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  1. #1
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    Default ~30 years later, where do YOU stand on the Peter David/Erik Larsen feud?

    First, for those unfamiliar, a timeline of events. Apologies for the vagaries and guesses, I don't remember the exact dates of everything and didn't want to do hours of research for a message board post:

    December 1991 - May 1992
    In Spider-Man #18-23, Erik Larsen writes and draws "The Revenge of the Sinister Six," a storyline that sees, among other things, Dr Octopus upgrade his mechanical arms to adamantium and easily defeat the Hulk.

    Later in 1992
    Seeking more money and control over their creations, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, and six additional creators leave Marvel Comics to form Image Comics.

    Still later in 1992
    Todd McFarlane makes a comment about him and the other creators "holding back" while they were at Marvel and keeping their best ideas in reserve.

    August 1992
    The Incredible Hulk #396, written by Peter David, is published. The comic opens with a sequence featuring Dr. Octopus and the Hulk. Some highlights of the encounter, emphasis is in the original text and not added by me:

    - On page 4, Ock grabs Hulk in a similar manner to the way he did in Larsen's story. He pulls on Ock's arms hand-over-hand to reel him into close range.

    Hulk: The last time we met, doctor, I feel I was robbed. Petty larceny, as it were.

    - On page 6, Hulk knocks out Ock by flicking him with a single finger.
    - On page 8, Hulk has a conversation with the Punisher about not harming the now incapacitated Ock.

    Punisher: That's pretty sporting of you...considering word is that he beat you badly last time.
    Hulk: Last time...I was holding back.
    Punisher: "Holding back?"
    Hulk: Yes, waiting for a better opportunity to really cut loose.
    Punisher: Sounds like you're trying to save your image.

    Circa 1992, not sure if before or after the above Hulk issue
    Erik Larsen authors the "Name Withheld" letter, in which he attempts to clarify Todd's "holding back" comments. After brief speculation over who wrote the letter, Larsen publicly confirms he is the author.

    Late 1992/Early 1993
    In response to the Name Withheld letter, Peter David writes a letter to Larsen's comic, The Savage Dragon. Larsen publishes the letter, along with a lengthy response in which he defends his points in the Name Withheld letter and takes issue with the events of Incredible Hulk #396. This prompts another response from David, which Larsen again publishes in The Savage Dragon along with his reply.

    AFAIK there were no further altercations between the two, and they've done their best to play nice in the years since.

    So, back to the original question....with the benefit of ~28 years of hindsight, what do you make of all this? I've always been firmly in the camp that Larsen was (mostly) in the right, and that David's actions in Hulk #396 were petty, harmful to Ock's character development, and bewildering to the average reader. I would also argue that this kind of thing is actually quite typical of PAD's Hulk run, which takes constant detours into pointless cultural references and blunt "satire" about the comics industry, all of which pulls the reader out of the story and makes for a lousy experience--but that's another post altogether

    Grant

  2. #2
    Fantastic Member Doombot's Avatar
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    I didn't know about this drama at all, but I did love the Revenge of the Sinister Six arc when I was a kid. I still have those books.

  3. #3
    Uncanny Member XPac's Avatar
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    I don't necessarily think writers needed to air their dirty laundry in the actual comics.

    That said, I didn't buy Doc Oc easily beating Hulk even with adamantium arms. Really, Hulk likely just needed to clap his hands together to beat Doc Oc at any point.

    But despite that, things probably got pettier than they needed to. Characters job in fights in comics all the time. It shouldn't be that big a deal.

  4. #4
    Fantastic Member Doombot's Avatar
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    Could you imagine this level of salt today? Characters get jobbed on a monthly basis.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    I think it's a case where both people were in the right, and a case where a creative issue got mixed with a professional issue.

    PAD was in the right to object to Hulk being jobbed by Doctor Octopus. As the lead-writer on Hulk, which he was elevating from low-seller to high, he does have a significant voice who should be respected on this.

    At the same time, PAD was wrong to use stuff Erik Larsen was saying professionally into an inter-character dispute. That conflating doesn't help.

    Still as a fan...this kind of stuff is always fun to read. Before social media, this was social media.

  6. #6
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    Larsen's stuff made for a better story, especially if we were supposed to buy this as Doc Ock being more dangerous than he had ever been before.

    While I can understand why David thought it was a bad idea, his jabs didn't really add anything to any of the characters.

    Usually though, I'm much more a fan of David than Larsen.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Riv86672's Avatar
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    Well, i've always treated this situation like i do having two friends IRL who dont get along;
    regardless of how they feel about each other, it has nothing to do w. me, and i wont take sides.

    That said, much like IRL, i do get a kick out of watching my friends snipe at each other. I'm only human.

    The below exchange was pretty fun. PAD came out with...



    ...and Larsen subtly replied with...



    Honestly, i bet they both just get a kick out of the 'drama'.
    Last edited by Riv86672; 04-21-2020 at 10:44 AM.

  8. #8
    Relaunched, not rebooted! SJNeal's Avatar
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    AFAIK there were no further altercations between the two, and they've done their best to play nice in the years since.
    Late 1998
    For some inexplicable reason, Larsen followed up PAD on the latter's successful Aquaman run at DC. He tore the book to the ground, character-assassinating Mera, and introducing some D-list supporting characters that stole way too much page time. The fact that he dismantled and sunk what was a relatively acclaimed run in short time always astounded me. I wasn't even aware of their feud until after the fact, but the conspiracy theorist in me says it was sabotage.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Riv86672's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJNeal View Post
    Late 1998
    For some inexplicable reason, Larsen followed up PAD on the latter's successful Aquaman run at DC. He tore the book to the ground, character-assassinating Mera, and introducing some D-list supporting characters that stole way too much page time. The fact that he dismantled and sunk what was a relatively acclaimed run in short time always astounded me. I wasn't even aware of their feud until after the fact, but the conspiracy theorist in me says it was sabotage.
    oh yeah, that was definitely on purpose.
    Larsen's in a good position in that there's no way PAD can ever get to write Savage Dragon, and return the favor!

  10. #10
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    PAD was right because Revenge of the Sinister Six is a terrible story.
    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    The world has changed, and so have I.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJNeal View Post
    Late 1998
    For some inexplicable reason, Larsen followed up PAD on the latter's successful Aquaman run at DC. He tore the book to the ground, character-assassinating Mera, and introducing some D-list supporting characters that stole way too much page time. The fact that he dismantled and sunk what was a relatively acclaimed run in short time always astounded me. I wasn't even aware of their feud until after the fact, but the conspiracy theorist in me says it was sabotage.
    Disagree. I agree that his run sucked, but not that it was intentional. Larsen was also trying to write Wolverine and Nova and write and draw Savage Dragon all simultaneously. He's admitted he got in way over his head and wound up dropping the ball on all four books. And I think he'd be the first to admit that he's not the greatest pure writer--he's much better when he gets to do both.

  12. #12
    Benefactor / Malefactor H-E-D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockgrant View Post
    Disagree. I agree that his run sucked, but not that it was intentional. Larsen was also trying to write Wolverine and Nova and write and draw Savage Dragon all simultaneously. He's admitted he got in way over his head and wound up dropping the ball on all four books. And I think he'd be the first to admit that he's not the greatest pure writer--he's much better when he gets to do both.
    Having seen Larsen's art, I'm not sure if that's true.

  13. #13
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-E-D View Post
    Having seen Larsen's art, I'm not sure if that's true.
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  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-E-D View Post
    Having seen Larsen's art, I'm not sure if that's true.
    Lol I'm not a huge fan of his art either. When he's paired with a talented inker, his work can be decent. But generally his pencils are too sketchy for my tastes. My point was that Larsen is better when he writes and draws vs. when he only writes, and I definitely stand by that

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