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  1. #1

    Default A Defense of "The Wedding" (ASM Annual #21)...

    When discussing the Spider-Marriage, people on one side say"it was sudden, rushed" and editorially mandated, while defenders cite the build-up, and foreshadowing, and the bunch of moments in the second series that moved things that way (which Christopher Priest himself admitted in the 2018 Podcast Interview with Gvozden and Ginocchio where he noted the romantic tension in Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine #1, quite against his intentions, ended up providing the buildup and lead to the marriage, which he compares to Ororo and T'Challa's wedding which he opposed...though I wish someone interviewed Priest about the fact that he was the one who wrote their honeymoon issue). Both arguments are strong and valid. My opinion is that I know that many people think that a superhero wedding should be this grand affair, with long engagements, and buildups and so on, but that applies to conventional superheroes like Mr. Fantastic or Superman. I think fans at the time (this was after all quite a popular issue) appreciated Marvel going, "if we are going to do it, do it quick" rather than string people along indefinitely. Peter and MJ married in 1987 (cf, Tom King's Batman-Catwoman "wedding"). Now the big question about the wedding to me, is whether it is in keeping with the norms of Spider-Man's publication history and practices?

    1) Let's take the Peter and Gwen Stacy romance. As Gerry Conway and other early readers noted. Lee-Ditko set up Mary Jane as the main love interest from Issue #25 (her first pre-appearance, and first issue on which Ditko had complete plotting credit) to Issue #38 (her second pre-appearance, Ditko's last issue and indeed she appears in Ditko's penultimate pages of Spider-Man which he knew he was quitting for good). At this time Gwen was "Liz Allan but in college". Then Lee-Romita take over, and suddenly Gwen becomes the romance which many readers saw as confusing, and underwent a number of bizarre personality shifts. Mark Ginocchio pointed out:
    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...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...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."
    Jeph Loeb's Spider-Man Blue incidentally actually does fill in the blanks between occasional interaction to going steady. The point being that an editorial mandated romance against the pre-established logic is inherently a part of Spider-Man. As is the idea of allowing later stories to fill and contextualize the blanks left out. In comparison with the wedding, you had Peter and MJ already cemented as a major love story, and in a series of issues by multiple writers of a team at odds with each other in both the main series and the second series, you had them grow closer together romantically. Then after the wedding you have Parallel Lives which filled-in-the-blanks. Unlike the time Stan Lee wrote the Peter-Gwen romance, you had the cultural context where Mary Jane was already widely read and established in the newspaper strip (which owing to its continuity-laxity and wide reprinting around the world, often made the strip the most accessible bit of Spider-Man and entry-point for readers until the Sam Raimi movie). You had those Hostess Ads which established Peter and MJ as the couple. You also had Peter and MJ alongside Clark and Lois in Conway's Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man a milestone that canonized Peter and his supporting cast, alongside Superman's. For long term readers as opposed to newcomers starting out, Peter and MJ were the great romance. The only girl so popular that no matter how many times she was written out, she always came back, each time a more complex and charismatic character than before.

    2) Peter and MJ had their first relationship as a couple in the Conway Era, which really began in #142 and continued until their breakup in #192, which is 50 issues but this time you had second series (Spectacular Spider-Man) where writers often showed a more human MJ than Wein and Wolfman intended. You also MJ's appearances with Peter in a number of other Marvel titles such as Marvel Team-Up, and even some early issues of Ms. Marvel. So the actual content of Peter and MJ in this relationship is much bigger than ASM. Now this period ended when Wolfman mandated a break-up between Peter and MJ. His solution was have Peter propose to MJ have her reject it which would make readers dislike Mary Jane and so on. Except in context the proposal is sudden and no woman in MJ's place would have done differently. Peter's aunt gets sick, she makes gestures towards Peter wanting to settle down, and our boy then puts a ring in a cracker box and so on in #182. Some ten issues later Wolfman breaks them up but this time he gives Mary Jane a sympathetic motivation, introducing the idea that her parents were divorced and the example of Ned and Betty's rocky marriage. So you have an editorially mandated break-up out of cheap and sudden plot that comes a little out of nowhere, but which is papered over by a smooth addition and character tidbit that makes it fitting for Peter and MJ. I mean yeah, nobody would say Peter and MJ were ready for marriage then.

    The norms of Spider-Man have always been sudden status-quo shifts and then putting in character stuff and other details to round it up. In that light, the Wedding is absolutely legitimate and part of Spider-Man's history, in the nature of norms. Ought it to have been executed better, sure but that applies to the Peter-Gwen romance, and it applies to the first Peter-MJ breakup. More importantly, the norms maintain one element in common: realism. Not necessarily realism of character and psychology, but realism in action and detail. Is it realistic for Peter and Gwen to fall in love at that point, absolutely. Was it realistic and believable that Peter would propose to MJ and she reject him, yes. Was it realistic for Peter to propose to MJ again, wanting to rush forth right where he left off at the end of his first relationship and pick up from there after their very intense friendship, yes. The fact that it happened almost exactly 100 issues after their break-up (#192-#292) does add a sense of direction and cohesion to it. Furthermore while the idea for the marriage was put forth by Jim Shooter, it was supported by Jim Salicrup, then Spider-Man editor. He said that the marriage would have been built up better had he and Shooter communicated and co-ordinated with Shooter telling him months before and him assuming that the wedding would be a fair bit away. So even the rushed nature of the wedding is more due to workplace errors than anything. Despite the external context and factors, it could still have been made better and that was because of weak communication rather than intent.

    Having said that, if I am saying sudden editorial shifts have been the name of the game...that means I should be on board with OMD too. I will say that OMD wasn't sudden. It was set-up and planned in advance, and executed competently as all the best heists are. However the question is again norms...the sudden editorial interference and rush jobs at least maintained realism and continuity. Which is to say that there are almost never long gaps between stories. Everything builds on before. And Spider-Man's strong serialized nature often means you could continuously follow Spider-Man, on a sliding time scale, from the age of 15 to around his mid-20s. BND breaks apart from this norm for the fact that, as Dan Slott admitted, it opens with a huge gap in the time. This is a total drift away from the norms of Spider-Man. Then there's the issue of Mephisto and the demon. To which I am going to quote no less an authority than Steve Ditko who had this to say about the creation of the Green Goblin and changing him from Stan's supernatural demon to a scientific one:

    Stan's synopsis for the Green Goblin had a movie crew, on location, finding an Egyptian-like sarcophagus. Inside was an ancient, mythological demon, the Green Goblin. He naturally came to life. On my own, I changed Stan's mythological demon into a human villain...I rejected Stan's idea...A mythological demon made the whole Peter Parker/Spider-Man world a place where nothing is metaphysically impossible.
    Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, (THE COMICS v12 #7 [2001] - "A Mini-History Part 1 -"The Green Goblin"),
    Fundamentally, the Wedding is directly continuous to the character in Amazing Fantasy #15...the Post-OMD era has no such claim owing to its foundation and choice of story.

    One final thing, if Joe Quesada hates the wedding so much, why does he swipe from it? Why does he take one panel from the Wedding where Flash and Harry drink and toast to Peter's nuptials, and then invert it maliciously, using the same panel and composition for the final of OMD which toasts the single life:
    Swipe 1.jpg
    Swipe 2.jpg

  2. #2

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    Originally posted by Revolutionary_Jack

    Having said that, if I am saying sudden editorial shifts have been the name of the game...that means I should be on board with OMD too. I will say that OMD wasn't sudden. It was set-up and planned in advance, and executed competently as all the best heists are. However the question is again norms...the sudden editorial interference and rush jobs at least maintained realism and continuity. Which is to say that there are almost never
    term papers or long gaps between stories. Everything builds on before. And Spider-Man's strong serialized nature often means you could continuously follow Spider-Man, on a sliding time scale, from the age of 15 to around his mid-20s. BND breaks apart from this norm for the fact that, as Dan Slott admitted, it opens with a huge gap in the time. This is a total drift away from the norms of Spider-Man. Then there's the issue of Mephisto and the demon.
    Ditko's depiction of Spider-Man's character and personality is listed as one of the top 100 influential aspects in the comics history. I do not remember when I got to know Spider-Man as a character for the first time, but I agree that his timelessness is impossible to deny. And the phrase: With great power there must also come — great responsibility!
    Last edited by lumusislight; 06-19-2019 at 04:27 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    When discussing the Spider-Marriage, people on one side say"it was sudden, rushed" and editorially mandated, while defenders cite the build-up, and foreshadowing, and the bunch of moments in the second series that moved things that way (which Christopher Priest himself admitted in the 2018 Podcast Interview with Gvozden and Ginocchio where he noted the romantic tension in Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine #1, quite against his intentions, ended up providing the buildup and lead to the marriage, which he compares to Ororo and T'Challa's wedding which he opposed...though I wish someone interviewed Priest about the fact that he was the one who wrote their honeymoon issue). Both arguments are strong and valid. My opinion is that I know that many people think that a superhero wedding should be this grand affair, with long engagements, and buildups and so on, but that applies to conventional superheroes like Mr. Fantastic or Superman. I think fans at the time (this was after all quite a popular issue) appreciated Marvel going, "if we are going to do it, do it quick" rather than string people along indefinitely. Peter and MJ married in 1987 (cf, Tom King's Batman-Catwoman "wedding"). Now the big question about the wedding to me, is whether it is in keeping with the norms of Spider-Man's publication history and practices?

    1) Let's take the Peter and Gwen Stacy romance. As Gerry Conway and other early readers noted. Lee-Ditko set up Mary Jane as the main love interest from Issue #25 (her first pre-appearance, and first issue on which Ditko had complete plotting credit) to Issue #38 (her second pre-appearance, Ditko's last issue and indeed she appears in Ditko's penultimate pages of Spider-Man which he knew he was quitting for good). At this time Gwen was "Liz Allan but in college". Then Lee-Romita take over, and suddenly Gwen becomes the romance which many readers saw as confusing, and underwent a number of bizarre personality shifts. Mark Ginocchio pointed out:


    Jeph Loeb's Spider-Man Blue incidentally actually does fill in the blanks between occasional interaction to going steady. The point being that an editorial mandated romance against the pre-established logic is inherently a part of Spider-Man. As is the idea of allowing later stories to fill and contextualize the blanks left out. In comparison with the wedding, you had Peter and MJ already cemented as a major love story, and in a series of issues by multiple writers of a team at odds with each other in both the main series and the second series, you had them grow closer together romantically. Then after the wedding you have Parallel Lives which filled-in-the-blanks. Unlike the time Stan Lee wrote the Peter-Gwen romance, you had the cultural context where Mary Jane was already widely read and established in the newspaper strip (which owing to its continuity-laxity and wide reprinting around the world, often made the strip the most accessible bit of Spider-Man and entry-point for readers until the Sam Raimi movie). You had those Hostess Ads which established Peter and MJ as the couple. You also had Peter and MJ alongside Clark and Lois in Conway's Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man a milestone that canonized Peter and his supporting cast, alongside Superman's. For long term readers as opposed to newcomers starting out, Peter and MJ were the great romance. The only girl so popular that no matter how many times she was written out, she always came back, each time a more complex and charismatic character than before.

    2) Peter and MJ had their first relationship as a couple in the Conway Era, which really began in #142 and continued until their breakup in #192, which is 50 issues but this time you had second series (Spectacular Spider-Man) where writers often showed a more human MJ than Wein and Wolfman intended. You also MJ's appearances with Peter in a number of other Marvel titles such as Marvel Team-Up, and even some early issues of Ms. Marvel. So the actual content of Peter and MJ in this relationship is much bigger than ASM. Now this period ended when Wolfman mandated a break-up between Peter and MJ. His solution was have Peter propose to MJ have her reject it which would make readers dislike Mary Jane and so on. Except in context the proposal is sudden and no woman in MJ's place would have done differently. Peter's aunt gets sick, she makes gestures towards Peter wanting to settle down, and our boy then puts a ring in a cracker box and so on in #182. Some ten issues later Wolfman breaks them up but this time he gives Mary Jane a sympathetic motivation, introducing the idea that her parents were divorced and the example of Ned and Betty's rocky marriage. So you have an editorially mandated break-up out of cheap and sudden plot that comes a little out of nowhere, but which is papered over by a smooth addition and character tidbit that makes it fitting for Peter and MJ. I mean yeah, nobody would say Peter and MJ were ready for marriage then.

    The norms of Spider-Man have always been sudden status-quo shifts and then putting in character stuff and other details to round it up. In that light, the Wedding is absolutely legitimate and part of Spider-Man's history, in the nature of norms. Ought it to have been executed better, sure but that applies to the Peter-Gwen romance, and it applies to the first Peter-MJ breakup. More importantly, the norms maintain one element in common: realism. Not necessarily realism of character and psychology, but realism in action and detail. Is it realistic for Peter and Gwen to fall in love at that point, absolutely. Was it realistic and believable that Peter would propose to MJ and she reject him, yes. Was it realistic for Peter to propose to MJ again, wanting to rush forth right where he left off at the end of his first relationship and pick up from there after their very intense friendship, yes. The fact that it happened almost exactly 100 issues after their break-up (#192-#292) does add a sense of direction and cohesion to it. Furthermore while the idea for the marriage was put forth by Jim Shooter, it was supported by Jim Salicrup, then Spider-Man editor. He said that the marriage would have been built up better had he and Shooter communicated and co-ordinated with Shooter telling him months before and him assuming that the wedding would be a fair bit away. So even the rushed nature of the wedding is more due to workplace errors than anything. Despite the external context and factors, it could still have been made better and that was because of weak communication rather than intent.

    Having said that, if I am saying sudden editorial shifts have been the name of the game...that means I should be on board with OMD too. I will say that OMD wasn't sudden. It was set-up and planned in advance, and executed competently as all the best heists are. However the question is again norms...the sudden editorial interference and rush jobs at least maintained realism and continuity. Which is to say that there are almost never long gaps between stories. Everything builds on before. And Spider-Man's strong serialized nature often means you could continuously follow Spider-Man, on a sliding time scale, from the age of 15 to around his mid-20s. BND breaks apart from this norm for the fact that, as Dan Slott admitted, it opens with a huge gap in the time. This is a total drift away from the norms of Spider-Man. Then there's the issue of Mephisto and the demon. To which I am going to quote no less an authority than Steve Ditko who had this to say about the creation of the Green Goblin and changing him from Stan's supernatural demon to a scientific one:



    Fundamentally, the Wedding is directly continuous to the character in Amazing Fantasy #15...the Post-OMD era has no such claim owing to its foundation and choice of story.

    One final thing, if Joe Quesada hates the wedding so much, why does he swipe from it? Why does he take one panel from the Wedding where Flash and Harry drink and toast to Peter's nuptials, and then invert it maliciously, using the same panel and composition for the final of OMD which toasts the single life:
    Swipe 1.jpg
    Swipe 2.jpg
    You made an excellent defense of the wedding. Here are a couple of more points. 1: if it is wrong for a superhero to marry a human, then why did Ben Grimm marry Alicia? It is not like the Fantastic Four do not face dangerous enemies. ( See Galactus, Super Scrull and Dr. Doom to name 3). This is especially true because the story was written by Dan Slott. 2: Why was Peter married to MJ in the newspaper strip? If Marvel wanted to they could have stopped it any time they wanted to. The reason is everything is "All about the Benjamin's" ( and I do not mean Grimm). Spider-Man is a cash cow for Marvel and they know they can make lots of $$$$$$ showing Pete as a teenager ( like in MCU), at the same time they did not know if pepple will buy him as an adult. That logic is what happened with Clone Saga 1. Marvel did not know if readers would accept Ben Reilly as Spider-Man while Pete is retired with MJ, so they came up with a story which really was awful ( sound familiar?). Of course, stories like "Into The Spider-Verse" have proven that when well done, people can accept a different Spider-Man, and the need for Pete to be a teenager ( or worse, a man-child) is no longer there. Throw in the fact Renew Your Vows sold well, shows there is an audience for an adult Pete with a wife and child, but still fighting crime. Basically the reasons for no marriage are no longer valid.
    Last edited by NC_Yankee; 06-19-2019 at 06:51 AM.

  4. #4
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    Honestly, that idea about "a superheroe can only marry another superhero" sounds stupid and quite like "racism". I mean, with powers or not, all superheroes are still human. It's like saying they are leaving the human condition just because they have abilities above regular humans.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursalink View Post
    Honestly, that idea about "a superheroe can only marry another superhero" sounds stupid and quite like "racism". I mean, with powers or not, all superheroes are still human. It's like saying they are leaving the human condition just because they have abilities above regular humans.
    And as I've opined before, superheroes in the Marvel Universe barely interact with normal/regular humans to begin with nowadays, so there is an insularity (and possible elitism) there that frankly disconnects them from the needs and concerns of the people they supposedly protect, which is a serious problem in the long run, as demonstrated by Secret Empire two years back.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  6. #6
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    There is zero point in making an elaborate case for defending the wedding.

    Zero. Thirty years ago - or maybe even ten, when OMD first happened, maybe.

    But at this point? Honestly, who is this even for?

    Those who were for the wedding, continue to be so. Those who weren't in favor of it continue to not be in favor of it.

    Everyone has their opinions and none of it really matters. We're talking about the fictional marriage of two imaginary characters.

  7. #7

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    An issue with this kind of argument is that it's not about arguing for the merits, but about countering the viewpoints of others. People have different reasons for coming to a conclusion on the merits of a storytelling decision, so a counter to one perspective doesn't have anything to do with another. These arguments are also sometimes a response to an impression of what the others said, rather than the exact argument, which often leads to exaggerating the significance of a viewpoint or creating a strawman. For example, I've read a lot of arguments about the pros and cons of the marriage, and I can't recall anyone specifically claiming that superhero weddings must always be grand affairs. There is a separate argument that Peter's wedding was rushed within the context of the narrative, and that it's unusual for the story not to explicitly acknowledge that.

    The merits of the issue are largely aside from the point. If you thought the marriage brought something to the series, even if this one issue is mediocre it's not a big deal. If you think it's a bad idea for Peter Parker to be married in the current comics for whatever reason, the issue could be awesome but it's still not a good tradeoff.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    And as I've opined before, superheroes in the Marvel Universe barely interact with normal/regular humans to begin with nowadays, so there is an insularity (and possible elitism) there that frankly disconnects them from the needs and concerns of the people they supposedly protect, which is a serious problem in the long run, as demonstrated by Secret Empire two years back.
    This is a problem with the entire entertainment indust

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    This is a problem with the entire entertainment indust
    Entertainment is one thing. Superheroes, fictional as they may be, are supposed to both protect and uplift the world they live in. How are they going to do that if they can't even relate to most of the people they're trying to protect?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    Entertainment is one thing. Superheroes, fictional as they may be, are supposed to both protect and uplift the world they live in. How are they going to do that if they can't even relate to most of the people they're trying to protect?
    Exactly! As much power as they have, superheroes can't forget they are still humans. Sure, if they loved ones gain powers, that will surely help them to survive the crazy life of a superheroe; but they can't forget they came from regular people.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    The merits of the issue are largely aside from the point. If you thought the marriage brought something to the series, even if this one issue is mediocre it's not a big deal. If you think it's a bad idea for Peter Parker to be married in the current comics for whatever reason, the issue could be awesome but it's still not a good tradeoff.
    Good point; personal opinion and what one's looking for do shape what we think of stuff, even if it's objectively good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursalink View Post
    Exactly! As much power as they have, superheroes can't forget they are still humans. Sure, if they loved ones gain powers, that will surely help them to survive the crazy life of a superheroe; but they can't forget they came from regular people.
    I have found that the superhero comics I gravitate to the most do have the character pretty plugged into their civilian lives (or at the very least still have human problems). Still, whatever works best for the story. Spider-Man may need more focus on the civilian part, while Batman naturally draws more focus to the heroics.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    There is zero point in making an elaborate case for defending the wedding.
    This was an old post I made in 2018 that got revived months and months later. Your argument would have been stronger if that had not been the case.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    This was an old post I made in 2018 that got revived months and months later. Your argument would have been stronger if that had not been the case.
    I think he's saying that you shouldn't have made the post at all.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    I have found that the superhero comics I gravitate to the most do have the character pretty plugged into their civilian lives (or at the very least still have human problems). Still, whatever works best for the story. Spider-Man may need more focus on the civilian part, while Batman naturally draws more focus to the heroics.
    Peter/MJ is the only example of a long superhero/civilian marriage in Marvel history. Every other instance is endogamy. That alone makes it worthy of preserving.

    Quote Originally Posted by WebSlingWonder View Post
    I think he's saying that you shouldn't have made the post at all.
    There are some posts that shouldn't be made. You have mods for that. The posts that need mods (mostly making unacceptable hate speech or spam) shouldn't be made. I think we all agree. Other kinds of posts are fair. When the post is made (and given how long and researched it is, made with a lot of time and care given to it), and it gets no comments, then you move on disappointed that it didn't get the comments you wanted but at least satisfied with the 200 plus views it got. Then it gets comments months later and the OP is happy and surprised that a post they made finally got moved up top based on the interest it had among fellow posters (i.e. its own merits) rather than simply because it's the latest news, latest clickbait, latest speculation. And then someone just has to come in and say there was "zero point" to it. I am sorry, you can't say there's "zero point" to a post of this kind. It's objectively not true.

  15. #15
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    not knocking this post, but “views” don’t = “reads”

    it’s also why good marketers don’t buy the view count on their facebook ads as proof that it’s working
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