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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Gwen Stacy was fairly unpopular or at least divisive when she was alive.

    Roger Stern had this to say:
    "Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs."
    ¬— Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 ¬— 55:00

    Stern was a regular reader and he had a good handle on continuity so he knows what he's talking about.

    To be honest, I think the idea people had about Gwen's death being this great event and so on is because of Kurt Busiek-Alex Ross' MARVELS. I mean it had a backlash in the early-mid 70s among readers but people had well and truly moved past that. Then MARVELS came along and what that did was give validation to the people who were part of that backlash. It's a story that says that if you lost your s--t about Gwen's death, if you sent death threats to Conway, and harassed Stan Lee...then you were right to do so. Gerry Conway himself said in an interview that he had no idea how big a deal that story was until Marvels came out.


    Among writers, Gwen's death and her importance is often a tool to enable the status-quo. A few writers elevate Gwen as "the one" or Peter's "perfect relationship" as a way to undermine Peter's relationship with MJ and others. This isn't really about Gwen as a character, it's so much as what her death itself perpetuates. And again, the actual intent of the story The Nigh Gwen Stacy Died is the opposite. No matter how low Peter gets, how much he hates himself, there is someone who will love him back, there is a silver lining or a light at the end of the tunnel. So that's why ASM#121, the substantively weaker issue gets elevated over the really great issue of ASM#122.
    You are correct. There are basically four types of people who trash ASM 121. 1: Those who prefer Gwen. I am sure Emma Stone versus Kirsten Dunst plays a role in this. This does not bother me. As an MJ supporter, I have said it before and I will say it again, I prefer Stone to Dunst. Why? I think Dunst is too nice and sweet when it comes to MJ. The best MJ ( in my opinion) is one who can be feisty and fiery). 2: Those who do not like MJ because of her character. 3: Those who prefer someone else. It could be Felicia, Mary Jones Cindy or anyone except MJ or Gwen. 4: Those who want High School or man-child Pete and do not want him growing up and being with MJ or anyone. Those are the ones who use "Poor Gwen" as an tool to hold Pete back and love comics like BND.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    You are correct. There are basically four types of people who trash ASM 121. 1: Those who prefer Gwen. I am sure Emma Stone versus Kirsten Dunst plays a role in this. This does not bother me. As an MJ supporter, I have said it before and I will say it again, I prefer Stone to Dunst. Why? I think Dunst is too nice and sweet when it comes to MJ. The best MJ ( in my opinion) is one who can be feisty and fiery). 2: Those who do not like MJ because of her character. 3: Those who prefer someone else. It could be Felicia, Mary Jones Cindy or anyone except MJ or Gwen. 4: Those who want High School or man-child Pete and do not want him growing up and being with MJ or anyone. Those are the ones who use "Poor Gwen" as an tool to hold Pete back and love comics like BND.
    I'd add an option number 5: those who dislike fridging.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Superhero stories like Spider-Man aren't realistic stories. They are fantasies largely written for adolescent boys. These stories by and large do not take a realistic approach to death and violence. So in these stories, when you make a big deal about character death, the choice of who dies and so on, how they die, carries a message whether people like it or not.

    In the case of The Death of Jean DeWolff, there it's done with some realism, and Jean's death isn't fridging even if the overall effect is similar to Gwen's death. Jean was a peripheral supporting character at the time, she gets killed suddenly brutally and without any last words and so on. The reason is that the comic does treat violence somewhat realistically in the Spider-Man setting. You get a New York which is very violent with high street crime, you have a serial killer who murders multiple people Summer of Sam style, and the idea is violence can visit anyone. When George Stacy died, it's done as an awful but realistic and believable action. It's framed as collateral damage and Peter and George get final words to say at the deathbed and all.

    In the case of Gwen's death, the overall effect and set up is basically like the old serial where the bad guy ties a woman to a train track and at the last minute she gets saved from being run over. The only difference is in this comic the hero is too late. Gwen is unconscious before she gets rammed over the bridge and then dies from the fall (to hell with sound effects). It's a situation where Gwen is reduced to a doll who gets broken by rough handling. And for a major supporting character in a superhero comic with so much unresolved stuff hanging on her, it was maybe not the best exit.
    Perhaps it could be taken as a commentary on how not everything can be resolved and wrapped nicely with a bow before a characterís time is up, which I suppose could reflect real life as well in that sense.

  4. #49
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Gwen Stacy was fairly unpopular or at least divisive when she was alive.

    Roger Stern had this to say:
    "Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs."
    ó Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 ó 55:00

    Stern was a regular reader and he had a good handle on continuity so he knows what he's talking about.

    To be honest, I think the idea people had about Gwen's death being this great event and so on is because of Kurt Busiek-Alex Ross' MARVELS. I mean it had a backlash in the early-mid 70s among readers but people had well and truly moved past that. Then MARVELS came along and what that did was give validation to the people who were part of that backlash. It's a story that says that if you lost your s--t about Gwen's death, if you sent death threats to Conway, and harassed Stan Lee...then you were right to do so. Gerry Conway himself said in an interview that he had no idea how big a deal that story was until Marvels came out.


    Among writers, Gwen's death and her importance is often a tool to enable the status-quo. A few writers elevate Gwen as "the one" or Peter's "perfect relationship" as a way to undermine Peter's relationship with MJ and others. This isn't really about Gwen as a character, it's so much as what her death itself perpetuates. And again, the actual intent of the story The Nigh Gwen Stacy Died is the opposite. No matter how low Peter gets, how much he hates himself, there is someone who will love him back, there is a silver lining or a light at the end of the tunnel. So that's why ASM#121, the substantively weaker issue gets elevated over the really great issue of ASM#122.
    Even before Marvels, again, I think people that sent Conway passionately angry letters about not wanting Gwen to have died speak for themselves. That being said though, at least in modern times, I think itís the aftermath of the death involving the Green Goblin and the dialogue that surrounds it that tends to be remembered more than the death itself.

  5. #50
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Perhaps it could be taken as a commentary on how not everything can be resolved and wrapped nicely with a bow before a characterís time is up, which I suppose could reflect real life as well in that sense.
    The style and follow-through to that story isn't enough to accommodate it. If you want to do a story where the hero loses his great love and this damages him and so on, then the story should mark a total transformation, i.e. Peter doesn't let anyone get close again, he makes sure his identity isn't compromised again, he tells people close to him that being around him could be dangerous.

    None of that happens even in Conway's run. There's no follow-through. Gwen's death doesn't really change anything in Spider-Man's character. All it does is end the Lee-Romita status-quo and pick up stuff from the Lee-Ditko era, i.e. Peter gets with the girl his Aunt wanted to set him up, he's not living with Harry Osborn anymore and he goes from living rent-free in a classy loft to living in a cheaper place in Chelsea (at the time pre-gentrification, a place for cheap living in a crime-ridden neighborhood).

    I mean even the whole snap neck thing...it's just such a total joke because later artists have Peter use that to save or yank people all the time. So basically the original story is a writer/artist putting thumb on the scales.

    Gwen Snap Spidey 3 - ASM #362.jpg
    Gwen Snap Spidey 4 - ASM Back in Black 2.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Even before Marvels, again, I think people that sent Conway passionately angry letters about not wanting Gwen to have died speak for themselves. That being said though, at least in modern times, I think itís the aftermath of the death involving the Green Goblin and the dialogue that surrounds it that tends to be remembered more than the death itself.
    I agree with this. I mean Sam Raimi said something interesting when talking about his use of comics for Spider-Man 1.

    Did the story get changed a few times?

    Sam Raimi: Absolutely. David Koepp who had wrote the first script had a piece with the two villains being Elektro and the Sandman, I think they were leftovers from James Cameronís treatment Ė which I like to call a Ďscriptmentí. It was an 80-page treatment with these characters, but the thing is these characters werenít my favorite. My favorite was actually the death of Gwen Stacey. Thing is, I didnít particularly like the Gwen Stacey character, I liked the element of it, but liked Mary Jane Watson and The Green Goblin. I also tried to put Doctor Octavious in there, but we couldnít do it justice. Having multiple-storyline arcs just didnít work, so we decided to stick on just having the one villain and make it a deeper story.
    http://www.bookofthedead.ws/hosted/m...0MovieHole.htm

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    What we are seeing is analysis by 2019 terms. People seem to forget that Gwen was going to lose to MJ even before she died. Ditko and Romita had that planned out. Why? Gwen was not shown to be very nice. 1: A snob. 2: Sam Bullett. 3: The running off to Europe. 4: Her treatment of Aunt May. By comparison, despite being a "Wild Child" MJ was shown as a more likable and sympathetic character ( see her treatment at the hands of Harry). I have long felt the reason Conway killed her off in such a way was to surprise and shock people. Sort of like what Hitchcock did with Janet Leigh in Psycho ( another cool blonde). Guess what? Like Hitchcock he succeeded. As for MJ she lives on. Why because she was and still is a great character, and readers know it ( despite Marvel wanting her out of the book). Something that did not happen to Gwen with Clone Saga. No demands to bring her back.
    Considering that Stan Lee did shit like give MJ a bad haircut and change Gwen's personality so she's a better pick for Peter, no, she wasn't just going to lose to MJ under Stan Lee.

    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    That is exactly right. Stan preferring Gwen is why MJ was written out of the book by Romita the first time. The readers are the ones who have preferred MJ down through the years. Why? Because she is a great character with many layers to her, while other " Parker Women" did not have this (not just Gwen), One thing that always appealed to me about MJ is you saw character growth. Sure she was not perfect ( abandoning her family and the "Wild Child" days) but you could see her growing up and being a responsible adult ( unlike Gwen back then and Felicia today). The character growth issue is important to me, which is why rhe BND regression when it came to Peter is the main thing I had against Slott's run. ps. As a straight guy, I also thought Ann-Margaret ( the inspiration behind MJ) was way hotter then Grace Kelly ( the inspiration behind Gwen).
    Actually, MJ had no layers to her back then, she was just as 1-dimensional as the rest of his love interests, arguably even more so since her personality was entirely "Easy going party girl!", but she was always popular not because she's complex, but because she was the only love interest who was actually fun, her becoming 2-dimensional, and then eventually 3-dimensional was a nice bonus that Conway and other writers gave her, but before Conway she was just being a party girl and little else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Roger Stern had this to say:
    "Gwen's Stacy death made her the holy version...this ideal woman for Peter...People who say that weren't around for the whole run. They've forgotten how nasty she was. She wasn't the most stable. She'd be all lovey-dovey one moment, and then hands-off the next. She was very strange. Just prior to her death, there was a long period when they were on the outs."
    — Roger Stern Spider-Man Crawlspace Episode 37: Roger Stern Interview Pt. 2', Timestamp: 52:00 — 55:00
    I... Don't agree with this, Gwen being nasty to Peter happened only in Ditko's run, which was only for 8 issues, as soon as Romita showed up she became less bitchy, to the point her temper was almost completely gone (Pretty sure the one time she showed her temper again was when she bitched at Aunt May to stop pampering Peter, and since Peter had disapeared for a while, it was a really bad time to do that, and while she regrets it, no one calling out on her showed her pet character status), any time she was pushing Peter away was also a consequence of his own actions by running out on her, not explaining what he's been doing, or in the case of when she went to London, just sounding like he doesn't care much about her going away.

    I still think that Gwen is a bad character mind you, but it's best to judge her overall and keep in mind her change in characterization and how that made her relationship with Peter be like, and not try to make it sound like she's worse than she really is, she's already bad without that.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post

    Did the story get changed a few times?

    Sam Raimi: Absolutely. David Koepp who had wrote the first script had a piece with the two villains being Elektro and the Sandman, I think they were leftovers from James Cameronís treatment Ė which I like to call a Ďscriptmentí. It was an 80-page treatment with these characters, but the thing is these characters werenít my favorite. My favorite was actually the death of Gwen Stacey. Thing is, I didnít particularly like the Gwen Stacey character, I liked the element of it, but liked Mary Jane Watson and The Green Goblin. I also tried to put Doctor Octavious in there, but we couldnít do it justice. Having multiple-storyline arcs just didnít work, so we decided to stick on just having the one villain and make it a deeper story.
    http://www.bookofthedead.ws/hosted/m...0MovieHole.htm
    Off topic but for someone who preferred MJ over Gwen, his MJ was a really bland interpretation of the character. Excluding the overused damsel in distress trope, they could have atleast given her some personality (but I suppose the same could be said of Raimi's Spider-Man.) And by the 2nd film she wasn't even styled to resemble the character. Shame because his general understanding of the mythos and interpretation of many of its characters were near perfect.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I'd add an option number 5: those who dislike fridging.
    Fridging happened Long before ASM 121. In the 1941 movie: 'I Wake Up Screaming' ( a very inaccurate title like 'The Night Gwen Stacy Died,), a girl named Vikki played by Carole Landis was murdered, which was a plot device so her sister Jill ( played by Betty Grable) could end up with Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature). I never hear complaints about that movie or Laura a 1944 movie that featured you guessed it. Fridging. What happened? Diane Redfern was murdered so Laura ( Gene Tierney) can end up with Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews). This debate is not about fridging but.using ASM 121 as a tool to justify Pete not growing up and remaining alone because his true love died. A point Revolutionary Jack alluded to. If someone thinks Pete is better off in HS or as a Man-Child so be it, but do not use Gwen's death as a tool to try and justify that position.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider-Tiger View Post
    Off topic but for someone who preferred MJ over Gwen, his MJ was a really bland interpretation of the character. Excluding the overused damsel in distress trope, they could have atleast given her some personality (but I suppose the same could be said of Raimi's Spider-Man.) And by the 2nd film she wasn't even styled to resemble the character. Shame because his general understanding of the mythos and interpretation of many of its characters were near perfect.
    Yeah, Raimi's MJ sucked, he only kept some of her stuff, like wanting to be an actress, and having a shitty life at her home, but without much of the rest of her personality, so there wasn't much to her.

    Funny that what may be the best interpretation of MJ outside of the comics, the Spectacular cartoon, didn't even have her as a love interest. Though I do hear she was supposed to become one eventually, but since it got cancelled, that matters little.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    I... Don't agree with this, Gwen being nasty to Peter happened only in Ditko's run, which was only for 8 issues, as soon as Romita showed up she became less bitchy, to the point her temper was almost completely gone (Pretty sure the one time she showed her temper again was when she bitched at Aunt May to stop pampering Peter, and since Peter had disapeared for a while, it was a really bad time to do that, and while she regrets it, no one calling out on her showed her pet character status),
    I think you answered your own question about what Roger Stern was talking about when he said "people have forgotten how nasty she could be". Stern might also have had in mind the Sam Bullitt 2-Parter where signs up, wittingly or unwittingly, with a white supremacist, and never got called out for it/apologized for it/took a stand against Bullitt and so on. She also went in a hysterical fit in ASM#87 when Peter revealed he was Spider-Man. Then she flew off to London for a while without telling Peter or anyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider-Tiger View Post
    Off topic but for someone who preferred MJ over Gwen, his MJ was a really bland interpretation of the character.
    I disagree with that. I think Kirsten Dunst's MJ got a lot of undue hate and dislike and in response people internalized those complaints to separate her from the comics' character. Kirsten's Mary Jane is more or less the character that Conway-Defalco wrote. She's a compassionate person who is a product of an abusive home and she likes both Peter and Spider-Man. So she is largely comics' MJ in spirit.

    The thing is Spider-Man 1 and 2 is structured like a classic love story and romantic story. It's all about Boy meets Girl and the back-and-forth that goes there. Once that structure came in, they altered both Peter and MJ to fit that mold. So Tobey's Peter is pretty meek and a punching bag who lets Harry Osborn run all over him (I mean that scene where a drunken Harry slaps Peter in Spider-Man 2 at the party was the moment I lost respect for Raimi's movies as an adaptation of the comics and character...616 Peter would never have taken that, not Ditko, nor Romita, nor Conway, nor Stern and Defalco). While Dunst's MJ suffers from barely concealed self-loathing and depression which is probably more realistic as an approach than comics' MJ "nothing ever bothers me" (fake smile) and so on. So the story is about both of them overcoming internal and external obstacles to be with each other. It's basically Titanic, the romance between Jack and Rose has a similar structure. Of course Jack and Rose are fuller and more deeply realized characters than Raimi's Peter and MJ but that's because of the superhero story and premise than anything else.

    People completely misunderstand the most famous scene in Spider-Man 1, the kiss in that alleyway. That scene comes after Goblin kidnaps Spider-Man and tells him that the society is scum who will always hate him for all the good he does, and then there's a montage where Jameson vilifies Spider-Man. In that scene in the alleyway, MJ restores Spider-Man's faith, that there will always be people who can see the truth and not just listen to what the Bugle says or go along with Goblin's views on humanity. That gives Peter strength to turn against Goblin when he meets him in the burning building. I mean that scene totally destroys that ridiculous concept of "MJ liking Spider-Man more than Peter"...the difference from that and Lois/Superman/Clark is that Spider-Man is a disliked figure. For MJ to like Spider-Man at his most disliked means that deep down she does truly love the real Peter Parker. And that scene is absolutely true to Mary Jane's character in the comics and the basic humanity she represents in the stories. No way, could that scene ever have worked with either Betty Brant or Gwen Stacy.

    As for MJ being a damsel-in-distress, I agree that's a problem but moreso in the sequels which I think are inferior and weaker than the first across-the-board. In Spider-Man 1, Norman Osborn kidnapping MJ at the end was logically set-up. It was an escalation from when he attacked Aunt May right before, and it was a payoff to the Thanksgiving scene (best damn scene in the whole trilogy). Whereas in Spider-Man 2, Meat-Puppet-Tentacle Man (calling itself Dr. Octopus) has no real reason to kidnap MJ there. It's like an afterthought. Ditto with the third movie.

    Kirsten's MJ is much truer to the comics' character than Tobey's Peter. I mean in terms of fidelity to comics' character it would be Simmons/Jameson > Harris/Aunt May > Dafoe/Goblin > Dunst/MJ > Tobey/Peter > Franco/Harry > Topher/Venom > Haden Church/Sandman > Molina/Ock.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 11-15-2019 at 01:36 PM.

  11. #56
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    Fridging happened Long before ASM 121. In the 1941 movie: 'I Wake Up Screaming' ( a very inaccurate title like 'The Night Gwen Stacy Died,), a girl named Vikki played by Carole Landis was murdered, which was a plot device so her sister Jill ( played by Betty Grable) could end up with Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature). I never hear complaints about that movie or Laura a 1944 movie that featured you guessed it. Fridging. What happened? Diane Redfern was murdered so Laura ( Gene Tierney) can end up with Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews). This debate is not about fridging but.using ASM 121 as a tool to justify Pete not growing up and remaining alone because his true love died. A point Revolutionary Jack alluded to. If someone thinks Pete is better off in HS or as a Man-Child so be it, but do not use Gwen's death as a tool to try and justify that position.
    If we're going to talk about what counts as fridging and what doesn't, I think it's worth mentioning that Simone's point was less about female characters getting killed in the first place and more about how often it was done and how developed said females were as characters. Though I think that despite her intentions, the term itself has gone on to apply to characters of any gender, such as Uncle Ben I'm sure. In any case, I'm very much on board for any philosophy/opinion that encourages writers to be more responsible/quality-minded with their writing.

    That being said, at that point, that may go more into what companies like DC think would draw the most attention and get the most money more than as a stance of women being inferior. It may be too cynical to think this, but perhaps if comics like Green Lantern #54 had been a legendary financial success for DC, then they probably would have fridged more characters 100 times over if it simply meant getting an exceptional amount of money in return.
    Last edited by Electricmastro; 11-15-2019 at 03:17 PM.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I think you answered your own question about what Roger Stern was talking about when he said "people have forgotten how nasty she could be". Stern might also have had in mind the Sam Bullitt 2-Parter where signs up, wittingly or unwittingly, with a white supremacist, and never got called out for it/apologized for it/took a stand against Bullitt and so on. She also went in a hysterical fit in ASM#87 when Peter revealed he was Spider-Man. Then she flew off to London for a while without telling Peter or anyone.
    Yeah, people forgot/don't know that there were points where Gwen was a bitch, but the way he worded in that quote makes it sound like she was like that all the time.

    That Bullit 2 parter happened soon after her father died where she was still grieving, and it was blatantly obvious that he was manipulating her, it is stupid that they never showed her thoughts on him once he was outted, but she was supporting him more so because she wanted Spider-Man to be hunted and never at any point showed a racist trait.

    As for ASM#87, well, there were a few times where Spidey had caused stress on her, so now Peter is revealing himself to be Spider-Man and being the guy who caused that stress on her to keep his lie? She would be weirder if she didn't react negatively to that.

    Gwen going to London without telling anyone is questionable, and can be considered bitchy, yeah, but let's look at her point of view, her father died, Peter reacted in a way that makes it look like he's not that interested in her staying, and then a few hours later, Spider-Man is just outside of her window and starts to fight the Prowler, she was feeling alone and in danger because of Spider-Man, while she could have warned everyone that she was leaving, in a situation like hers, it's an understandable mistake.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post

    I disagree with that. I think Kirsten Dunst's MJ got a lot of undue hate and dislike and in response people internalized those complaints to separate her from the comics' character. Kirsten's Mary Jane is more or less the character that Conway-Defalco wrote. She's a compassionate person who is a product of an abusive home and she likes both Peter and Spider-Man. So she is largely comics' MJ in spirit.

    The thing is Spider-Man 1 and 2 is structured like a classic love story and romantic story. It's all about Boy meets Girl and the back-and-forth that goes there. Once that structure came in, they altered both Peter and MJ to fit that mold. So Tobey's Peter is pretty meek and a punching bag who lets Harry Osborn run all over him (I mean that scene where a drunken Harry slaps Peter in Spider-Man 2 at the party was the moment I lost respect for Raimi's movies as an adaptation of the comics and character...616 Peter would never have taken that, not Ditko, nor Romita, nor Conway, nor Stern and Defalco). While Dunst's MJ suffers from barely concealed self-loathing and depression which is probably more realistic as an approach than comics' MJ "nothing ever bothers me" (fake smile) and so on. So the story is about both of them overcoming internal and external obstacles to be with each other. It's basically Titanic, the romance between Jack and Rose has a similar structure. Of course Jack and Rose are fuller and more deeply realized characters than Raimi's Peter and MJ but that's because of the superhero story and premise than anything else.

    People completely misunderstand the most famous scene in Spider-Man 1, the kiss in that alleyway. That scene comes after Goblin kidnaps Spider-Man and tells him that the society is scum who will always hate him for all the good he does, and then there's a montage where Jameson vilifies Spider-Man. In that scene in the alleyway, MJ restores Spider-Man's faith, that there will always be people who can see the truth and not just listen to what the Bugle says or go along with Goblin's views on humanity. That gives Peter strength to turn against Goblin when he meets him in the burning building. I mean that scene totally destroys that ridiculous concept of "MJ liking Spider-Man more than Peter"...the difference from that and Lois/Superman/Clark is that Spider-Man is a disliked figure. For MJ to like Spider-Man at his most disliked means that deep down she does truly love the real Peter Parker. And that scene is absolutely true to Mary Jane's character in the comics and the basic humanity she represents in the stories. No way, could that scene ever have worked with either Betty Brant or Gwen Stacy.

    As for MJ being a damsel-in-distress, I agree that's a problem but moreso in the sequels which I think are inferior and weaker than the first across-the-board. In Spider-Man 1, Norman Osborn kidnapping MJ at the end was logically set-up. It was an escalation from when he attacked Aunt May right before, and it was a payoff to the Thanksgiving scene (best damn scene in the whole trilogy). Whereas in Spider-Man 2, Meat-Puppet-Tentacle Man (calling itself Dr. Octopus) has no real reason to kidnap MJ there. It's like an afterthought. Ditto with the third movie.

    Kirsten's MJ is much truer to the comics' character than Tobey's Peter. I mean in terms of fidelity to comics' character it would be Simmons/Jameson > Harris/Aunt May > Dafoe/Goblin > Dunst/MJ > Tobey/Peter > Franco/Harry > Topher/Venom > Haden Church/Sandman > Molina/Ock.

    There are certainly elements of the comic book character in Kirsten's Mary Jane (such as her rocky upbringing and career as an actress), but the personality and psychology of each character is entirely different.

    As you pointed out, in the film trilogy, MJ suffers from low self-esteem and self worth. She has been told by her father that she is stupid and worthless, and she internalized this perception. She seeks validation in her relationships with other characters including Peter. This is partially why she falls for Peter because, unlike her father, he validates her self-worth.

    In the comics, MJ witnessed her mother and sister sacrifice their happiness as a result of their personal relationships. Thus comic MJ avoids intimacy by adopting a mask of frivolity: she parties it up so she doesn't have to be responsible for anyone or anything. But she doesn't consider herself to be worthless like Movie MJ. On the contrary, she places her needs above all else. She comes across as self-centered, but she also exudes confidence.

    A great example of this difference is the scene in which Peter/Mary Jane discuss her aspirations of becoming an actress in SM1. Movie MJ very coyly tells Peter that she hopes to act, and Peter responds positively to her amazement. In the comics, Peter asks MJ if she hopes to be an actress, and MJ corrects him: "I AM an actress."

    Another thing that's lost in the Raimi trilogy is the Peter and Mary Jane dynamic. In the comics, MJ is witty and can be a bit of a goofball. She gets Peter to loosen up. (See "20 second dance party" for the most recent example of this.) In the films, she is almost entirely humorless.

    The most "MJ-like" moment that Kirsten had in those films was at the end of SM2. Her speech to Peter could have been ripped straight from the comics.
    Last edited by Spider-Tiger; 11-15-2019 at 03:49 PM.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    If we're going to talk about what counts as fridging and what doesn't, I think it's worth mentioning that Simone's point was less about female characters getting killed in the first place and more about how often it was done and how developed said females were as characters. Though I think that despite her intentions, the term itself has gone on to apply to characters of any gender, such as Uncle Ben I'm sure. In any case, I'm very much on board for any philosophy/opinion that encourages writers to be more responsible/quality-minded with their writing.

    That being said, at that point, that may go more into what companies like DC think would draw the most attention and get the most money more than as a stance of women being inferior. It may be too cynical to think this, but perhaps if comics like Green Lantern #54 had been a legendary financial success for DC, then they probably would have fridged more characters 100 times over if it simply meant getting an exceptional amount of money in return.
    The "Poor Gwen" was fridged was exactly the argument made. Ignoring the fact that character's have been fridged for decades long before Gwen ( let alone In Green Lantern). In Laura, you never meet Diane Redfern or even see her face ( it gets blown off by a shotgun, and McPherson thinks it is Laura and falls in love with her by reading her diary, until she shows up at her apartment). What I do not care for, is using Gwen's death to justify the argument that Pete should remain stagnant ( at best). I think it is more of a regression to a Man-Child and have said that. I had 10 years of that with Slott not to mention the "weak Parker""issues like with Wolfman. Pete is highly intelligent and is stronger then most and he does not have to act like a frat boy, be economically disadvantaged, lose fights to guys like Fisk who should be no competition, need Tony Stark for equipment, and have no relationships beyond one night stands.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_Yankee View Post
    The "Poor Gwen" was fridged was exactly the argument made. Ignoring the fact that character's have been fridged for decades long before Gwen ( let alone In Green Lantern).
    Yeah, fair point to be made there as well I'm sure. In fact, I'm reminded of The Cat #1, which came out a year before Spider-Man #121 did, in which Tigra's husband Bill Nelson (who's arguably less endearing than Gwen) gets shot and killed trying to save her, though it's her that's the one that gets to go on to do hero work herself after sorting out her life.

    Last edited by Electricmastro; 11-15-2019 at 04:31 PM.

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