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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Either case, the fact is that Marvel themselves have chosen the hill that "teenage" means high school/classwork and so on. You can see it by Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man, the Marvel Spider-Man cartoons of the last decade, the MCU Spider-Man. Lee-Ditko's Spider-Man is less "teenage" than that, evidenced by the fact that Jonah and Betty have far more diminished roles in those versions than before.

    Marvel's misinterpretations however limiting it is (not to mention condescending) has had real-time effects for some 20 years now and it's impossible to ignore or get past that when considering the question because Marvel bet the bank that their idea of teenage Spider-Man was at the heart of the Lee-Ditko era and if you look at it closely that's just not true. If you look at the Lee-Ditko run and break it down it's not in the least bit surprising the character grew up not only by the end of the run but continued to do so long after that. There wasn't any break between Ditko and the later writers in that respect.
    Like I said, I don't know if Lee/Ditko Betty is a good example since that's the only teenage Betty pre-MCU. It's not believable for a working-class 16-year old with no connections to get a job as a secretary at The Bugle anymore. Not if we're supposed to take The Bugle as a serious, not-ghetto newspaper, which we need to for the libel against Spidey to work. So future versions that featured a high school Peter pretty much had to age Betty up and give her a diminished role for that reason (or in the case of the MCU, they kept her a teen but removed her from The Bugle... most other versions don't feel the need to keep her a teen because Peter has had far more interesting romantic interests than Betty). And once Betty is no longer a romantic option, Peter has less incentive to always be at The Bugle besides going in to drop his pictures and get his cheque.

    Even in 616, Peter starts spending less time there and around Jameson once he is in college and no longer dating Betty (and also cuz less villains are attacking the Bugle post-Lee/Ditko, but I digress). Yeah, they're still there, but not like before where it was almost the main set.


    That's true. The thing about Peter Parker is that he was a working-class superhero and a teenage superhero and both at the same time and Ditko emphasized both aspects. The more recent takes which emphasizes the "teenage" aspect downplays the working-class aspects to the point of it being non-existent.
    Agreed. Although I don't think MCU Spider-Man and Disney XD Spider-Man "overemphasize" the teenage aspect as much as they're caricatures of what a teen is. Real teenagers would relate more to Lee/Ditko Peter, Ultimate Peter, and Spectacular Peter because they feel more like real people. At least I know I did.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Like I said, I don't know if Lee/Ditko Betty is a good example since that's the only teenage Betty pre-MCU.
    Correct, though to me MCU-Betty isn't really a character in any sense so much as a walking gag (though wonderfully played by Angourie Rice who was a delight in the movie The Nice Guys).

    It's not believable for a working-class 16-year old with no connections to get a job as a secretary at The Bugle anymore.
    Well a secretary in the 1960s is a job that wouldn't require much in terms of resume building, and considering Jonah is well, Jonah it would have had high turnover in any rate owing to his temper tantrums. We see that in the end of the L-D era where Betty briefly leaves the Bugle and Jonah has to get secretaries and everyone leaves shortly because of Jameson's a--hole nature with Betty being the only one who can tolerate him. Today it would take the aspect of an internship, I suppose. The sympathetic side is that Jameson might have known about Betty's home life and given her work to help her out.

    Even in 616, Peter starts spending less time there and around Jameson once he is in college and no longer dating Betty (and also cuz less villains are attacking the Bugle post-Lee/Ditko, but I digress). Yeah, they're still there, but not like before where it was almost the main set.
    The Bugle is still a huge part of the stories after Ditko during the Romita era. Like Jameson is still a heavily recurring character and you have characters like Robbie Robertson introduced to make the Bugle more important and with his son Randy a classmate of Peter's gang, Robertson tends to feature quite often and become one of Peter's substitute Dads (especially in Conway's run). Of course in the college era, Gwen and Harry Osborn become important, as does George Stacy.

    Like ASM#50-52 (Spider-Man No More) has Jameson as the co-protagonist of that story and that's maybe the most influential Lee-Romita story arc.

    Agreed. Although I don't think MCU Spider-Man and Disney XD Spider-Man "overemphasize" the teenage aspect as much as they're caricatures of what a teen is. Real teenagers would relate more to Lee/Ditko Peter, Ultimate Peter, and Spectacular Peter because they feel more like real people. At least I know I did.
    True.

    I am working on a follow-up that talks a bit more about what teenage life might have meant to Lee-Ditko (and also Kirby) at the time.

    It's kind of astonishing but when you read the development of Spider-Man step-by-step you realize that Lee-Kirby made the decision to have Spider-Man start as a teenager and when Ditko came in, he had to work with what's given to him so it's interesting to consider if aging up Peter was Ditko's way of asserting and remoulding Peter from the concept handed to him.
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  3. #18
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naz View Post
    Tom Breevort wrote complete nonsense. Spiderman sold from 1968/1969 to 1994/1995 consistently until that foolish clone saga storyline. He seems to forget we do not live in the 1960s and 1970s. I cannot understand how Tom came to the conculsion that spiderman is about youth. As someone who read in the 90s as teenager it was about a guy trying his best to hold his marriege, his jobs and fighting villains.
    Didn't Gerry Conway said he didn't really like Spidey getting married to MJ 'cause he also thought of the youth thing? Keep in mind Conway basically had MJ as his waifu, so if he really said that, then Breevort is hardly the only one believing in that.

    To a certain extent, this assessment is right, just not as extreme as Marvel likes to use it, Spidey, and early Marvel, was about time actually advancing, but that nonsense did stop, which's why Peter stayed in college for like 10 years, and he didn't even get to complete it and just left, and the whole marriage was more of fanservice because it was also happening on the newspaper, which's why it looks really awkward since at the time, Peter had more of a relationship with Felicia...

    My point is that Spidey's kinda about youth, he was never going to become 50 years old, he was just allowed to grow until a certain point and have semi relatable problems with that age, and the marriage was a really far step into how old he was allowed to be, since again, was basically just fanservice, fanservice that was interesting, but one Marvel wasn't a fan after they got over this "Hey, we synched two marriages" and realized "Oh shit now he has to stay married" and tried to undo it a bunch of times...

  4. #19
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    Didn't Gerry Conway said he didn't really like Spidey getting married to MJ 'cause he also thought of the youth thing? Keep in mind Conway basically had MJ as his waifu, so if he really said that, then Breevort is hardly the only one believing in that.
    Conway's a complex dude (a bit like Roger Stern) and he tends to say and do contradictory stuff. Also in the late 80s he went through a divorce (which he talks about in Comic Creators on Spider-Man) which made him not keen on doing married superheroes. At the same time he wrote Parallel Lives and many stories in Spectacular Spider-Man with a married Peter/MJ. So I don't think his opinions really count in terms of the marriage debate, for/against since many blame him for Mary Jane being the one, Howard Mackie said that the minute Gwen was bumped off Peter/MJ getting married was inevitable.

    Brevoort isn't the only one who believes that Spider-Man is about youth but he was the guy who wrote multiple posts putting those ideas together and making fact claims to support that, and he's a Marvel Editor who's been with the company for 30 years and counting, so his opinion has institutional favor more than Gerry Conway who basically would write Spider-Man in any era.

    To a certain extent, this assessment is right, just not as extreme as Marvel likes to use it, Spidey, and early Marvel, was about time actually advancing, but that nonsense did stop, which's why Peter stayed in college for like 10 years, and he didn't even get to complete it and just left,
    Peter did graduate college in ASM#185, and then went into grad school where he's been since then.

    ...and the whole marriage was more of fanservice because it was also happening on the newspaper, which's why it looks really awkward since at the time, Peter had more of a relationship with Felicia...
    Well that's not exactly the case. The Spider-Man titles at the time were all over the place if we are being real. If you follow the Spider-Man comics in that time, the Peter-Felicia thing hooking up again was the awkward thing since they had been off for a bit while Defalco-Frenz were moving Peter-MJ closer together until they got fired by Owsley who wanted Peter/Felicia back together (who nonetheless wrote a pretty tense relationship between Peter/MJ in SM-v.Wolverine).

    My point is that Spidey's kinda about youth, he was never going to become 50 years old,
    Batman and Superman are not gonna hit 50 either so it's not like growing up means Spider-Man's gonna hit 50, lol. For me it's a spectrum and not a horseshoe. Spider-Man growing up and not being about youth doesn't mean necessarily that he hits 70.

    "Hey, we synched two marriages"
    What exactly do you mean by this?

    and realized "Oh shit now he has to stay married" and tried to undo it a bunch of times...
    The fact is that the 7 years of the Michelinie run where they left them married sold better and was liked better than the stretch (Clone Saga Post Clone Saga) where they tried to undo it.

    PS: I'm a bit surprised to see you anti-marriage all of a sudden, I had a mind that you used to be pro-marriage in our previous exchanges.
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  5. #20
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Conway's a complex dude (a bit like Roger Stern) and he tends to say and do contradictory stuff. Also in the late 80s he went through a divorce (which he talks about in Comic Creators on Spider-Man) which made him not keen on doing married superheroes. At the same time he wrote Parallel Lives and many stories in Spectacular Spider-Man with a married Peter/MJ. So I don't think his opinions really count in terms of the marriage debate, for/against since many blame him for Mary Jane being the one, Howard Mackie said that the minute Gwen was bumped off Peter/MJ getting married was inevitable.
    I mentioned Conway more so because he may another guy at Marvel saying Spidey's more about youth than anything, the point about MJ is that he could end up prefering Peter being together with MJ via marriage but was at first against it 'cause "Spider-Man's about youth."

    Of course, that's assuming he really did say those things 'cause I have no idea where I got that from.

    Peter did graduate college in ASM#185, and then went into grad school where he's been since then.
    Well, that was 1978, so again, they really slowed down how time advances.

    Well that's not exactly the case. The Spider-Man titles at the time were all over the place if we are being real. If you follow the Spider-Man comics in that time, the Peter-Felicia thing hooking up again was the awkward thing since they had been off for a bit while Defalco-Frenz were moving Peter-MJ closer together until they got fired by Owsley who wanted Peter/Felicia back together (who nonetheless wrote a pretty tense relationship between Peter/MJ in SM-v.Wolverine).
    Yeah the comics at the time were a mess, and considering that Peter and Felicia had ended thing and then he marries MJ not that long after... Yeah lol.

    I mean we even had Peter still with Felicia more or less in ASM#288, then in ASM#290 he's like "Man I wanna marry MJ", that really does no favors in making the marriage happening in an organic way, almost looks like MJ is being his rebound once again thinking of it, though checking his satellite comics mitigates that somewhat, it's still too sudden.

    Batman and Superman are not gonna hit 50 either so it's not like growing up means Spider-Man's gonna hit 50, lol. For me it's a spectrum and not a horseshoe. Spider-Man growing up and not being about youth doesn't mean necessarily that he hits 70.
    Batman and Supes stay in that age so they're always at their peak and looking pretty, Spidey has this youth idea so ingrained on him that Marvel missed its point and now wants him as a teenager.

    What exactly do you mean by this?
    Stan Lee was marrying Peter and MJ in his newspaper stories and Marvel decided to synch it up with it happening for real in 616, y'know, kinda like how they did it with Scott and Jean with the 90's cartoon and 616 comic, and while I can't say how well that worked with X-Men, with Spidey it was pretty rushed.

    The fact is that the 7 years of the Michelinie run where they left them married sold better and was liked better than the stretch (Clone Saga Post Clone Saga) where they tried to undo it.
    Hey, point is Marvel didn't like it, whether it was liked or not by fans is besides the point, 'cause fans certainly weren't liking Clone Saga, and that disastrous trainwreck kept going and going and going... I don't agree with a lot of what Marvel does, I'm just mentioning how their mentality kinda works, or how I think it does at least.

    PS: I'm a bit surprised to see you anti-marriage all of a sudden, I had a mind that you used to be pro-marriage in our previous exchanges.
    I'm not exactly never pro-marriage to begin with, nor am I anti-marriage.

    To explain better how my head works about this: I don't ship, I find it to be a really silly thing that fans and writers do, and hell, I may even do anti-shipping if they fuck over a character or characters for the sake of making a ship work, or taking away focus from other stuff from a franchise I prefer.

    Not saying either of those cases are what the marriage does by the way, just explaining.

    I prefer Peter with MJ, because them being together brings out the best thing about both characters more often than not, MJ benefits far more from this than Peter does, but Peter also gets very nice benefits from the relationship since he actually gets someone to talk with and can help in her own way, who's also her own character and doesn't feel like she exists for the sake of being a supermodel trophy wife he has.

    Technically speaking, that makes me pro-marriage, but in actuality, it's just a means to an end, if the marriage made their characters worse, I would be against it, and if their characters could be just as good together or separated, then I would be indifferent to it, but I always get the feeling Peter works better with MJ as it gives some sort of balance between his personal life and hero life, specially compared to when Marvel tries another love interest who may or may not be an abusive bitch to give Spidey cheap drama, and MJ's definitely worse off without Peter with how much she becomes a bitch or non existent when that usually happens.

    As for me sounding anti-marriage, I honestly think the way it started is bad, similarly I think the way Spencer made Peter and MJ get back together was really, really bad ("Oh Peter I know I was being a colossal bitch to you just a few issues ago, but now I'm okay with you existing all of a sudden and we can get back together!", though at least ASM#10 made it a bit less bad by having MJ say that Flash's death made her think about her life, it still feels too sudden), so, in both cases, do I think that the relationship had more ups than downs? Yes. Do I think the way the marriage happened and the way Spencer got them back together was so lazy and poorly done (Specially Spencer's) it's actually kinda funny? Hell yes.

    So yeah, short version, marriage's just a means to an end for me, 'cause I believe it adds to Peter's and MJ's characters, in good ways, but I still find the way it started to be bad, though starting bad hardly means staying that way, as the marriage is evidence of.
    Last edited by Lukmendes; 09-19-2021 at 04:32 PM.

  6. #21
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    Well, that was 1978, so again, they really slowed down how time advances.
    But time did advance. Spider-Man grew slowly but he did grow up.

    Stan Lee was marrying Peter and MJ in his newspaper stories and Marvel decided to synch it up with it happening for real in 616, y'know, kinda like how they did it with Scott and Jean with the 90's cartoon and 616 comic, and while I can't say how well that worked with X-Men, with Spidey it was pretty rushed.
    Well with Scott and Jean, the way he walked out of Madelyne Pryor and their kid nuked the Scott/Jean marriage and reunion before it began.

    I'm not exactly never pro-marriage to begin with, nor am I anti-marriage.
    That makes sense, yeah I get what you mean. I am generally not a shipping guy myself but Peter/MJ is an exception for me because I do think it's essential or rather has become essential for the character especially in 616 Continuity.

    So yeah, short version, marriage's just a means to an end for me, 'cause I believe it adds to Peter's and MJ's characters, in good ways, but I still find the way it started to be bad, though starting bad hardly means staying that way, as the marriage is evidence of.
    The issue of how the marriage started is kind of inessential because if you look at any superhero marriage they are always abrupt things with little lead-up and build-in. It's one of those other things where Marvel Editors raise a non-existent fuss that wouldn't pass if you apply that consistently and it's not like they improved, like the Ororo/T'Challa marriage came a little out of nowhere for instance and that was promoted by Quesada at the time as a big deal, so from one side of the mouth he'd hype that and then from the other side he'd say Peter/MJ was rushed.

    The general rule is the more you build up to a wedding the less likely it will happen (Tom King's Batman/Catwoman is a case in point, as is Kitty/Colossus though they had a backup which didn't have a buildup though everyone welcomed it anyway). What counts is going forward with a married status-quo. And that's the gauntlet toss that the Wedding Annual did.
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    There's a lot of talk in the industry about comics fans becoming writers that they tend to write as fans. But arguably fans turned editors are maybe more damaging...because a writer has obviously some amount of largesse in their personal taste and intepretations but an editors has to be there for all consumers, and all demographics, and accept the fact that a different take on the character has been popular and sold well in the past.
    This has to be the best post I've read on here in ages. Sums up just how damaging some people can be when they assume the role of editor if they get stuck in a certain mindset. It's partly one of the reasons I want Brevoort gone.

  8. #23
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    But time did advance. Spider-Man grew slowly but he did grow up.
    Yeah, and like I said, he was allowed to grow to a point, even if he noticeably slowed down post high school, and marriage was kinda going too far on Marvel's eyes, as they only did it for fanservice, 'cause they want Spidey to be this "young everyman with relatable issues" crap, and marriage aged him up too much.

    Well with Scott and Jean, the way he walked out of Madelyne Pryor and their kid nuked the Scott/Jean marriage and reunion before it began.
    Right, there was that lol.

    There was also how after Jean died and her future self brainwashed Scott to date his rapist 'cause that saves the future for some reason... Yeah Scott's either fucking up or someone else's fucking him up I guess lol.

    That makes sense, yeah I get what you mean. I am generally not a shipping guy myself but Peter/MJ is an exception for me because I do think it's essential or rather has become essential for the character especially in 616 Continuity.
    I don't feel like it's that essential, more like, better to be there than not... Then again, I kinda have the same feeling about stuff like Peter working at the Bugle.

    Of course, only if done well, while I like Peter and MJ being together in 616, I don't really care about them in Sam Raimi's movies, as it felt that Peter and MJ were trying to get with this image they had of each other, instead of trying to be who the other person actually is... That and the movie's MJ's kinda eh even if I forgive how much she has to be saved, didn't really think the relationship brought much from them besides cheap drama too.

    The issue of how the marriage started is kind of inessential because if you look at any superhero marriage they are always abrupt things with little lead-up and build-in. It's one of those other things where Marvel Editors raise a non-existent fuss that wouldn't pass if you apply that consistently and it's not like they improved, like the Ororo/T'Challa marriage came a little out of nowhere for instance and that was promoted by Quesada at the time as a big deal, so from one side of the mouth he'd hype that and then from the other side he'd say Peter/MJ was rushed.
    I'm not really going to excuse Spidey in this just because everyone else fucks up, if Spidey is just another one on the pile for having a rushed speedrun into a marriage then I'm gonna say that I found the way they got into the marriage was bad.

    I'm also going to say that despite starting bad we got nice stuff, with Kraven Last Hunt being the easiest example, but I like to try to be fair, so the same way I praise Spider-Marriage if they succeed, I'm also taking shit with how badly it started, 'cause accepting that both the good and bad happened, and calling out when the bad happens, are both important, 'cause not calling out the bad, and making sure a company doesn't profit from the bad, is part of the reason why comics have such a decrease in writing quality.

    The general rule is the more you build up to a wedding the less likely it will happen (Tom King's Batman/Catwoman is a case in point, as is Kitty/Colossus though they had a backup which didn't have a buildup though everyone welcomed it anyway). What counts is going forward with a married status-quo. And that's the gauntlet toss that the Wedding Annual did.
    I'm not even saying it should have a long build up or whatever, going from Felicia to MJ so soon just looks weird, if Peter and MJ were actually dating at the time for a while then all of a sudden Peter says in one issue "Let's get married!" and MJ accepts and they're already getting married on the next issue, it wouldn't be as much of an issue as long as it felt "right".

    Also, man, it's hilarious how I managed to avoid both of those things you mentioned, X-Men Gold was really, really boring, like I didn't even know much about the stories they were ripping off, but I could still tell X-Men Gold was just, something with no inspiration or anything besides "Hey, Kitty's an awesome leader", so I dropped it long before that marriage didn't happen.

    As for Tom King's Batman, I dropped it in Batman#42 vol 3, since "Everybody loves Ivy" and some other stories before bored me and I thought Tom King's run wasn't worth it, so not only I dropped before the failed marriage, I dropped it right before The Gift happened, so just before the run got really bad lol.

    Guess at least in these specific situations I was lucky enough to avoid trainwrecks .

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Well a secretary in the 1960s is a job that wouldn't require much in terms of resume building, and considering Jonah is well, Jonah it would have had high turnover in any rate owing to his temper tantrums. We see that in the end of the L-D era where Betty briefly leaves the Bugle and Jonah has to get secretaries and everyone leaves shortly because of Jameson's a--hole nature with Betty being the only one who can tolerate him. Today it would take the aspect of an internship, I suppose. The sympathetic side is that Jameson might have known about Betty's home life and given her work to help her out.
    Even then, you would have to make her start out as a college student if it's going to be an internship. Spectacular Spider-Man reinvented her as a 19-year old and had Peter asks her out as a tribute to their relationship in Lee/Ditko's run, and that was the most they could do. Unless society radically changes, the story of a 16-year old Peter falling in love with a 16-year old Betty at The Bugle is a story you can never tell again. Not unless you're doing a period piece.

    I mean, I guess you can postpone The Bugle to Peter's college years if someone really wants to retell that story today. But no one would do that for obvious reasons. Peter's relationship with Betty was never that interesting that Jameson and the entire Bugle can be shelved until the Peter of a continuity turns 18.

    The Bugle is still a huge part of the stories after Ditko during the Romita era. Like Jameson is still a heavily recurring character and you have characters like Robbie Robertson introduced to make the Bugle more important and with his son Randy a classmate of Peter's gang, Robertson tends to feature quite often and become one of Peter's substitute Dads (especially in Conway's run). Of course in the college era, Gwen and Harry Osborn become important, as does George Stacy.

    Like ASM#50-52 (Spider-Man No More) has Jameson as the co-protagonist of that story and that's maybe the most influential Lee-Romita story arc.
    Didn't say The Bugle wasn't a major part of Spider-Man comics after that, just that a less percentage of panels within your average Spider-Man comic actually take place within The Bugle Main Office. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Peter is no longer dating someone who works there, so scenes that are part of the everyman experience (such as Peter socializing with a friend or asking a girl out) now have to happen outside of The Bugle.

    Jameson still shows up just as much but that's because he is a public office who can go anywhere. Spider-Man No More is actually a perfect example of this, since Jameson is a huge character in it but most of the story doesn't take place at The Bugle.

    I am working on a follow-up that talks a bit more about what teenage life might have meant to Lee-Ditko (and also Kirby) at the time.

    It's kind of astonishing but when you read the development of Spider-Man step-by-step you realize that Lee-Kirby made the decision to have Spider-Man start as a teenager and when Ditko came in, he had to work with what's given to him so it's interesting to consider if aging up Peter was Ditko's way of asserting and remoulding Peter from the concept handed to him.
    Looking forward to your article.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 09-19-2021 at 08:43 PM.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Looking forward to your article.
    Here it is:
    https://elvingsmusings.wordpress.com...tural-history/

    This one took a fair bit of research and time. But it also gave me some material I can siphon as shorter spinoff posts when I need to generate content, so yay maybe?

    Basically this post explores the history of "teenager" where it came from, what it meant to Spider-Man's generators and creative team, and it looks at comics history, actual USA history (dealing with class), and biographical stuff about Lee and Ditko.
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    Holy **** Jack, that was a great article.

    Couple of points I disagree with:

    1. Wasn't Bucky a teenage minor in the Golden Age? There's teenagers that are 18-19 and are therefore legal adults, and there's teenagers who aren't because they're 13-17 and therefore minors. So while MCU Bucky being aged up to his 20's was indeed a byproduct of our modern sensibilities, it arguably wasn't entirely due to that. The MCU would have still had to age him up somewhat, at least to 18-19, otherwise it wouldn't have worked. (Yes, there were minors that managed to enlist by lying about their age, but that's a different thing.)

    2. You say that Spider-Man wasn't the first independent superhero or first one to be a leading man, but I don't know if those other examples count. Well, yes and no. I think that's a lot like saying Superman wasn't really the first superhero because of Zorro and other 20th century characters like that.

    2a. Captain Marvel arguably didn't offer the same fantasy fulfillment as Spider-Man because CM is a kid who turns into an adult while Spider-Man was an actual kid. Humans are visual creatures and surface stuff like that matters. If a female character who turns into a male superhero came out before Wonder Woman did, we probably wouldn't consider such character the first independent female superhero right?

    2b. Like you pointed out, the other ones besides Captain Marvel and Spider-Man were all sidekicks. Spider-Man was also the first independent teen superhero in the sense that he established himself independently in a way the others could not. Robin was still associated with Batman and was his sidekick, and CM Jr. was still associated with Captain Marvel and was his sidekick.

    2c. While Robin and Captain Marvel Jr. got their own solo stories in the Golden Age and were therefore technically "leading men", they were still caricatures of teens closer to Holland's Spider-Man than real people. Whereas the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man was the first teenage superhero to not be a caricature of that demographic and to challenge ageist notions about them. In that way he was very much to teens what Wonder Woman was to women and what T'Challa was to black people. The director of Insomniac even pointed this out when the Miles Morales game was announced, how Miles would deal with even more crap today had it not been for Peter because Peter changed how we understand teenagers. Without Peter, Miles would have to overcome both racist and ageist preconceived notions from buyers and sellers, and not just racist preconceived notions. Stuff like that arguably makes the Lee/Ditko run more historical to teens than Captain Marvel Jr's spinoff title.

    2d. A lot is in a name, and Spider-Man was the first teen to be given the title of "man", symbolizing that his age didn't make him any less valid of a hero than Super"man" and Bat"man". Whereas Robin was still Robin The "Boy" Wonder and the jr. in Captain Marvel Jr. gave away his sidekick status.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 09-23-2021 at 04:21 PM.

  12. #27
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Holy **** Jack, that was a great article.
    Well shucks...

    1. Wasn't Bucky a teenage minor in the Golden Age? There's teenagers that are 18-19 and are therefore legal adults, and there's teenagers who aren't because they're 13-17 and therefore minors. So while MCU Bucky being aged up to his 20's was indeed a byproduct of our modern sensibilities, it arguably wasn't entirely due to that. The MCU would have still had to age him up somewhat, at least to 18-19, otherwise it wouldn't have worked. (Yes, there were minors that managed to enlist by lying about their age, but that's a different thing.)
    I see your point in that Captain America legally allowing Bucky to be sidekick without him lying about his age would be hard but the way to have it both ways is to have Bucky be 13 and pass himself off as older somehow, maybe he grew to adult height early or he worked hard in the Depression and that gave him an aged look. The US Military had the cutoff at 18 but they did in practice make exceptions for those who are 17 whose birthday might be a month or two away from the day they recruited in (and in some cases based on their presentation they'd even allow the ones who are 16). And if you think the idea of a 14 year old passing himself off as older is hard to accept, there are cases where that still happens in other contexts. Take Apocalypse Now. Laurence Fishburne plays a small role in that film but he was 14 at the time of casting and legally he couldn't be employed but he lied about his age and got into the movie anyway and he's pretty convincing in that part (it helps that the Vietnam War recruitment pool was even younger). Or to take another example. There's the 2002 movie Catch Me If you Can where DiCaprio plays this real-life teen conman who passes himself off as older set in the actual period where Peter Parker in continuity originated from (and the cultural context of late-50s and early-60s Marvel). DiCaprio was mid-20s but his famously youthful looks are useful in making him come across as a minor passing himself off as an older guy.

    2a. Captain Marvel arguably didn't offer the same fantasy fulfillment as Spider-Man because CM is a kid who turns into an adult while Spider-Man was an actual kid. Humans are visual creatures and surface stuff like that matters. If a female character who turns into a male superhero came out before Wonder Woman did, we probably wouldn't consider such character the first independent female superhero right?
    Well it would be considered the first trans superhero on the other hand. The fact is that CM by Fawcett came out when you had Robin the Boy Wonder, Bucky, Toro and a host of other utterly forgotten boy sidekick characters and he was a kid who got to be the main superhero and lead.

    Whereas the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man was the first teenage superhero to not be a caricature of that demographic and to challenge ageist notions about them.
    Oh absolutely. My post wasn't meant in any way to claim that Spider-Man wasn't original, just not original for the reasons people assume he was. Fundamentally my point is that class and Peter's social background and how that factored in those stories, that's what set him apart from anyone else. And for me class considerations are inseparable from how we understand teenage as a concept.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Well it would be considered the first trans superhero on the other hand. The fact is that CM by Fawcett came out when you had Robin the Boy Wonder, Bucky, Toro and a host of other utterly forgotten boy sidekick characters and he was a kid who got to be the main superhero and lead.
    Okay, that was a clumsy hypothetical on my part. My point was that Billy Batson is a bit of a cop-out for title of "first independent kid/teen superhero" because he's technically not that age even though he is, know what I mean? Billy Batson is to the actual first independent teenage superhero what the proto-superheroes were to the first actual superhero Superman.

    Oh absolutely. My post wasn't meant in any way to claim that Spider-Man wasn't original, just not original for the reasons people assume he was. Fundamentally my point is that class and Peter's social background and how that factored in those stories, that's what set him apart from anyone else. And for me class considerations are inseparable from how we understand teenage as a concept.
    Agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Okay, that was a clumsy hypothetical on my part. My point was that Billy Batson is a bit of a cop-out for title of "first independent kid/teen superhero" because he's technically not that age even though he is, know what I mean? Billy Batson is to the actual first independent teenage superhero what the proto-superheroes were to the first actual superhero Superman.
    You mean in the sense that Billy Batson is not physically Captain Marvel unlike Peter and Spider-Man. That a young boy physically transforms into an adult superhero rather than literally becoming a superhero.

    That's a fair point.

    My defense or excuse for that is to argue, how different is that from the ontological reality of comics? What I mean is that when you draw a comic, Bruce Wayne and Batman are two entirely different characters (that's why the comics and the cartoons get away with Batman having white eyes without pupils even if it doesn't make any realistic sense, it's just freaking cool). Is that so very different from Billy Batson and Captain Marvel/Shazam? Sure Batman and Bruce Wayne are maybe the same height and occasionally the same chin (though Golden Age artists weren't consistent on this) but basically Bruce Wayne and Batman to the artist and in the eyes of the reader are basically two different people. In general it's easy for any kid to draw an impression of Batman that about resembles the character across media but ask the same kid to design Bruce Wayne's face, i.e. "generic handsome white dude with black hair", and you get infinite variations on that. Admittedly Superman is different in that Clark Kent is just Superman with glasses and a suit rather than with Batman (and Spider-Man) two entirely different bodies and faces but even then Superman is essentially the costume attached to a black-haired Genericus White Americanus (in the purest perfect Wile E. Coyote Latin) with maybe a hair-curl. Without those elements you don't have Superman. You don't have Clark either but you basically just have someone who could be any random extra in a comic. Even Peter and Spider-Man are two entirely different characters from that ontological perspective, sure the story is about Peter putting on a costume and becoming Spider-Man, and Ditko of course drew a Half-Spidey face on Peter on many occassions but basically when Peter puts on the costume he basically becomes another character. Peter's different in that he has a more unique and original face than Clark or Bruce (in the Silver Age it was an actual plot point that Clark and Bruce have the exact same face because artists were that lazy, lol) so he's not got a generic design.

    So from that point of view, Billy Batson being converted physically into an adult superhero isn't all that different from an ontological comics' perspective. In fact that's one reason why Captain Marvel by Fawcett is aesthetically seen as the most interesting of the Golden Age comics, many have pointed out that the aspect of a boy becoming an adult hero has a meta quality in that most comics of that time had characters who were physically adults but were basically childish in personality and gimmicks (written for kids and all) and then put on costumes and act all serious. With Fawcett, all that becomes literal in the story and motivation as is the idea of an artist essentially drawing two different characters and pretending it's the same body.

    If this ontology stuff confuses anyone else here, let me explain what I mean by example with Darth Vader. Darth Vader in story terms is a Jedi named Anakin Skywalker but Vader is objectively several actors, a costume, many stuntmen, vocal artists and soundmen creating a character. Like in Empire Strikes Back, it's David Prowse moving around in physical scenes, but it's Bob Andersen doing the stuntwork in the lightsaber duels, it's James Earl Jones on the soundtrack but it's Ben Burtt recording his breaths via aqualung under water that is fact the iconic breath. No single person could actually be Vader because all those elements one on top of the other add to the illusion of a single person.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    You mean in the sense that Billy Batson is not physically Captain Marvel unlike Peter and Spider-Man. That a young boy physically transforms into an adult superhero rather than literally becoming a superhero.
    Yes. It matters because 1) Billy Batson doesn't do much for teen representation (like you said, the reader sees Batman and Bruce Wayne as different ontological entities) while Peter Parker actually did, and 2) Billy Batson doesn't answer the fundamental question of whether a teenage superhero can be independent in the same way as an adult one. Season 1 of Young Justice is the best example of my second point. Captain Marvel is treated as a senior to the entire Young Justice Team and has to supervise and mentor them on several occasions, even after Batman and several other Leaguers find out he is actually a kid. Meanwhile the Team shouldn't even think about joining the League anytime soon, even though they're all older than Billy. It's differences like that that make Billy Batson different from other teen superheroes and especially Spider-Man.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 09-23-2021 at 08:25 PM.

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