Amazing SpiderMan 1

Peter Parker went out like a punk — twice — by writer Dan Slott, so it’s only fitting that he would get a punk homecoming. If you’re an Amazing Spider-Man fan who has been waiting for over a year to get a steroidal cheese-ball version of of Peter Parker back in tights, prepare to give Mr. Slott a pat on the back.

For a mere $5.99 (Can someone tell me why digital copies are just as expensive as buying in-store?), Peter Parker fans get to see the real deal take on some two-bit villains, lose all his clothes, get called an “idiot” by Mary Jane (the same character whose IQ dropped about 50 points in order to make Superior Spider-Man work), and have his secret identity exposed because Doc Ock’s love interest, Anna Maria, has seen him naked. Yes, you read that right. (But hey, “nothing happened” … despite the fact that Doc Ock was going to ask her to marry him after two months.)

Feeling warm and fuzzy now that Peter Parker is back? If not, here’s another one: the radioactive spider that bit Peter and gave him his powers also apparently bit another woman before finally dying. Perhaps if Dan Slott stays on the title long enough we’ll find out that a second radioactive spider was present that day, and it bit two more students, which would fit in nicely with his upcoming “Spider-Verse” plans (i.e., Why waste time exploring Peter Parker when readers can just get lost in countless Spider-Men? Who needs character development when you’ve got tons of spider-powered people swinging around?).

 

Mary Jane ASM1

Question for Dan Slott and the editors at Marvel: Why do you hate Mary Jane? Why do you take every opportunity you can to turn her into a dumb b**ch? Why do you take a character who should be Peter Parker’s supermodel Linda Cadwell (i.e. Bruce Lee’s wife) and turn her into a one-dimensional bimbo? Why do you have to rub salt in the wounds of fans who believe Peter and MJ are meant to be together — every chance you get? Are you mean and spiteful man-boys, or  just tone deaf morons?

But I digress. Back to Amazing Spider-Man #1, the issue where Dan Slott decided the best way for Peter’s secret identity to be revealed to Anna was through a cheap turn of events that left him naked — and then in a web diaper — in front of the entire world. It’s actually rather fitting I guess, because Dan Slott is once again “exposed” as a writer who lacks the intellectual depth and breadth to take Peter Parker to the heights he truly deserves.

Peter Parker Anna ASM 1

If you’re a fan of Peter Parker, you should cheer because he’s back. If you’re a fan of Peter Parker, you should cringe because Dan Slott is still in control of the character’s short-term destiny. Amazing Spider-Man #1 is an issue that was long overdue, but it also was yet another case of Team Slott over-promising and under-delivering. With six months of issues like this, sales will drop to levels no barrage of variant covers can save. Instead of realizing that a writer who isn’t up to the task of growing and developing Peter Parker is to blame, the same predictable crowd will fault the character. At that time, expect calls for the “return” of Superior Spider-Man.

If you don’t have a lot of disposable income, don’t spend $5.99 on this book. Check out ‘Winter Solider’ while it’s still in theaters, or possibly the new Amazing Spider-Man movie if someone you trust liked it.

Bonus:

Those who follow this blog regularly know that Dan Slott is particularly sensitive about observations of Superior Spider-Man’s affection for genocidal maniacs and their tactics — despite the fact that the character said he wanted to transcend “Hitler, Pol Pot and Khan” in terms of evil perpetrated upon the world — shortly before body-snatching Peter — and despite the “full blown Nazi-like torture/experimentation on his victims,” that predictably took place before the series ended (Bleeding Cool’s words — not mine).

Superior Spider Man Dan Slott Torture
“In today’s Superior Spider-Man, the character goes a little further. Into full blown Nazi-like torture/experimentation on his victims. By ripping out teeth and fingernails,” (Bleeding Cool).

Given that sensitivity, why is it okay for Dan Slott to write Marvel Universe New Yorkers who believe Superior Spider-Man was a “jack-booted thug,” but it’s out of bounds to then talk about the implications of being a “jack-booted thug”? Ask a group of history lovers what group they think of first when they hear the phrase “jack-booted thug,” and nine times out of ten you will get the Nazis. You might even get an embarrassing goose-stepping demonstration.

It is downright strange for Dan Slott to use that phrase — that very loaded phrase, with all the images it conjures up — in his book, especially since he went on a massive YouTube meltdown that he ultimately tried to scrub from existence. It’s almost like he subconsciously knows my criticisms are incredibly accurate, or that he wants me to call him out so he’ll have an excuse to go on more incoherent tirades.

The Marvel Universe has “Damage Control” and so too does Dan Slott, apparently. When Mr. Slott can’t do it himself, the “Dan Slott Damage Control” (D.S.D.C.) is always willing to pick up his mess. Luckily, it has no power here.

If you want honest and frank reviews of Amazing Spider-Man, head back here any time there are major developments. If you want weird rants that will be deleted by Dan Slott or Slott-friendly moderators (e.g., Marvel’s Orwellian message boards) when he refuses to save himself from himself, those sites are readily available as well. More power to you. Either way, I’m happy to spend $5.99 if it will mean some extra cash in your back pocket.

Check the YouTube page so you can see all the wonderful work the Dan Slott Damage Control (D.S.D.C.) can do when it puts its mind to it.
Check the YouTube page ‘Superior Spider-Man Panel SDCC 2013’ so you can see evidence of Dan Slott trying to scrub, scrub, scrub away as much evidence of his recent YouTube meltdown as possible.

Related: Check out “Stillanerd’s” review over at Spider-Man Crawlspace. Impressive.

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

104 comments

  1. Meh. I thought it was a lot of fun. The Menagerie are my new favourite supervillain group. Spider-Woman realizing Peter’s back because he’s the only one who could be forced to create a web-loincloth was great (so was Johnny Storm laughing). It may have been my imagination, but it seemed like MJ had a little bit of a smile when she called him an idiot – like it was said with affection.

    I have to confess, I’m really, really hoping Anna Maria sticks around. I want Peter to come clean to her about everything that happened, and for her to decide to hang around and get to know the real Peter.

    As for what the writers and editors have against MJ: I’m guessing Slott and the current editors have nothing against her. Joe Quesada was against the marriage, and erased it. With that done, I think Slott is just trying to let the retcon stand. He probably feels some sense of loyalty to Quesada, and doesn’t want to do undo Quesada’s big story.

    As far as this hurting sales, doubtful. Amazing Spider-Man had been pretty sluggard in terms of sales for years. He’s a character who’s always going to sell above 50 000 issues a month, no matter who’s writing it or what they’re doing. But Superior Spider-Man unquestionably brought in more readers, and now that it’s back to Amazing Spider-Man, most of those readers will stick around for a little while. I would guess that within a year, it’ll probably be down around 70 000 a month. That feels like it would fit normal attrition rates. And that won’t be Slott’s fault – almost all comics suffer similar attrition rates.

    One thing I will say, though, is that while Amazing Spider-Man was good, Silver Surfer #2, by Slott and Allred, was just fantastic. Whatever you think of Slott as a person, that’s a book well worth reading.

    1. It may have been my imagination, but it seemed like MJ had a little bit of a smile when she called him an idiot – like it was said with affection.

      I have no idea how you can look at those two panels of MJ and the way she delivers the line “idiot,” and say that.

      Amazing Spider-Man had been pretty sluggard in terms of sales for years.

      This is because they’ve habitually done stupid things to the character and his supporting cast. The same small crew — that has shown it is incapable of developing the character — has been grinding him down year after year after year. In fact, they have done everything in their power to turn back the sands of time, and as a result Peter just becomes more and more of a loser.

      The fact that people just talk about “attrition rates” as if it’s just supposed to be accepted is part of the problem. “Oh, as long as we keep ASM around 60K-70K a month we’ll survive…” What a depressing mindset.

      One thing I will say, though, is that while Amazing Spider-Man was good, Silver Surfer #2, by Slott and Allred, was just fantastic. Whatever you think of Slott as a person, that’s a book well worth reading.

      You may very well be right. I don’t know. All I do know is that Slott is not capable at this point in his life of writing a mature and thought-provoking Peter Parker. When it comes goofy Peter in web diapers, Slott gets high marks, though. I’m not sure if he should be proud of that, but Kudos anyway if that’s what he’s after.

    2. In the second panel, it seems to me like she might be smiling a bit.

      It does look like sales are definitely down from pre-OMD. ASM took some huge drops right after OMD, when the book had rotating writers (Slott being one of four). He became sole writer in November 2010, and sales remained pretty weak for a long time, while Slott did plenty of good stories. I don’t think many people had any particular problems with the stories he was telling. I wasn’t reading most of it, but I started reading again with spider-Island, which I thought was a cool story, lots of fun and a neat concept. The following stories were good, and then Ends of the Earth was good. Alpha was lame, but for the most part, the stories were interesting, entertaining, and well-told, and were leading towards Peter and MJ getting back together. And people didn’t seem to be reading them.

      So then Superior came along and gave a major bump in the sales. It was a controversial idea, but it sold well. It wasn’t a perfect story – there were some definite flaws in how it was told, and there were some downright unpleasant aspects – but for the most part, it was well-told, and an interesting idea, and people enjoyed it.

      The problem with ASM’s sales isn’t Slott. The problem is One More Day, which means the problem is Quesada. Quesada turned ASM into a book that has steady attrition, and at this point, I’m honestly not sure what any writer could do about it.

    3. The following stories were good, and then Ends of the Earth was good. Alpha was lame, but for the most part, the stories were interesting, entertaining, and well-told, and were leading towards Peter and MJ getting back together. And people didn’t seem to be reading them.

      Yes, Alpha was incredibly lame. And if I really thought that Peter and MJ would be getting back together that would be one thing; dropping little bread crumbs is completely different — especially after the way Marvel’s “brain trust” treated fans during OMD. Maybe you don’t remember because you’re an X-Men guy, but the “brain trust” went out of its way to mock and ridicule fans who were upset. It’s an ongoing pattern with these guys… They burned bridges with fans, and we’re supposed to rebuild them? No. That’s their job.

      The problem with ASM’s sales isn’t Slott. The problem is One More Day, which means the problem is Quesada. Quesada turned ASM into a book that has steady attrition, and at this point, I’m honestly not sure what any writer could do about it.

      This is totally passing the buck. The buck stops…with Quesada? Sorry. Yes, he’s the one who blew a whole in the boat, but Dan Slott is there now. It’s his responsibly to fix it. He’s the writer. Instead of writing stories that unite the vast majority of Spider-Man fans, he opted one that would further drive a wedge between them. As I’ve said before: Slott likes “Spider-Man,” but he really does not get or even appear to like Peter Parker. He likes Peter’s powers, the wise cracks and the “Parker luck,” but he’s out of his league when it comes to writing about becoming a better man. Slott’s work is a mile wide and an inch deep when the task requires, as I’ve said before, depth and breadth.

      To say something like “I’m honestly not sure what any writer could do about it” is a complete cop out. Since you seem to be speaking sincerely I don’t want to make fun of that line too much, but if Dan Slott had his own personal press secretary I’d image that would be the excuse given. It’s like the current U.S. president’s press secretary occasionally blaming his predecessor for problems after the other guy has been gone for six years… At some point in time no one buys that line. Are you in charge or not? Step up to the plate and take responsibility — especially on an Spider-Man book. It’s not “with great power comes deniability.”

    4. The problem is, what can be done to bring the fans back? And more important, to keep them back? They tried doing good, fun, fairly classic-style Spider-Man stories, like Big Time, Kraven Hunts Again (side note: I just recently read Kraven’s Last Hunt, and it’s so damned good; kinda reminded me of Frank Miller’s Daredevil work) and Spider-Island. None of them brought back readers. Superior brought them back, and most actually stuck around for the full run. We’ll have to wait and see how many stick around this time, but the past 5 years suggests probably not. Maybe enough time has passed since OMD for readers to be willing to stick around now.

      I think Slott writes a good Peter. I think he probably does have some limitations on what he’s allowed to do, and he probably also self-limits a little based on what Quesada wanted done with the character. But I think he writes thoroughly enjoyable stories.

    5. The problem is, what can be done to bring the fans back? And more important, to keep them back? They tried doing good, fun, fairly classic-style Spider-Man stories, like Big Time, Kraven Hunts Again (side note: I just recently read Kraven’s Last Hunt, and it’s so damned good; kinda reminded me of Frank Miller’s Daredevil work) and Spider-Island. None of them brought back readers.

      You just answered your own question. You acknowledge that Kraven’s Last Hunt is “so damned good” and then you wonder why the team that brought us “Alpha” isn’t doing gangbusters on sales, or why it had to resort to the nuclear option (i.e., putting Doc Ock in Peter’s body) to generate interest. I can’t wait until Dan Slott makes Spider-Man the Green Goblin for a year and fans “love it.” What a depressing era for Peter Parker fans that we live in. At least we know that all storms come to an end.

    6. So your solution is for every story to be as good as Kraven’s Last Hunt? That story was exceptional – a genuine masterpiece, and that’s not a word I use lightly. There were plenty of weaker stories around that same time period. (Though the three-parter that immediately followed Last Hunt, Mad Dog Ward, was also great. Of course, both of those were by writers who wrote Spider-Man only for those stories.) And Slott’s done plenty of great stories on ASM. Spider-Island was great. Ends of the Earth was great. And despite its flaws, I thought Superior Spider-Man was really good, for the most part. So he’s been telling good stories.

      As an aside, there was serious speculation during Superior’s run that Peter Parker was in the Green Goblin’s body.

    7. So your solution is for every story to be as good as Kraven’s Last Hunt?

      Really? Are you seriously going to play dumb games like that? My point was that Slott hasn’t done anything that has come close to Kraven’s Last Hunt.

      Spider-Island was “fun.” That’s generally the adjective I’ve seen associated with it. Ends of the Earth was not great and years from now the only reason why anyone might remember it is for its connection with Ock’s body snatching.

      As an aside, there was serious speculation during Superior’s run that Peter Parker was in the Green Goblin’s body.

      If I had the energy, I’d track down my own comment (if it hasn’t been deleted) on one of the other message boards, where I first made that joke…long before it started getting thrown about as serious possibility. I wanted to be on record — early — that Slott was capable of that sort of thing.

      Why don’t you just admit that you, Xmenexpert, are an “X-Men” guy, as opposed to a “Peter Parker” guy, and that it’s impeding your ability to see it from a Peter Parker fan’s point of view? Yes, Slott tells stories that are “fine” — if you’re not really that invested in the character— but his stories don’t move Peter forward, and they do not reach the rarefied air of true greatness.

    8. I’m not sure it’s really fair to use Kraven’s Last Hunt as the benchmark, because that story was particularly exceptional. It would probably be more honest to compare Slott’s stuff to the average Spider-Man story of the ’80s. And honestly, I think it holds up pretty well compared to most of it. There’s a few stories here and there that totally wreck the curve. But just because Mark Waid hasn’t done any Daredevil stories that compare to Born Again doesn’t mean he’s been writing a bad run. Some stories are just nearly impossible to match.

      I like Spider-Man, too. I grew up on the ’90s cartoons for both X-Men and Spider-Man. I grew up on the ’90s Spider-Man comics, and the marriage to MJ. I’ve read a lot of classic Spider-Man comics. I was subscribed to ASM around the time of Civil War. While I only started reading Slott’s run with Spider-Island, I did enjoy his take on Peter. And I think Slott’s probably doing what he can with the character, but I don’t think he’s really allowed to, say, have him get married again.

    9. And I think Slott’s probably doing what he can with the character, but I don’t think he’s really allowed to, say, have him get married again.

      Slott had free rein to kill Peter and put Doctor Octopus in his body (at which point it followed that Ock blew a guy’s face from point-blank range and created a surveillance apparatus that would make the NSA jealous, among other things), but it was off limits for Slott to bring Peter and Mary Jane back together again. Telling. Very telling, Marvel.

    10. One was an arc (albeit an extended one). The other would be a permanent change in the character’s status quo.

      I’m with you on being frustrated that Spider-Man’s no longer allowed to truly grow as a character. I just don’t think Slott’s the guy to blame for that. Any writer would likely have to operate under the same restrictions. At least he’s not back to taking photos for the Daily Bugle. Slott has at least been allowed to give Peter some responsibility as Peter, first with Horizon, now with Parker Industries.

    11. One was an arc (albeit an extended one). The other would be a permanent change in the character’s status quo.

      “Permanent”? Not much is permanent in the comics. A timely example: In that “split second” after the radioactive spider bit Peter it also crawled onto another woman’s foot and bit her, too. 😉 These guys are unreal…

      I’m on record as saying that there were plenty of ways to separate Peter and MJ years ago, and I would have even been okay with a divorce if it had been handled tactfully. (Plenty of couples rekindle their love and end up back together again.) I’m sure writers could bring Peter and MJ back together for five years or so and then figure out a creative way to separate them again. It’s on the writers to find a way to make all of these things work. It’s up to them to make it all resonate with the readers.

      But yes, I do like that Peter was able to work at Horizon labs. I did think that was a good idea.

    12. The second student being bitten is something that we’ll have to wait and see on. It could go well, it could go poorly. I enjoy Slott as a writer, so I’m inclined to think it’ll be cool. In this case, I suspect Slott was told to come up with an idea to tie into Original Sin, and this was just what was settled on. Hell, it’s even possible that the idea came from an editor. Regardless, it’s an event tie-in, so meh, whatever, who really cares either way.

    13. The second student being bitten is something that we’ll have to wait and see on. It could go well, it could go poorly. I enjoy Slott as a writer, so I’m inclined to think it’ll be cool. In this case, I suspect Slott was told to come up with an idea to tie into Original Sin, and this was just what was settled on. Hell, it’s even possible that the idea came from an editor. Regardless, it’s an event tie-in, so meh, whatever, who really cares either way.

      I hope you can see where comments like this would cause a guy like me to scratch his head. It’s perfectly worded that so any outcome will allow you to absolve Dan Slott of the responsibility he would rightfully bear for failure (ironic on a Peter Parker title), while providing you with the opportunity to heap accolades on him if it does well.

      If this does poorly: Dan Slott was just following marching orders. Hey, maybe it was an editor’s idea. It’s the fault of an event tie-in, so “whatever, who really cares anyway.”

      If it does well: Great! The guy you enjoy as a writer just reaffirmed what you already believe to be true — he rocks.

      In short, you can’t be nailed down and Dan Slott is inoculated against criticism. Classic!

      Regardless, I do appreciate you taking the time to read the post and discuss all of this. These are the kinds of conversations Dan Slott could have with fans who disagree with him if he could find it within himself to act like a professional. Since he reads the comments section of this blog, I hope he learns something from you.

    14. My comment on the Original Sin tie-in was less a defence of Slott and more utter apathy towards big events. The events themselves are seldom particularly good – though I did think Age of Ultron was really good – and the tie-ins range from lame to occasionally great. (Al Ewing’s two Age of Ultron tie-in issues of Avengers Assemble were fantastic.)

      So with this one, either Slott writes it well or he doesn’t. I figure he’ll write it well, and it’ll be enjoyable, but won’t end up amounting to much, and the new character will wind up in limbo. If he writes if poorly, well, it won’t end up amounting to much and the new character will wind up in limbo, and Slott will get on with his main, better story. If it’s bad, I’m not going to particularly care.

    15. “And if I really thought that Peter and MJ would be getting back together that would be one thing; dropping little bread crumbs is completely different — especially after the way Marvel’s “brain trust” treated fans during OMD. Maybe you don’t remember because you’re an X-Men guy, but the “brain trust” went out of its way to mock and ridicule fans who were upset. It’s an ongoing pattern with these guys… They burned bridges with fans, and we’re supposed to rebuild them? No. That’s their job.’

      I remember how they reacted to people who didn’t like OMD… they were rude and condescending to fans who didn’t like the change. That really pissed me off when I heard about it. I thought, “is this really how you should be treating people?” But par for the course for Marvel these days. Insulting the fans is their new business model. They were proud that they destroyed 20 years of character development, turned Peter Parker into a total loser who lives with his aunt and everyone who didn’t like that was declared an “idiot” by Marvel’s brain trust.

    16. I remember how they reacted to people who didn’t like OMD… they were rude and condescending to fans who didn’t like the change.

      It was right around that time that I first started looking into some of the message boards, etc. I was in graduate school at the time, and when I had some down time I’d check them out. I was shocked at how creators were treating fans. Whereas they could have just said, “Hey man, sorry you don’t like the direction. I hope you stick with it to see where it’s all heading, etc.” they went with “Idiot…stupid…stupid…idiot,” (as you’ve mentioned). Deleting tactful comments was also employed.

    17. “Are you mean and spiteful man-boys, or just tone deaf morons?”

      They’re probably both. I’ve often wondered if they aren’t just projecting their sexual frustrations onto the character. I do remember hearing that Quesada was in the process of divorcing his wife at the time of OMD… that seems to have been one of the “inspirations” for that garbage. That, and Quesada apparently read the issue where Peter and Mary Jane married in the 1980s and was “pissed off” about his childhood hero getting married. Someone also proposed the erasure of the marriage during the Clone Saga in the 1990s.

    18. I’ve often wondered if they aren’t just projecting their sexual frustrations onto the character. I do remember hearing that Quesada was in the process of divorcing his wife at the time of OMD… that seems to have been one of the “inspirations” for that garbage. That, and Quesada apparently read the issue where Peter and Mary Jane married in the 1980s and was “pissed off” about his childhood hero getting married.

      I have to be careful with this one, but you bring up a very interesting point. Do you want to know one of the groups that is ticked off that they ended the marriage: guys who grew up with Peter, got married and have healthy relationships with their wives. Young fit guys who are married working professionals without kids — who are very, very in love with their spouse — hate that Peter is stuck in singles-ville. It’s even worse when the “loser” aspect of Peter is played up.

      Say what you will about McFarlane’s writing, but I always liked the “healthy young newlyweds” vibe he gave the book. You could tell that after a long day of fighting crime MJ would be there for Peter to talk to about his problems, reassure him, engage in some witty conversation, share her own hopes and dreams … and then the two of them would make love and happily fall asleep together.

      Marvel writers who spend countless hours hunting down online critics do not have the kind of marriage Peter and MJ had. They can’t, because there would be no way they could engage in that type of behavior (i.e., stalking critics and going nuts over bad reviews) if they did. I’m not saying that these individuals aren’t in loving relationships, but what I am saying is that it’s far different than what I saw in ASM growing up.

    19. Seeing Peter get married to MJ (and also Superman marrying Lois) brings hope to people like me who have always been kind of “awkward” socially, especially around women. It gives me hope that one day I’ll meet the right woman. I could emphasize with Peter when he’d ask a girl out and get laughed at by her, because that sort of thing has happened to me before. I’d ask a girl I got along with out and she’d laugh and say, “Why would I go out with a dork like you?” Then we’d never talk again.

      Getting rid of the marriage essentially sends the message that ” don’t get married because you’ll never get the girl and if you do, Satan will come along and erase it from existence and living with your aunt and being a childish man-boy is much cooler.” Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but still, that’s how I personally view OMD.

    20. I’d ask a girl I got along with out and she’d laugh and say, “Why would I go out with a dork like you?”

      I guess the silver lining is that when you meet a woman like that you know for sure that she is someone you don’t want to be with. You can scratch her off the list!

      When I was in high school I had a buddy who was kind of scrawny. Years later he got a job with Customs and Boarder Protection, did some work with the FBI, etc. He bulked up and in general was a pretty successful dude. We were eating dinner one day and he’s like, “I saw Heather in Chicago and she said, ‘Wow. You’ve changed!'” My friend laughed because she wouldn’t give guys like us the time of day in high school, but eventually the tables turn…

      If you’re a stand-up guy and you keep plugging away, eventually you’ll meet someone who is deserves you. Life is much more of a marathon than a sprint…but maybe I’m a little biased because I’ve always liked distance runners. 🙂

    21. “I guess the silver lining is that when you meet a woman like that you know for sure that she is someone you don’t want to be with. You can scratch her off the list!”

      That’s for sure! It wouldn’t be a healthy relationship.

      “When I was in high school I had a buddy who was kind of scrawny. Years later he got a job with Customs and Boarder Protection, did some work with the FBI, etc. He bulked up and in general was a pretty successful dude. We were eating dinner one day and he’s like, “I saw Heather in Chicago and she said, ‘Wow. You’ve changed!’” My friend laughed because she wouldn’t give guys like us the time of day in high school, but eventually the tables turn…”

      I was kind of a fat kid in high school. I wrestled at 200 lbs in ninth grade, after all. I lost weight my senior year and managed to keep it off for a while even though I worked at McDonald’s. After I was let go from my job at Cargill in 2011 (after one day!), I kind of became depressed and gained weight again as a result. Recently I’ve lost more weight, though, and feel better.

      “If you’re a stand-up guy and you keep plugging away, eventually you’ll meet someone who is deserves you. Life is much more of a marathon than a sprint…but maybe I’m a little biased because I’ve always liked distance runners.”

      Yeah, recently women have started to notice me. There’s one at a local coffee shop who’s actually flirted with me a bit and might actually like me a bit. If she does, I have to say it is refreshing that a girl actually likes me and doesn’t run away from me.

      There was also this girl I talked to at a Barnes and Noble back in 2012. I had a really good conversation with her, but I was an idiot and didn’t ask for her number.

    22. Well Carl, if you’re anything in real life as you are online, I’m sure that things will work out for you in the romance department. A lot of times it takes women time to realize that the “cool” guys … aren’t always so cool.

    23. Funny you should bring up big events. I’m a bit apathetic toward them as well. I don’t mind crossovers but I think there’s been too many in recent years, especially since around 2004 and very few of them have been very good. I like Secret Wars and the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, largely because at the time major line-wide crossovers were unique and special. Nowadays, they’re commonplace and because there are so many, they’ve lost their mystique… to me, at least.

  2. I’m really over this notion that comic book stories are just meant to be fun and that Spider-Man in particular should be light-hearted adventures.

    ASM#1 simply reminds me once again that I’m reading an inferior product. If Marvel so desire to publish a kiddies cartoon book, they should do so under a new moniker. The bonus stories are in fact much better and the only saving grace for this relaunch, but a $5.99 comic in Australia becomes $8.00, a hefty price for something that delivers so little.

    It’s as if stupid comedic elements are the (be-all and end-all) of Spider-Man’s existence. Why is Marvel so incapable of publishing mature sophisticated stories about Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-Man?

    Phony Sony are perpetuating the teen Spider-Boy in their poor adaptations. In the original mainstream comics, Peter Parker graduated high school and college, he entered the workforce and became an adult leaving most but (not all) of his social awkwardness and geeky traits behind.

    This mature adult Spider-Man is the Spider-Man most people have been reading about since the late 60’s right up until OMD destroyed everything. Marvel even began a new line with their “Ultimate Spider-Man” series as a (new origin) throwback to the high school years.

    In all fairness though, Brian Michael Bendis actually understands the Peter Parker character and writes him very well indeed.

    I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before we’ll see intelligent Spider-Man stories tackling more real-life issues, attempting to become more relatable, and expanding Peter Parker’s emotional life realistically.

    Any former traits of realism, relatability, and psychological complexity has now been replaced by poor dumbed-down writing and light comedic interludes.

    I actually enjoyed “The Gauntlet” and “Grim Hunt” story-arcs by Mark Waid, Marc Guggenheim, Fred Van Lente and Joe Kelly far more than any of the simplistic dumbed-down cartoon-ish stories penned by Dan Slott.

    What made some of Slott’s stories even worse was the frightful and nauseous Ramos artwork.

    1. It’s as if stupid comedic elements are the (be-all and end-all) of Spider-Man’s existence. Why is Marvel so incapable of publishing mature sophisticated stories about Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-Man?

      Thank you. I don’t mind having certain humorous elements in the book. Yes, I’m aware of Spider-Man’s history, but that is the aspect that Slott focuses is on at the expense off everything else. Slott likes underwear diapers. He’s not so much into substance. If he wanted to continue writing Scooby Doo, then he should have done that.

      This mature adult Spider-Man is the Spider-Man most people have been reading about since the late 60′s right up until OMD destroyed everything. Marvel even began a new line with their “Ultimate Spider-Man” series as a (new origin) throwback to the high school years.

      In all fairness though, Brian Michael Bendis actually understands the Peter Parker character and writes him very well indeed.

      Crack! Magnetic Eye hits a solid double off the left field wall. An Australian baseball star on my blog? Sweet.

      Any former traits of realism, relatability, and psychological complexity has now been replaced by poor dumbed-down writing and light comedic interludes.

      You’re on fire, man. We’re definitely on the same wavelength. And you couldn’t be more right about the prices…

    2. As a writer I think Slott is good at shocking/surprising the audience but I think Spiderman is traditionally not the best character for this type of writting. Spiderman as a character largely got famous due the combination of character driven storylines and witty dialogue. Slott at the moment writes the character using the witty dialogue but without the character driven storylines. This is where you get the social-disconnect between the pre-OMD and post-OMD Peter Parker (pre-OMD being a likable young married person focusing on his relationship and career versus the current storylines where he is an unlikeable loner and the but of jokes).

      Personally I get the feeling Slott in general has trouble with larger overarching storylines. When you read the SSM analysis on crawlspace, a lot of the core plot points don’t really seem to fit well together. Additionally a lot of Slott’s big storylines like Spider Island, Ends of the Earth and SSM tend to have “dues ex machina” type resolutions.

    3. As a writer I think Slott is good at shocking/surprising the audience but I think Spiderman is traditionally not the best character for this type of writting. Spiderman as a character largely got famous due the combination of character driven storylines and witty dialogue. Slott at the moment writes the character using the witty dialogue but without the character driven storylines. This is where you get the social-disconnect between the pre-OMD and post-OMD Peter Parker (pre-OMD being a likable young married person focusing on his relationship and career versus the current storylines where he is an unlikeable loner and the but of jokes).

      Personally I get the feeling Slott in general has trouble with larger overarching storylines. When you read the SSM analysis on crawlspace, a lot of the core plot points don’t really seem to fit well together. Additionally a lot of Slott’s big storylines like Spider Island, Ends of the Earth and SSM tend to have “dues ex machina” type resolutions.

      Riablo, once again I must say that your ability to hone in on a problem and describe it in a way where anyone can understand is uncanny. I’m really impressed with your analysis. It’s spot on and, quite frankly, the kind of stuff I would make time to read if you had your own blog.

      Besides all the many reasons stated on my blog before, I think Dan Slott doesn’t comment here because guys like you are bound to interject their opinion. You just impaled Dan Slott with an intellectual broadsword. I tip my hat to you, good sir. Bravo.

    4. And any writer worth his or her salt knows that deus ex machina-type resolutions are a sign of lazy, often poor writing.

    5. “I’m really over this notion that comic book stories are just meant to be fun”

      It varies. There should be comics that are just kinda goofy fun. There should also be some that are darker and more serious in tone. For my part, I look at superheroes as being inherently aspirational – something that should appeal to our better natures, encourage us to do the right thing, even if it costs us, and to do our part to make the world a better place. (The new Ms. marvel is providing a wonderful example of all that.) And that means I also think that most superhero comics actually should be fun. There should be a sense of humour, of whimsy.

      Some books take that too far. I haven’t found Slott’s overall run to have taken it too far, though.

      I will agree that I’m not a fan of Ramos’ art. He’s not my least-favourite artist – Greg Land is the biggest hack in the industry and I would be happy if I never had to see his traced, recycled garbage ever again – but he’s not someone I enjoy.

    6. I’m not a fan of darker and edgier themes in comics. I don’t mind darker elements, but they’ve really gone overboard in recent years, especially since every writer and his mother decided to imitate “Watchmen” and the ‘Dark Knight Returns.” And every artist decided they had to imitate Rob Liefeld, who is a total and complete hack… he’s probably my least-favorite comics artist of all-time.

      I grew up with the “Spider-Man,” “X-Men” and DC Animated Universe cartoons from the 1990s. Even though I actually came of age in the 2000s (I graduated from high school in 2008, after all) I was always more of a 90s kid. They were examples of good superhero shows with intelligent writing and were aimed at everyone. I always thought it ridiculous why Bruce Timm was never asked to consult on any comics outside of the show tie-in comics.

    7. “I graduated from high school in 2008”

      Carl,

      I know this is off topic, but I’m now feeling older. I graduated high school in 1981. 🙂

    8. The ’90s X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons (and Superman and Batman, for that matter) were what I grew up with. I was right in the right age group for them. Obviously, the X-Men in particular stuck with me. I watched that series again a couple years ago. It still stands up. Though, funnily enough, Cyclops is the only character from the cartoon who’s one of my favourites in the comics. I will be buying Storm’s upcoming ongoing, though, if only to show my support for greater diversity at Marvel. Plus, Pak’s a good writer, so it should be a good series anyway.

      Liefeld’s definitely one of the worst, though I hate Greg Land even more. because at least Liefeld’s bad work is honest. Land just traces and recycles everything.

      I think Marvel, at least, is easing back on the darkness a bit. There’s still Uncanny Avengers, of course, which is Remender’s standard grimdark style. But there’s also a lot of books that are just fun. Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Loki, Mighty Avengers, Daredevil – there’s a lot of books that have no problem trying to make readers laugh. Even the new X-Force series is actually really, really funny, despite also being really, really dark and violent.

      So Marvel seems to be pulling back from the excessive darkness of the mid-2000s. Ever since they ended Dark Reign, they’ve had more light books.

    9. I also enjoyed Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes… and then Marvel had to cancel it and replace it with Avengers Assemble which I’ve heard is vastly inferior. Ugh. I wish EMH had been around when I was a kid; that’s the type of show I know I would’ve raced home to watch while I was doing my homework. Instead, there was this crappy Avengers cartoon:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Avengers:_United_They_Stand

    10. I know this is off topic, but I’m now feeling older. I graduated high school in 1981. 🙂

      Wow, someone here is older than me? (I was 1983.)

  3. As long as Dan Slott’s on the title, and as long as the current clowns are running Marvel (who stand by idly while their writers have meltdowns on social media), I won’t be buying this or any other comics from them. This issue looks lame and the artwork blows.

    I don’t care for Bendis at all, apart from “Secret War.” I never warmed to the Ultimate Universe because at the time, there were rumors that it was going to replace the main Marvel Universe and also because of some of the disgusting storylines in “Ultimates” and “Ultimate X-Men.” Also, every character Bendis writes sounds like a teenaged valley girl.

    1. I like Bendis. I haven’t read much of UItimate Spider-Man, but I did read Death of Spider-Man, and it was fantastic. I found his Avengers work to be distinctly mediocre – the focus was on banter rather than character exploration, and deep characterization is the main thing I enjoy in comics – and his Guardians of the Galaxy is the same. But his X-Men work is excellent.

      The mainstream Marvel universe will never be replaced. It will never be rebooted. It’s not what Marvel does. DC does regular reboots, all the way back to Crisis On Infinite Earth. So the New 52 is not unusual for them. But Marvel knows they’d lose a lot of readers if they tried the same thing.

    2. I know it won’t be replaced, but I remember there were online rumors in the early 2000s about the Ultimate Universe replacing the Earth-616 universe. They never came true, obviously, but I remember reading something about that potentially happening as late as 2005. I think reboots actually cause more problems than they solve.

    3. At this point, “Is Marvel rebooting?” has become something of a running gag. The rumours became especially heavy around the time of AvX, but they’ve been around for years.

  4. It’s true that not everything Bendis writes is great, but I’ll take his Spider-Man over Slott’s anyday.

    I only picked up Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1, just to check it out at the time. I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t like the going back to high school stories. I also much prefer the original 616 universe.

    I did pick up Vol 1 of Ultimate FF which was okay and The Ultimates. I grew very tired of both those titles, plus I didn’t like how they changed Captain America’s character and personality.

    My comic book store manager automatically assumed I wanted ASM#1 back on my pull list now that Pete’s back. Much to his dismay, he understood my reasons for not wanting to pick it up. 🙂

  5. If you look sales have been down since Slott has been on the book. There was a clear sales decrease with the writing team then Superior increased sales but they were temporary as I will present in an article later this month. The shock marketing and many variant covers tactics works for the short term but it does not last in the long run. It is also crazy for any good company to be happy with declining sales. I know sales are cyclical and companies replace products with new ones to increase sales which are similar but even with that said overall sales are down and the trend continues. I will also point out that a good company compares sales to their competition and it that also provides some interesting perspective on the overall fall of Spider-Man.

    1. The shock marketing and many variant covers tactics works for the short term but it does not last in the long run.

      I don’t know if someone has the data, but I’d be interested in knowing how much of a bump each variant cover typically provides. It’s something I don’t really pay attention to, but it’s on of those things that over the years I couldn’t help but think, “Ummm, what’s the deal with the endless ‘variants’?” It seems like the more variants that are put out, the more desperate one is to have a good sales showing. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s just the feeling I get. That’s why it’s so annoying when certain people solely equate sales with quality writing.

    2. Another part of the problem is that comic shops have to order a predetermined amount of issues just to get a variant. For example you may have to order 300 copies just to get one variant and you can see how that can inflate order numbers.

    3. Very good point. I remember hearing about that years ago.

      Can someone tell me why Marvel keeps such a tight lid on the sales numbers? Why the lack of transparency? I’m not getting why they’re allowed to say, “Your numbers are wrong and mine are right…but I can’t show you my numbers. You’ll just have to believe me. They’re awesome.”

    4. “Can someone tell me why Marvel keeps such a tight lid on the sales numbers? Why the lack of transparency? I’m not getting why they’re allowed to say, “Your numbers are wrong and mine are right…but I can’t show you my numbers. You’ll just have to believe me. They’re awesome.”

      I’ve often wondered the exact same thing. When Slott showed up at Avi’s blog two years ago, he refused to answer that very question and went on and on about how “Marvel has no obligation to share those numbers” with the public. They’re about as transparent as the Obama Administration when it comes to that.

    5. It’s not so much since Slott took over. The sales saw a huge drop after One More Day, when Slott was only one of four writers. By the time he became sole writer in 2010, the sales were already week. They continued to drop a little bit, with some fluctuations here and there, but it wasn’t any unusual drop. Almost every book sees about 2-5% drops every month.

      As far as comparing to DC, it’s true that DC generally holds the top spots every month. Batman dominates the sales chart. That shouldn’t be a surprise. What’s more telling is how the rest of their line sells. March is the last month with numbers out. DC held the top 4 spots. Image had one book in the top 10, Marvel had 5. DC had 8 books in the top 30, Image had 2, the rest were Marvel. So DC has a few titles that do really well, and that’s it. Marvel has a lot of titles that do fairly well.

    6. Xmenxpert, I do not 100% disagree with you but if you collect all of the data it will show some interesting things. You are right that the book has been in decline since OMD but also it has even went further since Slott was on the book (even as one of the four writers). The sales continued to decline with Slott as the main writer. Now where you get off track is with standard attrition, using standards is fine with things that are standard. Spider-Man is not a standard character and has never followed standard attrition (much like Batman). Spider-Man is a flagship character and should be compared as such otherwise it is like Tide being compared to the sales of a local store brand. I will have this in my article later this month. Spider-man sales went down when Dan was on the book, then it went up to almost what it was before he was on the book with Superior then it continued to drop as the shock value went down. Now look at the sales their back down again and they continued to slide. If the slide of sales remained constant it would have been back to AMS sales or below with just a few more months. Now also look at Batman sales (they have not been declining they bounce up and down as they should but it has not been in a steady decline).
      I am sure the new #1 will get a big spike and it should give it a temporary boost as well but the question is how long can the gimmicks last.

  6. Ooh, home of the new Ms. Marvel. One of Marvel’s best books right now.

    Are you referring to sales figures or just your opinion of the creative quality? Because 1) the sales suck if you look at #2’s figures, the non-media hyped issue, and 2) the art is just plain atrocious.

    1. 38 000 isn’t that bad for a brand-new character, especially one who’s female – Marvel always struggles with female solo titles. The new volume of Captain Marvel debuted at 44 000, despite the previous volume being awesome and the new volume getting a more popular artist. Black Widow’s second issue was at 27 000, even though that series is excellent. She-Hulk’s second issue was under 27 000, despite the series being great fun. So the sales actually aren’t bad, given what it is.

      In terms of quality, the book has great writing, a lot of humour, a lot of heart, really fun art, and is just generally a great read every month. I can understand not liking Alphona, but I think he brings an energy and whimsy that suits the book. And he loads it with a lot of great little background gags.

      But even aside from the art, the writing is great. It’s a normal teen hero story, but updated and with just enough little twists to make it interesting. Kamala herself is a great character, adorable, dorky, but also a good person, and a good role model. Her rescue of Zoe in #2 was, I think, one of my favourite comic book moments, simply for how small it was. She wasn’t stopping some supervillain, or catching a falling plane. She wasn’t saving the world. She just saved one person’s world, and the world of that person’s friends and families. And it was the kind of thing that anyone could do, which makes it even more inspiring, and an even better model for readers.

      Ms. Marvel’s great. It’s one of their best books.

    2. Xmenexpert, that was a strong defense of the book. However, I have to ask: How much change to you drop on comics per month? I have to imagine it’s a pretty penny. You’ve made the case for a lot of books, but at the end of day there are only so many a guy can buy before it gets out of hand.

      If you could only pick three books a month to read, what would they be?

    3. I spend about $100 a month. So, yeah, it’s a lot.

      As far as what I would put as the top three . . . man, that’s just not fair. I’m really digging Uncanny X-Men (and All-New X-Men, though I rank Uncanny higher), I like what Wood’s doing on X-Men, I think Ms. Marvel is a book that everyone should be reading, Mighty Avengers is great(but would be better) if it didn’t have Greg Land as an artist), I have a lot of love for Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel (and her Pretty Deadly, though that one’s between volumes right now – it’s supposed to come back at the end of the year, but the TPB for volume 1 just dropped, and is definitely worth picking up, hint hint), All-New Ghost Rider is off to a great start, Loki is excellent, Silver Surfer is already fantastic . . . Marvel’s got a ton of high-quality comics right now.

      I’m a big supporter of promoting diversity, so I suppose if I could only buy 3, I might go with Ms. Marvel, All-New Ghost Rider and Captain Marvel. They’re all great books, and they’re all promoting diversity. All-New Ghost Rider gets bonus points for being literally the only Marvel title right now about a poor hero. There was a time when just about every Marvel hero worried about money, but right now, All-New Ghost Rider is the only one who does. Most of Marvel’s heroes these days don’t even have jobs – they’re professional superheroes, and that’s where they make their money. As someone who’s broke, I like seeing a hero who’s even more broke than I am.

      The upcoming Storm ongoing, depending on how good it is, may wind up replacing Captain Marvel as the third “good book that’s also promoting diversity and so deserves to be supported,” since it’s about a black woman and being written by an Asian-American.

    4. Interesting. I’m in the process of moving right now, but when my wife and I settle in to our new place I want to find a decent comic shop that’s nearby. I’ve kept tabs on Marvel, and a buddy of mine usually hooks me up at Christmas with some good reads, but I haven’t purchased anything on a regular basis for a long time. I think I’d probably be comfortable with two books a month. It’s just a matter of which two make the cut. I’ll definitely take your thoughts into consideration. I’m leaning towards Uncanny X-men and Ms. Marvel. I wanted to do a follow up on Ms. Marvel anyway…

      This is non-comics related and I don’t want to pry into your personal life, but it ties into the point I was making about my own decision to scale back:

      I spend about $100 a month. So, yeah, it’s a lot. …

      There was a time when just about every Marvel hero worried about money, but right now, All-New Ghost Rider is the only one who does. Most of Marvel’s heroes these days don’t even have jobs – they’re professional superheroes, and that’s where they make their money. As someone who’s broke, I like seeing a hero who’s even more broke than I am.

      I guess we all have our priorities. Mine is eating out. I eat out far too much when I should be making my own food at home, which would save a lot of money. I should make that more of a priority, but I don’t. I guess in some sense one could say that I’ve cut back on comics so I can enjoy more Greek Salads and tomato soup at Panera Bread…

      I’m not sure what your long-term goals are. If it has something to do with writing or reviewing comics, or doing something else within the industry, I’d say your money is probably well spent. I’d see it as an investment. If your long-term goals are not associated with the comics industry, I’d say $1,200 a year can be parlayed into some serious human capital — if it’s used wisely.

      Anyway, thanks again for the insight. I’ll definitely be returning to that reply once I get moved in to my new place.

    5. Yeah, back when I lived with a girlfriend/fiance, we ate out constantly, and it really ate up our money. I eat out a lot less these days.

      My long-term goal is to work in a public library. Which is . . .OK money, if I can get full-time work. And yeah, I probably should cut down, but honestly, I really enjoy comics, and I want to support the ones I most want to see continue, and there’s a lot I want to see continue. About 20 comics a month that I buy. Even worse, that’s probably going to go up near the end of the year, when I add three Image titles to my list.

      I would definitely recommend Ms. Marvel – it’s got very strong writing, and I enjoy the art on it. The fact that she’s a Muslim is actually something that’s handled well – it’s clearly an important part of who she is, but no more than the fact that she’s a superhero geek. It’s simply something that motivates her to be a good person, and to help people – which is arguably the whole point of faith in the first place.

      For a second book, it does depend on what you normally enjoy. And, of course, it’ll depend on what’s available when you start collecting again. Marvel does like cancelling and replacing books. However, I will say that Uncanny X-Men has a character named Goldballs, and he is one of the best characters ever. So there’s that.

      Another option might be Mark Waid’s Daredevil – it’s got a very definite Silver Age feel to it. It’s Daredevil as the Scarlet Swashbuckler, jokester superhero, but he’s also a mature hero.

    6. I would definitely recommend Ms. Marvel – it’s got very strong writing, and I enjoy the art on it. The fact that she’s a Muslim is actually something that’s handled well – it’s clearly an important part of who she is, but no more than the fact that she’s a superhero geek. It’s simply something that motivates her to be a good person, and to help people – which is arguably the whole point of faith in the first place.

      The only thing I will say on this is to look at the translation of Islam (“submission”) and then do a bit more research.

      Another option might be Mark Waid’s Daredevil – it’s got a very definite Silver Age feel to it. It’s Daredevil as the Scarlet Swashbuckler, jokester superhero, but he’s also a mature hero.

      Mark “‘go f**k’ yourself Waid”? Nope.

    7. Islam is about submitting to God. Isn’t that pretty much what Christianity and Judaism are all about, too? Isn’t the point of organized religion to encourage people to be good to each other? I’m agnostic, so hey, maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always felt that religion, at its core, is about trying to make the world a better place. People can disagree about exactly what that means, but I figure “help someone who’s drowning” is something that pretty much everyone can agree on.

      If it makes you feel any better, Ms. Marvel #3 actually had the main character question why women have to be separated from men in a Mosque. She’s not the submissive type. She’s an American Muslim teenager, and that means speaking her mind. Another aspect of her being a good role model.

      Well, to be fair, the criticism of Obama going on Between Two Ferns was pretty silly. Besides, regardless of how you feel about Waid as a person, he’s a good writer.

    8. “I spend about $100 a month. So, yeah, it’s a lot.’

      Wow. That much, huh? I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on comics before (I assume you’re talking single issues here; I usually get trade paperbacks. I’m honestly amazed they still do single issues these days). There aren’t a lot of modern titles from Marvel and Dc that particularly interest me. I usually get older stuff like what’s in the Essential Marvel and Showcase Presents ranges, plus collected editions of other storylines. The only modern comics I’ve bought were Archie Comics’ New Crusaders (which was surprisingly good…. then it vanished without a trace) and IDW’s GI Joe comics. IDW has a good handle on GI Joe. I’ve been meaning to read their TMNT comics as well. I’ve heard their Transformers titles are lackluster, though.

      “There was a time when just about every Marvel hero worried about money, but right now, All-New Ghost Rider is the only one who does. Most of Marvel’s heroes these days don’t even have jobs – they’re professional superheroes, and that’s where they make their money. As someone who’s broke, I like seeing a hero who’s even more broke than I am.”

      So basically all of Marvel’s heroes are professional superheroes now? As in all working for SHIELD? Wally Wood’s THUNDER agents (from the mid-1960s)had a very similar premise.The premise of my novel has the characters as full-time superheroes working (indirectly) for the government, although they tell their friends and relatives that they work for a private think tank. So they do have a cover story.

      “I guess we all have our priorities. Mine is eating out. I eat out far too much when I should be making my own food at home, which would save a lot of money. I should make that more of a priority, but I don’t. I guess in some sense one could say that I’ve cut back on comics so I can enjoy more Greek Salads and tomato soup at Panera Bread…”

      I like Panera Bread, too. I really like their breakfast sandwiches. Haven’t been there for years, though.

    9. Yeah, I get the single issues. I grew up on ’90s comics, so I’m a little inoculated against nostalgia. And there’s a lot of current writers who are just phenomenal – Kieron Gillen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Al Ewing, Brian Bendis (Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy aside), Charles Soule – writers who are every bit as good as the classic writers of yesteryear.

      Most heroes don’t work for SHIELD. But as Avengers, they get a stipend from the Maria Stark Foundation. I think it’s $1000 a week – they’re not wealthy, but they certainly live comfortably. There actually are some characters with money issues right now – She-Hulk’s just opened her own law firm, and is kinda desperate for clients. Daredevil’s previous volume had him operating a law clinic, so he did have a job, though he didn’t really seem to be overly concerned about money. Come to think of it, the new Nova has money worries – his single mother isn’t making enough to make ends meet. So there is a second book where money is a major problem. And I suppose Superior Foes of Spider-Man, too, though I’m not sure it counts, since they’re pathetic bad guys.

      Regardless, very few of the superheroes we get to see have to worry about money. And that disappoints me.

    10. I like Panera Bread, too. I really like their breakfast sandwiches. Haven’t been there for years, though.

      I’m loading up the car for Trip #2 to New Jersey, eating a breakfast sandwich at Panera, and then heading out for another 8-hour round trip. This is going to be a long day. At least I’m on the home stretch!

    11. $100/month? No thanks. At this point in my life I have MUCH bigger priorities. Like a daughter in college. Getting married again. Buying new toenail clippers. 😉

      There’s no way I’d ever support Mark Waid again after his myriad rants against anyone who disagrees with him politically. He’s even told fans NOT to buy his stuff after they’ve said “Sorry we disagree but I love your books.” WTF?? And I stick by my assessment of Ms. Marvel’s artwork — it’s dreadful. As someone who grew up with the likes of John Buscema, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne, Marvel’s art look like it came from a 6th grade art class.

    12. I’ll definitely agree with you on the artwork, Hube. When a book has terrible art, it really takes me out of the story. All the pieces need to fit together, and I hate it when the art distracts from really good writing.

      I’m interested in Ms. Marvel just because I don’t think too many people have covered — the way you would cover it — since it was announced. Xmenxepert’s interpretation of Islam (i.e., basically, “be a good person,”) is interesting because even atheists argue that they only want to be a “good” person. Well, what does that mean? If Islam is so important to the character, but all its readers are getting is that it means to “be a good person,” then I want to read that book. And then I want to introduce those readers a real-world hero like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      Every time someone searches “Ms. Marvel” I want them to also be exposed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    13. Luckily, I have few priorities right now. No kids, no girlfriend, nothing in particular that I need to worry about other than surviving. Though I think I’ll need some new nail clippers soon.

      Those artists were great, sure. Alphona’s got a much less conventional style, and it fits the tone of the book. I grew up with Liefeld and his imitators, so I’m used to truly terrible art. Not to mention Marvel’s insistence on putting Greg Land on books I want to buy. Alphona’s really not a bad artist.

      Of course, I was one of the few people who liked Felipe Andrade on Captain Marvel last year. My favourite artist is Emma Rios. I do like a lot of unconventional artists. Even going back to the ’80s – Bill Sienkewicz had a very unorthodox style, and it was great. I like Byrne, Cockrum and Buscema, too, and more contemporary, I like Bagley, Lopez and To. But I find a lot of the artists I love are the ones who are different. Rios, Andrade, Alphona, Allred, Tradd Moore. Guys who bring a different aesthetic, a different feel.

    14. “I’m loading up the car for Trip #2 to New Jersey, eating a breakfast sandwich at Panera, and then heading out for another 8-hour round trip. This is going to be a long day. At least I’m on the home stretch!”

      Just think, soon you’ll be moved in and settling in with your wife at your new place! One thing that always gets me about moving is that you never know how much stuff you really have until you DO move.

    15. Well, in my relationship with my wife I”m the one who throws stuff out and she’s the one who likes to accumulate things. My problem was trying to get everything to New Jersey in a Toyota Yaris (manly car, I know…). Two eight our round-trips in one weekend. I’d say that’s pretty good. I think one load should finish the job.

    16. It’s not that I think Islam specifically is about being a good person. It’s that I think organized religion in general is about being a good person. It’s not necessary, certainly – the vast majority of atheists and agnostics are good, too – but I think that, at the end of the day, “be good” is the core takeaway of any religion, Islam included.

      And I do want to stress again that the new Ms. Marvel is an American Muslim. Her parents are from Pakistan, but she’s from Jersey. That undeniably affects her own interpretation of Islam, as when she questions men and women being separated in the Mosque. The second issue also quotes a passage from the Quran: “Whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind, and whoever saves one person, it is as if he has saved all of mankind.” Whatever your views on certain aspects of Islam, that is a beautiful sentiment, and it’s something that’s motivating Ms. Marvel. It’s her “With great power comes great responsibility.”

      So her faith is an integral part of her character, but so is being a superhero fangirl, so is being a teenager, so is being an American. The writer and editor are both Muslims – the editor is actually a Pakistani-American superhero fangirl from Jersey – but it’s not a book about Islam. It’s not trying to push the faith, or even any one interpretation of the faith.

    17. And I do want to stress again that the new Ms. Marvel is an American Muslim. Her parents are from Pakistan, but she’s from Jersey. That undeniably affects her own interpretation of Islam, as when she questions men and women being separated in the Mosque. The second issue also quotes a passage from the Quran: “Whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind, and whoever saves one person, it is as if he has saved all of mankind.” Whatever your views on certain aspects of Islam, that is a beautiful sentiment, and it’s something that’s motivating Ms. Marvel. It’s her “With great power comes great responsibility.”

      These are the things I want to explore. I’m definitely interested in checking out the book.

    18. If you do pick it up, I’d recommend paying close attention to the art. Alphona does put in a lot of visual gags. Funny newspaper headlines, signs on walls and lampposts, weird product names, and all sorts of odd little background characters. The first issue has a party scene that’s like something out of Mad magazine. The third issue has a kid running down the street and falling flat on his face. All sorts of subtle comedic stuff.

    19. Don’t get me wrong, I think Mark Waid is a good writer. I really enjoyed Kingdom Come. But he’s discouraged me from buying any more of his work by the way he’s acted online. He’s kind of become the comic book world’s version of Sean Penn. He makes Slott’s rants look tame by comparison. I don’t care if he or anyone else has a different opinion… it’s just the way he acts online that gets to me. Even if a fan disliked one of my stories, I could never see myself telling them to go f*** themselves, since that would be completely uncalled for.

      Whenever I go to a bookstore, I always check out the comics section to see what they have. I’ve bought a lot of older Marvel stories in trade paperback form. Lately, it seems like all they have from DC are the New 52 titles, which is disappointing. Sometimes I page through their trade paperbacks out of simple curiosity… and none of them really interest me.

  7. Douglas,

    I am the admin of the Youtube video where you and Dan dueled.

    I didn’t delete any comments. My only involvement was posting the comment you saw.

    That is all.

    1. If you didn’t delete any comments, then why have so many of them disappeared? It went from over 200+ comments down to 57.

      You also left up your own question regarding my desire to try and stay as much as possible in compliance with fair use laws, and yet my replies are no longer visible. Why is that?

    2. My theory, when a parent comment is deleted (by a poster who has the power to delete their own) the replies go with it. I’m not sure, but that’s the best theory.

      I went to reply on there only to find the comments gone. I have e-mail notifications of comments from this weekend which no longer exist either.

    3. Thanks for clearing up that issue then, I was planning on asking you anyway. Also, my offer to start a flame war about Rich Johnson on your next convention video still stands as long as you pay me a nickel!

  8. Oh and I posted the fair use question twice by accident. Once on it’s own and again in Dan’s thread (where I realized it belonged). The one you can still see is the first one.

    1. I’ll edit the caption in the image I used, as well as the text from the post’s body, to exclude you from the Dan Slott Damage Control (D.S.D.C.), but something is incredibly weird. I’ll chalk it up to Dan Slott doing a massive scrub-job on his own meltdown, then.

      Thanks for the clarification.

  9. Thank you Bertone for coming here and sharing that information. So just to clarify for everyone reading this Dan Slott once again went in and removed discussion to defend himself. This is getting to be a usual occurrence for him.

    1. The thing that is fishy to me is that I don’t understand why Dan Slott deleting his own comments should mean that everyone else who replied to his immature rants should have their comments disappear. That makes no sense. It should be the moderator’s call on what disappears after someone like Dan Slott has done his best Scrubby Bubbles impression. It should also show up that Dan Slott deleted his comments.

      Again, something is weird…but then again YouTube can be weird and we all know Dan Slott will do whatever he can to make himself look good.


    2. So just to clarify for everyone reading this Dan Slott once again went in and removed discussion to defend himself.

      That one is worth putting in bold. 😉

  10. “$100/month? No thanks. At this point in my life I have MUCH bigger priorities. Like a daughter in college. Getting married again. Buying new toenail clippers.” 😉

    I was spending $100/month just over a year ago on new titles, sometimes more depending on how many silver age back issues I would buy online.

    I’ve really cut back though, down to only “Batman” & “Detective Comics” from DC and “Avengers” & Fantastic Four” from Marvel. The profit margin slapped on a comic book in Australia is ridiculous, so 4 titles will do for now.

  11. @Hube

    “As someone who grew up with the likes of John Buscema, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne, Marvel’s art look like it came from a 6th grade art class”

    Sounds like you and I are from the same era. 🙂 I started reading comics around 1974 aged10.

    A lot of great artists back then and some great ones around these days. It’s too bad Marvel hire some crappy ones. 🙂

    1. Sounds like you and I are from the same era. 🙂 I started reading comics around 1974 aged10.

      Indeed! I began around then — Iron Man #69 was the first comic I read. I believe that was 1974. (I was nine.)

    1. I don’t even remember what my first comic was. I do know when I started reading though: in 1997.

    2. We were poor and my mother purchased a box of comics for me for a quarter so it was a very remembered moment for me. I had the first issue of the Incredible Hulk, issues of Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, Batman…and on and on. I learned to read on comic books. If I would guess I had at least 100 issues in that box.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Truthwillwin1. Wow! That’s a lot of legwork you did there. I haven’t been to Comic Vine in awhile since every time I show up a certain person acts like a nut and begins talking about Trayvon Martin, etc. Did he really got the moderators to delete your stats? Yeesh!

      If he’s using the same stats when it suits his needs, why are yours banned?

    2. I never posted in comic vine it was at the marvel forums that my posts were deleted. My friend and co-worker Spider went rounds with Slott on comic vine because he agreed with me and that made Dan very mad. Dan Slott used the same numbers in the comic vine forums to brag about sales yet they were the same numbers that I used that he claimed were not accurate. As I posted in my article he will twist logic to use the numbers as a positive but if you look at the big picture it really does not work out so well for him.

  12. I ran an experiment in a stats class yesterday with 5 top tier characters and the sales for each. I labeled them A,B,C,D,E so that they would not know what the sales were (so that it would be unbiased). I told them the sales are for monthly magazines. Each student had to pick the top one they would want to publish and the one they would cancel and then rank them in order. Batman was the number one choice and it was unanimous, the bottom had Superman. When they were ranked Superior-Spider Man was second to last. One of the main reasons Spider-Man scraped the bottom was the continual negative slide with no sustained gains (the overall student response was that a one issue gain on an occasion was not enough to provide confidence in a sustained increase in sales). If you watched my video (which the students did not this experiment was only based on the numbers and their views) you can see Spider-Man has not had a pleasant sales trend. Do not get me wrong I take no pleasure in this I do not wish ill will on Marvel and I like Spider-Man. Overall I hope Spider-Man can make the changes necessary to recover. For the once that argue that Spider-Man sales are in the top 10 remember they should be, they should be in the top 5 consistently and they should have peaks and valleys but their needs to be a positive trend of sales not an overall decline.

    1. I kinda came to a similar conclusion while trying to wrap my head around how SSM didn’t tank. Then it hit me; This is Marvel’s flagship series, of course it won’t tank. It’s gladdening to know that the series’ “success” is less owed to Dan Slott’s shitstorm, but actually is a testament to how enduring Spider-Man is as a symbol. Good sales was all Dan had going for him in his counter arguments against his detractors (other than derailing the conversation), it seems more like the Spider-Man comicbook deserves more credit than Dan does.

    2. This is a point that doesn’t get talked about very much, but it’s very appropriate anytime someone talks about sales. There are only a few characters who have really left an indelible mark on the world’s psyche. Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman are right up there. These characters are not 100% immune to bad writers (Superman’s number one weakness is arguably bad writers, as opposed to Kyrptonite), but they each sort of have their own built-in sales to prevent them from completely cratering.

      The problem with going that route is that it’s really hard to quantify that number. Regardless, in the back of everyone’s mind they sort of get it, so when you compare average Spider-Man sales these days to the rest of the pack it’s still sort of like, “This is your ‘success’ with Spider-Man? Okay…”

  13. That is a good point, but even with that said you can see the sales are no longer what they were in the past (and I don’t mean when all books were having higher sales). If you notice the book has been on a downward trend for years and under the current direction the slide has continued. Here is an example of Dan Slott on the sales of this book.

    Dan goes to a casino and gambles. He comes home and says I won 74,000!

    A person asks how much did you spend he replies 118000.

    So you lost money?

    No Dan replies I was at 54000 at one point so I earned over 20000!

    But Dan you still lost money.

    No I did not I have 74000!

  14. Here is something funny from Dan’s Twitter

    “Before asking me a “plausibility” question about a Spider-Man comic…

    …imagine I’m already saying, “Y’know he walks up walls, right?” :)”

    My response if he ever tried saying that to me? “Y’know Mary Jane easily sniffed out impostors before, right?”

    or

    “Y’know the it was dumb and out-of-character for the Avengers to merely put Spidey on probation after a murder, right?”

    or

    “Y’know, when a superhero shows up with an illegally equipped private army, most officials and organized superheroes wouldn’t be cool with it, right?”

    or

    “Y’know, if I had an army of robot spies, I’d actually try and keep them hidden from sight, right?”

    or

    “Y’know it’s pretty creepy that Anna has memorized what Pete’s junk looks like after one sexual encounter, right?”

    or

    “Y’know that this kind of dodge is ineffective when actually talking to someone in person, not rhetorically saying over Twitter, right?”

    He honestly makes it too easy for me to laugh at him. I’ll be sure to roast his ass at Comic Con, assuming he doesn’t try to brush me off or pussy out. He owes me 5 bucks!

    1. Here is something funny from Dan’s Twitter:

      “Before asking me a “plausibility” question about a Spider-Man comic…imagine I’m already saying, “Y’know he walks up walls, right?” :)”

      Translation: I’m Dan Slott and I can come up with any hair-brained idea, and as long as it makes sense to me then any criticism you make will be regarded as idiotic nitpicking.

      This guy is unreal…

    2. He’s basically the second most vain comic book writer I can think of. The first would have to be Ken Penders, who, thanks to Archie Comic’s legal bungling, pretty much forced a reboot of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book continuity, which was very much unique world of it’s own. He pretty much obliterated an entire continuity and is now trying to create a new (and very doomed) series with characters he initially created during his run on the comic. His ego is more inflated than Slott’s, with much less to show for it. I’m not going to get into specifics, but he’s basically Dan Slott times ten.

  15. Has anyone yet noticed the supreme irony that any writer/executive that’s opposed MJ is essentially her father. Think of it Philip Watson was a writer with delusions of grandeur who blamed his children for the shortcomings in his work and took it out on them.

  16. Well, it looks like Marvel might be heading in the direction of rebooting its universe, if this article is any indication:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/05/19/time-runs-out-the-marvel-event-for-may-2015-avengers-to-skip-eight-months-in-september-and-a-full-marvel-reboottime-runs-out-the-marvel-event-for-may-2015-avengers-to-skip-eight-months-in-septe/

    Personally, as many problems as Marvel’s comics division has, I don’t think rebooting will resolve anything. It hasn’t for DC; it’s created more continuity issues than ever before, since Batman and Green Lantern weren’t rebooted. The same inmates are running the asylum there. Plus, I’m sick of constant reboots and re-imaginings.

  17. I agree with everything you said about MJ. It’s been a constant push to make her not matter, and to really harm the character. At some point, maybe near the end of Slott’s run, someone is going to have the idea, “Hey! We need to make Spider-Man more edgy!” So either MJ will get killed, kidnapped, missing, we actually will find out that in some weird twist of fate she’s actually related to the new new Character “Silk” or something silly. They are already doing irreversible damage to the character. I just dislike it so much.

    1. I did not…but I now I will! I love Still a Nerd, and lost track of him when CBR dumped the forums. Thanks, bro I’ve been silent on here due to School but whenever I read ASM I always think to check your site!

    2. I’ll probably have a Dan Slott post in the near future, although it’s a bit more political since he likes to say mean things about people and then delete the evidence… Luckily, the Internet is forever. 😉

      I recently moved and haven’t had a chance to find a decent comic shop. That will probably happen in the near future. Once that happens I should be able to get the occasional ASM review up. Thanks for checking in!

  18. I watched a clip from the new Spider-Man movies by accident and thought to myself, Honestly? How do they expect people to like that character? He’s so annoying! The first of the older trilogy, with Tobey MacGuire, was pretty dark for featuring a teenaged superhero, but I gave it full marks for the depth of character and how well all the elements of the story interacted… Also I had to give it a thumbs-up for the terrifying villain. They had a sympathetic villain who was still clearly a villain. That’s a tough line to walk!
    Also, the new Spider-Man movies are automatically docked points for picking a lead who looks like a younger, slightly less grumpy Hayden Christiensen. If I ever watch the entire movie… I will probably be thinking “Anakin” the entire time, which actually might make it more bearable, since in my opinion Anakin Skywalker is actually more capable of being a pest than Peter Parker is. *sigh*
    I liked Anakin as a kid. Anakin as a teenager… *gargles vigorously with mouthwash*
    Sawry, that was a long ramble on my own preferences mostly… oh, who am I kidding. I mostly liked that movie because the message and story reminded me of “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Except it’s somewhat darker than “The First Avenger” and Steve doesn’t talk back to someone older than him. (Superhero movie: Someone always dies in the first third of the movie. Except for “The Incredibles.” Which is an oddball, for some reason. Oh, and Disney had better not screw up the sequel, or issue spin-off comics which they make hash of, because it was a movie with a moral and better still a FAMILY movie. Not just a movie a family could share but a movie about a family, a realistic family, just with superpowers. No sitcom required. Also, apparently I have a lot of opinions about it and the plot of Civil War has a similar plot device…)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s