Marvel Comics allowed writer Dan Slott to essentially kill off Peter Parker for over a year. While everyone’s favorite wall crawler was in limbo, a megalomaniac prone to “Nazi-like torture” experiments on his victims was in control of Peter’s body. Fans knew that one day the real hero would return, and some of them actually thought that his time away would give Dan Slott an opportunity to conceive of fresh new ideas for the title. They were wrong.
Six issues into The Amazing Spider-Man, it may as well be called The Emasculated Spider-Man or The Superficial Spider-Man. It is painful to see Spider-Man become a supporting character in his own book, and that pain is exacerbated by Peter’s lack of character development.
Take the new character Silk, for example. She shows up and it is immediately established that she is faster than Peter, she has webbing skills he doesn’t possess, her spider-sense is more acute and her command and control in the heat of battle matches or surpasses his — despite being locked up in a cell for 13 years. (Credibility points if you’re also annoyed at a character without a resume who lands an internship at a major cable news network.)
Is Silk a supporting character, or is Dan Slott using The Amazing Spider-Man as a vehicle to propel his creations onto bigger and better things? Why should fans who plunk down $4.00 to enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man be made to feel as if they’re reading The Sensational Silk? They shouldn’t.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of Dan Slott’s work is his penchant for making characters behave in incongruous ways with their established personality when the means serve his ends. While I am no Black Cat historian, I can’t help but think that her transformation into a bloodless killer has been handled with the finesse one would see if the Rhino waltzed down a supermodel runway. It’s jarring, it makes readers scratch their head when they’re supposed to be immersed in the book, and it reeks of a writer who is either a.) sloppy, b.) taking creative shortcuts because he thinks he can get away with it, c.) indifferent to what fans of that mistreated character think, or d.) all of the above.
Readers might be able to deal with Spider-Man repeatedly getting saved by a brand new hero in his own book if, as Peter Parker, there were sufficient character development. One would think that the six months after Peter Parker essentially returned from the dead would warrant considerable time for soul-searching introspection between action sequences. Instead, Peter Parker goes about his life as if nothing of much significance has happened; he has an “I sorta-kinda died — moving on,” mentality. Meanwhile, Silk comes to his aid, Black Cat embarrasses him, and Anna Maria Marconi runs his company. The Emasculated Spider-Man bumbles around on the battlefield and in his personal life, and at the end of the day fans are left hoping the upcoming Spider-Verse — where the original Spider-Man will likely take a bigger back seat in his own book — offers something more.
If you thought The Amazing Spider-Man would improve with its relaunch, then you were wrong. At this rate, the next time six months of strong Spider-Man stories take place will be when Dan Slott finally passes the torch to a new creative team.
Update: Alpha Game was kind enough to read and share my post. Head on over there if you get a chance and return the kindness.
Doug as always you have exposed the schlock that Slott writes in a concise and informative manner. It pains me to think Slott has another two years of worthless plot lines up his sleeve.
I’ve been reading ASM since 1974 and this is the first and longest hiatus I’ve ever had from this book. I can’t believe how Marvel have given Slott so much license to do whatever he likes to their flagship character.
Words cannot express the sheer frustration and loathing I feel when reading his tripe. The character derailment of long established characters and the subversive inclusion of his own one dimensional characters just stinks to high heaven.
Yeesh. Yet another example of why Slott is unsuited to be writing this series. It doesn’t even make sense that someone else would’ve been bitten by the spider way back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Talk about a pointless retcon as well. Instead of doing stories like advance the character forward, we have this nonsense.
Judging from the description alone, Silk is what’s called a “Mary Sue” character: a character who is unrealistically perfect in every way.
I was reading issues 4-6 and just kept laughing. You can’t help but think, “Come on, now…” I didn’t even get to the ridiculous make-out sessions she has with Peter or the behavior of the character Sajani. She tells Black Cat all of Peter’s plans because she believes Peter is an “idiot” with the “worst business model ever.” It’s quite a leap to go from thinking “my business partner is an idiot” to “I’m going to eagerly help a bunch of psycho-villains destroy everything he’s worked for.”
“I was reading issues 4-6 and just kept laughing. You can’t help but think, “Come on, now…” I didn’t even get to the ridiculous make-out sessions she has with Peter or the behavior of the character Sajani. She tells Black Cat all of Peter’s plans because she believes Peter is an “idiot” with the “worst business model ever.” It’s quite a leap to go from thinking “my business partner is an idiot” to “I’m going to eagerly help a bunch of psycho-villains destroy everything he’s worked for.”
Yeesh. That sounds horrible. For a supposed lifelong Spider-Man fan, Slott sure doesn’t understand the characters very well.
I finally got to a comic shop today. It took me about four months after the move, but I finally got there! There were about 10,000 kids running around playing some sort of card game that I had to navigate around, but I came for what I was looking for.
Did you saw he has two more years left of material? To quote Darth Vadar: “Noooooooo!”
On some level I was really hoping I could stop doing these reviews. My wife asked me today how long I was going to do them and I said, “Until Dan Slott leaves the book.” I may continue to do them when I new creative team comes on board — especially to compare and contrast their work with his — but I’m not sure how it could get any more cringe-inducing than this.
I’ll probably be doing a review of the animated comic ‘What Combat Feels Like’ in the near future. Watch that and then go read anything Dan Slott writes. Notice a difference? One is incredibly moving. One is superficial pap. Obviously I don’t expect The Amazing Spider-Man to have the same kind of gravity as a true story told by an Iraq War veteran, but I do expect my comics to have some weight to them. Right now, The Amazing Spider-Man is an embarrassment.
Did you say he has two more years left of material? To quote Darth Vadar: “Noooooooo!”
Lol……Yeah, I recall reading that somewhere on Comicvine. I really hope it doesn’t come to pass. I couldn’t stand another two years of the sexploits of a philandering irresponsible and immature Peter Parker.
My daughter’s Archie, Betty and Veronica comics are more entertaining. 🙂
Two years left of material? Ugh. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to hire this clown as the writer of one of Marvel’s flagship characters? Marvel’s comics division needs to be cleaned out and they need to hire new writers and artists in order to right that ship again. It’s just baffling to me that their movies can be so good but their comics are below subpar these days.
I expect comics to have emotional weight too, and I don’t mind the occasional silly elements, but none of this Spider-Verse nonsense that pushes the title character to the sidelines in favor of a “multiple Spider-Men” publicity stunt. It sounds like really bad fanfiction.
“But…but Carl, you don’t want to see Spider-Ham and Spider-Man team up? It will be hilarious!” 😉
In all seriousness, I think on some level the idea of having a threat that hunts down the spider-men of different dimensions is cool. However, you can’t build a skyscraper on a crappy foundation. The “foundation” that is Peter Parker is in shambles. The writers need to really spend time on Peter — just Peter — and once he’s up to speed again, then that’s when it would be more appropriate to start doing “Spider-Verse” stuff.
Who is Peter Parker these days? He’s not really all that recognizable me. There are traces of the Peter Parker I know, but it’s definitely not Peter Parker. It’s some other guy. I don’t think the writers even know, which is why they a.) killed him off for a year, and b.) are now hoping he’ll get lost in the mix of all that is Spider-Verse. It’s sort of like going to see a musician who uses his laser show and stage antics to cover up the fact that he’s not a very good guitar player… “Hey, look at all these spider-men swinging around acting crazy and just forget about Peter! Spider-Men. Spider-Men! Spiiiiiiiideeeeeeer-Meeeeeeen! Woohoo!”
I actually think it’s a cool idea as well, don’t get me wrong (I am a fan of DC’s 1960s through 1980s Crisis stories after all), but I don’t trust Slott with that kind of story. Plus there’s the fact that since they killed him off about a year, and they should be spending more time rebuilding who he is instead of engaging in a crossover/publicity stunt/short-term money maker, the plot of which Slott stole from a 2010 video game called “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.”
Slott was the final crisis that took me out of paper Marvel and made me throw in with movie Marvel, where whatever the mutational changes might be they still have continuity, real time and change. Slott not only ruins Spider-Man he manages to do so whilst whole heartedly churning the “illusion of change” slurry.
Honestly, Disney can’t fold paper Marvel soon enough for me. It will happen. As Brian Layton pointed out, there are no Donald Duck comics any more, IDW notwithstanding.
Great article. I just got back into Spiderman and felt like this was garbage how Spiderman has become. Silk is supposed to be their female version of Spiderman, only better in every way with their ongoing mission to turn Marvel Universe into the It’s a Small World ride at Disney World. I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, khearn101. I appreciate it. That “Small World ride” comment made me laugh out loud. I feel your pain!
1. Yeah, so Mary Sue? Check.
2. Un-realistic bastardization of an iconic superheroine? Check.
3. People in Peter’s superhero life STILL don’t believe that Doc Ock was in Peter’s body? (It took Cap 2 issues to believe it and Black Cat still doesn’t, even though he even impersonated Ock for a minute to send her away, THEN she believed it, only to NOT believe it anymore an issue later with NO rhyme or reason whatsoever. The fuck? She have 5-minute-turrets?)
Somehow I get the feeling Dan Slott is doing this ON PURPOSE to say “hey look guys! Peter Parker is SUCH a boring fucknut! Do you remember when we had Doc Ock on the book and how much BETTER it was? HE wouldn’t wind up naked over Twitter, HE would know how to run a company (even though Peter is on a first name basis with Tony Stark AND Reed Richards, both of whom are successful businessmen and would give him sound advice…)
The only reason I buy this book and every other Peter Parker related material is JUST to stick it to Slott. He wants to vaunt his “sales” argument? Fine. I will buy his book if it involves Peter JUST to fuck with him. I mean shit it’s gotten to a point where they brought SSM back for 2 issues just to be a tie-in to Spider-Verse. Why is it that every other book featuring ANY wall-crawler is better than the one with the most fabulous webhead of them all?
Oh and don’t think for a minute his fanboys will let you off the hook. Post your opinions of the guy or his work? Especially with cosplayers? They will call you ALL sorts of nasty things and that you are a horrible person because you “attacked a private photo of a guy who is a fan of this person, regardless of what he did to you or anybody else…”
So yeah, Dan Slott is the Rob Ford of comic books, and like Rob Ford, can’t get fired…
It’s very easy to think that. I think you have a valid concern. As I said before, I think he really enjoys the “Spider-Man” aspect of the book, but he just doesn’t like or understand Peter Parker. Didn’t he pejoratively refer to “ghost Peter” as Jiminy Cricket? I think I even mentioned that in one of my earlier posts. There was also the “meat puppet” line. You only laugh about turning a character into a “meat puppet” if he’s expendable to you…
I think when one considers the lack of character development and the superficial nature of the book, an argument can be made that deep down Dan Slott is scared of the character. He’ll do gimmicky things to leave his mark (e.g., Superior Spider-Man, Spider-Verse), but he hasn’t actually moved the character forward in any meaningful way. In fact, the character has regressed… The silver lining is that one day he’ll be off the book, and if a good creative team comes on, then they should be able to get the ship moving in the right direction.
Boom. That’s basically the vibe I’ve picked up. It’s rather depressing.
Zing! I still agree with my brother, who likened the sales argument to Justin Bieber. Marvel has allowed a writer to dumb its flagship character down enough to where it attracts the comic equivalent of Justin Bieber fans. Ten years from now, what will people say about Dan Slott’s tenure? I don’t think history will look kindly on this era.
“Marvel has allowed a writer to dumb its flagship character down enough to where it attracts the comic equivalent of Justin Bieber fans. Ten years from now, what will people say about Dan Slott’s tenure? I don’t think history will look kindly on this era.”
And that is what bugs me. In an age when people are starting to slowly but surely allow the characters to grow and age but still be relevant, comics as a whole is determined to take 2 steps back and say “NOPE! We WON’T let these characters develop. We want the ‘iconic’ versions.” When even kids are starting to be hungry for a story that allows a character to go from A to B. Yes, it’s comics, you can allow the characters to age and develop at a snail’s pace, and that’s fine, nobody will get mad at you for that, it takes months to make a single book for crying out loud, but at least show signs they develop.
Spider-Man is 52 years old, and they age him now around 25 years old. I am 23, and the pre-Horizon Labs Spider-Man isn’t so far off from a working-class 23-year-old trying to make ends meet when your degrees and education are designed for the long game and not the short one (I specialize in the arts and fitness) and he has been Spidey since he was 15. So every 5 years on average he ages roughly a year. 5 years of publication is about 60 books of a single title. And that is fairly modest for a mainstream book and plenty of time for readers to jump onto a book, get hooked, draw more readers, and yet still feed into the “illusion of change.”
A pity though that with all the blowjobs Slott has had to do over the years he basically has carte blanche. He can basically say whatever he wants and NOTHING would happen. If this were ANY OTHER medium whether it be government, acting, video game development, fuck even a retail job, you would be SO fired and SO blacklisted that you would never be able to work as a dishwasher let alone in your chosen field. And apparently you can’t be a critic against him because people treat you like you’re a horrible person if you do. *headwall*
He definitely has friends in high places in the industry, and it appears as though you’re right about him having a blank check. I feel like I’m watching a kid who was given a blank check and he just used it to buy one million gumballs…
That gets into a conversation on comic websites and whether they want to bite the hand that feeds. I used to look at the Orwellian message boards out there and then look at my own internal WordPress stats, and something just wasn’t sinking up. There are plenty of people who are annoyed with the direction of Spider-Man, but my read on it is that over time they just stopped commenting. It’s just not worth it. Either you get banned for no apparent reason, your tactful comments are deleted, or you get some moderator who doesn’t want to get on the artist’s bad side who defends the indefensible. It’s pointless to even have a discussion at that point.
That’s why I’ll continue to blog on this issue. There are always readers like khearn101 out there waiting to speak up. At least this way there is a readily available outlet for those who are unhappy with The Amazing Spider-Man. And unlike the mods at other websites, I’m not going to just ban people for no reason or randomly delete their comments. I’ll ban people who are clearly trolls, but I’m pretty good about letting people have their say if they want to act like an adult.
You know the original 616 Peter Parker, prior the OMD fiasco and the Superior bordello, was at least 28 years old.
This current regression to a younger single immature Peter should never have happened in “Amazing Spider-Man”.
It’s interesting to think that characters like DCs Dick Grayson are always evolving, but Slott’s Peter Parker, instead of being a responsible and mature 28 year old, is acting like a half baked (Joey) from Friends in a cartoon sitcom.
If Marvel really want a comedic parody version of Spider-Man they should’ve released it as a new title and let Slott tickle his man-child funny bone as much as he likes.
The last page of ASM 185 really steered the book forward, but Quesada & Slott have totally screwed it up with their infantile nonsense.
Zing! Well said.
Yeah, that’s what really bothers me about the industry. Everyone knows each other and is buddy-buddy, and they go on their little “retreats” and pat each other on the back while telling themselves how wonderful they all are. It’s pathetic.
Hey Doug, long time no talk, it’s nice to see you haven’t forgotten about our mutual “buddy” Dan Slott. I still plan on demanding that $5 he owes me at Comic-Con for losing the bet.
But I did want to ask you something; have you heard about #Gamergate or #Notyourshield? Because it’s kind of been a big thing in the gaming community (which I’m proudly a part of) lately. I’ll give you the short version; two feminist women (Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian) involved in the gaming industry have been under fire recently for a number of very valid reasons, though both have gotten sexist and rude comments over it (par for the course on the internet). Later on a bunch of game journalists publish scathing hit pieces declaring the “death of gamers” and labeling everyone critical of those two as “whiny, misogynistic, virgin manbabys”, and unironically comparing us to ISIS, Nazis, the KKK and the Confederacy (I wish I was making this shit up).
So in response, #Gamergate was started to highlight the cronyism and corruption in game journalism, and #Notyourshield was made to represent the minority gamers who agree with the message of #Gamergate. The result has been simply beautiful, so many people from all walks of life rallied to the #GG banner and are now continuing to speak out against the rampant corruption and politicla correctness in the industry. And they are starting have an impact, slowly but surely.
Unfortunately, #GG supporters are being met with a deluge of threats and harassment, and in one case, an anti #GG fellow appropriated a fictional character created by 4chan’s /v/ board (and are very much in support of #GG) and basically started denouncing #GG on twitter while using the character’s name as a twitter handle. There’s also pressure in the industry against game developers preventing them from speaking in support of #GG, and in some cases, their personal info had been pilfered and posted on the internet.
Would you consider commenting on this? If you need any info about all of this, I’ve pretty much got all of the facts together, but I’d love hear what you think of all this.
Nice to hear from you again, psychokineticex. In terms of commenting, were you thinking an actual blog post? I’m not as up on GamerGate as perhaps I should be. My understanding (and you seem to validate some of it), is that the liberal politically correct gaming media-types have slimed gamers as “terrorists” because random losers online (shocker, I know) sent death threats to some feminists. Ironically, there was one journalist who said that “all men” should be killed, and another who said that he respects Islamic State more than gamers. Wow…
Would you like me to talk about this in terms of politics or more general terms regarding what it says about our culture? First of all I think people with a large online presence who go around complaining about the death threats they receive generally do it for attention. Go to the link Magnetic Eye provided and you’ll see Dan Slott still talking about his ASM #700 death threats…
While that may sound insensitive, I say that because anyone with a serious online presence for an extended amount of time has dealt with weird and scary stuff. (If you want to get an inkling as to what I’ve had to deal with over the past four years, then just Google my name and look for the hate website that existed for awhile…)
Anyway, I think a lot of this has to do with moral relativism that liberals typically subscribe to. That’s why not so long ago you had Dan Slott lumping my self-worth in with real-life killers and murderers because he was upset over a blog post. That’s why gaming journalists and feminists of the same ideological mold call you a “terrorist.” There is a totalitarian strain that runs through their veins — you either agree with them, or you are “evil.”
As has been discussed before on my political posts, conservatives typically think liberals are well-intentioned, but naive people who simply don’t understand human nature. Alfred says in The Dark Knight that some people “just want to watch the world burn,” and that is true. A liberal will say, “No, that’s not true, they were just oppressed by men…probably white men…probably straight white men,” or something. And if you disagree with them then suddenly all their rage isn’t directed at real terrorists, but you. You need to be “killed” because you’re a man, you’re a gamer, you’re evil, etc.
This sort of ridiculousness has been exacerbated in recent years because “social justice warriors,” or whatever the heck they want to be called, have started to become more active in comics, the gaming industry…even sports (e.g., Bob Costas giving anti-gun monologues during half-time of a football game, for Pete’s sake). Unless people push back, they will become more emboldened. I urge you to push back — hard.
“Feminism or any moral high horse crusade is the antithesis of art and storytelling. They care not for context, nuance, intention, or demographic and I for one don’t want to see that kind of mindset policing the media I enjoy.”
It says volumes that to date I have encountered very few to absolutely no SJW offensives that I agree with (e.g. the proposed all-female Ghostbusters team, which could be very fun to watch if executed right).
I think the new Ghostbusters movie is going to be a disaster. Bill Murray was right to put the brakes on that thing. I feel bad for the director who gets it. The original movie came out at the right time, with the right cast in a completely different era. If they try to recreate the magic of the original, I just think the odds of succeeding are slim to none.
If the movie is just horrible, but it has an all-female cast, get ready to hear about how moviegoers are all just sexist jerks.
Another great post on the GamerGate:
And the Main Event weighs in:
The Event also weighs in for the first five minutes or so of this video, too:
Video game journalism is poor. It’s no longer about celebrating the hobby; it’s spreading the social justice warriors’ liberal agenda. The same could be said about comic book journalism, which is also poor and suffers from the exact same problems. The fawning reviews of bad comics such as SSM are damaging as well; was there a single negative review of that on any site like CBR, Newsarama and others? If there were, I don’t recall seeing a single one.
Looks like the leftist video game journalists had their own “Journolist” (remember that?) group. I kid you not:
Thanks for getting back to me. Here is the most cited source for the #GamerGate history/timeline. Take a look.
Has anyone read “Learning To Crawl”? a slightly better effort by Slott, but really at the end of the day, I don’t get why he feels the need to retcon Spider-Man’s early years by introducing more of his bland one dimensional characters into the mix. What an egotistical dimwit? One of the worst Spider-Man writers ever.
Not sure the link is going to work. I hope it does.
The problem with “Learning to Crawl” is that its hard to appreciate its better qualities with the bad taste of “Lucky to be Alive” in your mouth: ‘Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man #1: Peter Parker gets punk return by a guy who gave him a punk death’ 😉
I think another problem with Dan Slott’s writing is that he’s able to capture certain sentimental moments, but he has a hard time crafting everything leading up to those moments. The result is that they either fall flat or they’re forgettable. He burns the main dish and then complains that you aren’t raving about the corner that somehow made it through the cooking process in tact. He’s essentially like, “How can you not like my work? Look how touching that is!” Well, that’s nice Mr. Slott, but that “love story” between Anna Maria and Oct only took place after Doc Ock tried to kill six billion people and then body-snatched Peter Parker.
Regarding your dropbox link: Good stuff. It’s a shame that Peter should be carrying himself as a man, but still often acts like a petulant child. Given Mr. Slott’s behavior on social media, it’s no surprise why he has a tough time writing Peter Parker.
I think the message boards at Marvel have been down for over a year now. I find it hard to believe they are still working on it.
Magnetic Eye, my wife and I have also taken a long time away from the Spider-Man book now as well. We plan to start reading again when they have a new team on the book. My wife hates how the characters are abused and the constant gimmicks that have no substance. She really started disliking the book around Spider-island and it only got worse from there. I personally do not like how the writers are treating their fans. I know I was treated pretty poorly as well when I pointed out the fact that Slott lost more readers than he has gained, as mentioned here when facts start to prove him wrong your posts get changed or disappear. Currently I have went back to books from the early to mid 90’s written by Chuck Dixon to read to my son and comparing them to now I can’t help but shake my head at how the books have declined.
Slott and others can treat us poorly and say “don’t buy them then” and think that we don’t matter but if you look at the big picture we have purchased over 10,000 comics (we almost have every issue of Spider-Man as well) and we have many other comic related items (we have a comic room in our house). I use to own a small comic shop and I have worked for a company in the industry but I never worked with Marvel. With that said maybe we should matter a little more.
Truthwillin1,……it’s interesting that it was around the same time as Spider Island that I too began to lose interest realizing just how silly the book had become.
And yet I continued buying ASM until the deplorable ASM#700 after which I read them at my local comic book shop without purchase.
Wow, over 10,000 books, that’s impressive. I’ve only got around 6,000 and yes with almost every issue of ASM.
I’ve also got those Marvel GIT-CORP DVD ROM discs that have every issue up to around 2006 or so in PDF files. Great if you can get them at a bargain price. So far I’ve got Fantastic Four, Spider-Man & Avengers.
The character assassinations, character derailment, lack of character development, silly plot lines and dumb cliche dialogue is perfectly suited to Slott’s equivalence of a Justin Beiber fan base.
I tend to disregard every comic that was produced after 2004, which is the year Marvel released Avengers Disassembled and DC released Identity Crisis, both of which resulted in an unnecessary darkening of their respective universes.
I wonder if Dan Slott has a fanfiction.net account? It would certainly make sense, given his writing and attitude…
I’ll admit being skewed because with all the #gamergate stuff of late everybody’s SJW alarms are hyper sensitive but…
I mean do you think Slott is being pressured to do this by that group or is he just a natural member who feels like pushing the “rawr-Hear women roar” trope? (which is something the Spidey comics have always had so… why now?)
Not reading the comics, I have 2 thoughts regarding this:
1) What if Silk was Mary Jane? No seriously, would that much of the story really have to be changed if the two were still married and (through any number of comicy sciences) Mary Jane ended up with Spider powers and started having adventures with her husband? Wouldn’t that improve things? (just from the description I’m having flashbacks to Ultimate Spidey’s “Clone Saga” – no really, is this not a rehash?)
2) WTF with Silk, really? See, Spidey has a truly unique skill set, one that hasn’t really been explored that I’ve seen in a long time. Though one of my favorites was a What If? story where a spy-guy (like Nick Fury but not him) started training Spidey. Peter’s skills started growing and getting so good his Spidey-sense became full on precognition (well danger related – he could tell if someone was going to attack him before the person had even decided if they were going to attack him). Conceptually it is interesting that if Peter devoted himself full time to superheroing that he could flat out become one of the most powerful heroes* ever (think about Batman’s rule of preparation – then give Batman the ability to know for sure what he needs to prep).
So, we get someone like Silk – per your description she’s a female spider person (and not Spider-woman who… http://textsfromsuperheroes.com/image/89829177841). Ok, so what if they took that, and gave her a specialty in Spidey’s unique move set? Maybe she is even better with webs than he, but lacks the spider-sense. Maybe she’s even faster but lacks the strength. Something so that the hero (and readers) can see how much better the hero could be if he practiced and strengthened a skill, but let’s us know he’s still the best because he’s more well rounded.
It’s hilarious because SpideyKicksButt hasn’t been updated SINCE 2010 and yet from what I’m gathering you could take almost any of those 4+ year old articles and reapply them to the current Spider-man run. Geez.
*Seriously though, if you’ve ever thought about it, if Spider-man used guns he would be the most powerful.
I think that if there is any kind of pressure to inject political correctness into his books, then it’s minimal. I think he is the main driver of this stuff in ASM. His twitter feed telegraphs that in many ways he sees himself as an liberal activist who just so happens to write comic books.
In response to your two thoughts:
“What if” sums it up. We’ll never know. The writers were not able to write a mature Peter when he was married, so they blamed their inability to perform on the character. They ditched the marriage and…the book still struggles in terms of characterization. In fact, they struggled so much that they killed Peter. Like I said, they gave him over a year off, brought him back, and even with all that time to figure out where to go … the book is still an embarrassment.
There are a lot of ideas that sound bad when they’re just pitched, but in the hands of a capable writer they could be really good. It’s all about the execution, and for years ASM hasn’t had a writer that could deliver the goods.
You’re putting forth decent inquiries, but unfortunately they’re the kind of questions that would fall on deaf ears at Marvel. One of my gripes with Dan Slott’s writing is that you can tell that he rarely think in terms of “What is the best direction for this character?” because more often than not it’s “What direction does Dan Slott want this character to go?” I think I mentioned it before, but it’s like he’s a kid playing with action figures. He just comes up with stories, which is fine…if you’re a kid. But if you’re a writer for an iconic American superhero, then there’s a bit more “responsibility” than that. There are many more moving parts to watch over. There’s a very self-centered approach to the writing as of late that just screams, “Mine! Spider-Man is MY toy now and I’ll do what I want with him until daddy takes him away!”
Wrong. The character is bigger than Dan Slott. He’s bigger than Marvel at this point. The writer who is entrusted with Peter has a giant responsibility to bear, and right now I just see a man who is getting crushed under the weight. On some level I have sympathy for him, but on another it’s just like, “Please get out from under the bar and hand it over to someone who can actually lift it. Thanks.”
I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with being a liberal activist. Politically speaking I tend to sit more left of centre most of the time anyways. But the sad fact it it seems that we’ve turned a corner where in the mass media, the liberal left wing agenda is what sells and gets pushed and all that “power to the people” while corporations who pay the bills are STILL painted as “evil, right-winged tea party.”
I can remember the shit storm DC Comics came under fire for (and poorly handled) when conservative writer Chuck Dixon basically outed this movement because he disagreed with the views of where comics are going. Their logic?
“it’s okay to be conservative so long as you don’t share your views in your stories with our readers.”
Why did they do this? Because of the outcry over Orson Scott Card deciding to write a non-canon Superman story.
While I don’t think Dan Slott is remotely as smart as people give him credit for, I mean let’s face it the guy clearly proves daily he writes for the bandwagon and takes pride in that, I think he is savvy enough to know that if he didn’t push the angle, for whatever reason, somebody on Twitter AND in the office would shoot him in the foot for not going with the flow. It is much like the new Spider-Man films going forward: This is not the work of one man, but by a committee. I know we love to bury Slott, but you got to see who he is working with: Stephen Wacker, Humberto Ramos, all these guys of whom owe a debt to Joe Quesada, whose greatest contributions to Marvel had NOTHING to do with Spider-Man, but because he got to be top dog, he got to shit on the long game viewers anyways. This is not a book written by a man, but by a committee of fuck nuts, whose current driver just happens to be the biggest lump of furry shit since my morning coffee…
But back to the point at hand, there is nothing wrong with Dan Slott being left wing in his approach any more than it is for OSC or Chuck Dixon to come at the approach from the right side of politics. Afterall both are needed for democracy to work. The depressing thing? I refer to a quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi from The Clone Wars episode ‘Voyage of Temptation’:
“There may be two sides [to every dilemma], but the Duchess only favours hers…”
I agree with you in terms of certain themes he might explore, the side certain characters come down on, etc. That makes sense. However, my problem with Dan Slott is that he uses politics on social media to needlessly alienate conservatives. I think the Michael Jordan quote most people use is, “Republicans buy shoes, too.” Yep. And Conservatives buy comic books — just not as many these days because I don’t want to support a guy who goes out of his way to crap on my worldview every chance he gets.
The other thing that annoys me is how the politics are handled in a book. As has been stated on this blog before, why is it that we get a story with Captain America taking on the tea party, but not conducting black ops in Afghanistan? It’s been 13 years since 9/11, and Cap will go after the “Taxed Enough Already” crowd, but not jihadi head-choppers? Got it, Marvel. The world has real-life bad guys chopping off heads in their quest to create an Islamic Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, but Captain America is nowhere to be found. Telling. I’ll be withholding as much disposable income from you as possible, Marvel. They’re only “courageous” when it comes to creating She-Thor. When it comes to groups like Islamic State…Marvel is missing in action.
to be reasonable DC did it as well to “not insult the real brave fighting men and women because you could have a superhero go over there and because they are so powerful, clean up the menace in an afternoon, but the war is still going on here in the real world. So what, should we give our readers falsehoods and false hope when we ourselves don’t know?”
On THAT level, it makes sense, but that said it is pretty cruel to NOT touch on it. Much like Denis O’Neil did with his celebrated Green Lantern/Green Arrow run along with Neal Adams, comics should never give answers, but ask questions. Then again he wasn’t afraid to use BOTH liberal and conservative views in juxtaposition with one-another to see where the stones would fall. Sometimes Green Arrow (the liberal view) was in the right, and sometimes Green Lantern (the conservative view) would turn and go “so you’re such a big deal, how come your ward is a junkie then?”
And in that vein why WOULDN’T Captain America ask why are they not doing anything about it? Or, rather, somebody ask WHY Captain America isn’t going over to the Middle East and kicking ass? I am sure the Captain would have a very good reason why but sadly no writer has come along, or rather allowed, to discuss the situation in a manner that would be both respectful of the real world we live in, but allow the questions to be addressed like they were back in the 1970s.
That’s a total cop out on DC’s part, and Marvel’s for consenting through silence. Terrorist cells in general are secretive. Members don’t wear uniforms, they blend in with the civilian population, it’s hard to always tell who is who, etc. If Islamic radical cells in the real world are looking for ways to use chemical and biological weapons and to attack symbols of Western Civilization, then why would Islamic terrorists in a Marvel universe not have their own mutants or super villains that require a super hero (like Ms. Marvel?) to step up the plate? Marvel claims it wants “diversity,” but we can only have new Muslim heroes in a post 9/11 world (i.e., Ms. Marvel, Green Lantern); a villain is non-negotiable.
Like you said, there are ways to do all of these things that are respectful to the subject matter being addressed. The weird thing is that they’re not even writing such stories from a liberal point of view — they’re just silent. They’re completely mute on an issue that completely changed the trajectory of history for over a decade now. That, to me, is shameful from a creative stand point.
Whatever happened to Mark Sable’s ‘Graveyard of Empires’? That was told from a liberal point of view — and I acknowledged that it was intelligently written. I remember going back to my local comic shop at the time and there were all sorts of delays for future issues and then I just gave up. I really would have liked to see how that one ended.
To me, a universe with superheroes is pretty much an alternate reality (even if the publishers say it’s like our world) because such beings do not exist in the real world, so like Doug I think the “world outside your window” approach is a total copout on both Marvel and DC’s part. Cap can go after the Tea Party, a group that is peaceful and wants to curb big government, but not an Islamic terror cell? It’s pathetic. And he’s still fighting Nazis in today’s world? Really? Nazis are so far out of the mainstream that people on BOTH sides will condemn them and they don’t have a power base like they once did. The chances of an actual Fourth Reich coming into existence are , to me, remote.
They like to pat themselves on the back with their “diversity” moves, but really, they only focus on race and gender and sexuality. What about diversity of thought, Marvel and DC?
I can’t really see modern comics writers featuring balance in any of their stories; they’re too busy demonizing conservatives to do that. What a lot of writers don’t understand is that you don’t have to feature an actual Islamic terror cell; you can create a fictional one that is a stand-in for Al Qaeda, or ISIS.
Long-time characters always suffer when limited writers try to shill Mary Sues.
“Long-time characters always suffer when limited writers try to shill Mary Sues.”
Long time fans will suffer as well.
That was very well said.With that in mind if I had to compliment Slott on one thing it would be that he is a loyal company man, he will clearly say anything to protect his company and job no matter how silly or hypocritical it is.
Instead of “Baghdad Bob,” maybe we can call him “Baghdad Slott.”
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, spiderterry84. I appreciate it!
Great article Doug, long time reader of your blog, and while I’m kind of slow when it comes to a lot of real world political issues, I always am alert when it comes to your comics coverage. As someone who does have history with Black Cat, I can definitely vouch that Slott has no clue what he’s doing to the character, and it feels like Marvel are (very, very badly) opting to rip off what DC are doing with Selina Kyle…only DC have handled that with a lot of maturity and paced it very well, making sure you’re somewhat still capable of taking Selina’s side when she takes up her new role. With Felicia it’s a straight-up moustache-twirling evil turn and it’s baffling given her history and previous warmth.
I no longer consider Mephistoverse Spider-Man the “real” canon, to even entertain the notion gives me a splitting headache trying to reconcile and characterisations all the continuity before or since. To me, the legit canon lies with either the newspaper strip or “The Real Clone Saga” storyline published back in 2009 (the one where everybody kill off in the original saga actually survived and the Parkers lived happily ever after), I’d count the Spider-Girl comics too but I’m worried Slott will kill them off in Spider-Verse…which I might add, was done years back in the 1990s animated series (it contained the line that has defined Spider-Man for the last seven years, “this is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot”)
Have you read the Spidey newspaper strip Doug? I’ve taken to that over the last few years, let me tell you, it can be the corniest thing, but it’s a lot more respectful to the characters and is just a blast to read. Clear characters with clear motivations, and Peter and MJ are probably the strongest they’ve ever been as a couple in it as well, certaingly the happiest the pair have been depicted in comics in years. I’d check it out if you have time.
Thanks for reading, Zarius! I really appreciate it. And don’t sell yourself short on real-world politics. I’m sure you’re on the ball. 🙂
Well, I thank you for taking part in this discussion. I will defer to your knowledge then, because like I said, I’m not a Black Cat historian by any means. I was just going off my memory of her from over the years, and it seems like Marvel just sort of went to Crazy Town with her. (Or was it Slott City?) Again, I’m glad you weighed in.
It’s funny that you should say that, because there was a week’s worth of Spidey newspaper comic strips in my “Comic Shop News” that came along with my weekend purchase. Peter was running a Doctor Octopus problem by MJ and she figured out that Ock was causing earthquakes… Anyway, I thought, “Wow, what a shocker — A married Peter and MJ acting like a team. Solving problems.” What kind of fool would ever want to read something like that? Why read that when we can watch Peter get taken care of by the Sensational Silk? 😉
It’s always a cool feeling when someone who has been reading for awhile decides to comment and they just rip a line drive off the left field wall… According to Dan Slott, guys like you don’t exist, Zarius — or you’re so few in numbers that he shouldn’t be concerned. I don’t know if I’d say that there is a silent majority of Zarius-type fans out there, but I’m comfortable saying that the population is quite sizable. But instead going to message boards you just quietly stop purchasing certain titles and go about your business. Meanwhile, the industry continues to struggle and guys like Dan Slott can’t put their finger on why. Sad.
Again, thanks for the comment!
He’s baaaack,…….going on about the quantity of sales again as if that’s more important than quality of product.
Dan Slott’s sales are the comics equivalence of a Justin Beiber fan-base.
Yep. Sales are just one metric by which quality can be gauged. The industry is in a rotten place, in part because guys all across America like Patrick, Hube, Magnetic Eye, Carl, Zarius, khearn101, Matt Robert McKenzie, psychokineticex, Truthwillwin1, Starfire, natewinchester, spiderterry84, myself (is my point sinking in?), are fed up with rotten stories, but Dan Slott still pats himself on the back because what’s left of the population pool keeps buying Amazing Spider-Man. Kudos!
“Hey, what does it matter if my Black Cat makes absolutely no sense to anyone who remotely considers consistency of character a big deal when I’ve got sales? Sales, baby! Sales! What does it matter if all the supporting characters in Superior Spider-Man acted like concussed football players in order to keep the dream (or was that nightmare?) alive, when I’ve got sales? Sales, baby! Sales!”
So the twisted fiction of sales comes up again, maybe I should put my fact check post back up again that proves that under Slott the book has actually went down in sales (he lost more readers than he has gained overall). I removed the post because I did not want to be too hard on him but he wants to continue to spin a web of fiction….
This has come up before, and I’m sorry for asking again, but why doesn’t the industry have a transparent way of reporting sales? I don’t get why the can’t just be open about it. I’m not sure why they go to so much effort to obfuscate the numbers.
To be honest it is simple, legally they don’t want to and they do not have to share that information. With that said no company has to report sales of their products it is a choice, I can support that freedom but what I do not like is when they use that information to distort the truth. For example “it has printed again for the 4th time”, that just means that sales were higher than they predicted that does not mean sales were high.
Well, that’s my issue — they use shaky sales data when it’s convenient, but then when someone uses that same data to buttress an opposing point of view they’re like, “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about! My super-secret sales statistics tell me that this is the most awesome comic ever.”
Your point touches on one that may be likened to the poor sales of Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” memoir. It hasn’t done well, but the first-run printing was huge, if I’m not mistaken. How many copies of “Hard Choices” are sitting on shelves or in storage rooms collecting dust? How many copies of ASM #700 were printed and how many of them are in back-issue bins or in warehouses? How many variant covers did it have?
Also, Spider-Man sort of has a built-in audience. It’s freakin’ Spider-Man. Just like Batman, I’m assuming if you picked one of the worst writers in the industry it would still sell “x” amount of copies per month. There are very few superheros with that amount of clout. On some level you have to scrutinize the numbers on certain characters a bit more closely than, say, Ms. Marvel, who doesn’t have universal appeal, name recognition, movies, and video games.
I should stop now. You get the point. 🙂
You got it sir.
If you were in charge of a company would you want to publicly report that sales have been going down? In most cases they want to create a short timeline so they can use the spikes to say sales are great and sales are going up. Notice that the only way Slott can say that he increased sales is if he starts the data analysis at the point after he and others lost over 50K readers.
To be fair this is common business and marketing.
Haha. Well, I guess that’s why I’m not in the business of creating widgets and gadgets! I understand that they can’t be 100% transparent, but I don’t like how they selectively use numbers to back their claims while demonizing critics who use the exact same numbers to poke holes in the “Look how awesome I am!” presentation.
I know, it is a crappy thing to do to people. I guess they don’t want to say “hey I lost 50K readers”…Honesty what a thought.
I remember when Slott showed up at Avi’s blog a couple years ago… he claimed that “Marvel has no obligation to share sales numbers with anyone” and that the numbers were given to him “in confidence.” So why the lack of transparency? If sales are so rosy, then why are you reluctant to release the numbers? To me, it sounds a bit fishy. When it comes to transparency, Marvel is as bad as the Obama Administration.
I agree with the emasculation criticisms Doug. That came to me as well. It seems like each issue further drags the character into a negative light.
Stillanerd (from Crawlspace) has some good analysis on Slott’s interpretation of Peter where he says that Slott knows how to write young Peter Parker but doesn’t get older Peter. This is why we get Peter being immature and inconsistent in Slott’s stories (as he is essentially writing Adult-Peter like Young-Peter). It is probably also one of the reasons why Slott killed off Peter for a year (to write a character that he probably felt more comfortable writing).
I can’t help but think the reason why the relaunch issues of ASM tend to focus more on supporting characters like Silk and Anna Maria is so that Slott can focus less on Peter (that he doesn’t know how to write). It is probably a basis for Spiderverse as well with it having so many supporting characters running around (lets also not forget it originally was supposed to star Otto as the “main spidey”).
With the (some could argue consistent) negative direction Slott is taking the character, one must question where Slott on where is planning on taking the character. Personally I can’t help but think that Slott is planning another retcon (possibly to change the character in a way Slott is more comfortable with). Alternatively I reckon he might be using ASM to setup various spin-offs (there is already a Silk spin-off) that he will eventually jump onto (leaving the ruined corpse of ASM behind for someone else to clean up).
Don’t tell Dan Slott that. He won’t believe you. Anyone who ever agrees with me has just been brain washed. They’re a “crony.” Speaking of which, I still have to get going on my “Douglas Ernst C.R.O.N.I.E.S.” shirt (Comics Reconnaissance Operative, Negotiator, Intelligence Expert and Soldier). I need to create those and mail them out to anyone who wants one. 🙂
I think this is actually a pretty good analysis of the situation. I would also add that one needs to simply look at Slott’s online history to see that perhaps his own immaturity might be one of the contributing factors to his trouble writing a mature Peter Parker.
Boom. Trust your instincts, Riablo. They serve you well.
This is a very good question. Things happen to Peter Parker, but that actual character seems as if he’s rather aimless, doesn’t he? He’s dead for a year…now it looks as if he’ll have all sorts of weird dimensional travels to undergo, maybe his business will crash and burn…and then he’ll be down on his “Parker luck.” Maybe we’ll be back to square one, which would be unfortunate.
I could see Peter and MJ merging their ongoing buisness ventures together and going into a tense working partnership filled with sexual tension…but another easy route to go down if Parker’s buisness fails is he ends up working in MJ’s nightclub and, indeed, through either option, has to endure her going out with that replacement goldfish “Pedro” who is already irritable enough because he’s oblivious to the fact he is being used by someone who is clearly out to date a diet coke version of the man she truly loves.
Peter being stuck with a buisness is one of the few good progressive ideas in this current state of play and it would be sad to lose it just so someone else can write Peter the way they “remember him”, itself a large problem of why the post-OMD stories were so backwards and unenjoyable, and certainly did not reflect the kind of sales that Slott presently generates. For better or worse, there is potential in what Slott has set up and should not be shaken off even if it were to spite his era. Peter David’s brilliant “Edge of Time” video game even looks into just what a Peter Parker in charge of a large corporation does to him in the far future
It’s sad to see Slott degenerate the way he does online when cobbling up defenses of his work, because I still think he is a very capable writer. More to the point, as Riablo points out, the man can be very on-point with his work when he writes a Peter Parker of a certain era, where he has to “stick to the rules” to maintain consistency in the continuity. All of his best work has been stories set in the past, and “Learning to Crawl” is indeed the best thing he has had published this year because of this. I also enjoy his Silver Surfer comic, even IF the whole thing is just him auditioning for the Doctor Who production office.
Yep. I would agree with that. I liked when Peter was a high school teacher years ago, but I can see where owning his own business would be just as rewarding for readers. It makes sense. I think a strong creative team could definitely tease out the kernels of goodness in Slott’s run while slowly discarding the bad parts.
I’m not sure I said it here, but I think there are plenty of titles that would be perfect for what he does. The Amazing Spider-Man just isn’t one of them. I’m sure there’s a place for his brand of humor and writing style somewhere, but I don’t think he’s really up to the task of handling a mature Peter Parker. Like you said, his best work on the character looks backward… There’s a time and a place for that, but readers deserve a character who is primarily moving forward.
That’s why I dislike it, because I think it’s a ripoff of Doctor Who and hardly creative. And I would hope the BBC would be smart enough not to hire someone like him as a writer for the series.
So Dan Slott’s best Spider-Man work comes from mining the character’s past, and his Silver Surfer work is buoyed by latching onto Doctor Who. D’oh! 😉
I mean, the whole concept of traveling with a companion through time and space… that’s directly taken from Doctor Who, which although it was only brought back in 2005, has been around longer than the Silver Surfer; the original Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989. There is no other show out there right now that features a similar premise. And it blows me away that no one at Marvel has noted the similarities.
He’s been pretty open about his love for Doctor Who on Twitter. He probably just thinks of it as an homage to the series. I’m not a huge fan of the idea of The Silver Surfer having a sidekick, but I haven’t read the book yet, so I’ll withhold judgment for now.
I guess my thing is that the Surfer is supposed to be the “philosopher of the stars” (I vaguely remember Stan Lee saying or writing that when I was little), and I just don’t see Dan Slott having the intellectual chops for the job. If he can’t handle Peter Parker, then I’m not sure how he’d handle Norrin Raad.
Is there any demand out there for Slapstick to get his own title? I think he’d do well with that. 😉
I guess it could be seen as a homage to Doctor Who. I’ve paged through single issues before and wasn’t really impressed with his Surfer title.
“Is there any demand out there for Slapstick to get his own title? I think he’d do well with that. ;)”
LOL. I’d forgotten about Slapstick. Didn’t he have his own title for a time in the very early 1990s?
I actually had a friend when I was a kid who really liked Slapstick. Liking Slapstick to me is somewhat like having an affinity for Jar Jar Binks. It’s just weird.
“I actually had a friend when I was a kid who really liked Slapstick. Liking Slapstick to me is somewhat like having an affinity for Jar Jar Binks. It’s just weird.”
LOL. I’ve never actually read Slapstick’s series, but I recall reading a comic he was featured in as a guest star once.
I’ve met one person who liked Jar-Jar Binks. Exactly one. A friend of mine from high school was a fan of Jar-Jar and would get pretty angry if you criticized the character.
I would love to see someone get fired up in defense of Jar-Jar. That would be pretty darn funny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. 🙂
Yeah, he’d get pretty worked up if you criticized Jar-Jar Binks and claimed he was “the best damn character in the Star Wars series.” This ignores the fact that, due to the massive backlash against Jar-Jar Binks, George Lucas made him responsible for Palpatine’s rise to power.
CRONIES needs to hold a joint indoctrination and orientation day with my own organisation, REALLYPISSEDOFF (Relatively Entrepreneurial Accessible Literature Liking Youth Proposing Independent Substantive Spider-Man Editing Dedicated to Organising Future Fandom). 🙂
Surprised no one has really picked up on it, but Slott is stealing a LOT from other works. Does no one else see the Ted Kord Blue Beetle trappings in “Peter” “owning his own business”? It’s a car crash waiting to happen.
One may well see “Spider-Man” going the way of Blue Beetle during the current end of the marvel franchise universe crisis type Event. In fact it’s inevitable.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, flyingtigercomics. I really appreciate it. And yes, I would love to put on a conference with the good folks over at REALLYPISSEDOFF. 🙂
I’ll definitely be writing on The Amazing Spider-Man in the future, but if you put together and blog posts on the title, then feel free to share a link here so people can check them out. Given Marvel’s recent track record, I don’t expect “Renew Your Vows” and its universe-merge to go smoothly…
I shouldn’t care about Marvel as much as I still do, because Marvel started dying the year I was born and it ain’t got better since, but I truly think we’ve hit the final speed bump now. Chris at “Great American Novel” Fantastic Four site (zaksite.com) has really nailed it, not to mention proven to be an eerily accurate prognosticator of events… He predicts final dissolution of the comics circa 2025 as a new medium replaces them.
Between movies, TV and netflix we have in the audiovisual realm EXACTLY what real time Marvel 1961-1968 gave us – continuity. And as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, if you don’t like an individual netflix show or movie- they’re still part of the same unified text.
No one can claim that of the Marvel paper universe- it’s a hot mess.
That would make him a plagiarist would it not? 🙂
I was stuck with Slapstick issues when I sold comics…they did not sell well…for good reason. I think I might have kept a few for my personal collection…..you never know when you may run out of TP.
Reblogged this on Flying Tiger Comics.
I hate peter, a lot. Wussy incompetent, superficial, he should stayed dead, since Kraven’s last hunt. He was a perfect example how not being a hero, just being a self-burdening, sluggish, incoherent vigilante.
I remember how useless he was in the death of Jean Dewolffe, and he didn’t change at all. Not after venom, carnage, civil war, ezekiel simms.He’s the same two-punch dolt with no idea of the world he’s living in, still trying to be a kid after so many things.
Slott should have been able to keep Otto, the REAL hero.The one Superior Spiderman. We’re back with this crap.
“I hate peter, a lot. Wussy incompetent, superficial, he should stayed dead, since Kraven’s last hunt. He was a perfect example how not being a hero, just being a self-burdening, sluggish, incoherent vigilante.”
I give you an Perfect 10 for your first attempt at stirring the pot. Bravo!
how do you write a comic online