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  1. #16

    Default Did the writers intend to bring back Baby May in the 1990s?

    Because of the swerve with Peter finding Aunt May when he was searching for his daughter in the much maligned "Final Chapter" storyline of the 1990s, there's some question about whether the writers were going in a different direction with the hints that Baby May was alive, before being ordered to do otherwise.

    As editor Glenn Greenberg recalled, it was meant to be ambiguous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Greenberg
    I vividly remember all the little bits and story elements that Bob Harras absolutely insisted had to be in the "Revelations" story line. Among them was the sequence where the Parker baby is apparently delivered to Alison Mongrain, and Norman Osborn tells her to make sure it's never seen again.

    Some of us on the editorial staff (myself included) absolutely disagreed with this sequence being included, because it raised a question that shouldn't have been raised. We strongly felt that the baby story line should have a clean, clear, definitive ending, and that there should be no lingering doubts or mysteries about the baby's status. If the baby's dead, then let's say the baby's dead and move on. I remember discussing this matter with Harras, and his response was that his way of ending the baby story line "gives hope to the readers who have been waiting for the birth of the baby, it lets them believe that the baby is still out there somewhere, alive, and maybe Peter will find her someday. It'll keep them coming back."

    The problem with that was that there was NEVER going to be a resolution. In fact, Harras said that he didn't want the baby referred to again once the Clone Saga was over. He even wanted it established in the first post-Clone Saga issue, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #241, that six months had elapsed since the end of "Revelations, " so we could just skip over Peter and Mary Jane's mourning period and show that they were pretty much back to normal and Spider-Man was his old, wisecracking self again. Harras wanted the Spider-Man books to move on and away from the Clone Saga as quickly as possible… but he also wanted to play with readers' expectations.

    When some of us editorial staffers privately discussed the situation, we agreed that Harras's approach was very unfair to the readers. Deliberately dangling a plot thread in front of the readers and then just as deliberately abandoning it, with absolutely no intentions to ever resolve it, just didn't seem like the right thing to do, but at that point, we knew better than to even try to talk our editor in chief out of something he obviously felt so strongly about.

    Then again, if we hadn't done it Harras's way, there probably never would have been a SPIDER-GIRL comic book series. As I'm sure many of you already know, writer Tom DeFalco eventually picked up on the Harras-dictated plot thread and ran with it, creating an entire "alternate reality" in which the baby was eventually recovered, alive and well, and grew up to become a web-slinger in her own right. SPIDER-GIRL has certainly earned the critical acclaim it's gotten-it's a fun, enjoyable comic, and it's managed to stick around for several years, escaping cancellation more than once, so I guess something good CAN come out of something bad!

  2. #17

    Default Why did Marvel have Spider-Man unmask? Was One More Day written just to retcon that?

    There are some questions about storytelling decisions in the Civil War tie-ins and One More Day, with some speculation that One More Day was written after Marvel painted themselves into a corner.

    Here's my understanding of the sequence of events.

    JMS announced internally that he would soon leave Amazing Spider-Man.

    Joe Quesada saw this as an opportunity to reset the series to a status quo and schedule that he preferred. Initially, this was supposed to happen in a mini-series. Quesada decided to draw the storyline. His stated reasoning was that it would be unfair to ask anyone else to draw a storyline guaranteed to piss off some readers.

    Mark Millar was plotting out Civil War. Quesada revealed that a reset was coming in the Spider-Man comics, which meant that Spider-Man could unmask.

    Initially, One More Day was supposed to happen right after Civil War came to an end. But at some point, Marvel decided to wait a few months. So this led to the Back in Black era.

    Ironically, as the unmasked era was always meant to be a temporary status quo, the first issue of Back in Black received the best sales of any issue of JMS's Amazing Spider-Man.

    Delays on One More Day meant that Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Sensational Spider-Man were extended by one issue each. Peter David focused on Peter's post-unmasking relationship with J Jonah Jameson. Sacasa did a final issue in which God told Peter everything would be all right, which kinda clashed with what was coming in One More Day.

  3. #18

    Default Was Mephisto responsible for Harry Osborn's return?

    When Harry Osborn appeared alive and well at the end of One More Day, it was presumed that his return might have something to do with Mephisto's deal with Mary Jane.

    That doesn't seem to be the case.

    In Amazing Spider-Man Family #6, JM Dematteis revealed that Harry was believed to have died, and resurfaced shortly prior to the events of Brand New Day. His resurrection could have played out the same way regardless of whether or not Peter was married.

    In Amazing Spider-Man #581-582, it was revealed exactly how he returned. His drug interaction in Spectacular Spider-Man #200 only appeared to kill him. Norman Osborn faked a body with Mysterio's help, and sent Harry to Europe. Norman then agreed to play the role of the grieving father, even when it seemed as if he were alone.

    There was initial speculation that Harry Osborn's marriage had not been retconned away.

    The Brain Trust/ Web Heads did not retcon Normie Osborn and Harry's past marriage to Liz. Harry is divorced. Normie and Liz appeared in a two part Molten Man story in Amazing Spider-Man #581-582, and figured into events in Superior Spider-Man.

  4. #19

    Default Are the major Spider-Man comics still set in the 616 Universe?

    In One More Day, Mephisto changed one thing in the past so that Peter Parker and Mary Jane were never married.

    This has led to some speculation that Amazing Spider-Man is no longer set in the mainstream Marvel Universe.

    As Amazing Spider-Man has referenced events in other titles, and other titles have referenced events in Amazing Spider-Man (including whether or not Peter Parker's ever been married), the title is still set in the regular Marvel Universe.

    The counterargument is that previous comics (including Karl Kesel's Fantastic Four one-shot Death in the Family) established that attempts at time travel usually just result in the creation of an alternate reality.

    It seems that this is not the case with the time manipulation in One More Day.

    Otherwise, this sequence would end with Peter and MJ wondering why nothing's changed.

    In the old board, stewart48 summed up the tenuous nature of the 616 Marvel Universe, for anyone trying to argue that it should now be called something else. He noted "Based on the Marvel rules of every potential choice has its own reality, 616 is just a term for the here and now of the Marvel U. Marvel U has probably been through different numbered universes with all the time travel storylines the x-men alone have been through."

  5. #20

    Default What were JMS's original plans for One More Day?

    Joe Quesada summed up JMS's original plans, and how they've been changed for One More Day in an interview with the website an year and a half ago.

    Mephisto was going to change continuity from as far back as issues #96-98 from 1971. In Joe's story, Peter drops the dime on Harry, and that helps get him into rehab right away. Consequently, MJ stays with Harry, and Gwen never dies and never has her affair with Norman, etc., etc. And in the end, Peter and MJ are never married.

    Quesada was bothered by the way this approach would discount every issue of "Amazing" since that story arc, provide severe ramifications for storylines which were already well underway, and affect the entire Marvel Universe. He felt that the original plans were simpler and cleaner.

    JMS disagreed with the plan, and provided a new script for the fourth issue, but Quesada and company reconstructed it, as he felt it was still missing some beats to get all the things across that they needed for the "Brand New Day" run.

  6. #21

    Default Were the Spider-Man comics from 1987-2007 invalidated by One More Day?

    There was some question about whether the last twenty years of Spider-Man comics were invalidated now that Peter and Mary Jane were never married.

    The CBR interview addresses this topic.

    Jonah Welland: So, to get this straight, OMD doesn't actually negate the previous 20 years of Spider-Man stories?

    Joe Quesada: Exactly, that's precisely what we wanted to avoid. What didn't occur was the marriage. Peter and MJ were together, they loved each other -- they just didn't pull the trigger on the wedding day. All the books count, all the stories count -- except in the minds of the people within the Marvel U, Peter and MJ were a couple, not a married couple. To me, that's a much fairer thing to do to those of us who have been reading Spider-Man for all these years. Like I said, is it perfect? No. As far as we investigated, short of divorcing Peter, nothing really is.

    As for what's changed...
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    Very simply, Peter and MJ were together, the wedding didn't happen. Peter proposed but something happened that cause the wedding to get derailed. What was that thing, what monkey wrench did Mephisto throw into their lives to prevent it, well that's a story for another day. There's also a very obvious rift between Peter and MJ at the end of OMD, what caused that is also something yet to be revealed. And then there's the Harry piece of the puzzle, ah that pesky Mephisto! So, yes, a lot of this will eventually be dealt with in "Amazing Spider-Man" moving forward, but not right away as we want to spend the majority of our time in "Brand New Day" looking forward to establish the new world and then later on deal a bit more with the past as it comes up.
    The storyline Kraven's First Hunt included a reference to Kraven's Last Hunt, occurring when Peter and Mary Jane had moved in together, while they were married in the original story.

    An exception has been Mary Jane's pregnancy, as Quesada felt it would be wrong for that storyline to exist without the marriage. So it seems the pregnancy never happened.

  7. #22

    Default What's the story behind Gwen Stacy's children?

    JMS planned a story introducing the artificially aged children of Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker.

    Joe Quesada vetoed the idea, arguing that it makes Peter Parker seem too old. So, when the storyline "Sins Past" came along, the father of Gabriel and Sarah Stacy was revealed as "Norman Osborn." It was revealed that Mary Jane had known this all along, and that Peter had never had sex with Gwen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    Joe came to me with a storyline that had Peter meeting these twins, one of which looked just like Gwen that of course he would be attracted to. These kids would turn out to be kids that he had with Gwen. Peter, of course, had no knowledge of it and would have to deal with the ramifications. In my world, there was no way I could go forward with this story as is. For starters, you're talking to a guy that feels that a married Peter Parker isn't the healthiest thing for the franchise since it ages the character. There is no way on planet earth that I could let him to have kids, Marvel almost made that mistake several years ago. And there were further implications of the story that were out of my comfort zone. First, it was the dealing with the repercussions of Peter and Gwen having unprotected or careless sex out of wedlock. Second, it would be dealing with Peter having kids out of wedlock; while, of course, he wasn't aware of having had them, there was always the possibility that the media could spin it that way. But in the end, it was mostly the idea of Peter having kids that I just balked at.

    I had to tell Joe straight up that there was no way we could do this story the way he wanted to do it, so I offered up the option of having someone else be the father, perhaps Norman. I guess the one place where my story differs from Joe is that once I gave Joe the suggestion for Norman, it was up to Joe as to whether he wanted to write that story or not. I didn't demand that he write it; if he felt that it was that bad an idea, he could have just have skipped it all together. This conversation happened before he began writing the arc, so it wasn't like we were shifting the ground on him mid story. So, yes, I came up with the idea of Norman and still stand by it, but I assumed Joe also thought it was a cool idea, he did all the research and came back with a methodology within continuity that made it work; it was pretty damn brilliant. He wrote the heck out of the story -- it's one of my favorites. I understand that fans give us flack for so many of the things that we do, but that's part of what comes with the territory of working on these very old, established icons.
    Gwen's lookalike daughter was Sarah Stacy. Gwen's son was Gabriel, who upon learning that Norman Osborn was his father, became the Grey Goblin. It was controversial.

    Loose ends in the storyline were tied up within a few months in the storyline "Sins Remembered" in the Spectacular Spider-Man title, by Samm Barnes and Scott Eaton. It was not well-remembered.

    Considering JMS wanted to use One More Day to retcon the story out of existence, there are some questions about its place in continuity.

    In Warren Ellis's Thunderbolts, Norman Osborn mentions knocking up the blonde, and then killing her.

    Spider-Man mentions a Grey Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #549.

    Norman Osborn doesn't seem to acknowledge Gabriel Stacy as a son in "American Son" although a figure in a tube is listed as "G. Stacy."

    It is acknowledged in the Norman Osborn summarized history in the "Dark Reign: the Goblin Legacy" one-shot. And Gabriel Stacy returned in the "Amazing Spider-Man Presents the American Son" mini-series.

  8. #23

    Default What were Joe Quesada's "three genies"?

    When he was Marvel's Editor in Chief, Joe Quesada said that he had three genies he wanted to put back into the bottle. These were things he believed had to be fixed in the Marvel Universe.

    The first genie was that there were too many mutants. He felt that this meant that individual mutants weren't special and that this excused writers from coming up with origin stories for new characters. The solution was House of M, which pared the number of mutants down to 198.

    The second genie was that the superheroes got along too well with each other. Quesada argued that this removed the tension from encounters between the characters. Civil War and Secret Invasion were responses to that.

    The final genie was Spider-Man's marriage, and the solution was One More Day, in which Mephisto changed the past so that Peter & Mary Jane were never married.

    He believed it was a mistake to marry off the couple in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    There are those that say that OMD was an editorially created project when, in fact, it wasn't. However, the marriage of Peter and MJ was an editorially driven project. It had nothing to do with what was really going on in the books at the time and came completely from the top on down to the creators. The bottom line: It was a stunt. How come no one in fandom mentions this?

    Anyway, the Spider-marriage, as conceived, didn't have anything to do with the comics. Here's how it happened.

    Around 1986, circulation on the Spider-Man newspaper strip had begun to drop. Concerned about this, an editor from King Features had a conversation with Stan Lee about what they could do to generate new interest in the strip to get it picked up again by more papers. Somewhere during the course of that conversation, they hit upon the thing that newspaper strips have done for years to drum up interest -- marry off the lead characters.

    So, at a certain point, Stan called up Marvel and let the folks there know that he was planning to marry Peter and Mary Jane in the newspaper strip at such-and-such a point. At the time, Mary Jane wasn't even dating Peter in the series, but [then EIC] Jim Shooter, not wanting the comics to get scooped by the newspaper strip or whatever, decided that the publicity surrounding the marriage (there was talk of a faux wedding ceremony taking place at Shea Stadium to commemorate the event) and the fact that this was Stan made it worth doing in the books as well.

    The lead-up to the marriage is ridiculously rushed, as the creative team needed to move Peter and MJ from not dating to getting married in something like three months. So one issue opens up with Pete on top of a building musing about his life and what's wrong with it, and suddenly clicking on the notion that he should marry Mary Jane. He ends up proposing, following her back to Pittsburgh and learning about her upbringing in three issues. And then the wedding takes place. While the creators all did the best they could with the schedule, it was about as unconvincing a block of storytelling as was possible, especially given the pains that the Spidey creative teams had taken over the previous two years or so to indicate that Pete and MJ were no more than friends.

    And at the time, most of the reactions in comic book stores was very much like what we're seeing now: This is fake, this is artificial, it's just a blatant media grab, they've ruined Spider-Man for all time, etc. But again, all of this somehow seems to be missing from any of the arguments that I hear with respect to the validity of the marriage and how OMD should never had happened.

  9. #24

    Default Why weren't the obvious alternatives to One More Day explored?

    A question many fans had was a variation of Chris Thomas's inquiry "Joe, I am a parent and I feel that it is far easier to explain the divorce of Spider-man to my children than Peter and his wife agreeing to a deal with the Devil. You sowed the seeds for a reasonable reason for divorce in 'House of M' and I don't see why that wasn't used. I read your interview and only have one simple question: Why would you use 'House of M' to sell us on Gwen and Peter being this destined family and have Peter retain those memories then use Mephisto to take away what is supposed to be this divine marriage? Do you really believe that this is a better story for me to share with my children?"

    Quesada's response...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    I think Peter getting divorced to me says that they gave up on their love, that their life in love together was so awful, so stressful, so unfulfilling that they had to raise a red flag and walk away from it. They quit on their marriage and even more tragic, the quit on each other. In other words, Peter would rather be alone and single than to spend another moment with MJ. Plain and simple, that's just a Spider-Man story I don't want to tell and it's not something that I would like to have associated with Peter Parker and MJ.

    Now, there are those that say, "but he made a deal with the Mephisto, how is that better?" I would at least see something in that statement if it was Peter who conjured up Mephisto. If Peter had no options and then proceeded to perform some ritual in order to invoke Mephisto, or in essence reached out to him as a last ditch effort, then yes, I would agree because now you're validating and saying it's okay to seek out the Mephisto guy to fix a problem. But, that's not what happened. It was Mephisto in this case, as he is prone to do, who comes to Peter at his weakest moment and uses this to his advantage. Why? Because he's a villain. This is a very important distinction, Peter is used by the bad guy, taken advantage of, and let me add it's not the first time a villain has taken advantage of him.

    Now, as to how to explain this to your kids, well, I would suspect it's the same as one would explain just about any of the classic happenings in the Marvel U or world of Spider-Man. I think it's very easy to say that within the stories of the Marvel U, while there are fun, action adventures to be had, within so many of our stories, there are very complex and sophisticated metaphors and allegories. In short, comic books are morality plays acted out with brightly colored characters in spandex. So...

    What would you say to your child if they came to you and asked, why Peter Parker let the bad guy go who eventually killed his Uncle and left his aunt a widow? Does this make Peter a bad guy, a villain, a dirt bag? I mean he certainly could be perceived that way. I think you would take the time to explain that it was a huge mistake, but that Peter took from it a life altering lesson and that lesson set him on the path to become a great hero and served as the chief motivational factor in his development as a hero.

    What would you say to your child if they asked how it was possible for Spider-Man to lose a battle with the villain (which is something that was a breakthrough idea for super hero stories when Stan and Steve thought of it)? Super heroes don't lose! Or how about when Peter hung it up and gave up being Spider-Man in "Amazing Spider-Man" #50? Does this make Spider-Man weak, a quitter, a coward or less of a super hero? I think you would tell your child that sometimes you don't win all the time in life, but the lesson to learn from Peter Parker is that no matter how down you get, like Peter, dust yourself off and go out there and fight again.

    What would you say to your child if they asked you if they should resolve disputes in school or amongst friends with fisticuffs because that's what Spider-Man does? Does this make Spider-Man a bully? I think you would explain the difference and how not all disputes and disagreements can be resolved with ones fists.

    So, how would you explain Mephisto? Quite simply I would say that sometimes there are bad people out there who want to take advantage of you and sometimes they show up and do so when you are at your weakest moment. You can also say that not all decisions in life are simple ones.

    But also, you do have to keep in mind that Mephisto is simply a construct of the magical spectrum of the Marvel Universe while divorce is a real and tragic fact of life that far too many kids are confronted with every day. Also, many people would argue that divorce has become far too casual and commonplace in our society. Anyway, I hope that helps in some way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    Guys, we would absolutely tackle and have tackled the subject of divorce at Marvel, I just felt that Spider-Man was the wrong character to do it with. Take a look at Hank and Jan Pym. We've dealt with subjects as controversial as marital abuse, however, I would never tell that story within the pages of a Spider-Man book.
    Quesada also addressed the issues of whether Mary Jane could have been killed off instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Quesada
    Ron, simply, because MJ at this point is better to have in the Spider-Man U alive than dead. If she were dead, I suspect fans would be wondering when she would come back, if she's alive, fans will be wondering if they'll ever get back together which, to me, is so much more powerful than her resurrection.

    Also, Peter Parker widower just makes him seem that much older to me than I would like to see him portrayed.

  10. #25

    Default Was Peter Parker molested as a child?

    In a free Spider-Man/ Power Pack comic distributed to school-children in the 1980s, Spider-Man revealed that as a child he had been molested as a child by an older boy who looked a lot like Uncle Ben.

    It has not been referenced again in the regular continuity, and is generally not considered canon (which means it's essentially out of continuity.)

    It was mentioned in a follow-up one-shot Spider-Man: National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse in 1987, but there's no indication that one is in continuity.

  11. #26

    Default What is Peter Parker's level of education?

    Peter graduated college, although the ceremony was delayed somewhat by the revelation he had to take gym classes over the summer.

    He was a Biochemistry major.

    Then he went to Graduate School. He quit in Amazing Spider-Man #242 to focus on his photography and really pissed off Aunt May when he explained that to her about ten issues later. He returned to Grad School after the clone saga.

    It's unknown whether he finished grad school at that point.

    During the Superior Spider-Man storyline when Doctor Octopus took over Peter's body for several months, he completed a doctorate program.

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