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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetengine View Post
    Jack you say that the Clone Saga killed the progression but frankly could that just be the time period itself? By the 90s stuff was slowing down for everyone as people started realizing at a corporate level that if the characters stay in limbo you can sell them forever
    They realized that long, long before. It's just that it was easier to maintain the illusion that characters were aging in semi-real time for the first twenty years or so.

    Once you get thirty years or more into these character's lives and they're still hovering around the same age range, the illusion is inevitably broken and you just have to accept that these characters don't age in "Marvel Time" so much as, after a certain point, they just don't age at all.

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetengine View Post
    Jack you say that the Clone Saga killed the progression but frankly could that just be the time period itself?
    This is just another variant of 'If we didn't s--t the bed someone else would have', that's irrelevant to the issue that The Clone Saga absolutely is the first to do so and is the beginning of the point where 616 Spider-Man became just like any other comics continuity.

    I am not a fan of the song "We didn't start the fire". I am sure you can scan a song with comic references of like nature, about all kinds of stuff happening in comics history and end "Peter slaps Mary Jane/Jackal wants to genocide/Norman Osborn is back again/I can't take it anymore" and so on.

    By the 90s stuff was slowing down
    How exactly?

    ...for everyone as people started realizing at a corporate level that if the characters stay in limbo you can sell them forever
    In the words of Alan Moore:

    "You see, somewhere along the line, one of the newer breed of Marvel editors ... had come up with one of those incredibly snappy sounding and utterly stupid little pieces of folk-wisdom that some editors seem to like pulling out of the hat from time to time... 'Readers donít want change. Readers only want the illusion of change.' Like I said, it sounds perceptive and well-reasoned on first listening. It is also, in my opinion, one of the most specious and retarded theories that it has ever been my misfortune to come across ... If readers are that averse to change then how come Marvel ever got to be so popular in the first place, back when constant change and innovation was the order of the day ... Perhaps I could have a little more sympathy for pronouncements like this if there was some solid commercial reasoning behind them. If, for example, Marvelís books suddenly started selling significantly more during the period when this ďLetís-Not-Rock-The-BoatĒ policy was introduced...This is not the case. Marvelís best selling title ... sells something like 300,000 copies, and it is regarded as a staggering success. Listen, in a country the size of America, 300,000 copies is absolutely pathetic. Back in the early fifties it was not unknown for even a comparatively minor-league publication ... to clear six million copies every month. Even in the early days of the Marvel empire, any comic that was selling only 300,000 copies would have probably been cause for grave concern amongst those in charge of itís production, and indeed it would have most likely been cancelled. These days, itís the best weíve got.
    ó Alan Moore, Blinded By The Hype: An Affectionate Character Assassination, 1983 Essay

    By the time of the 90s, and thanks in part to the Clone Saga, the numbers dropped even lower and stayed that way since then.



    In either case, Marvel did not consistently practise the Illusion of Change. Jim Shooter's era was far more progressive than what came before and after. Also the period of greatest sales.

    http://zak-site.com/Great-American-N..._universe.html

  3. #78
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    A Short Defense of the Clone Saga:

    I believe someone earlier in the thread has already brought up themes of stories involving clones at a general level. These questions -- Who am I? What is my place in the world? Do I have a destiny? -- were a compelling part of Ben Reilly's reappearance.

    Beyond that, though -- and even as a kid, I think I knew this: there's something special about a clone of PETER PARKER (as opposed to Wolverine or Batman or whoever) that really intrigued me, and I think it's the clone themes added on to the foundation of Spidey's greatest message, "With great power comes great responsibility."

    What Ben feels responsible for is of great interest to me, as is very notion of a Peter who can't live the life of Peter. The nobility of Ben always appealed to me even more than Peter's due to his status as a clone.

    You can perhaps rightfully argue that such things are not necessary to Spidey comics, or can be done in different and/or better ways.

    But for me, Ben Reilly is the embodiment of a fantastic premise -- a sort of philosophical alleyway in the history of Spidey, and one I wish was explored more often and more effectively. A Scarlet Spiders or Web of the Spider-Men monthly that examined the existential underpinnings of life as a Spider-Clone will always get my money in a heartbeat.

    -Pav, who didn't even mention Kaine's inherent coolness...
    Last edited by Pav; 12-31-2019 at 05:14 PM.
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  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    By the time of the 90s, and thanks in part to the Clone Saga, the numbers dropped even lower and stayed that way since then.

    In either case, Marvel did not consistently practise the Illusion of Change. Jim Shooter's era was far more progressive than what came before and after. Also the period of greatest sales.
    Well, it was the '80s. And as robust as we like to think of that decade as being, comics in the '80s still sold a fraction of the amount that they did decades earlier.

    As entertainment options increase and the culture becomes more fractured, it's unavoidable that comics should experience attrition in the way that other forms of entertainment have.

    Shooter presided over a time when most neighborhoods didn't have cable yet, when VCR's weren't in every household yet, when grabbing a comic at the local 7-11 was a viable entertainment option for young people.

    When people can pull up any movie they want on their phone, when they can fall down a YouTube rabbit hole, when they can stream endless content from Hulu, Netflix, Disney +, etc., among the dozens of other modern distractions that are literally at everyone's fingertips, comics represent a much harder sell.

    The downturn of overall sales from the 80s and 90s to now has nothing to do with how progressive or not the books are or have been over the last few decades and much more to do with entertainment options having expanded exponentially since then.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    But for me, Ben Reilly is the embodiment of a fantastic premise -- a sort of philosophical alleyway in the history of Spidey, and one I wish was explored more often and more effectively. A Scarlet Spiders or Web of the Spider-Men monthly that examined the existential underpinnings of life as a Spider-Clone will always get my money in a heartbeat.
    I got that when I read Miles Morales comics, so I can relate to this. There Bendis was making the argument that Spider-Man in the 21st Century, if he was a working-class poor kid in New York, wouldn't be a white guy.

    There was a social theme I can relate to there. Whereas nothing like that exists with Ben, and indeed cannot exist with Ben.

    Still that's a good argument. I generally don't care for Ben, but I also don't dislike him, my problem is more with the Clone Saga overall and its deleterious effect on continuity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    As entertainment options increase and the culture becomes more fractured, it's unavoidable that comics should experience attrition in the way that other forms of entertainment have.
    And the way to meet that is to provide value. If the stories people read count and add up then readers will feel rewarded for investing in storylines. That's what defined Marvel's regime, it's what defined Lee and Kirby and Ditko's work in the '60s. Without that there would be no Marvel Comics. Whereas in comics since the 90s, there's no real value and interest anymore. And the Clone Saga is one of the culprits and the gravediggers responsible for that change for the worse.

    Shooter presided over a time when most neighborhoods didn't have cable yet, when VCR's weren't in every household yet, when grabbing a comic at the local 7-11 was a viable entertainment option for young people.
    In other words, "Comics sell no matter what when there's no competing media around". Frank Miller on Daredevil, Simonson on Thor, Byrne on Fantastic Four, Stern on ASM and The Avengers, Claremont on X-Men, Michelinie on Iron Man are in fact just as good as any period on those titles, and just as good as the runs in the 90s. The Clone Saga is just as good as Stern's run. The reason Stern's run is well remembered is because people back home didn't have VCR and other stuff to distract them. Jim Shooter who worked his a-- off introducing professionalism, royalty payments, and maintaining a command on continuity and consistency has the same value as any office copyboy.

    Comics sold the most in the '50s, and in that decade the biggest selling comics on the market wasn't even superhero titles. It was Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comics. Superhero comics declined sharply in the 40s and early 50s and stuff like EC Comics and others had their heyday and commanded the mainstream. It was Marvel Comics who in the '60s played a major part in superhero comics selling big again.

    Superhero comics don't automatically sell or do well just because of competing media. There's zero historical evidence for this argument.

    When people can pull up any movie they want on their phone,
    Which didn't happen in the 90s when the Second Clone Saga was published and when the industry sunk.

    when they can fall down a YouTube rabbit hole,
    Didn't happen until the mid-2000s.

    when they can stream endless content from Hulu, Netflix, Disney y+, etc.,
    Didn't happen until the 2010s.

    These examples are irrelevant to the mid-90s when the Second Clone Saga was published.

    Despite all these distractions stuff like Harry Potter sold and found an audience as did much YA fiction. Harry Potter continues to find new audiences and readers.

    And comics are still published it's just that for the most part, superhero comics don't sell because they don't have value for a lot of people anymore:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robsalk...heroes-behind/

    The downturn of overall sales from the 80s and 90s to now has nothing to do with how progressive or not the books are or have been over the last few decades and much more to do with entertainment options having expanded exponentially since then.
    The reality is that the quality of comics writing was simply higher in the 80s than the 90s. This is an absolute fact agreed upon by a wide consensus. To say that the downturn has nothing to do with quality is to say that the second Clone Saga is qualitatively the same as Roger Stern, Defalco, Michelinie's runs, or you know Ditko and John Romita Sr's runs. The 90s was a major comedown for Daredevil after the Golden age of Miller and Nocenti, but by your reasoning, the comics of the 90s was just as good as before and the reason for its weak sales has nothing to do with it.

    It's true that not all good writing gets rewarded by the marketplace...i.e. the race is not to the swift, to the wise, to the young and so on. It's also true that certain titles and others will sell no matter what. Superman comics for instance were consistent top sellers in the Silver Age and early Bronze Age even if the writing and art were mostly mediocre and rarely above average.

    But on such a wide level and scale and for a sustained period at that, then I do think the quality counts.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    The downturn of overall sales from the 80s and 90s to now has nothing to do with how progressive or not the books are or have been over the last few decades and much more to do with entertainment options having expanded exponentially since then.
    This.

    You can notice a decline with comics as more and more entertainment options began appearing (most of which existed in the 80s, but didn't become affordable for everyone until the 90s). If you look hard enough, each decade in comic publication history had its fair share of duds. So the argument that poorly written stories is to blame doesn't really fly as they've always existed.

    Now, does it mean it wasn't a contributing factor? Of course not. But it has only ever been a part of the problem and not the entire picture. As soon as home video games, cable and the internet arrived, comics were suddenly competing for the dollar of kids and teenagers everywhere. The fact comic prices started creeping up higher in the 90s and started vanishing from newsstands and spinner racks also didn't help.

    Okay, so the Clone Saga isn't considered a bright spot in Spidey's history. I can agree with that as it devolved into absolute dreck the longer they dragged it out. But it didn't kill off Spider-man as he has continued to be published. Every character has had less than stellar periods and have endured.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    If you look hard enough, each decade in comic publication history had its fair share of duds. So the argument that poorly written stories is to blame doesn't really fly as they've always existed.
    The 80s was the decade of Miller’s Daredevil, Sinonson’s Thor, Claremont’s X-men, Stern’s Avengers and ASM, Defalco’s ASM, Byrne’s FF.

    It would be hard to argue there’s anything in the 90s as good as just one of those.

    And Harry Potter became big despite having no pictures and competing against the same media.

    Okay, so the Clone Saga isn't considered a bright spot in Spidey's history. I can agree with that as it devolved into absolute dreck the longer they dragged it out. But it didn't kill off Spider-man as he has continued to be published. Every character has had less than stellar periods and have endured.
    Until the 90s Spider-Man never had a bad decade compared to any other marvel title that started in the 60s.

    There was no period that was as bad as the second saga before.

    25 years later that much can be said confidently. Trying to deny that, which nobody seriously does, is futile.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    In other words, "Comics sell no matter what when there's no competing media around". Frank Miller on Daredevil, Simonson on Thor, Byrne on Fantastic Four, Stern on ASM and The Avengers, Claremont on X-Men, Michelinie on Iron Man are in fact just as good as any period on those titles, and just as good as the runs in the 90s. The Clone Saga is just as good as Stern's run. The reason Stern's run is well remembered is because people back home didn't have VCR and other stuff to distract them. Jim Shooter who worked his a-- off introducing professionalism, royalty payments, and maintaining a command on continuity and consistency has the same value as any office copyboy.

    Superhero comics don't automatically sell or do well just because of competing media. There's zero historical evidence for this argument.
    It's a good thing I'm not making that argument.

    You're trying to blame The Clone Saga for the downturn of the industry. I'm saying that you can't put that all on a single storyline because attrition is inevitable and it is pervasive. I know first hand that the Clone Saga turned away a lot of fans because, unlike yourself, I was actually one of them.

    But here's the thing: Marvel isn't the only publisher in the industry. When the Clone Saga helped make Marvel almost unreadable to me, I spent more money on other publishers, who were putting out better stuff at the time.

    The reasons why comic sales have declined across the industry - not just at Marvel and not just with superhero comics - over the last several decades are complex and can't be laid at the feet of one bloated storyline.

    Modern runs like Waid's Daredevil, Aaron's Thor, Hickman's Fantastic Four and Avengers (and now, in its early stages, his X-Men) and, yes, even Dan Slott's Spider-Man have been every bit as acclaimed as the classic 80s runs you mentioned. If they had existed in an earlier time, they might have been massive sellers, breaking industry records.

    Instead they were highly successful by the yardstick of today's market. It's just a different world now.

    You can call out the Clone Saga for many things but the fact is it didn't stop great comics from continuing to be made in the 90s and beyond. It's not the villain to be blamed for a shrinking readership, just a poor storyline - that still managed to garner some lifelong fans, as we see on this thread.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    It's a good thing I'm not making that argument.
    You were saying that the sales decline as result of the clone saga is not due to its quality. You were saying that the blame lied elsewhere.

    You're trying to blame The Clone Saga for the downturn of the industry.
    I said that it marked a decline in the integrity of the continuity and played a part in decline in values of storytelling. I was talking about the 90s in particular.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    You were saying that the sales decline as result of the clone saga is not due to its quality. You were saying that the blame lied elsewhere.
    I said nothing about the Clone Saga's quality or lack thereof in relation to sales.

    I simply said that pointing to the sales in the Shooter era doesn't tell the whole story.

    You can't use sales numbers from thirty years ago as a bat to beat today's comics. There's an enormous amount of quality out there now, maybe more overall across all publishers than there was in the '80s. That none of it sells at the same levels as books from Shooter's time is not because of one dud ASM storyline.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I said that it marked a decline in the integrity of the continuity and played a part in decline in values of storytelling. I was talking about the 90s in particular.
    It was a lame storyline that ran for far too long during a time when much of the Marvel line was adrift. That's all.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    You can't use sales numbers from thirty years ago as a bat to beat today's comics.
    The Second Clone Saga was published 25 years ago. It’s not today’s comics. Comparing it to the decade before is more than fair.

  12. #87
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    It just turned 2020 overs here.

    So happy new year to everyone and all your family.

    Here’s to a good decade of Spider-Man.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    The downturn of overall sales from the 80s and 90s to now has nothing to do with how progressive or not the books are or have been over the last few decades and much more to do with entertainment options having expanded exponentially since then.
    Also the comic speculator boom and bust and Marvel's decision to exclusively self-distribute via their purchase of Heroes World Distribution. Lots of comic stores went out of business.

  14. #89
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    Clone Saga is not going to be hailed as a masterpiece anytime soon so braying constantly about the fact that it's a bad storyline that upended continuity is not saying something new or profound.

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Here¬’s to a good decade of Spider-Man.
    Cheers to that!

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