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  1. #1
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    Default 616 Spider-Man vs. Ultimate Spider-Man

    for me, the original is always the best, plus to see Peter go from a teen to a married adult with conflicts is pretty cool. Ultimate did the unforgivable sin of actually killing Peter and not bringing him back.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTTT View Post
    Ultimate did the unforgivable sin of actually killing Peter and not bringing him back.
    ...Bendis did bring him back.

  3. #3
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    I didn't know that...wasn't that around the same time that Miles Morales was introduced?

  4. #4

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    I don't think Ultimate Spider-Man and 616 Spider-Man need to be pitted against one another. They're both their own separate things.

    Bendis' USM is about a Peter Parker who never graduates high school except maybe after he died and came back. He seems like an 18 year old in Miles Morales' second or third volume. But basically some 160 issues with Ultimate Peter Parker never graduating high school. 616 Spider-Man actually graduated high school in ASM#28, and later graduated college, where 10 years have passed and so on. There's also the fact that USM was in its entirety, start-to-finish, written by one guy, Brian Michael Bendis, whereas ASM has always been a collaborative work, whether it was plotted by Ditko, with Lee providing dialogues, and Lee and Romita working similarly though with Lee doing more work then, followed in turn by Conway and others. In the case of USM, Bendis essentially streamlined the 616 Continuity of that time into the high school era. Since Peter and MJ were married in 616, Bendis decided to make her Peter's first, longest, and truest love right from the start with many references and jokes about them being like a married couple in teenage bodies dropped by Liz Allan and others. Since MJ's 60s Party Girl thing was a dated artifact of that decade, and the MJ that ultimately came to be was this kid from a broken home who had deeper shades, that became the Ultimate MJ character too.

    At its heart, USM is an experiment. One thing that becomes clear is that Bendis' Peter in USM is far less downtrodden than the kid in the L-D era. The advantage of Peter graduating high school in 28 is that Lee-Ditko were able to close and define Peter's entire high school and teenage years as hellish. He had no friends. He ended his time in high school with a dead father figure on his conscience, a poor Aunt who was both his provider and his dependent, he was working for the Daily Bugle for a boss who was abusive, his one girlfriend was an office romance and it's only when Peter entered college that things looked up at least until Goblin killed Gwen. Whereas by having Peter in high school, as time passes he basically comes to live a pretty charmed life. I mean yeah there's melodrama and stuff and so on but basically Peter as a teenager goes from being picked upon and so on to essentially becoming cool overnight. Like that beach party scene where Kong, Liz, Johnny Storm, Kitty, MJ, Peter, Iceman all hang out in. It's a great moment and all but basically it's the kind of scene that would never have happened in the L-D era. There's also that "I could teach this class" scene which people like, where Flash and Kong and others all thought was rad. That would also not happen in the L-D era if for no other reason than the fact that Peter in that era is shown to have good relations with his teachers and being closer to them than his fellow students.

    There's also the fact that Peter being in high school means you now have what you never have in Spider-Man, a permanent static status-quo. Basically Peter's not gonna be expelled from midtown and bounce from school to school. His GPA or attendance isn't going to get too bad, he's not gonna suffer actual consequences for going all lippy to his professor. Worst is detention. That's it. You don't get the constant firings, evictions, and so on you had with 616. I mean you can get fired from an assortment of jobs and all you have to do is not mention or list it in your resume and find some magic to paper over gaps. That allows stuff to fall in the cracks. Moving through a cluster of high schools is the kind of stuff that can't be papered over.

    Those are the limits of having a perpetually teenage Spider-Man. There's also other issues. Having all of Spider-Man's villains find out his identity and seeing his face means, every bad guy says "he's just a kid" or shout all "Parker" and so on. There's no variety, nothing. It gets boring and stale and makes them all samey. Whereas in the L-D era each villain encounter with Spider-Man felt new and different, and the fact that only Goblin knew his identity increased the stakes, and suspense and heightened the situation. You felt that Peter's loved ones were under threat and so on, whereas that gets less so if you have endless number of bad guys attacking the Parker Home, and the one death in the supporting cast, Gwen Stacy, comes back from the death so conclusively that her being dead itself is never referred to again.

  5. #5
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I think Ultimate was good for what it was, experimenting with the Spider-Man brand and somewhat modernizing it for a 21st century audience (I think the Spectacular cartoon did it better, but that's neither here nor there), but I think in terms of the meat, character development, supporting cast, and iconography it doens't hold up compared to 616.

    But that's just me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I think Ultimate was good for what it was, experimenting with the Spider-Man brand and somewhat modernizing it for a 21st century audience (I think the Spectacular cartoon did it better, but that's neither here nor there), but I think in terms of the meat, character development, supporting cast, and iconography it doens't hold up compared to 616.

    But that's just me.
    I don't think it was ever intended as that, since Bendis still based his run on the 616. What he did as he mentioned in interviews was make the Romita College era and backported that to high school. This raises weird issues like why does a rich kid like Harry Osborn go to a school with the sticks? The Raimi movies when they borrowed that, added in a line about Harry getting expelled from multiple elite private schools before ending up at Midtown as a kind of upper society reject and family embarrassment. The comics never offered that. The L-D era said that Peter got into ESU at college on scholarship, while Flash also got in on football scholarship (and it's implied that Flash was a little well-off anyway), and Gwen and Harry were basically kids who were raised in the city's elite and presented more or less as buying their way in. So the element of realism is not there.

    Even the whole "modernizing it for a 21st Century" is suspect since Peter's Midtown high school is really lacking in diversity. There aren't any LGBT kids. I guess Bendis found a way to get that across by bringing Kitty into the stories and having Peter's classmates be mutants, and mutant persecution stand-in for that. But it can be, and has been argued, that this is a facile kind of erasure. When he was talking about Miles, Bendis pointed this out himself, he said that Miles was his way of doing with Ultimate Spider-Man what he should have done from the start. Like that whole lottery scene. Weisman's Spectacular cartoons added in more diversity.

    USM is really not a complete modernization. It's a bit of both. I still think USM is a classic and a great run, and it has the advantage of giving a version of Spider-Man that 21st Century kids grew up with a definite ending and closure, that you got from USM#1 to the final pages of Spider-Men II.

    Ultimate Peter himself is one of my favorite versions of the character. He's not exactly the L-D Peter, nor does he resemble the 616. But he feels like what Peter should be, a believable three-dimensional good person. Ultimate Peter became the emotional and moral center of the Ultimate Marvel world, though that seems to be a contingency more then an intended design element since Bendis had no say in making the Ultimate versions of Cap, Fury, Iron Man, and the X-Men into outright jerks. I also liked the Amazing Friends arc because Peter was written as the leader of his own superhero team with Iceman, Johnny Storm, Shadowcat, all looking to him. I also like Ultimate Jessica Drew a good bit more than the main one.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    I think both series are worth having around (not a post-OMD fan and don't read that, but as long as there are readers who like it, may it be something they continue to like). IMHO, I much prefer Ultimate; while it was my gateway series so I am biased, they really cut out the fat ASM had gathered over the decades and streamlined the essentials and core into something new. I also think Bendis really "got" the world and characters and delivered something that had a really consistent level of quality.

    Old school ASM did invent everything and has been proving to be a blast from the Epic Collections I've been following and it is hard to compare a series that's ended with one that's still ongoing and adding new stuff to the mix, but honestly, I think Bendis and the artists with him took something that had been good and did it better, bar none.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    I think both series are worth having around (not a post-OMD fan and don't read that, but as long as there are readers who like it, may it be something they continue to like). IMHO, I much prefer Ultimate; while it was my gateway series so I am biased, they really cut out the fat ASM had gathered over the decades and streamlined the essentials and core into something new. I also think Bendis really "got" the world and characters and delivered something that had a really consistent level of quality

    Old school ASM did invent everything and has been proving to be a blast from the Epic Collections I've been following and it is hard to compare a series that's ended with one that's still ongoing and adding new stuff to the mix, but honestly, I think Bendis and the artists with him took something that had been good and did it better, bar none.
    616 includes the continuity that pre-existed USM's launch in 2000, so for me comparing USM to the classic era it was modelling on (ASM #1-300) makes more sense then comparing it to what followed after that. Comparing USM to the ASM runs it was contemporary to is interesting. I do know from experience and personal taste, that after OMD, I remained a regular reader of USM but I stopped reading ASM completely. Whereas when I got into reading 616, I read USM and ASM in tandem during the JMS era. For me at least, the JMS run (and satellites like Jenkins and Marvel Knights) felt like the older versions of the USM Peter and his supporting cast. And Bendis himself modeled the issue where Peter and May discuss his identity and past on "The Conversation". Bendis said that when JMS did that, he felt that May took it too well and he felt that May should be a little angry and miffed, seeing her a "Jewish mother" and so on, so he had a chance to think of that and plan a do-over.

    Bendis' idea of Peter was that he was a teenager who was mentally a little more mature and wise beyond his years and so on. Especially to the end like he keeps having extended conversations and references to the fact that Peter has seen and done more in his young age than adults ever do (see the first panels of the Post-Ultimate USM issues). Which again worked because he was distilling the 616 Peter who grew and aged 10 years into his teenage self. But then OMD happened and BND and others came, and while I think Quesada, Slott, and others misread Peter and never got the character. I also think they misunderstood Bendis. Because promotional materials at the time tried to sell BND as basically a way to do USM in the main titles, and they meant it to mean "youthful" and so on. Re-reading the BND and early part of Slott's run which I did recently, I have to say that Post-BND Peter is way more immature than Ultimate Peter. And to me at least, reading Ultimate Peter after BND was my own personal life raft after the OMD Incursion destroyed the 616 continuity dating to AF#15.

    And I think that reinforced Ultimate Spider-Man's popularity and its lasting influence. It's basically the one consensual and universally liked version of Spider-Man produced in the 21st Century. It brings the room together in a way that JMS doesn't and Slott definitely doesn't. USM has something for every part of Spider-Man's fandom.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    And I think that reinforced Ultimate Spider-Man's popularity and its lasting influence. It's basically the one consensual and universally liked version of Spider-Man produced in the 21st Century. It brings the room together in a way that JMS doesn't and Slott definitely doesn't. USM has something for every part of Spider-Man's fandom.
    (Cough) Spectacular Spider-Man (Cough)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    (Cough) Spectacular Spider-Man (Cough)
    If we are talking adaptations, then Spectacular Spider-Man is up there with Raimi's Spider-Man 1-2, Into the Spider-Verse and the PS4 game as the most consensual and least polarizing takes on the character and his world.

    Relax, I love Weisman's Spectacular...

  11. #11
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    If we are talking adaptations, then Spectacular Spider-Man is up there with Raimi's Spider-Man 1-2, Into the Spider-Verse and the PS4 game as the most consensual and least polarizing takes on the character and his world.

    Relax, I love Weisman's Spectacular...
    Sorry, wasn't trying to attack you there. I'm just a really big Spectacular fan .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I don't think it was ever intended as that, since Bendis still based his run on the 616. What he did as he mentioned in interviews was make the Romita College era and backported that to high school. This raises weird issues like why does a rich kid like Harry Osborn go to a school with the sticks? The Raimi movies when they borrowed that, added in a line about Harry getting expelled from multiple elite private schools before ending up at Midtown as a kind of upper society reject and family embarrassment. The comics never offered that. The L-D era said that Peter got into ESU at college on scholarship, while Flash also got in on football scholarship (and it's implied that Flash was a little well-off anyway), and Gwen and Harry were basically kids who were raised in the city's elite and presented more or less as buying their way in. So the element of realism is not there.

    Even the whole "modernizing it for a 21st Century" is suspect since Peter's Midtown high school is really lacking in diversity. There aren't any LGBT kids. I guess Bendis found a way to get that across by bringing Kitty into the stories and having Peter's classmates be mutants, and mutant persecution stand-in for that. But it can be, and has been argued, that this is a facile kind of erasure. Weisman's Spectacular cartoons added in more diversity.

    USM is really not a complete modernization. It's a bit of both. I still think USM is a classic and a great run, and it has the advantage of giving a version of Spider-Man that 21st Century kids grew up with a definite ending and closure, that you got from USM#1 to the final pages of Spider-Men II.

    Ultimate Peter himself is one of my favorite versions of the character. He's not exactly the L-D Peter, nor does he resemble the 616. But he feels like what Peter should be, a believable three-dimensional good person. Ultimate Peter became the emotional and moral center of the Ultimate Marvel world, though that seems to be a contingency more then an intended design element since Bendis had no say in making the Ultimate versions of Cap, Fury, Iron Man, and the X-Men into outright jerks. I also liked the Amazing Friends arc because Peter was written as the leader of his own superhero team with Iceman, Johnny Storm, Shadowcat, all looking to him.
    Me too. Bendis & Lafuente worked well together. My personal favorite run on USM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I also like Ultimate Jessica Drew a good bit more than the main one.
    Definitely agree. I still prefer the original Clone Saga from Gerry Conway, but Ultimate Clone Saga from the Bendis/Bagley run is praiseworthy and Ultimate Spider-Woman was THE best thing to come out of that event.
    Last edited by K7P5V; 05-09-2019 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Added Bagley.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by K7P5V View Post
    Definitely agree. I still prefer the original Clone Saga from Gerry Conway, but Ultimate Clone Saga from the Bendis/Bagley run is praiseworthy and Ultimate Spider-Woman was THE best thing to come out of that event.
    The Ultimate Clone Saga is very much closer in spirit to the Conway original (which is great, I agree). It's basically a way to resolve the Peter/Kitty Pryde/MJ love triangle just as the original story was Peter moving on from Gwen. I love Bendis' take on Ultimate Kaine. It's an example of a scary and believable take on an "evil Peter". Putting Oz into MJ because she gets into trouble and he wants to save her...I mean that's evil but damn if it isn't grounded in Peter's own fears and tensions.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    616 includes the continuity that pre-existed USM's launch in 2000, so for me comparing USM to the classic era it was modelling on (ASM #1-300) makes more sense then comparing it to what followed after that.
    Sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Comparing USM to the ASM runs it was contemporary to is interesting. I do know from experience and personal taste, that after OMD, I remained a regular reader of USM but I stopped reading ASM completely. Whereas when I got into reading 616, I read USM and ASM in tandem during the JMS era. For me at least, the JMS run (and satellites like Jenkins and Marvel Knights) felt like the older versions of the USM Peter and his supporting cast.
    Haven't read that stuff. Should try to, esp. since it always sounded interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    And Bendis himself modeled the issue where Peter and May discuss his identity and past on "The Conversation". Bendis said that when JMS did that, he felt that May took it too well and he felt that May should be a little angry and miffed, seeing her a "Jewish mother" and so on, so he had a chance to think of that and plan a do-over.
    Interesting. Never got why Spidey and co. are so often thought to be Jewish, but interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Bendis' idea of Peter was that he was a teenager who was mentally a little more mature and wise beyond his years and so on. Especially to the end like he keeps having extended conversations and references to the fact that Peter has seen and done more in his young age than adults ever do (see the first panels of the Post-Ultimate USM issues). Which again worked because he was distilling the 616 Peter who grew and aged 10 years into his teenage self. But then OMD happened and BND and others came, and while I think Quesada, Slott, and others misread Peter and never got the character.
    Could see the superhero life forcing him to grow up faster. Also have to say that, from what I've seen of ASM, USM really does feel like the adult version filtered through high school, in quite a few respects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I also think they misunderstood Bendis. Because promotional materials at the time tried to sell BND as basically a way to do USM in the main titles, and they meant it to mean "youthful" and so on.
    Could see why they'd try that, although I think there's some irony there, given that I believe USM to be one of the most anti-OMD things Marvel ever made. Also ironically -- for me, at least -- USM is one of the main reasons that I am against BND and sundry; it kinda missed some of the key points and, in any event, if I want to read something like USM, I'm just going to read the real deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Re-reading the BND and early part of Slott's run which I did recently, I have to say that Post-BND Peter is way more immature than Ultimate Peter. And to me at least, reading Ultimate Peter after BND was my own personal life raft after the OMD Incursion destroyed the 616 continuity dating to AF#15.
    Since I've made it a point to avoid post-OMD Spider-Man whenever possible, I will have to take your word on that, since I haven't experienced that much of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    And I think that reinforced Ultimate Spider-Man's popularity and its lasting influence. It's basically the one consensual and universally liked version of Spider-Man produced in the 21st Century. It brings the room together in a way that JMS doesn't and Slott definitely doesn't. USM has something for every part of Spider-Man's fandom.
    Could be. I do know the Crawlspace podcast people aren't huge fans of it. Fair enough if it's not their thing, but I sure didn't feel very welcome as a listener that time they just dismissed it as a gimmick series that couldn't measure up to the original.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
    X-23: "I know there are people who disapprove... Guys on the Internet mainly."
    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  15. #15
    World's Greatest Hero blackspidey2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I think Ultimate was good for what it was, experimenting with the Spider-Man brand and somewhat modernizing it for a 21st century audience (I think the Spectacular cartoon did it better, but that's neither here nor there), but I think in terms of the meat, character development, supporting cast, and iconography it doens't hold up compared to 616.

    But that's just me.
    I share this opinon as well.
    "Anyone can win a fight when the odds are easy! It's when the going's tough - when there seems to be no chance - that's when it counts!" - Spider-Man

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