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  1. #91
    Extraordinary Member John Ossie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Clearly the answer to all your problems is Kitty Pryde.
    Obviously. Plus Kitty is a cool character.

  2. #92
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ossie View Post
    Obviously. Plus Kitty is a cool character.
    I think half the problem with Marvel's attempts at romance revolve around them creating new love interests that the audience doesn't care about. You can say the MJ of it all is a big thing. And it is. But the other side of the equation is that the audience also struggles to find itself caring about new characters.

    I do understand the point Darthfury is trying to make. But he chooses rather random characters that he claims should be added to Peter's world. (Silver Sable, the leader of a band of heroic mercenaries, hanging out with Peter Parker is weird, no matter how you slice it.)

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    I think half the problem with Marvel's attempts at romance revolve around them creating new love interests that the audience doesn't care about. You can say the MJ of it all is a big thing. And it is. But the other side of the equation is that the audience also struggles to find itself caring about new characters.
    I think the problem with that, especially when it comes to love interests, is that the character really isn't written to address what the audience may need or want, but to their specifications. Often it seems that the love interest isn't written as a way to create an interesting story first, but instead under the auspices of being a better match for the protagonist than other love interests. The story seems to come second. In regards to Spider-Man, it seems the primary focus of the creators when coming up with this new love interest is to make her into a more appropriate match rather than focusing on creating a compelling narrative or arc. The problem this causes is that while the character may have some unique qualities, the arc they go through is the same arc that several characters went through before- Peter meets them, they have a will they or won't they, they date after some struggle, Peter frets about revealing his secret to him, and they eventually break up due to the stress. There may be some variation, but the arc remains essentially the same. That is why despite the female character being different, their role in the story is the same others went through and thus doesn't come off as particularly interesting. Mostly because the audience has been through this story before, and been through it when it was told better.

    In addition to that, this more appropriate love interest tends to be not a character that the protagonist might find more appealing, but what the creator finds more appealing. And not every creator is going to have the same ideas as to what would be best for the character, and it may conflict with the audiences values. I'm reminded of Doctor Who and the last two showrunners. Both created companions and love interests that they considered good matches for the protagonist, but met with some resistance of the fanbase. For Russel T. Davis, he regarded Rose as the perfect companion and someone the Doctor would easily fall in love with. Stephen Moffat created River Song, perhaps the exact opposite character in terms of background and abilities, and she was regarded as being worthy of the Doctor's affections and even becoming his wife. But the audience found Rose rather unlikable, coming off as childish and selfish and many of her better qualities talked up but never shown. With River Song, she was criticized for essentially taking over the show, being better than even the titular character than most everything, and coming off as a Mary Sue. I think this is a fairly common problem when creating new love interests, since the creator is looking to satisfy their own wants, rather than the reader's needs.

    And to bring it back around to MJ, this is why I think she is a great love interest for Spider-Man. She wasn't written to be Peter's perfect love. She was someone who was just meant to be a distraction for the real love interest. But the benefit was that she was able to develop a personality all of her own, which allowed to personal growth. Her arc wasn't about giving Peter his perfect mate, but her coming to terms with overcoming her own flaws and hangups and accepting that loving Peter isn't going to lead to a happy ending but that it would be worth it anyway. She wasn't written to be perfect. That's why she's so appealing. She's not Peter's perfect match. And it is that conflict that fuels the drama in the mythos, and makes her character and her relationship with Peter so compelling.

  4. #94
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertMacQuarrie1 View Post
    I think the problem with that, especially when it comes to love interests, is that the character really isn't written to address what the audience may need or want, but to their specifications. Often it seems that the love interest isn't written as a way to create an interesting story first, but instead under the auspices of being a better match for the protagonist than other love interests. The story seems to come second. In regards to Spider-Man, it seems the primary focus of the creators when coming up with this new love interest is to make her into a more appropriate match rather than focusing on creating a compelling narrative or arc. The problem this causes is that while the character may have some unique qualities, the arc they go through is the same arc that several characters went through before- Peter meets them, they have a will they or won't they, they date after some struggle, Peter frets about revealing his secret to him, and they eventually break up due to the stress. There may be some variation, but the arc remains essentially the same. That is why despite the female character being different, their role in the story is the same others went through and thus doesn't come off as particularly interesting. Mostly because the audience has been through this story before, and been through it when it was told better.

    In addition to that, this more appropriate love interest tends to be not a character that the protagonist might find more appealing, but what the creator finds more appealing. And not every creator is going to have the same ideas as to what would be best for the character, and it may conflict with the audiences values. I'm reminded of Doctor Who and the last two showrunners. Both created companions and love interests that they considered good matches for the protagonist, but met with some resistance of the fanbase. For Russel T. Davis, he regarded Rose as the perfect companion and someone the Doctor would easily fall in love with. Stephen Moffat created River Song, perhaps the exact opposite character in terms of background and abilities, and she was regarded as being worthy of the Doctor's affections and even becoming his wife. But the audience found Rose rather unlikable, coming off as childish and selfish and many of her better qualities talked up but never shown. With River Song, she was criticized for essentially taking over the show, being better than even the titular character than most everything, and coming off as a Mary Sue. I think this is a fairly common problem when creating new love interests, since the creator is looking to satisfy their own wants, rather than the reader's needs.

    And to bring it back around to MJ, this is why I think she is a great love interest for Spider-Man. She wasn't written to be Peter's perfect love. She was someone who was just meant to be a distraction for the real love interest. But the benefit was that she was able to develop a personality all of her own, which allowed to personal growth. Her arc wasn't about giving Peter his perfect mate, but her coming to terms with overcoming her own flaws and hangups and accepting that loving Peter isn't going to lead to a happy ending but that it would be worth it anyway. She wasn't written to be perfect. That's why she's so appealing. She's not Peter's perfect match. And it is that conflict that fuels the drama in the mythos, and makes her character and her relationship with Peter so compelling.
    Another thing not said is that I think these relationships are built to fail. "Wealth and fame, he's ignored. Action is his reward," and all that. It's what happened with Betty Brant and that was a revolutionary idea at the time. But you implement it today and it doesn't work like it did. Betty is mostly forgotten. Carlie was forgotten almost as soon as the relationship was over. And other characters tend to become a "who's who" of obscure Marvel trivia (Deb Whitman, Cissy Ironwood, etc.). The only other love interest (outside of MJ and Gwen) who has made a name for herself is Felicia Hardy.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Another thing not said is that I think these relationships are built to fail. "Wealth and fame, he's ignored. Action is his reward," and all that. It's what happened with Betty Brant and that was a revolutionary idea at the time. But you implement it today and it doesn't work like it did. Betty is mostly forgotten. Carlie was forgotten almost as soon as the relationship was over. And other characters tend to become a "who's who" of obscure Marvel trivia (Deb Whitman, Cissy Ironwood, etc.). The only other love interest (outside of MJ and Gwen) who has made a name for herself is Felicia Hardy.
    I don't necessarily agree with the notion that these relationships are built to fail, so to speak. The "Action is his reward" line gets used a lot, but I find it tends to only get used as an excuse to undo a decision an individual dislikes, be they creator or fan. Someone can claim that they don't think Peter should be with MJ, arguing that being with her solves too many problems and makes his life inherently easier. But then they claim he should hook up with someone more appropriate, matching more of his interests or being a superhero themselves, or hold a role as a fellow scientist or a police officer, thereby ensuring that Peter's life as Spider-Man is easier and with far less discourse.

    I think the reason the relationships fail is not so much that they are built to fail, but they aren't built to last. They are built using the wrong materials. It's not about telling a new story with these relationships. It's about telling the same story, just with different players. A creator may feel that things will be different if they use their character, because they can see where the story differs. But these creators aren't looking at the aspects that do make for a good story for the readers. They are looking what would make the mythos more satisfying for them and their values, which isn't necessarily synonymous with an entertaining story. In addition, most of these arcs don't really have an ending. The simple goal is for Peter to hook up with these love interests, but this feels more like a stalling tactic rather than a well thought out arc. Very few creators seem to think much farther beyond simply "Peter hooks up with this girl." Which means that it's not something that has a lot of structure to it, which inevitably causes it to fall apart.

  6. #96
    Mighty Member Aruran.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertMacQuarrie1 View Post
    I don't necessarily agree with the notion that these relationships are built to fail, so to speak. The "Action is his reward" line gets used a lot, but I find it tends to only get used as an excuse to undo a decision an individual dislikes, be they creator or fan. Someone can claim that they don't think Peter should be with MJ, arguing that being with her solves too many problems and makes his life inherently easier. But then they claim he should hook up with someone more appropriate, matching more of his interests or being a superhero themselves, or hold a role as a fellow scientist or a police officer, thereby ensuring that Peter's life as Spider-Man is easier and with far less discourse.

    I think the reason the relationships fail is not so much that they are built to fail, but they aren't built to last. They are built using the wrong materials. It's not about telling a new story with these relationships. It's about telling the same story, just with different players. A creator may feel that things will be different if they use their character, because they can see where the story differs. But these creators aren't looking at the aspects that do make for a good story for the readers. They are looking what would make the mythos more satisfying for them and their values, which isn't necessarily synonymous with an entertaining story. In addition, most of these arcs don't really have an ending. The simple goal is for Peter to hook up with these love interests, but this feels more like a stalling tactic rather than a well thought out arc. Very few creators seem to think much farther beyond simply "Peter hooks up with this girl." Which means that it's not something that has a lot of structure to it, which inevitably causes it to fall apart.
    I'll agree that most relationships aren't built to last, but it's more than that. I think the general problem comes from what they want to do. What exactly is each character used for, and how exactly does it benefit future stories? It's how their way of thinking works, do they think that his life is easier with the girl of his dreams, or his simply impossible for his life to be hard if he even has a girlfriend.

    The point we tend to forget is that Spider-Man isn't a romance story, therefore it's kinda dumb to expect it in every story. It does make the difference from a good to great for stories, but a lot of times its not needed. It's really unfair for comic book writers to write romantic stories when that's not really their strong point, and that's really the problem from the marriage that a lot of people dealt with.

  7. #97
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruran. View Post
    I'll agree that most relationships aren't built to last, but it's more than that. I think the general problem comes from what they want to do. What exactly is each character used for, and how exactly does it benefit future stories? It's how their way of thinking works, do they think that his life is easier with the girl of his dreams, or his simply impossible for his life to be hard if he even has a girlfriend.

    The point we tend to forget is that Spider-Man isn't a romance story, therefore it's kinda dumb to expect it in every story. It does make the difference from a good to great for stories, but a lot of times its not needed. It's really unfair for comic book writers to write romantic stories when that's not really their strong point, and that's really the problem from the marriage that a lot of people dealt with.
    The soap opera nature of comics are a big part of what Spider-Man was built on. Romance is not the foundation (Betty Brant didn't even show up until Amazing #4) but it is certainly a major part of the narrative. The romance aspect was also a major part of every Spider-Man movie released.

    But yeah, end of the day, it's a guy in a funny costume punching other guys in funny costumes.

  8. #98
    Mighty Member Aruran.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    The soap opera nature of comics are a big part of what Spider-Man was built on. Romance is not the foundation (Betty Brant didn't even show up until Amazing #4) but it is certainly a major part of the narrative. The romance aspect was also a major part of every Spider-Man movie released.

    But yeah, end of the day, it's a guy in a funny costume punching other guys in funny costumes.
    That's kinda the problem with it, is that we tend to mix the two up. Theres constant discussions on him choosing between Gwen and MJ, yet they didn't appear side by side till issue 43 and onwards.

    That's why Spider-Man is ok for now not needing those romantic subplots, it's not necessary. Unless they really wanna address the elephant in the room with Peter and MJ, theres no real point in telling those stories.

  9. #99
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruran. View Post
    That's kinda the problem with it, is that we tend to mix the two up. Theres constant discussions on him choosing between Gwen and MJ, yet they didn't appear side by side till issue 43 and onwards.

    That's why Spider-Man is ok for now not needing those romantic subplots, it's not necessary. Unless they really wanna address the elephant in the room with Peter and MJ, theres no real point in telling those stories.
    They've not addressed the elephant in the room for seven years. And it doesn't seem like they're in any sort of hurry to start now.

  10. #100
    Mighty Member Aruran.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    They've not addressed the elephant in the room for seven years. And it doesn't seem like they're in any sort of hurry to start now.
    But they haven't really entered the room either.
    At the end of the day, Marvel won't tell those stories unless it's their final option. They've gone 7 years without them, but every time they started approaching those stories so many problems arise. They can easily go another 7 without those stories, it's really whether or not they wanna tell those stories at the end of the day.

  11. #101
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruran. View Post
    But they haven't really entered the room either.
    At the end of the day, Marvel won't tell those stories unless it's their final option. They've gone 7 years without them, but every time they started approaching those stories so many problems arise. They can easily go another 7 without those stories, it's really whether or not they wanna tell those stories at the end of the day.
    I'd say they've teased. What with OMIT and the "will they/won't they" with Peter and MJ. But yeah, it's clear they can hold off as long as they want and just start "ship teasing" Peter and MJ whenever they want some attention like they did in the build-up to Superior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruran. View Post
    I'll agree that most relationships aren't built to last, but it's more than that. I think the general problem comes from what they want to do. What exactly is each character used for, and how exactly does it benefit future stories? It's how their way of thinking works, do they think that his life is easier with the girl of his dreams, or his simply impossible for his life to be hard if he even has a girlfriend.
    Good point. I think that the problem stems from people- creators and fans alike- assuming something will happen or that it is an inevitability, without acknowledging the possibility that there could be people who would want to subvert that.

    I saw an interview with Marv Wolfman on a show up in Canada called "Ink" where they talk about comics, and a section of his interview dealt with Spider-Man getting married. Marv said he was against it because he didn't like the idea of Peter being perpetually happy. Now, I can understand this concern. However, the problem with this concern is that it was proved to be unfounded. Peter being married did not lead to a state of perpetual happiness. There were a lot of dour stories after he was married. In fact, the first story after the marriage was Kraven's Last Hunt, one of the darkest Spider-Man stories of all time, which saw Spider-Man being tortured and buried alive, causing him a lot of emotional trauma. So it seems that a problem that comes from what a creator wants to do and what stories they want to tell is that they go by what they assume something will do, rather than look at the actual history of what happened.

    The point we tend to forget is that Spider-Man isn't a romance story, therefore it's kinda dumb to expect it in every story. It does make the difference from a good to great for stories, but a lot of times its not needed. It's really unfair for comic book writers to write romantic stories when that's not really their strong point, and that's really the problem from the marriage that a lot of people dealt with.
    Again, good point. I have a feeling that a reason that people were so eager to get to a single Spider-Man was due to the notion of the "Grass being greener" on the other side, or that they wanted what they couldn't have. Romance all of a sudden became vital to the book, when in reality Peter's romantic issues really weren't that much of a factor for at least a decade. True, he was in the dating scene. But nothing like the MJ/ Gwen dynamic that many claim existed in the books during it's heyday. Yet creators seemed OK with that, but when he was married it all of a sudden became a major detriment to the mythos. And when these creators did get the single status they wanted back, they still didn't try to rekindle that dynamic they said was so important. They continued on with Peter pursuing a single girl, with no "Betty and Veronica" style hijinks to speak of.

    The ironic thing was that the most romantic stories of the past 20 years happened during the marriage. JMD- another person interviewed for that same segment of "Ink" I mentioned previously, and who immediately followed up Marv with his defense of the marriage- said he enjoyed writing it, and writing very romantic scenes. JMS was someone who truly wanted to write the marriage, and had many romantic scenes in his run. Peter's speech in "Doomed Affairs," and his "Thank you God for her" inner monologue, are truly moving and very romantic. But since it went away, we've had less romance and more complications. It's less about Peter's emotions and giving him obstacles to overcome. His friends with benefits with the Black Cat was hardly a very romantic scenario, and his relationship with Carlie was more by-the-numbers rather than a truly romantic tale.

    In this case, I feel that the reason creators use the argument of insisting the title be romantic is because it's an easy way to justify a personal decision. It gives a greater moral justification for what is essentially a personal want. They would prefer to write Peter hooking up with a character of their choosing, rather than the one he is with. But rather than say that, they come up with a grandeur, more moral purpose to give their arguments more resonance. It's ironic that the people who don't feel the need to have the book follow the same relationship tropes as before actually manage to create some very memorable romantic moments.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    They've not addressed the elephant in the room for seven years. And it doesn't seem like they're in any sort of hurry to start now.
    I wouldn't necessarily say that. I'd argue that the creators were probably OK addressing the elephant in the room for a little while. There were digs and teases at OMD during the first few years of BND, and OMIT was meant to be the big follow up. But I think that OMIT didn't achieve what they wanted, so there was probably a Spinal Tap "Don't talk about the speakers" moment for a while after the story landed with the thud it did and they decided to let things be for the time being.

    That doesn't mean that the creative types will never return to it. And new creative blood on the book may feel more of an insistence to address these issues than there was before with those creators who were part of OMD's inception and contributed ideas towards both that and OMIT. The way I look at it, seven years may have passed since OMD. But over twenty years passed since Spider-Man was married when OMD hit, and the length of time didn't stop creators from obsessing about that story.

    Heck, given the amount of time that has passed since then, we're right around the point in the series after OMD that the 90's Clone Saga was after the marriage. New editors and creators, plus over seven years of time to gauge audience reactions can cause a lot of reconsideration of established doctrine.

  14. #104
    Mighty Member Aruran.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertMacQuarrie1 View Post
    I wouldn't necessarily say that. I'd argue that the creators were probably OK addressing the elephant in the room for a little while. There were digs and teases at OMD during the first few years of BND, and OMIT was meant to be the big follow up. But I think that OMIT didn't achieve what they wanted, so there was probably a Spinal Tap "Don't talk about the speakers" moment for a while after the story landed with the thud it did and they decided to let things be for the time being.
    To be fair none of the writers really knew how the marriage went away, and they weren't told to address it cause Joe Quesada was going to. They would poke at it, but really they had no idea what OMIT was going to do.

    That doesn't mean that the creative types will never return to it. And new creative blood on the book may feel more of an insistence to address these issues than there was before with those creators who were part of OMD's inception and contributed ideas towards both that and OMIT. The way I look at it, seven years may have passed since OMD. But over twenty years passed since Spider-Man was married when OMD hit, and the length of time didn't stop creators from obsessing about that story.

    Heck, given the amount of time that has passed since then, we're right around the point in the series after OMD that the 90's Clone Saga was after the marriage. New editors and creators, plus over seven years of time to gauge audience reactions can cause a lot of reconsideration of established doctrine.
    Did you see the post I made earlier when someone asked Tom Brevoort if someone pitched the marriage for Peter and MJ in a logical manner?

    I do think it will occur when new people are working at Marvel. I just don't know how long that will be, or whether not it could be possible at that point.
    Like I have ruled out Peter getting back together with MJ on Dan Slott's run, cause he clearly has different stories he wants to tell. And maybe the next writer after him doesn't wanna write Peter and MJ either, who knows. Either way, there has to be a want from Marvel, cause clearly these are the stories they wanna tell. They just need to make sure we want to read them as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aruran. View Post
    To be fair none of the writers really knew how the marriage went away, and they weren't told to address it cause Joe Quesada was going to. They would poke at it, but really they had no idea what OMIT was going to do.
    That is the story. And I don't doubt that is probably what happened. But I also wonder what was really going on behind the scenes at the time. Perhaps they were under the impression that even after OMIT they could reference it, but was told that afterwards to steer clear of it at the time.

    I know it may sound conspiratorial, but after reading the Life of Reilly blog, I wonder at times if the story that we are told matches exactly with what is going on behind the scenes.

    Did you see the post I made earlier when someone asked Tom Brevoort if someone pitched the marriage for Peter and MJ in a logical manner?
    Yes. And that is pretty disconcerting. But, in regards to Tom Breevort, I was reminded of this recent article on Bleeding Cool: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/05/...ler-and-death/

    And Tom Breevort was also against bringing back Norman during the Clone Saga. Or revealing Peter to be the Clone. Or bringing back the marriage in the first place. He was against a lot of stuff that he was eventually overruled on. And while he may be a higher up at Marvel, he does have his bosses, and if they decide the marriage is coming back, then the marriage is coming back.

    And, we also have to remember, these guys will lie to prevent spoiling an upcoming story. I mean, Peter was dead, and never coming back, remember?

    I do think it will occur when new people are working at Marvel. I just don't know how long that will be, or whether not it could be possible at that point.
    Like I have ruled out Peter getting back together with MJ on Dan Slott's run, cause he clearly has different stories he wants to tell. And maybe the next writer after him doesn't wanna write Peter and MJ either, who knows. Either way, there has to be a want from Marvel, cause clearly these are the stories they wanna tell. They just need to make sure we want to read them as well.
    Right. But, given what we've seen from fan polls and questions the audience has, it stands to reason that there is that want there to see the pair reunited. And we have to remember that the next set of writers might not want to write the couple together, if the editors at Marvel are of the mindset of "You know, it's been seven years and we've been teasing it for a long time. I think it's time to bring them back," they're going to hire writers to write that story. They'll hear pitches for upcoming arcs, but part of that solicitation might be "We're looking for stories that feature Peter and MJ as a couple, because we are planning on bringing them back together."

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