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  1. #1
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    Default Possible double-standard when it comes to Spider-Man villains

    Whenever I read comments, I always feel as though thereís a double standard when it comes to Spider-Man villains.(The same could be said about Spider-Manís supporting cast, but this thread isnít about them.)

    When I read the old comics, thereís not much that really stands out about them in terms of story or design when they first started out. I canít say that many of the newer ones are necessarily better, but they definitely seemed to be judged more harshly for the same quality of writing.

    Itís caused me to feel like a lot of the later villains are underrated.

  2. #2
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    The original Ditko villain designs are fantastic and very memorable, with diverse abilities and builds. As characters, that was on later creators to flesh them out, but they had strong bases to work from. No other run managed to put out such an aesthetically rich group of killers month after month in such a short period of time. Not just no other Spider-Man run, no other run in comics, period.

    To be honest, though, after the 70's, creators stopped trying to pull a Ditko and create a bunch of new villains after Romita only got a few successful ones like Kingpin, Rhino, and Shocker while the 70's had even less. I mean, the best 70's guy is Hammerhead. Bruh.

  3. #3
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    Ditko gave unto the world: the Chameleon, the Vulture, Dr. Octopus, the Scorpion, the Lizard, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, the Sandman, the Green Goblin, the Spider Slayers. Also Molten Man, who has been minor but not entirely forgotten. And Crime Master, a one-shot villain who was so memorable that Conway based Hammerhead and Tombstone on him. I will say that I don't think later writers have built properly on the foundation that Ditko laid out. Some have been served better than others.

    Romita Sr gave us Kingpin, Rhino and the Shocker. Who have all been fleshed out by other writers with Kngpin in particular becoming in the pages of Daredevil one of Marvel's greatest villains eclipsing his appearances in Spider-Man by several 100 miles. Shocker has been used well and used badly but his design and gimmick is iconic and sticks. Rhino is the best of the three.

    Conway gave us: Hammerhead, Tarantula, the Jackal. Tarantula has kind of endured as a semi-decent minor villain, while Jackal has to rank on the list with bad villains in a great story (The First Clone Saga) sweepstakes (alongside the likes of Doomsday and Bane). Later Conway came back and gave us Tombstone, who is better than Hammehead in my view and whose appearance in the PS4 game stole all the scenes.

    After that, you have a lag, Wolfman gave us Black Cat, Dennis O'Neil gave us Calypso and Hydro Man, Stern gave us Hobgoblin, Defalco gave us the Rose and also Silver Sable, then Michelinie delivered the biggest Spider-Man villains since Ditko and arguably the biggest villains ever -- Venom and Carnage. Then JMS gave us Morlun. BND and Slott have us Mr. Negative, White Rabbit, Overdrive, and Screwball.

    We can't forget the villains unique to Spectacular the likes of Hypo Hustler, the Spot, and the Sin-Eater (and also Tombstone who first appeared there).

    In terms of new villains versus old it kind of depends on what you mean. In general a villain is best served if they are introduced with a story that's instantly a classic or great issue. Like the reason Venom is so big is because he was built up well but also his reveal and introduction is one of the all-time great Spider-Man stories and moments. Whereas that's not the case for all new villains.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Ditko gave unto the world: the Chameleon, the Vulture, Dr. Octopus, the Scorpion, the Lizard, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, the Sandman, the Green Goblin, the Spider Slayers. Also Molten Man, who has been minor but not entirely forgotten. And Crime Master, a one-shot villain who was so memorable that Conway based Hammerhead and Tombstone on him. I will say that I don't think later writers have built properly on the foundation that Ditko laid out. Some have been served better than others.

    Romita Sr gave us Kingpin, Rhino and the Shocker. Who have all been fleshed out by other writers with Kngpin in particular becoming in the pages of Daredevil one of Marvel's greatest villains eclipsing his appearances in Spider-Man by several 100 miles. Shocker has been used well and used badly but his design and gimmick is iconic and sticks. Rhino is the best of the three.

    Conway gave us: Hammerhead, Tarantula, the Jackal. Tarantula has kind of endured as a semi-decent minor villain, while Jackal has to rank on the list with bad villains in a great story (The First Clone Saga) sweepstakes (alongside the likes of Doomsday and Bane). Later Conway came back and gave us Tombstone, who is better than Hammehead in my view and whose appearance in the PS4 game stole all the scenes.

    After that, you have a lag, Wolfman gave us Black Cat, Dennis O'Neil gave us Calypso and Hydro Man, Stern gave us Hobgoblin, Defalco gave us the Rose and also Silver Sable, then Michelinie delivered the biggest Spider-Man villains since Ditko and arguably the biggest villains ever -- Venom and Carnage. Then JMS gave us Morlun. BND and Slott have us Mr. Negative, White Rabbit, Overdrive, and Screwball.

    We can't forget the villains unique to Spectacular the likes of Hypo Hustler, the Spot, and the Sin-Eater (and also Tombstone who first appeared there).

    In terms of new villains versus old it kind of depends on what you mean. In general a villain is best served if they are introduced with a story that's instantly a classic or great issue. Like the reason Venom is so big is because he was built up well but also his reveal and introduction is one of the all-time great Spider-Man stories and moments. Whereas that's not the case for all new villains.
    I will give you an A+ with this comment. The only major Spider-Man villain you overlooked was Morbius ( Roy Thomas). I agree with you 100% on Jackal ( like Chameleon and again Morbius my 3 least favorite Spider-Man Villains). It is shocking to think about how few characters ( not just baddies) that are essential to.Spider-Man or even comics ( like Punisher) that came post Ditko.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    I will give you an A+ with this comment. The only major Spider-Man villain you overlooked was Morbius ( Roy Thomas). I agree with you 100% on Jackal ( like Chameleon and again Morbius my 3 least favorite Spider-Man Villains). It is shocking to think about how few characters ( not just baddies) that are essential to.Spider-Man or even comics ( like Punisher) that came post Ditko.
    The biggest is easily Venom and Carnage. Heck considering that the Venom and Symbiotes headlined a $800mn dollar they are maybe the greatest Spider-Man villains at this point. Maximum Carnage is likewise one of Marvel's top-selling events, and the top-selling Spider-Man event and there's going to be a sequel to that in a few months. I am waiting for the event when Carnage gets the Infinity Gauntlet so they can sell Infinite Carnage (Maximum--Absolute--Permanent, there's a theme here). Second to that is Black Cat, albeit she's a supporting character more than a villain. Hobgoblin was big for a hot half-decade but then Venom came and everyone went Hobgoblin who? and by the time Stern gave an answer to that, it was after Norman's resurrection and it was too late. Among the heroes and spinoffs introduced in the pages of Spider-Man titles: The Punisher, Monica Rambeau, Silver Sable, Cloak and Dagger (in second series), the Punisher is certainly summa cum laude, the way Black Panther is for FF.

    In general across Marvel-wide titles there aren't many big villains and threats that are Post-'60s, post Lee/Kirby/Ditko. You have Ultron who broke out in a big way, and you have Thanos who at this point has somehow become Marvel's biggest villain, and certainly a much bigger deal than Darkseid or the New Gods ever were. Thanos was created in the 70s, but the version of Thanos that everyone took notice of and who finally went into the film came from a 90s story. Kingpin is Lee/Romita and after Frank Miller came along, he suddenly became the biggest and most influential villain of the '80s. So ASM isn't unique in that regard. But you know Ditko and Kirby were such geniuses at character creation.

    And Nick Spencer has shown that the right writer can do wonders with minor villains and B-List characters. Superior Foes of Spider-Man is one of the best Spider-Man stories and miniseries ever published and it's entirely about minor rogues and characters and Spencer put enough personality into all of them that they don't really feel minor anymore. Like Boomerang, a Lee/Kirby D-List character who had clocked appearances as a side-character in a lot of different stories and titles now feels like an essential Spider-Man villain. The same applies to Beetle II aka Janice Lincoln, aka Tombstone's special princess (and hey, is she in Hunted because she totally fits the theme). Let's not forget that the single greatest Spider-Man story told extensively from the view of a villain is Kraven's Last Hunt. Not Goblin, not Octopus, not Venom and not even say, Electro...but Kraven.

  6. #6

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    it's all Ditko. he just had a gift for designing. Kraven the Hunter could have been ridiculous. he's wearing animal print hot pants. but there's something likable about him. i can't speak to the double standard, though. a lot of the spiderman villains that i like are newer creations.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Hobgoblin was big for a hot half-decade but then Venom came and everyone went Hobgoblin who? and by the time Stern gave an answer to that, it was after Norman's resurrection and it was too late.
    Hobgoblin was continually overused, especially by Jason Macendale, often two - four storylines a year - up to 1996.

    1987-1996, It was clearly established that the first Hobgoblin was Ned Leeds.

    Popularity-wise, Hobgoblin was also a major enough threat on the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon show.
    Last edited by ngroove; 03-27-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    BND and Slott have us Mr. Negative, White Rabbit, Overdrive, and Screwball.
    Slott didn't create White Rabbit, she came from an old Marvel Team Up from the 1980's. I think he created Paper Doll though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegeta View Post
    Slott didn't create White Rabbit, she came from an old Marvel Team Up from the 1980's. I think he created Paper Doll though.
    Paper Doll, of current, does not count. Has she been used at all the past few years? No - she was used only twice - and only one of them - her first - was legitimately respectable - and that was a long time ago now.

    That is not to say, Paper Doll cannot be great, as all it takes is multiple comebacks, as a main villain, not just only as a bunch of cameos, like what White Rabbit, Spot, and Squid has been mostly survived on the past several years lately.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngroove View Post
    Popularity-wise, Hobgoblin was also a major enough threat on the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon show.
    He arrived because Avi Arad wanted to sell toys, over the showrunner's intentions who hated him for being a poor man's Green Goblin. The Hobgoblin as concieved by Roger Stern has never been properly adapted once in any form. And probably never will be. He was created for a pupose that was undone when Norman Osborn came back from the dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vegeta View Post
    Slott didn't create White Rabbit, she came from an old Marvel Team Up from the 1980's. I think he created Paper Doll though.
    Thanks for the correction. White Rabbit showed up in a BND story and that was the first I heard of her so I associated that with BND...wrongly it turns out.

    But yeah, the BND era was lousy with lousy villains. Mr. Negative was the only survivor from that terrible era.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    He arrived because Avi Arad wanted to sell toys, over the showrunner's intentions who hated him for being a poor man's Green Goblin. The Hobgoblin as concieved by Roger Stern has never been properly adapted once in any form. And probably never will be. He was created for a pupose that was undone when Norman Osborn came back from the dead.


    Thanks for the correction. White Rabbit showed up in a BND story and that was the first I heard of her so I associated that with BND...wrongly it turns out.

    But yeah, the BND era was lousy with lousy villains. Mr. Negative was the only survivor from that terrible era.
    That’s basically my point. A recent thread about Spider-Man villains tells me that the people only really the so called iconic villains when compared to the new ones. That’s what makes it a double standard. Only a few the original stories really stuck out to me and it wasn’t cause of the supervillains. My favorite Lee stories actually used villains that most people think are lame or not Spider-Man villains.
    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...-villains-suck

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    That’s basically my point. A recent thread about Spider-Man villains tells me that the people only really the so called iconic villains when compared to the new ones.
    That has generally been the case yeah. If you do a head to head comparison between Spider-Man villains with rogues gallery of other villains in the Marvel and DC universe, some stand out better or worse than others.

    That’s what makes it a double standard. Only a few the original stories really stuck out to me and it wasn’t cause of the supervillains. My favorite Lee stories actually used villains that most people think are lame or not Spider-Man villains.
    As a rule, people like using the Ditko rogues because of seniority, primacy and the fact that Spider-Man became Spider-Man as he encountered and fought them one after the other. That creates a dynamic that you can recreate and develop and call back to. In a lot of cases, the Ditko rogues have maybe not been served as well by later writers as they should have been. Take Dr. Octopus. By the 80s, he was considered a joke. I remember reading an interview with Roger Stern said that he brought in Juggernaut because he wanted Spider-Man to face a real threat and not someone like Ock who he can beat in his sleep. That's Roger Stern, a guy who really gets continuity saying that. Ironically, it was in that same decade, that Ock got to be used to terrifying effect in The Owl/Octopus War a story in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man and not the main series. And then after that you had ASM#296 where Spidey helps Ock get his groove back and the Revenge of the Sinister Six story. Then in the 90s Tom Defalco created and revisited the origins of Octopus introducing all the stuff that Slott alluded to in his run (and to which he made no addition). Green Goblin and Norman Osborn has been well served by writers and artists. Kraven became important thanks to KLH, Chameleon and Mysterio were well served by JMD. Vulture was done well by Roger Stern.

  13. #13

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    I don't even like Mr.Negative. but he's one of the more memorable of the new villains. I can easily see him showing up in one of the movies.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    Whenever I read comments, I always feel as though thereís a double standard when it comes to Spider-Man villains.(The same could be said about Spider-Manís supporting cast, but this thread isnít about them.)

    When I read the old comics, thereís not much that really stands out about them in terms of story or design when they first started out. I canít say that many of the newer ones are necessarily better, but they definitely seemed to be judged more harshly for the same quality of writing.
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    Itís caused me to feel like a lot of the later villains are underrated.
    What's a guy to do when your professional wrestling license gets revoked after an investigation is conducted following an editorial by J. Jonah Jameson? Why, the answer is simple! You wait about ten years until the opportunity presents itself to attack The Daily Bugle in a mechanical grizzly bear suit you obtained that makes you super strong! It's a tale as old as time, really.
    Last edited by moali6705; 06-01-2019 at 09:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moali6705 View Post
    What's a guy to do when your professional wrestling license gets revoked after an investigation is conducted following an editorial by J. Jonah Jameson? Why, the answer is simple! You wait about ten years until the opportunity presents itself to attack The Daily Bugle in a mechanical grizzly bear suit you obtained that makes you super strong! It's a tale as old as time, really.
    Terrific first post. Welcome to the boards.

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