a long-winded way of saying that as certain realities changed over the course of American (and world) history, Marvel Comics had to catch up and adapt to those changes, hence all the retcons.
    For Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 to refer to efforts to stop the Nazi Red Skull, Peter Parker would have had to be well into his twenties. The issue was published in late 1968 and his parents would have had to die before the end of World War II. Hitler's suicide was April 30 1945.

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    And too many later stories have her acting like she doesn't know (because Stan and John and others didn't think she did), in a way that's cruel and thoughtless if she actually does.

    I don't think MJ is cruel and thoughtless, so I think saying she knew as of AF #15 undercuts those portrayals by giving a layer of meaning to them that makes her look like a shitty person.

    kdb
    I don't think it does. About the only one I can think of that can be a little cruel is ASM #87 where after Peter goes through the whole reveal his identity to his friends bit and Gwen collapses in hysterics, MJ mocks Gwen about how her boyfriend is either a "masked menace" or a basket case. At that time it was a catty remark at Gwen, but if MJ knew then this is her basically making fun of Gwen and by extension Harry and others, for not being able to see through Peter's act. It makes her trollish but not cruel. And you know Peter's own actions and conduct in that issue, where he first confesses to Gwen and then gets Prowler to pose as Spider-Man to restore the status-quo...today we would call that gaslighting. Peter was on the whole a terrible boyfriend to Gwen Stacy (and she wasn't a good girlfriend what with her mockery of Aunt May and her flirtations with far-right politics in #91-92) and Gwen died because Peter didn't tell her his secret identity and the danger she was in, especially after the Drug Issue where Norman Osborn relapsed into the Green Goblin and knew his identity and everyone he loved. Mary Jane not giving heat and baggage to Peter about his disappearances and so on as Spider-Man makes sense if you consider she knew. And it explains the whole first appearance where she tells Peter to go look at the Rhino and so on.

    It would only be cruel if you buy the whole Silver Age logic that the love interest must accept the "real person" and so on, which today I think would be seen as very chauvinist. And a good number of the whole secret identity love-triangle of the Silver Age and earlier qualifies as that today, and it was seen that way even then, since Kurtzman parodied it that way in Superduperman ("Once a creep...always a creep"). Him proposing to Mary Jane in the first time without telling her his identity and which she knew, makes sense if you consider she believed he didn't trust her. The only problem with MJ knowing the secret identity is that in the Defalco/Frenz era where MJ says she knows he's Spider-Man and she was scared of being in his life. If she knew all along, then she got into a relationship after Gwen's death and knowing the full dangers of his life. So that's the only hole that needs to be plugged.

    Untold Tales #16 I thought did a good job in showing MJ going from seeing Spider-Man as a showboat and celebrity and then seeing him become a hero and being confused about who and what Peter is. So I think that might explain some of her actions. Like she wondered if Peter was a thrill-seeker and so on and wondered how selfless he was and so on.

  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    If she knew all along, then she got into a relationship after Gwen's death and knowing the full dangers of his life. So that's the only hole that needs to be plugged
    And that can be easily patched up via the trust issue, which you brought up. MJ was willing to be in a relationship with Peter hoping he'd take her to the next level, then she realised this, at the time, was the next level and she was done waiting (kind of like Heather in the 2003 Daredevil movie)

  13. #133
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    Nah, it didn't make sense even when published. It was a No-Prize winner type glitch.

    kdb
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    For Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 to refer to efforts to stop the Nazi Red Skull, Peter Parker would have had to be well into his twenties. The issue was published in late 1968 and his parents would have had to die before the end of World War II. Hitler's suicide was April 30 1945.
    Thanks for the corrections, both of you. Mr. Busiek, appreciate you stopping by to share your perspective, and I still own (a copy of) the first issue of Untold Tales that I got when I was 10 years old.
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