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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post

    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.
    Identical twins are actually clones. They also happen to be brothers.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post



    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.
    According to what we know today and the current developments of the philosphical materialism, you seem to have a pretty misguided idea of what a human being is. As most writers, anyway.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shunt View Post
    Identical twins are actually clones.
    Okay, which of the twins is the real one, and which is the clone? Is the baby that crowns first out of the womb the real kid? Or is it the one whose fetus first gives a bump?

    In any story with a clone, there's a real person who pre-exists, and the clones are copies of that real person. In the case of twins, both babies are born at the same time, come to term at the same time, born in the same day, and grow up together in the same creche. Neither of them is the real twin, nor is the other the copy. Twins grow up with a different sense of identity.

    Whereas clone stories pre-suppose and privilege an original. In this case there's the original Peter Parker, son of Richard and Mary, nephew of Ben and May. He's the original character from AF#15. Everyone agrees that Peter Parker originated in AF#15, the difference is that Clonistas want to cut off from ASM#149, while others believe that character lived and aged after that. Ben Reilly and others are clones of this Peter, specifically they are clones of Peter Parker between AF#15 to ASM#147.

    In comics continuity terms, the Clone Saga is a referendum as to whether the Peter Parker who got married counts as the real Peter Parker anymore. The overwhelming answer as far as fans and others are concerned, is a resounding yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shunt View Post
    According to what we know today and the current developments of the philosphical materialism, you seem to have a pretty misguided idea of what a human being is. As most writers, anyway.
    Philosophy changes with the wind and there's no such thing as an agreed upon definition of a human being. Human cloning is banned and illegal in most nations and several US states. And human cloning anyway isn't near the level of science-fiction.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    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.
    Sure he is. If someone is stricken with amnesia or has some kind of other mental ailment that impairs their memory, are they suddenly not a human being? No, of course not.

    If someone is cut off from their memories and has to re-learn who they are and no longer possesses their "real memories," they're still a person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    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.
    That's exactly what it is. You've actually described the Clone Saga perfectly - which one is the real McCoy and should a copy be considered as valid as the original?

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Ben Reilly's entire existence is a blasphemy to actual storytelling values and the integrity of the continuity.
    I think you need to wrap your head around the idea that in a long-running narrative, with teams of writers and editors constantly passing the baton to the next over the course of decades, many stories will be told that you don't care for. That doesn't mean that are an assault on the "integrity of the continuity." They're just stories you don't like. And good God, a "blasphemy to actual storytelling values?" Let's not get hysterical. We can just call the Clone Saga poorly thought out and not bump it up to the level of blasphemy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    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.
    You're giving the original Clone Saga, as much as I enjoy it, too much credit.

    That was as editorially driven as the second Clone Saga but with the benefit of being created at a much simpler time in comics and when the author was setting up his exit.

    Comics in the '70s and comics in the '90s were two very different beasts so, of course, Conway's story is a much tidier affair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    And Miles makes Ben Reilly utterly redundant. He's far and away the most successful legacy character Peter has had.
    Miles and Ben have nothing to do with each other. If anything, it's Peter that makes Ben redundant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Whereas clone stories pre-suppose and privilege an original. In this case there's the original Peter Parker, son of Richard and Mary, nephew of Ben and May. He's the original character from AF#15. Everyone agrees that Peter Parker originated in AF#15, the difference is that Clonistas want to cut off from ASM#149, while others believe that character lived and aged after that. Ben Reilly and others are clones of this Peter, specifically they are clones of Peter Parker between AF#15 to ASM#147.
    I don't think anyone actually calls themselves "Clonistas."

    And yes, clone stories do favor the original. But that's usually where the story lies - with the clone asking themselves whether they too are considered valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    In comics continuity terms, the Clone Saga is a referendum as to whether the Peter Parker who got married counts as the real Peter Parker anymore. The overwhelming answer as far as fans and others are concerned, is a resounding yes.
    Well, duh. But it's not just about the Peter Parker who got married. It's about the Peter Parker fans had been reading about since ASM #149 and the twenty years or so of continuity that entailed.

    The Clone Saga wanted readers to get on board with the idea that every Spider-Man comic since 1975 had actually starred someone else and not the "real" Peter.

    Of course fans went ape-shit at that idea. Of course that went over like a lead balloon.

    Had they not tried a switcheroo and simply revealed that the clone had lived and was going to be a new Spider-Man in his own right, with his own approach to crime fighting, I think it would have been fine.

    But the idea that he would be introduced as the real deal and that the Peter we'd been reading about for the last twenty years would now ride off into the sunset was a bridge too far.

    Any idiot could have told Marvel that ahead of time. It seems so obvious that this would not be greeted well and it's nothing to do specifically with whether fans wanted Peter to be a married man or not. As a group, they just didn't want to feel that the protagonist they'd been following for the last two decades suddenly wasn't the real guy anymore.

    In some alternate universe maybe they pulled it off. That other Clone Saga was actually short, to the point, and accomplished what it set out to do and continuity went on a different path.

    But in our universe, they bungled it, got in over their heads, and generally made a mess of things. But aside from being poorly conceived and executed, it didn't "ruin" anything.

    Comics are wonderfully resilient. The great thing about them is that they can constantly course-correct when needed.
    Last edited by Prof. Warren; 12-30-2019 at 07:54 AM.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    Sure he is. If someone is stricken with amnesia or has some kind of other mental ailment that impairs their memory, are they suddenly not a human being? No, of course not.
    Amnesia is not the same as being a clone. Wolverine had amnesia for the longest time, but that didn't make him a clone. Even if you have amnesia, you still have an identity. You only forget some stuff and not others. Amnesia didn't make Wolverine forget he was Canadian, or lose him the ability to speak English (and a whole bunch of other languages). Likewise, Amnesia didn't make Ben Reilly forget he's a white guy who lived in New York.

    If someone is cut off from their memories and has to re-learn who they are and no longer possesses their "real memories," they're still a person.
    But there's still a real person and memory that people try to recover and regain, and in the case of their loved ones, to try and make them remember again.

    In the case of Ben Reilly, there were never any real memories to go back to. They were implants created by Warren. That's different from Wolverine, because he had an actual life and identity, a childhood as James Howlett, a child born to Canada's colonial gentry and secretly an illegitimate child born out of an affair the Lady had with the groundskeeper Thomas Logan who went nuts. Wolverine has recovered that identity and there's a real truth to that. In the case of a clone, to the extent they are individuals, it's the part where they are less like the originals that they count as people. A case can be made that the real Ben Reilly is the guy who lost his identity, got lost, and had to find his way is the real Ben Reilly. J. M. Dematteis' Lost Years series for instance is basically a YA ogn about a poor kid on the skids with some superhero stuff, it's fine until the part he remembers he's Peter Parker.

    That's exactly what it is. You've actually described the Clone Saga perfectly - which one is the real McCoy and should a copy be considered as valid as the original?
    Except that's not the story. They were intent on telling us that the Peter we followed was the copy. And you can bet your dollar that had they gone ahead and made Ben the real deal, a few years from now, someone would have gone ahead and killed the "Parkers" at Portland to drive up stakes (complete with Peter's body having clone degeneration goo like how it did with Ben at the end of Revelations), and close backdoors so that Ben is confirmed as the one true Peter.

    Nobody behind that believed that clones are people too. Nor does the story argue that.

    I think you need to wrap your head around the idea that in a long-running narrative, with teams of writers and editors constantly passing the baton to the next over the course of decades, many stories will be told that you don't care for. That doesn't mean that are an assault on the "integrity of the continuity."
    I pointed out and laid out that for the thirty years or so before The Clone Saga, the continuity was maintained on certain implicit norms which were followed. And the Clone Saga shattered that. I don't know how you can ignore that or discount that. The fact that 25 years after the Clone Saga, more extreme stuff has happened and become condoned and normalized doesn't excuse the fact that the reason that's the case is because Kavanagh and others so thoroughly s--t the bed. Overall the overwhelming consensus is that Spider-Man's best period is the first 25-30 years of his publication history. Or at the very least that's better than what followed. Until the 90s, Spider-Man never had a bad decade. It was a consistent title from the 60s through the 80s. The Clone Saga absolutely ended that great period of consistency. And if you think for the reasons behind that consistency and actually look at the story then you would have to argue that the reason for that is that stories flowed better then, continuity was maintained better then.

    That was as editorially driven as the second Clone Saga but with the benefit of being created at a much simpler time in comics and when the author was setting up his exit.
    The Second Clone Saga isn't editorially driven. It came from creators and it's the leniency of editors (in this case Tom Defalco who saw it was a bad idea right from the start but reluctantly okayed it) that led to the problem. It's more or less comparable to Sins' Past or stuff like Mark Millar's Civil War.

    The First Clone Saga is a story about nostalgia, about loss, and grief. And as Gerry Conway admitted implicitly in Sean Howe's book on Marvel, the story was a response to the controversy about Gwen's death. Miles Warren the Jackal was never intended as a serious villain, he was a meta-villain who was a stand-in for the fans who sent Conway death threats and wanted Gwen back, so Conway made the stand-in for that kind of fans a creepy lecherous college professor who was also a necrophiliac. Jackal was a joke character. And people understood that. When Warren died as Jackal at the end of the First Clone Saga, that was it...for twenty years nobody gave a damn about him, nobody cared about the clones.

    The Second Clone Saga brought so many characters back that it's easy to lose count but for the record -- Jackal was brought back, the Peterclone was brought back as Ben Reilly, Norman Osborn was brought back. These three characters were dead, we saw their bodies and everything, and they broke the rules and brought them back. A few years later they brought Aunt May back in the worst way possible. And that pretty much removed all norms from the title.

    Had they not tried a switcheroo and simply revealed that the clone had lived and was going to be a new Spider-Man in his own right, with his own approach to crime fighting, I think it would have been fine.
    Then we would be following a legacy character, and a blonde white one too who was the same age as the one we are following. What would be the point of it? Where's the story?
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 12-30-2019 at 08:31 AM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Nobody behind that believed that clones are people too. Nor does the story argue that.
    Typically, clone stories - across all media - are used to ask the question of what makes a human human.

    Usually the answer is that clones, in their own way, have their own rights and their own claim to humanity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I pointed out and laid out that for the thirty years or so before The Clone Saga, the continuity was maintained on certain implicit norms which were followed. And the Clone Saga shattered that. I don't know how you can ignore that or discount that. The fact that 25 years after the Clone Saga, more extreme stuff has happened and become condoned and normalized doesn't excuse the fact that the reason that's the case is because Kavanagh and others so thoroughly s--t the bed. Overall the overwhelming consensus is that Spider-Man's best period is the first 25-30 years of his publication history. Or at the very least that's better than what followed. Until the 90s, Spider-Man never had a bad decade. It was a consistent title from the 60s through the 80s. The Clone Saga absolutely ended that great period of consistency. And if you think for the reasons behind that consistency and actually look at the story then you would have to argue that the reason for that is that stories flowed better then, continuity was maintained better then.
    What you're talking about here is simply the effects of time. It was easy to maintain a certain level of consistency of continuity for the first couple of decades of ASM.

    Once you get past thirty years or more and stories pile up and more creative teams get their turn at bat, things inevitably slip.

    If the Clone Saga didn't do it, something else would have.

    In my opinion, Spider-Man could have easily ended with ASM #200. It's a perfect bookend to AF #15 and it leaves Peter in a satisfying place of closure.

    End Spider-Man's story there and you have a wonderful, self-contained superhero tale. In my mind, that's the end. The perfect place to call it a day.

    Of course, the reality is that was never going to happen. There is never going to be an end to Spider-Man. So we get more stories, more adventures, and the continuity continues to build and become a more unwieldy thing.

    As time goes on, stories are going to be told that subsequent teams don't agree with and want to undo. Even if that initial story was excellent in itself, maybe it was a mistake to tell it in the first place because it left the book in a position where the dynamics of the book now feels off or a certain balance that's needed isn't there anymore. As great a story as Aunt May's death was, for example, it was ultimately a short-sighted move to let her die. You can't have Spider-Man without Aunt May. The mechanism for eventually bringing her back was - to say the least - not great but that's how it goes.

    Point being, that once you get past a certain point, continuity is not going to be smooth and perfect and satisfying to all and you just can't expect it to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Then we would be following a legacy character, and a blonde white one too who was the same age as the one we are following. What would be the point of it? Where's the story?
    That would be for the writers to figure out. And if they couldn't come up with something that resonated with readers, then that character fades out and you move on.

  7. #37

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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.
    Vulture was never killed off. He was just really sick.

    Although other characters had clearly returned from the dead well before the Clone Saga. Hammerhead & Doctor Octopus survived a nuclear explosion. Mysterio faked his death off-panel. Black Cat "died" twice in her first three stories.

    Part of the issue with resurrections is that it's more likely to happen the longer a series continues.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Okay, which of the twins is the real one, and which is the clone? Is the baby that crowns first out of the womb the real kid? Or is it the one whose fetus first gives a bump?

    In any story with a clone, there's a real person who pre-exists, and the clones are copies of that real person. In the case of twins, both babies are born at the same time, come to term at the same time, born in the same day, and grow up together in the same creche. Neither of them is the real twin, nor is the other the copy. Twins grow up with a different sense of identity.

    Whereas clone stories pre-suppose and privilege an original. In this case there's the original Peter Parker, son of Richard and Mary, nephew of Ben and May. He's the original character from AF#15. Everyone agrees that Peter Parker originated in AF#15, the difference is that Clonistas want to cut off from ASM#149, while others believe that character lived and aged after that. Ben Reilly and others are clones of this Peter, specifically they are clones of Peter Parker between AF#15 to ASM#147.

    In comics continuity terms, the Clone Saga is a referendum as to whether the Peter Parker who got married counts as the real Peter Parker anymore. The overwhelming answer as far as fans and others are concerned, is a resounding yes.



    Philosophy changes with the wind and there's no such thing as an agreed upon definition of a human being. Human cloning is banned and illegal in most nations and several US states. And human cloning anyway isn't near the level of science-fiction.
    Your view that clones aren't really humans probably makes clone stories more thematically useful because of the philosophical questions about their rights.

  9. #39
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    To get back to your earlier point,

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    The Clone Saga wanted readers to get on board with the idea that every Spider-Man comic since 1975 had actually starred someone else and not the "real" Peter.

    Of course fans went ape-shit at that idea. Of course that went over like a lead balloon.
    The thing is that could have gone over well if it was not the case that 1975-1994 is the peak of Spider-Man's sales and a defining period.

    The concept of nullifying continuity by itself has been done before and done well. Like when Captain America was thawed out in Lee-Kirby's Avengers, that story retconned out of existence some 16 years of Captain America stories published from 1945 to the mid-50s where Cap was an anti-commie jingoistic loon. The reason they were able to do it is that those 16 years was a weak period of Cap America sales and superhero sales, none of the stories were considered memorable, and eventually they said that Cap was a failed clone of Steve and he later became a villain. Fundamentally what Kirby did wasn't so far from what Kavanagh and others were trying to do with Peter and Ben Reilly. The reasons it took there was because A) Cap's own co-creator Kirby did it, B) The version it negated was one that had little nostalgia and appeal then.

    Somewhat closer, is the case of Johnny Storm's marriage to Alicia Masters. That happened in the run of John Byrne's Fantastic Four and it was something that people didn't like or approve. Either because Johnny Storm doesn't strike anyone as the marrying kind (and I agree...Johnny is a playboy type, it doesn't suit him to be married the way it does with Peter) and that Alicia Masters was the love interest of Ben Grimm and people had issues with Johnny taking Ben's girl and being "okay" with that. So Tom Defalco in his run on Fantastic Four during the 90s (which IIRC either preceded or overlapped with the Clone Saga) said that the Alicia that Johnny married was a Skrull impostor and that negated some 10 years worth of stories and subplots. But people got away with that because a) Fantastic Four comics weren't top-sellers then, so nobody especially cared, b) It was a widely unpopular direction for the characters.

    There are other instances of similar nature you can point to, and it usually boils down to a referendum on the original stories and the pre-existing continuity.

    The failure of the Clone Saga is a judgment on the great worth and lasting value of the continuity before it, and its failure is a total condemnation of the concept, since it made a radical gamble, went all-in, and came out a cropper. And the mess it made, 25 years later, casts into relief the overall weakness of Spider-Man from 1994-2019 compared to 1962-1994, regardless of the peaks and valleys that are there in either section.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    What you're talking about here is simply the effects of time. It was easy to maintain a certain level of consistency of continuity for the first couple of decades of ASM.
    That implies that all Marvel titles in a similar timeline maintained a similar level of consistency before dropping off. This isn't true at all. If you compare ASM to other titles published concurrently,
    -- Fantastic Four had a major peak in the '60s until Kirby left. Then it fell into a slump across the '70s before John Byrne's run in the '80s.
    -- The Mighty Thor likewise a peak during Kirby's run, then a drop-off until Simonson in the '80s.
    -- The X-Men were a failing title that got canceled and went into reprints before reaching a major peak in the late 70s to the early 90s, going from Marvel's lowest title to its biggest title.
    -- The Avengers were also mediocre and at a low ebb in that period.
    -- Daredevil was near cancellation until Frank Miller arrived in the '80s, and was consistently maintained by Ann Nocenti until declining when she left.

    ASM was far and away Marvel's most consistent title in that period. For someone who keeps rebuking me for saying "Spider-Man sells no matter what", I should think that you would be cautious for making statements like consistency inevitably drops off.

    If the Clone Saga didn't do it, something else would have.
    "If I didn't rob you, someone else would have" is not exactly admissible in terms of defense. By this logic, I mean 9/11 attackers could argue, "Look we pulled off an attack that your security didn't predict or anticipate. If we didn't do it someone else would have".

    Point being, that once you get past a certain point, continuity is not going to be smooth and perfect and satisfying to all and you just can't expect it to be.
    Spider-Man's now 57 years old. The period of 1962-1994 is overall smooth, on the realistic side and measured. So a greater part of his publication history has an integrity that the part succeeding it does not have. So it's not a good argument that this would have happened inevitably.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Vulture was never killed off. He was just really sick.
    It was written as a death scene. ASM #63's omniscient narrator even says that he "died while in prison, in issue #48... or, so we thought..!"

    Within the story both Spider-Man and Blackie Drago believed the original Vulture to be dead.

    He was killed off for realsies and his survival was a retcon.

  11. #41
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Vulture was never killed off. He was just really sick.

    Although other characters had clearly returned from the dead well before the Clone Saga. Hammerhead & Doctor Octopus survived a nuclear explosion. Mysterio faked his death off-panel. Black Cat "died" twice in her first three stories.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    It was written as a death scene. ASM #63's omniscient narrator even says that he "died while in prison, in issue #48... or, so we thought..!"

    Within the story both Spider-Man and Blackie Drago believed the original Vulture to be dead.

    He was killed off for realsies and his survival was a retcon.
    Any situation where a body isn’t found, where we are told off panel someone died, and so on doesn’t count as death in a superhero story. By this logic, any time Joker falls somewhere, gets blown up and so on counts as death when in context it’s always intended as and taken by readers in the spirit of “we’ll meet again”.

    There’s a difference between that and George Stacy dying on panel and getting a funeral.

    In superhero comics, no body = still alive. That’s the convention you work within whereas undoing an actual death is breaking the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Your view that clones aren't really humans probably makes clone stories more thematically useful because of the philosophical questions about their rights.
    The point is the story is not raising that. It’s not really about that.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Any situation where a body isn’t found, where we are told off panel someone died, and so on doesn’t count as death in a superhero story. By this logic, any time Joker falls somewhere, gets blown up and so on counts as death when in context it’s always intended as and taken by readers in the spirit of “we’ll meet again”.

    There’s a difference between that and George Stacy dying on panel and getting a funeral.

    In superhero comics, no body = still alive. That’s the convention you work within whereas undoing an actual death is breaking the rules.
    Vulture's death was written as a death, not a villain mysteriously disappearing in an explosion or falling into the river. The omniscient narrator in #48 says that he's near death, the doctor says that he has less than an hour to live. In #63 the omniscient narrator says that we saw him die in #48 - "or, so we thought" - confirming that the scene in #48 was meant to be read as a death.

    The way Marvel comics were written back then, it can be said with near certainty that Lee & Romita weren't planning 15 months ahead. The intention of the story was clear - kill off the old Vulture, bring in a younger, tougher Vulture.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Vulture's death was written as a death, not a villain mysteriously disappearing in an explosion or falling into the river. The omniscient narrator in #48 says that he's near death, the doctor says that he has less than an hour to live. In #63 the omniscient narrator says that we saw him die in #48 - "or, so we thought" - confirming that the scene in #48 was meant to be read as a death.

    The way Marvel comics were written back then, it can be said with near certainty that Lee & Romita weren't planning 15 months ahead. The intention of the story was clear - kill off the old Vulture, bring in a younger, tougher Vulture.
    The thing is we don’t actually see Vulture die on page and panel. That’s what counts and matters. End of discussion. Whereas we saw Foswell die on page in another Lee Romita issue.

    If Romita wanted to kill Toomes he would have done so.

    My sense is that Lee might have wanted to kill vulture but Romita said no because he would have been extremely reluctant to kill off a Ditko rogue. He said multiple times that he, especially n his early years, saw himself as a placeholder for Ditko’s story and creations so the idea of killing one of Ditko’s earliest rogues and replacing him with his own legacy would not have agreed with him.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The thing is that could have gone over well if it was not the case that 1975-1994 is the peak of Spider-Man's sales and a defining period.
    No, the quality of that period doesn't matter - it's the amount of time.

    People would be just as outraged if, say, the last twenty years were suddenly said not to star the real Peter.

    That's long enough to encompass many fan's entire reading history - far too much time for people to be ok with not having been following the "real" Peter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The failure of the Clone Saga is a judgment on the great worth and lasting value of the continuity before it, and its failure is a total condemnation of the concept, since it made a radical gamble, went all-in, and came out a cropper. And the mess it made, 25 years later, casts into relief the overall weakness of Spider-Man from 1994-2019 compared to 1962-1994, regardless of the peaks and valleys that are there in either section.
    The Clone Saga was not well conceived, period. Had they stuck to their guns and just went for it, maybe - just maybe - they could have pulled it off and won people over. We'll never know.

    But the supposed "weakness of Spider-Man from 1994-2019 compared to 1962-1994" has nothing to do with the Clone Saga.

    It has much more to do with the fact that it's hard to compete with a period that was so formative that it had creators like Lee, Ditko, Romita Sr., Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Roger Stern and that it laid the groundwork for everything that came after.

    Is there any comic where the very best work - work that vaulted over the impact of its most iconic eras - came four or five decades in? No.

    Doesn't mean that quality runs aren't still there but it's unfair to compare them with the earlier, groundbreaking runs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    That implies that all Marvel titles in a similar timeline maintained a similar level of consistency before dropping off. This isn't true at all. If you compare ASM to other titles published concurrently,
    -- Fantastic Four had a major peak in the '60s until Kirby left. Then it fell into a slump across the '70s before John Byrne's run in the '80s.
    -- The Mighty Thor likewise a peak during Kirby's run, then a drop-off until Simonson in the '80s.
    -- The X-Men were a failing title that got canceled and went into reprints before reaching a major peak in the late 70s to the early 90s, going from Marvel's lowest title to its biggest title.
    -- The Avengers were also mediocre and at a low ebb in that period.
    -- Daredevil was near cancellation until Frank Miller arrived in the '80s, and was consistently maintained by Ann Nocenti until declining when she left.

    ASM was far and away Marvel's most consistent title in that period. For someone who keeps rebuking me for saying "Spider-Man sells no matter what", I should think that you would be cautious for making statements like consistency inevitably drops off.
    For one, what we're talking about consistency in maintaining a cohesive continuity. As time goes on, that sort of thing is much harder to keep a handle on.

    Whether it's Avengers or Spider-Man or The X-Men or Daredevil or any character or line of books - keeping track of twenty years' worth of continuity is a good deal easier than keeping track of fifty years or more. After that much time passes, the cracks are going to show, no matter what.

    As for consistency in quality, ASM has been blessed with one great creative team after another with very few outright duds. Whether it was just that Spidey attracted better talent or that the character has always brought out the best in creators, ASM has had a much better record of maintaining its quality than other titles. That's just a fact.

    Spider-Man doesn't always sell because it's Spider-Man. He sells because, more often than not, ASM has been one of the most - if not the most - reliable titles at Marvel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    "If I didn't rob you, someone else would have" is not exactly admissible in terms of defense. By this logic, I mean 9/11 attackers could argue, "Look we pulled off an attack that your security didn't predict or anticipate. If we didn't do it someone else would have".
    Your analogy frames the actions of the creators involved in the Clone Saga as terrorists deliberately visiting harm on a character and a comic.

    That's not what happened.

    They simply told a story that got away from them and, in the end, just didn't work.

    It didn't accomplish what it initially set out to do and also didn't come up with a new reason to justify itself.

    But telling a story that some fans don't like isn't a destructive act. Even if someone liked twenty years or so of a comic and suddenly didn't like the next five or so, that doesn't mean the comic was ruined, it just means that this storyline or era isn't appealing to them. I'm not a fan of the Clone Sage but it didn't ruin a thing about Spider-Man for me. It's just not my era.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Spider-Man's now 57 years old. The period of 1962-1994 is overall smooth, on the realistic side and measured. So a greater part of his publication history has an integrity that the part succeeding it does not have. So it's not a good argument that this would have happened inevitably.
    But it is and it would have. Once enough stories have accumulated and the continuity is so top-heavy, it's going to become harder to keep telling satisfying stories that also maintain continuity while also keeping a desired status quo. The task of meeting all these demands inevitably becomes more difficult with time.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The thing is we don’t actually see Vulture die on page and panel. That’s what counts and matters. End of discussion.
    We didn't see Uncle Ben or Bucky die on page and panel.

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