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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    That's the thing Ben Reilly's popularity by itself discredited the entire thing. Ben Reilly was supposed to be Peter Parker, they planned to switch over but the longer he was known as Ben Reilly, the longer he had that red hair and so on...the longer he became established as Peter's sidekick rather than the original Spider-Man.

    I don't care much for Ben Reilly to be honest. I think the concept of Peter seeing a clone of himself as his brother or his close male friend...makes him a touch narcissistic. Quite aside from the big ask of whether you can get over the idea of a clone as a human being and valid character in his own right.
    Glenn Greenberg said that the spidey office was seriously considering having Ben Reilly assuming both the Spider-man identity and the Peter Parker one with both Peter and MJ's blessing. So they were literally going to make him fully Peter at one point. Now, obviously you can see how much trouble they would have had in doing that.

    There is a reason Ben Reilly was liked (one of the few things out of the Clone Saga that was). A lot of care was put into developing his character so that you couldn't help but root for him (admittedly this was done at the cost of tarnishing Peter a bit). He was Peter in all the ways that mattered, but he was distinct enough from his five years travelling to be his own person. The only writer who truly knew what made the guy tick was Dematteis (which is why he should have been the one to do the Scarlet Spider book post Clone Conspiracy).

    Personally, I felt Ben should have stayed dead. I was fond of him as a kid, but he died a heroic death. His legacy cast a long shadow and added extra fuel for Kaine's ongoing development/redemption. Now both characters are in limbo. Which is a shame.

  2. #17
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    Wasn't Vulture the first Spider-Man character brought back from the dead, way back in ASM #63?

    I don't think the Clone Saga ever really deserved a reputation as a big downturn for the series. Were the Spider-Man comics of late 1994 to late 1996 really any worse than those of the two year stretch that preceded it? Maximum Carnage, the return of Peter's parents, Demogoblin, defanged Venom, young Vulture, Mary Jane smoking. There was a lot of schlock, and most of it wasn't even memorable schlock. The Spider-Man titles needed a shake-up, and the clone story delivered.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Wasn't Vulture the first Spider-Man character brought back from the dead, way back in ASM #63?

    I don't think the Clone Saga ever really deserved a reputation as a big downturn for the series. Were the Spider-Man comics of late 1994 to late 1996 really any worse than those of the two year stretch that preceded it? Maximum Carnage, the return of Peter's parents, Demogoblin, defanged Venom, young Vulture, Mary Jane smoking. There was a lot of schlock, and most of it wasn't even memorable schlock. The Spider-Man titles needed a shake-up, and the clone story delivered.
    Funny enough, some of those comics that preceded the Clone Saga were made in part to set up or lead into the Clone Saga, especially with Peter's downward spiral following the exposure of his returned parents as robots created by the Chameleon as a posthumous "f*** you" from Harry Osborn, who had actually died making peace with Peter in Spectacular Spider-Man #200, which was done (arguably) with the intent to make Ben Reilly seem more palatable to readers and fans as "the one true Spider-Man."
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  4. #19
    A Green Unpleasant Man Rob London's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Wasn't Vulture the first Spider-Man character brought back from the dead, way back in ASM #63?
    Not to mention Doc Ock and Hammerhead, who perished in a nuclear explosion in ASM #131. Or the original Mysterio, who died in prison in ASM #141. Or the Black Cat, who drowned rather than face prison again in ASM #227...

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Mackie and Defalco point this out in that newsarama interview where they note it's like Rashomon since everyone has different ideas.



    The real thing is that the Spider-Man they were nullifying from 1975-1996 is the period where the character had his highest sales in its entire publication history. Where the character had his peak in popularity and comics' sales, where he ended up displacing Superman's comics in terms of sales.

    There was no market for the Spider-Man they wanted in place of the one that worked.
    Actually, sales (along with most comics) were in a slump before the clone saga. That’s why it was approved in the first place. And it did lift sales tremendously when it first occurred, which is why sales department stretched it out.

    That's the thing Ben Reilly's popularity by itself discredited the entire thing. Ben Reilly was supposed to be Peter Parker, they planned to switch over but the longer he was known as Ben Reilly, the longer he had that red hair and so on...the longer he became established as Peter's sidekick rather than the original Spider-Man.
    Um... what? We’re talking about Ben Reilly, not Archie Andrews. He’s a blonde, not a ginger.

    I don't care much for Ben Reilly to be honest.
    Yeah, we know...

    I think the concept of Peter seeing a clone of himself as his brother or his close male friend...makes him a touch narcissistic. Quite aside from the big ask of whether you can get over the idea of a clone as a human being and valid character in his own right.
    So every person who loves their identical twin is narcissistic?

    And why isn’t a clone a “human being”? He has flesh and blood and a brain that has conscious thought. Dolly, the cloned sheep, was still a real sheep.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob London View Post
    Not to mention Doc Ock and Hammerhead, who perished in a nuclear explosion in ASM #131. Or the original Mysterio, who died in prison in ASM #141. Or the Black Cat, who drowned rather than face prison again in ASM #227...
    No one is dead until we've seen a body lol.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    No one is dead until we've seen a body lol.
    Yeah, I think there's a difference between an impossible survival that's indented to have been the character escaping at the last minute, and them being resurrected in some way after a "confirmed" death.
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  8. #23
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    No one is dead until we've seen a body lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Yeah, I think there's a difference between an impossible survival that's indented to have been the character escaping at the last minute, and them being resurrected in some way after a "confirmed" death.
    Since comic-book death is so used and abused I guess the distinction is lost between general conventions of melodrama and exceptional instances. But roughly...just so we are all on the same page here...in the old days it was understood that any instance in a genre story where a character died off-panel, a villain fell or disappeared in an explosion and so on, and their body wasn't found, you could bring them back in another story without any explanation or reason for their survival. On the other hand, when you kill a character for realsies, there had to be a body, there had to be a funeral, to drive it home.

    In the 80s, Frank Miller in his run on Daredevil seemingly killed Vanessa Fisk, wife of Kingpin, when a building fell on them both, and in the aftermath Wilson emerged but Vanessa's body was nowhere around. A few issues later, it turned out that Vanessa was alive and kidnapped by a gang of sewer-dwelling criminals. Miller was playing fair by the rules and conventions. No body was found, so when Vanessa turned up later, nobody made a fuss. On the other hand, Elektra who Miller killed on-page explicitly and who was presented as a normal human woman, and who got stabbed with her own sai, who got buried and had a funeral, who in a later issue was even exhumed by Murdoch, was resurrected by supernatural means and circumstances. So that's a case of a real resurrection, a real break with the social contract with the readers. Same with Jean Grey...we saw her death, we saw her funeral. Then they undid it and said Phoenix was never Jean (which later writers had to ignore, fudge, and work around since a Jean Grey who was never Phoenix is just not a very interesting character).

    Somewhat closer to our time...when Mary Jane briefly died in the late 90s, that was not a true death that was undone because again we didn't see a body or funeral. And there was a panel with a door opening left as a backdoor. So audiences and readers knew that this wasn't a real death. People were of course infuriated because of how badly and stupidly it was done but again when they brought her back from the death, that wasn't as egregious as bringing back Norman and Aunt May. Until the 80s, comic book publishers and others followed rules...in the sense that when characters are really going to be killed off, it would be done in a way that plays fair and doesn't jerk people around. When they wanted to tease that a character died but weren't sure, it would happen off-screen, to leave a backdoor. Those were rules. Jim Starlin's OGN The Death of Captain Marvel, killed him with cancer and showed it happen. And to this date, he hasn't been resurrected (fingers crossed). Slowly this norm was shattered step by step, and inch-by-inch - Elektra and Jean Grey being among the first.

    Spider-Man held out until the 90s. Characters who died in Spider-Man stayed dead. Characters who were killed were done in an ironclad way - Uncle Ben, Betty Brant's brother, Frederick Foswell, George Stacy, Gwen Stacy, Norman Osborn, Ned Leeds, Harry Osborn. All these characters died on page, we saw their bodies, we saw them buried. Then during the Clone Saga, this was violated. Norman Osborn died when he got impaled with the glider, and then they brought him back from the dead too. So if people don't see the difference and change then I can't help you. Aunt May died on-page in a real way, we saw her die with cancer, it was logical and organic, it was emotionally true and fair. Then they undid that in the most insulting moronic way possible.

    I mean Peter's clone died at the end of the First Saga. We saw a body, we saw Peter throw it in a smoke stack. Then Conway's Spectacular Annual in the late 80s made it clear that Warren never created clones (since again the concept of an ESU college creep creating human cloning is just bizarre and nonsensical). There was no ambiguity that the Peter at the end of ASM#149 was the real Peter since we got a concrete reason why it was the real him.

    The pikers of the Second Clone Saga undid all that. They violated norms and patterns that had held strong until then.

    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    Um... what? We’re talking about Ben Reilly, not Archie Andrews. He’s a blonde, not a ginger.
    Yeah you are right on this. I confused him with the Benny Parker kid from the Abrams comic. Lot of Bens who are Spider-Man around.

    Actually, sales (along with most comics) were in a slump before the clone saga. That’s why it was approved in the first place. And it did lift sales tremendously when it first occurred, which is why sales department stretched it out.
    Not what I was talking about. I pointed out that the idea of nullifying 20 years of Spider-Man (1975-1994) would never have worked because that 20 year stretch overall was the best-selling period of Spider-Man's publishing history.

    So every person who loves their identical twin is narcissistic?
    Twins are not the same as clones. Twin babies born and raised together, form a bond and identity that's unique, where they have a sense of double identity.

    Whereas a clone is a copy of a person.

    And why isn’t a clone a “human being”? He has flesh and blood and a brain that has conscious thought.
    Ben Reilly doesn't have a childhood, he doesn't have real memories of going to high school, or lessons with the alphabet. All of that are memory implants.

    Ben Reilly is fundamentally not a human being.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 12-29-2019 at 07:08 PM.

  9. #24
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    One of the major thematic messages of the Clone Saga was that Ben and Peter were equal -- that Ben was a person who deserved happiness and a life of his own, regardless of how he was brought into the world.

    Also, Aunt May wasn't brought back during the Clone Saga.

    -Pav, who won't have Ben blasphemed...
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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Wasn't Vulture the first Spider-Man character brought back from the dead, way back in ASM #63?

    I don't think the Clone Saga ever really deserved a reputation as a big downturn for the series. Were the Spider-Man comics of late 1994 to late 1996 really any worse than those of the two year stretch that preceded it? Maximum Carnage, the return of Peter's parents, Demogoblin, defanged Venom, young Vulture, Mary Jane smoking. There was a lot of schlock, and most of it wasn't even memorable schlock. The Spider-Man titles needed a shake-up, and the clone story delivered.
    Are you implying that 90's Spider-Man comics just weren't good? Because well, you're right. But the audacity!
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  11. #26
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    One of the major thematic messages of the Clone Saga was that Ben and Peter were equal -- that Ben was a person who deserved happiness and a life of his own, regardless of how he was brought into the world.
    The underlying intent was that Ben was the real Peter Parker and the one audiences knew was the clone. That's not a story about the personhood of clones by any means.

    Also, Aunt May wasn't brought back during the Clone Saga.
    And I mentioned above that happened because of what the Clone Saga did.

    The original Spider-Clone died at the end of ASM#149-150, with his body shown as dead quite clearly and then tossed into a smokestack.
    Norman Osborn died by being impaled by the glider.

    Aunt May's death was reversed shortly after the Saga ended and it's basically in the same spirit.

    -Pav, who won't have Ben blasphemed...
    Ben Reilly's entire existence is a blasphemy to actual storytelling values and the integrity of the continuity.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    One of the major thematic messages of the Clone Saga was that Ben and Peter were equal -- that Ben was a person who deserved happiness and a life of his own, regardless of how he was brought into the world.

    Also, Aunt May wasn't brought back during the Clone Saga.

    -Pav, who won't have Ben blasphemed...
    Still, the character has been kinda pegged as "Spider-Man 2.0" and attempts to make him different haven't gone over very well. It's a good point to be made, but X-Men was able to do the same with X-23 and make her distinct from her template, Wolverine. Not quite sure where I'm going with this, but there it is.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
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  13. #28
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Still, the character has been kinda pegged as "Spider-Man 2.0" and attempts to make him different haven't gone over very well. It's a good point to be made, but X-Men was able to do the same with X-23 and make her distinct from her template, Wolverine. Not quite sure where I'm going with this, but there it is.
    Cloning as a concept works better in X-Men than in Spider-Man. The great threat and fear of the X-Men is corporations and other people enslaving them, abusing them, exploiting them and then taking their X-gene and making it into weapons to be used against them. Hickman's current run deals with that greatly. It works in the overall collective, social, political theme and metaphor that the X-men open up. Likewise, these are the Uncanny X-Men, the characters and stories are meant to challenge the idea of normal and acceptable, and the weirder it gets the better it is, (for the most part).

    In the case of Spider-Man, you are dealing with a fairly individualistic story and setting about a guy with a double life i.e. Peter has to pretend in public he isn't Spider-Man, Spider-Man has to pretend in public he isn't Peter Parker. For that story to work, Peter Parker needs to have some sense of privacy, some amount of balance, and a good dose of reality.
    -- The Clone Saga by its very nature clued in a whole bunch of people about the fact that Peter is Spider-Man. So that means a lot of fights where people snarl "Parker" which gets repetitive and annoying when it fact it should be threatening and intense.
    -- Ben Reilly's intrusion into Peter's life fundamentally puts someone bizarre and abnormal into Peter's world, a person who isn't human. As Spider-Man, Ben Reilly is all pretense. He isn't Peter Parker, he isn't Spider-Man, so he has to be someone he's not since he has no other identity to fall back into.

    The constant conspiracy-cabal-and Judas Traveller Scrier stuff, and all these Peterclones goes against the spirit of Spider-Man as a story and genre. Yeah, Spider-Man is science-fiction but not all science-fiction is the same. You can introduce far out stuff into Spider-Man's corner provided you maintain a certain balance. Clones as a concept failed to do that. It made Peter's world narcissistic. Spider-Man going out and saving people didn't matter, what mattered was that these clones of Peter Parker surrounded his life and somehow their inner Peter Parker nature made them good or in the case of Kaine kept them from going too evil, and ultimately some evil asshole came back from the dead and spent several hundred million dollars to gaslight our hero. So it's not a good story. In human terms, the clone saga doesn't have anything to say. Stuff like KLH for instance communicates stuff about morality, fear of death, commitment, and loneliness. It's about how a flawed vulnerable humanity has an inherent value. Whereas the Clone Saga...in terms of subtext it's about a mid-life crisis or early mid-life crisis but that's more on the part of creatives than the character. And even then JMS dealt with that a lot better in his run.

    In so far as dealing with the science-fiction concept of cloning...i.e. whether clones are people or are they acceptable substitutes of the people they are clones of, Gerry Conway did that well and better in the First Saga. Gwen's clone returns and Peter realizes that it's just not the same because he's not the same person who fell in love with Gwen anymore. This clone is not the same as the living Gwen because she's fixated on the past as are all the clones. The original Clone Saga was saying something human about nostalgia being toxic and poisonous, such as Jackal fixated on Gwen and so on, whereas the real Peter has grown and moved on with Mary Jane. That's cool stuff. That's using comic books and genre elements to say something human.

    The biggest strike against the second saga is that it kind of sullied Conway's original by association, and as I mentioned above removed and buried the actual emotional core of that story all for the sake of nerdrage-driven continuity dot-joining. Because people thought the original story didn't give an answer to "who was the clone" (it actually totally did but it sinned for assuming its readers were people who could emotionally connect to story and character beats) to the extent they misread the actual content and what the original story was about.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 12-29-2019 at 09:48 PM.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    Still, the character has been kinda pegged as "Spider-Man 2.0" and attempts to make him different haven't gone over very well. It's a good point to be made, but X-Men was able to do the same with X-23 and make her distinct from her template, Wolverine. Not quite sure where I'm going with this, but there it is.
    I think that is a perfect example. X-23 was presented as a clone of Wolverine, but the nature of her creation also meant she was technically his "daughter." She wasn't a straight up copy, so she was never seen as a "Wolverine 2.0."

    Ben, despite attempts to differentiate him by the experiences of his 5 year exile, was still seen by many as just a clone. The fact that he was being presented as the real Peter Parker also didn't help. His fate was sealed from that moment on.

    If they had just straight up introduced him without the intent for him to replace Peter, he might not have been killed off.

  15. #30
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    I think that is a perfect example. X-23 was presented as a clone of Wolverine, but the nature of her creation also meant she was technically his "daughter." She wasn't a straight up copy, so she was never seen as a "Wolverine 2.0."

    Ben, despite attempts to differentiate him by the experiences of his 5 year exile, was still seen by many as just a clone. The fact that he was being presented as the real Peter Parker also didn't help. His fate was sealed from that moment on.

    If they had just straight up introduced him without the intent for him to replace Peter, he might not have been killed off.
    There would never have been Ben Reilly or Clone Saga without the intent of replacing Peter. The Clone Saga wasn't a story about creating trendy legacy characters for a hero. It was an attempt to override the continuity. The Clone Saga stretching out led people to see Ben as a sidekick or Peter's very own Dick Grayson (i.e. the more optimistic, youth-friendly foil for a hero who's serious and angsty) so that worked against the overall intent.

    Miles Morales for instance is an updated legacy hero for Spider-Man. He's not a clone of Peter, not even the slightest. He's the high-school Spider-Man in 616 Continuity now that the main guy has grown up.

    And Miles makes Ben Reilly utterly redundant. He's far and away the most successful legacy character Peter has had.

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