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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    IN the early years, Marvel comics were actually distributed by the chain that DC owned, and DC limited Marvel's output and placed quotas on it. And it took a while for Marvel to get out of that. So on both a personal level (dislike of superhero comics), professional level (dislike of DC for putting quotas on distribution and needing to play ball with them halfway), Lee would have been keen to undermine DC and that meant undermining Superman.
    You're making assumptions about what Lee would have thought and done.

    We can say that Lee was a tireless self-promoter and shameless huckster on behalf of Marvel.

    Anything else, like ascribing specific motivations, is groundless speculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    It was in the 70s that Spider-Man exceeded Superman in sales. I mean Superman vs. TASM is basically a coronation for Marvel and Spider-Man. No way would that comic have been possible or DC approved of it, if Marvel didn't seem "here to stay" and Spider-Man not become "lasting, and all in less than his first decade. DC remember has a history of burying competitors. Look at Quality, Fawcett, and so many others. Nobody else, except for Muhammad Ali, got treated with the respect that Spider-Man was.
    Spider-Man was treated with respect because Superman vs. Spider-Man was produced in tandem with Marvel. So there's no mystery to figure out there.

    Marvel and DC had previously collaborated the year before on the treasury sized adaptation of The Wizard of Oz so they had already teamed-up to produce a book and the stage was set for another collaboration.

    As writer Gerry Conway says in describing the project's genesis and why it became possible when it did and why it couldn't have happened earlier:

    "Before Stan became Marvel's publisher, you had people like Martin Goodman and his son Chip who were the ultimate business people there, and who would tend to hold a grudge. And at DC, you had (publisher) Carmine Infantino, who also tended to hold a grudge. So this was not a good mix."

    Once the Goodman's left and Lee rose to the position of publisher, the atmosphere was different.

    As Conway says: "Stan was a total pragmatist. If it was a matter of making his characters more popular, he had no problem with it."

    As for the respect given to both characters, Conway states: "DC's only concern was that Superman look good and Marvel's concern was that Spider-Man look good. And my concern was that we produce a book that was fun to read and would fit my fanboy needs, which were fairly basic and simple - and it was a hoot!"

    He added, "We did know we wanted to be completely fair in terms of the amount of pages that each character had, how many of the background characters from each (hero's) book would get featured; it was almost mathematical...and I think it worked, because you don't get the sense that either character predominates in the book."

    These quotes, by the way, are from Back Issue No. 61, which covers the history of Giant-Sized Tabloids and Treasuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Compare how Superman and Spider-Man are treated in that issue with Superman and Batman team-ups before, where aside from the weird homoeroticism that was all over the place, Batman was always second banana to Superman. As was the rest of the DC stable. That situation didn't reverse until Frank Miller came in a decade after that, and the Batman Superman fight was definitely inspired by the fight between Spider-Man and Superman at the start of the crossover.
    Boy, that is a stretch. I don't believe that's true in any way. It's not as though Superman vs. Spider-Man owned the market on superhero clashes.

    Superman had regularly been tested by other heroes in the DC universe prior to TDKR, whether it be clashing with heroes in his own weight class like Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman or putting his speed up against The Flash. The idea of another hero in the DC stable going toe to toe with Superman was more than common enough by the time Miller entered the picture.
    Last edited by Prof. Warren; 04-15-2019 at 06:17 AM.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    You know, I've never really understood how Terry has anything in common with Peter other than both starting out as teenagers.
    Guilt over his parental figure's death, lives with his mother, is a high school teenager, dates a girl who loves parties who later on learns his identity and becomes his support, and he's going to marry (Dana Tan). And Terry is also a major quipster just like Spider-Man. He's the Batman who likes to trash-talk. Also the Batman Beyond outfit is just like Spider-Man: Full body, face-covering mask, without cape. It even looks like Spider-Man's black outfit. I also think Batman Beyond took inspiration from Spider-Man 2099 (which was published in 1992), and that also dealt with corporate crime and so on, which is what Beyond deals with a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    You're making assumptions about what Lee would have thought and done.
    Aren't we all? Lee disliking superheroes and wanting to get out of the comics business and so on is well attested by multiple observers, by Sean Howe in Marvel Untold History, by Blake Bell's biography of Steve Ditko, and many others.

    These quotes, by the way, are from Back Issue No. 61, which covers the history of Giant-Sized Tabloids and Treasuries.
    Thanks, but they don't disprove or go against my point about Superman Vs. TASM being exceptional and unique in that decade and in the broader context of Superman and Spider-Man publ. history and so on.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Aren't we all? Lee disliking superheroes and wanting to get out of the comics business and so on is well attested by multiple observers, by Sean Howe in Marvel Untold History, by Blake Bell's biography of Steve Ditko, and many others.
    No, we aren't all doing that.

    You're ascribing specific motivations that are unfounded.

    To say "_____________ happened, therefore ________ must have felt this way and done _________ in response" is intellectually sloppy.

    You're making leaps in thinking that are you simply concocting a narrative (Lee was angry about distribution, therefore he wanted to undermine Superman) to support a theory that you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Thanks, but they don't disprove or go against my point about Superman Vs. TASM being exceptional and unique in that decade and in the broader context of Superman and Spider-Man publ. history and so on.
    No one said that Superman vs. Spider-Man wasn't exceptional and unique as a publishing venture.

    But you're acting like the respect afforded Spider-Man in that issue wasn't simply as a result of it being a collaborative project.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Compare how Superman and Spider-Man are treated in that issue with Superman and Batman team-ups before, where aside from the weird homoeroticism that was all over the place, Batman was always second banana to Superman. As was the rest of the DC stable. That situation didn't reverse until Frank Miller came in a decade after that, and the Batman Superman fight was definitely inspired by the fight between Spider-Man and Superman at the start of the crossover. It's one of the greatest battle scenes of all time.
    At the time Superman and Spider-Man was published, Marvel and DC had gotten closer in sales. And it was largely because of cool things going on with Batman rather than Superman. But DC had the brilliant Reeves Superman movie in the works, and they wanted to boost the character. I mean, in 1975 they had signed Brando on to play Jor El, this was serious business! Also Spider-Man, at the time, was not the flagship for Marvel. That honor went to Fantastic Four. But Marvel was doing everything they could to promote the character, with a TV series soon to come out in 1977. So both companies really had big things to gain with the comic, as they saw it.

    Personally I think DC got more out of it than Marvel did. Their Superman movie was brilliant and the Spider-Man TV series kind of sucked. But we all know who won in the long run. And its an interesting footnote to this conversation to see how both characters were kind of in the same place in the early 1970s with their respective companies.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  5. #50
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    Nobody around during the creation of Spider-Man has gone on record to say to say that Spider-Man was specifically created as a direct response to Superman.

  6. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    At the time Superman and Spider-Man was published, Marvel and DC had gotten closer in sales. And it was largely because of cool things going on with Batman rather than Superman. But DC had the brilliant Reeves Superman movie in the works, and they wanted to boost the character. I mean, in 1975 they had signed Brando on to play Jor El, this was serious business! Also Spider-Man, at the time, was not the flagship for Marvel. That honor went to Fantastic Four. But Marvel was doing everything they could to promote the character, with a TV series soon to come out in 1977. So both companies really had big things to gain with the comic, as they saw it.

    Personally I think DC got more out of it than Marvel did. Their Superman movie was brilliant and the Spider-Man TV series kind of sucked. But we all know who won in the long run. And its an interesting footnote to this conversation to see how both characters were kind of in the same place in the early 1970s with their respective companies.
    Interesting. Yeah the 70s was really Superman's last decade when he was at the center of all things DC. I think Spider-Man definitely usurped Fantastic Four as the Flagship character by then.

    If not then it should have been Fantastic Four crossing over first. After the Lee-Kirby run, FF was in a murky place until John Byrne came along, and it was John Byrne's run on FF that got him the gig to work on Man of Steel. By the end of the 70s, X-Men displaced the fantastic as the Flagship Team of Marvel a position it held until Quesada's tenure and House of M.

    In the '70s you had Superman versus Muhammad Ali, a big stunt comic and I think Superman Vs. TASM is a successor to that if nothing else.

  7. #52

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    I saw Spider-man as a light deconstruction of Superman. They are playing with the idea that good parenting alone made Superman who he is where Spiderman shows that good parenting alone can't determine a good person.

    Spiderman is who he is not just because of Uncle Ben/Aunt May's influence but because he chooses to follow their example. That is a character moment future Superman stories have picked up (Man of Steel, Smallville, American Alien) to varying degrees of success.

    I feel like he is more of a response to kid sidekicks/teen heroes than Superman tho.

  8. #53
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    Another parallel that we all forgot about -- the character's books spitting among 4 different replacement personalities in the 1990s. Cyborg-Superman, Superboy, Steel, and Last Son of Krypton = Ricochet, Prodigy, Hornet, and Dusk. While a lot of books imitated "The Death of Superman," only the Spidey comics imitated this specific thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by the illustrious mr. kenway View Post
    I saw Spider-man as a light deconstruction of Superman.
    The entire thread in under 10 words, right there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lee
    Nobody around during the creation of Spider-Man has gone on record to say to say that Spider-Man was specifically created as a direct response to Superman.
    Nobody is saying they did— except <stan lee voice> the sinister Strawman! </stan lee voice>

    How can Marvel be subverting superhero tropes if they aren't inspired by any of the existing superheroes?? Stan and company were obviously thinking about Superman, and specifically their problems with the character, when creating their new ones. Here's a video of Stan talking about his thoughts on Superman, so you can hear it straight from the man's lips. In this video, he compares Superman's flight to Thor's flight... but it's not hard for one to see that same logic permeated throughout all of Stan's Marvel creations.

    Y'know, another conversation that I think would be more interesting would be "How did Golden Age DC heroes specifically influence the Marvel heroes?" (Not sure if that would be more palatable to the hardcore deniers, or less!)

    Besides Spidey, Captain America has some major parallels to Superman, as does Thor. You can see Batman in Iron Man, of course, but also in Black Panther. Obviously Hulk is inspired by Jekyll/Hyde and Frankenstein (which are cited specifically) but there's an aspect of the Superman dichotomy here, too. Who else, and how?

    The flipside of that question is also interesting -- "How did Marvel influence DC's golden age heroes?", although I think that topic has been covered more often.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    You're making assumptions about what Lee would have thought and done.

    We can say that Lee was a tireless self-promoter and shameless huckster on behalf of Marvel.

    Anything else, like ascribing specific motivations, is groundless speculation.
    Calling him "shameless" is actually quite a bit more groundlessly speculative about motive than noticing details in the man's work, and wanting to discuss them. The least you could do is adhere to your own admonishments!
    Last edited by gregpersons; 04-18-2019 at 09:52 PM.

  10. #55
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    https://www.vulture.com/2016/02/stan...rse-c-v-r.html

    Off-topic but an interesting article on Stan Lee, written a couple years ago.
    Last edited by Flashback; 04-19-2019 at 01:43 AM.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Calling him "shameless" is actually quite a bit more groundlessly speculative about motive than noticing details in the man's work, and wanting to discuss them. The least you could do is adhere to your own admonishments!
    Given that Stan was unrelenting in his promotion of all things Marvel, "shameless" applies. And it's not meant as a negative.

    As I quoted Gerry Conway earlier in this thread, someone who certainly knew Stan well: "If it was a matter of making his characters more popular, he had no problem with it."

    So, not groundless. Reading a few vintage Stan's Soapbox columns would be all the evidence you need on that front.

    And while there's nothing wrong with noticing details in the man's work and wanting to discuss them, there's a big leap from that to ascribing specific motivations with no corroborating evidence.

  12. #57
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    Spider-Man is Marvel's response to an opportunity to make money.
    Big Meat

  13. #58
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    When you bring Stan Lee into it, the argument that Spidey is a response to Superman gets even harder to believe. Stan Lee never held back when it came to the "Distinguished Competition." If Spider-man had been Marvel's answer to Superman, don't you think at some point he would have talked about how Spider-man was Superman "done right"?

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Nobody is saying they did— except <stan lee voice> the sinister Strawman! </stan lee voice>
    You began by asserting that Stan deliberately created Spider-Man to be an answer to Superman. That he was meant to be Marvel's Superman and to mirror the character.

    When people noted that this wasn't a supportable argument for a number of reasons, you've tried to change the argument to "well, they've both borrowed from each other over the years! Can't you see that?" which is a very different assertion.

    And even then, you're getting into the realm of "is this a funny coincidence, deliberate poaching, meta-commentary, or just creative exhaustion?"

    Unless the creative personnel involved are willing to discuss their thought process, trying to label the motivation and the genesis behind these occasional overlaps falls to simply making the observation that they actually exist. Like, "isn't that a funny similarity?"

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    How can Marvel be subverting superhero tropes if they aren't inspired by any of the existing superheroes??
    Stan was obviously bored with the conventions of the genre and sought to tweak them, undermine them, have fun with them. If it wasn't obvious from a reading of the material itself, he's said as much over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Stan and company were obviously thinking about Superman, and specifically their problems with the character, when creating their new ones. Here's a video of Stan talking about his thoughts on Superman, so you can hear it straight from the man's lips. In this video, he compares Superman's flight to Thor's flight... but it's not hard for one to see that same logic permeated throughout all of Stan's Marvel creations.
    Again, this is more about Stan's general restlessness with superheroes and the conventions that had accumulated around them.

    Superman spawned an entire genre. Stan undermined many of the conventions and cliches of that genre.

    You can note, as many have, the ways in which Marvel Comics diverged from traditional superhero comics. But was Spider-Man specifically created as an analogue to Superman?

    There's no evidence to say as much. You could say that Thor, with his power set, was much more a mirror to Superman than Spider-Man. With Thor, you could also say that Stan deliberately came up with a better solution to the secret identity dilemma than Superman. Superman asked readers to believe that the supporting characters in his book were so dumb that they couldn't make the connection between Clark and Superman just because of a pair of glasses. With Thor, on the other hand, no one could ever guess that Donald Blake and Thor were the same because they actually physically transformed from one to the other. Donald Blake wasn't just pretending to be frail and mild-mannered, he actually was.

    So should we get into a whole debate now about how Stan deliberately created Thor to be Marvel's answer to Superman?

    Or do we just accept that every superhero that was created after Superman - at any publisher - has some DNA of that character running through them?

    If you're working in the genre that Superman created, everything you do can be traced back, in one way or another, to that character.

    Some of its unconscious, some of it's unavoidable creative overlap, some of it is no doubt deliberate.

    The influence of Superman is so vast, to focus on the ways that one single character may or may not be influenced by him is to miss the point.

    Superman provided the oxygen from which the whole superhero genre breathes from. You can literally go through every singled costumed hero created afterwards and draw a line back to Superman. Spider-Man wasn't created to be an answer to Superman more than any other superhero was.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Y'know, another conversation that I think would be more interesting would be "How did Golden Age DC heroes specifically influence the Marvel heroes?" (Not sure if that would be more palatable to the hardcore deniers, or less!)
    The only hardcore denier here is you. You seem so intensely attached to the idea that there's some great master plan behind any parallel you perceive between Superman and Spider-Man that you can't accept that you can't concede that a lot of it is likely just pure coincidence. It's amusing to draw connections between the two but taking the extra step to insist that these connections are meant as point for point deliberate commentary is where it becomes a stretch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    Spider-Man is Marvel's response to an opportunity to make money.
    Truth!
    Last edited by Prof. Warren; 04-19-2019 at 05:23 AM.

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