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  1. #181
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Busiek View Post
    I think JMS wrote it well, but I think it weakened the book, myself.



    As I said in there somewhere, "I tend to think that the people who established the characters provided the foundation, and later writers can build on or enhance that foundation, but my sense of who the characters are is going to be rooted in that foundation (with additions) rather than overwritten by the later stuff."

    A key word in there is "tend."

    We're not machines, and don't need to have a programming command that's "always" or "never." But we can recognize when we usually lean one way or another.

    Cyclops has been pretty solidly established in one mode by Claremont and post-Claremont writers, but I'm still going to be influenced, when and if I write him, by Stan and Roy's Cyclops (and even Arnold Drake's). Daredevil got pretty solidly transformed by Frank Miller, but my sense of who the guy is will include a past where he was lighter and goofier; the gig wore him down, I guess.

    But Green Arrow got reworked by Haney, Alas, O'Neil and Wein in a way that colors even flashbacks to his earlier days -- you get a sense that the reflexive liberal was always in there waiting to be released.

    So it's a tendency, not an unbending rule.

    kdb
    can't argue with that.

    well, i'm sure there are those that might write entire message board essays in response to tell you you're wrong (if by that they mean, "right x infinite")

    thanks for the further insight into your process
    Last edited by boots; 01-30-2019 at 02:15 AM.
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  2. #182
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The problem with Gwen is that Lee-Romita themselves repeatedly rewrote and reinterpreted Gwen in the entirety of that period. When Ditko was around, Gwen had a specific consistent personality...she was this rich snob and bully, she was a beauty queen at Standard High, and was basically an upper-class and college version of Liz Allan. That version of Gwen is still on the whole my favorite but she is completely overwritten at this point.
    Ditko was definitely on to something there, with her. She was a beauty queen, new kid who saw Peter as this guy who refused to notice her or fawn over her like the others. She had no idea it was because he was a total nerd and had tons of things on his mind, but then thats how immaturity works. You assume things that aren't true. That version of Gwen was stronger than MJ in personality and might have really turned into an interesting character. In fact I wonder sometimes if Gwen wasn't the reason there was a falling out between Lee and Ditko. Lee saw Gwen as the perfect girl and Ditko showed her as being pretty imperfect (to the male mindset of the time).

    Then Lee-Romita repeatedly rewrote and reinterpreted that character six ways to sunday. Initially she's still consistent to Ditko's Gwen, albeit she gets nicer. Then Mary Jane arrives, and Gwen is rewritten to be more like MJ and in some panels is almost virtually a blonde MJ. This lasted from #39-50, then George Stacy arrives and Gwen becomes a wimpy Daddy's girl. And Peter's relationship with Captain George Stacy was more meaningful than his relationship with Gwen especially since George's death echoed and mirrored Uncle Ben's death. She also hated Spider-Man, willingly parroted Jameson's beliefs even to her father (albeit there are moments when she appears to change her mind but it never sticks)...anyone who thinks that Gwen would have accepted Peter's double life needs to read ASM #87 which is one of the best written psychological profiles of Peter and his world, where Gwen goes over the top at the idea of Peter being Spider-Man. Then after her father died, she volunteers to serve this far-right politician Sam Bullitt in Issue #91-92 who is this white nationalist with connections to hate groups...all of that is in canon and in page. Then she went to London, came back, and then you had the Savage Land issues where she's a bikini model for three whole issues, then after that she bullies Aunt May out of the title for several issues. Literally nobody has treated Aunt May that way before or after. And it's kind of bizarre why no one has called this out.

    Gwen actually does show a lot of interesting stuff, and actual character flaws, and stuff like that could have been used to make her a rounded character but the story never treats them as flaws. The story keeps insisting she's this perfect girl. So what she hurt Aunt May emotionally to the point she spent weeks not talking to Peter...she's still perfect.
    This run is very strange with Gwen. All the inconsistencies. She's pretty much bipolar, taken at face value.

    The romance of Peter and Gwen was more informed than on page. As Mark Ginocchio pointed out, Peter and Gwen's romance and relationship just kind of happened.

    After recently re-reading a number of issues going back to Gwen’s first appearance in ASM #31, my one complaint about the whole development of their relationship is the whole thing came across as a little too out of nowhere for me. Not that there weren’t flirtations there –- it’s established early on that despite his social aloofness, Gwen sees something a little different in Peter. Peter is very open about the fact that he finds her attractive, but during the span of about 20-or-so issues he flirts with her, goes out a few times with MJ, gets into a couple of arguments, has amnesia thanks to Doc Ock and then suddenly is on the cusp of dropping the “L” bomb with her after they have a huge misunderstanding...Point being that while Peter and Gwen went on to have a very passionate romance in the pages of ASM, I was initially stunned when I was rereading these earlier issues and in one comic Gwen and Peter were just flirting and by ASM #59, Gwen is throwing her arms around him and smooching him in front of her father. Then two issues later, she’s so beside herself on what she thinks Peter has done to her father, that she’s absolutely depressed and despondent until her father clears up the misunderstanding and Peter is absolved of any potential wrong-doing. Despite the fact that Stan had been teasing this romance for dozens of issues, there still wasn’t any real build from "occasional interaction at school" to "going steady."
    http://www.chasingamazingblog.com/20...perience-gwen/
    Gwen was a pretty typical Silver Age love interest though. Just there to serve the males in the title. Not really developed as her own character in her own right, but every action done to serve a story or to affect the leading man.

    In the entire period of Peter and Gwen's romance we never saw them on dates. In fact one such occassion has them being chaperoned by....Miles Warren. Their banter largely consisted of Peter calling her Gwendy (or Gwendolyne his full name...which I always thought was creepy more than cute, she shortened her name to Gwen, her Dad calls her Gwen, why the hell are you invoking full name basis) and her calling him, "Man o'mine", which yeah a little dated and so on. Spider-Man: Blue gave us a more convincing vision of why Peter and Gwen fell in love in the first place than the Lee-Romita pages ever did.
    Spider-Man: Blue was just Peter's memories, so I am ok with his relationship with Gwen being depicted as a bit skewed from what it really was in the Lee/Romita run. The story has always struck me as a little odd because its this man who is in a committed relationship taking time alone to deeply reminisce about a past committed relationship, including sex in that relationship. But like most times MJ and Gwen are in a book together, MJ ends up looking like the better person, because she just accepts the odd thing Peter is doing and forgives him instantly (key to love right there). But I don't believe for a minute that Gwen and Peter ever really had sex, its just not who she was and not who Peter could have even been in those days. Spider-Man:Blue is just Peter's memories and fantasies about a simpler time for him.

    To be honest, Gwen is fast becoming the Hawkman of Spider-Man titles, so many different versions of her flourish around, all of them contradictory. Especially when the idea people now have about Gwen come from these alternate versions, like Spider-Gwen or Ultimate Gwen, neither of whom are really Peter's love interest, or lost love or any of the things she once was.
    Yah, but the Night Gwen Stacy Died is the most famous and arguable best Spider-Man story ever. And in that story she is depicted as a pretty typical, helpless Silver Age style love interest who gets bridged in order to bolster the male hero. Not sure there is danger of people forgetting who Gwen actually was because of that story.
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 01-30-2019 at 10:58 AM.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  3. #183

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    In fact I wonder sometimes if Gwen wasn't the reason there was a falling out between Lee and Ditko. Lee saw Gwen as the perfect girl and Ditko showed her as being pretty imperfect (to the male mindset of the time).
    I don't think Ditko was all that invested in a fictional character to quit over that. I think pay/credit/fame and general personality conflicts might have had more to do with it. The whole idea that Ditko quit over Norman being the Green Goblin which has totally been debunked is proof of that. Stan Lee spread a number of myths about Ditko. Like he said that if Ditko was around, Mary Jane would have been ugly. John Romita Sr. himself set that record straight in Comic Creators on Spider-Man where he said that anyone who has read ASM#25 (the first issue Ditko recieved sole plotting credit on), will know that Mary Jane was established even then as being impossibly beautiful and so much so that Liz Allan and Betty Brant gulp at seeing her. It's too Romita Sr's credit that he somehow created a look that both lived up to that buildup and exceeded it, creating one of the most charismatic characters in comics, and certainly in Spider-Man. Ditko and Lee weren't speaking to each other for the final ten issues and Gwen appears in the Master Planner story for the first time so Gwen was created with little to no input from Lee.

    I think Lee's reasons for the Peter Gwen romance was more or less a status-quo shake-up. Mary Jane was established as the girl Aunt May liked and preferred, he wanted to make Spider-Man appealing to college set, he wanted to take Peter to new social situations, so a relationship with Gwen served the story and direction he wanted to go, it allowed him to bring in Captain George Stacy. If you read the Conway run, Aunt May returns in importance in that issue where she was mostly on a backburned in the Lee-Romita era, and in general Mary Jane was often associated with May and Aunt Anna in that period. Like one time Peter comes home and finds out that MJ was spending time with Aunt May, which I always thought showed how fundamentally nice MJ was. She's not too cool for Aunt May. The minute Aunt May said that she saw Mary Jane as the girl for Peter, and the minute we saw who she was, it was pretty clear that she was the girl for him for most readers. And considering that Ditko had her first pre-appearance in #25 which he plotted, and the second one is like the penultimate pages of #38 which was his last issue, I always felt that Ditko intended her to be the main love interest of the story. But of course the Sturdy one has kept quiet about this.

    This run is very strange with Gwen. All the inconsistencies. She's pretty much bipolar, taken at face value.
    Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs.
    Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 55:00

    But I don't believe for a minute that Gwen and Peter ever really had sex, its just not who she was and not who Peter could have even been in those days. Spider-Man:Blue is just Peter's memories and fantasies about a simpler time for him.
    The first time Peter got deflowered for real in the pages was in the final scenes of ASM#149.

    Yah, but the Night Gwen Stacy Died is the most famous and arguable best Spider-Man story ever.
    To me it isn't. I agree with Mr. Busiek in seeing "If this be my destiny..." as the best Spider-Man story. And I'd put others over it, such as The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, The Daydreamers, or you know AF#15, Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. Even among Conway's, I'd put The First Clone Saga over it.

    That story has also arguably become completely irrelevant even if fundamentally it's still a great story, especially #122 which is the aftermath of the death and which is a much better story than the more famous #121.

  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    Yah, but the Night Gwen Stacy Died is the most famous and arguable best Spider-Man story ever.
    Yeah...no.

    It and the original clone saga are the most famous and most memorable stories of the 1970s, but best ever? That boils down to any of the following: "If This Be My Destiny", "Kraven's Last Hunt", "Best of Enemies", "The Gift" and "To Have and to Hold"
    Last edited by Miles To Go; 01-30-2019 at 12:38 PM.

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