Tom BrevoortPeter Parker fans often wonder where it all went wrong. Marvel’s flagship character has, more or less, been an inconsistent performer in his own book for years. With each passing season there are glimpses of what makes the hero so enduring, but in general it seems like he is creatively adrift in a sea of editors who don’t know what to do with him. Enter Tom Brevoort, who went a long way in terms of clearing up why the character regularly disappoints in his own title.

In response to a question about the almost universally-panned “One More Day,” where Peter Parker made a deal with the devil (for all intents and purposes) and his marriage was magically dissolved deus ex machina-style, Mr. Brevoort replied:

“The medicine may not taste good, but if it makes you better, then you need to take it.” – Tom Brevoort on why Marvel refuses to undo “One More Day.” Jan. 30, 2015.

According to Tom Brevoort, deals with the devil are fan-medicine, and if they don’t like it, then they’re just being recalcitrant fools.

Tom Brevoort Twitter OMDThe hubris of modern Marvel editors like Mr. Brevoort knows no bounds. The reason why so many horrible stories go forward is because they think they’re beyond reproach. Marvel’s Orwellian message boards long ago cleared out evidence of just how much Peter Parker fans detested the story, but at least one can still go on sites like Amazon and read some classic one-star reviews.

Here one example from a reviewer named Cindy:

Yes, boys and girls… You are now told to believe that your hero makes deals with Satan, sacrifices his wife to keep his 80-yr-old Aunt alive (who would pinch his head off if she knew what he did) and that now, in this “new” reality, Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, Mr. Responsibility, just “shacked-up” with a live-in lover, even tried to make a baby with her, but never got around to marrying her. Yeah… it didn’t work out, they split up and they are moving on… Whatever.

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy… Don’t you get it? Making a deal with Mephisto had to happen because apparently that’s a better option than divorce.

Here’s what Joe Quesada said to CBR on Jan. 28, 2008:

“First and foremost, I think Peter getting divorced to me says that they gave up on their love, that their life in love together was so awful, so stressful, so unfulfilling that they had to raise a red flag and walk away from it. They quit on their marriage and even more tragic, they quit on each other. In other words, Peter would rather be alone and single than to spend another moment with MJ.” — Joe Quesada

This, according to Tom Brevoort, is “medicine.” Even though there are countless examples of people who divorced and then eventually got back together, it was for your own good that Peter Parker made a deal with a devil to save his … ancient aunt who should already be dead and reunited with Uncle Ben.

Here is the bottom line: Tom Brevoort and his team of geniuses killed Peter Parker’s marriage and the stories still stunk. Then they literally killed Peter Parker off for over a year and made Doctor Octopus the book’s “hero.” Nothing says “good reads” like making a deal with the devil and then making the villain the hero… Then, Marvel brought back Peter Parker and made him a supporting character in his own book with Spider-Verse. Was Mary Jane the problem all along, or is it narcissistic know-it-alls like Tom Brevoort?

Years ago doctors gave women Thalidomide to alleviate nausea during their first trimester. Their babies were then born with arms and legs that were too short and incredibly deformed. If Tom Brevoort were a doctor, he probably would have been the guy who gave out large doses of Thalidomide to pregnant women. Luckily he decided to work at Marvel, where his “medicine” only damages fictional characters and his employer’s reputation.

Related: Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse: Peter Parker sadly gives off ‘Where’s Waldo?’ vibe in his own book

Related: Dan Slott: I love Peter Parker so much I turned him into a ‘meat puppet’

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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.

32 comments

  1. So is that him saying we know the story stunk but we wanted to change things and the readers need to accept it? What a way to keep readers!

    1. Here’s another telling Brevoort exchange from Jan. 31, 2015:

      Question: When is the last time Daredevil went to church for religious reasons or discussed his faith?

      Tom Brevoort: Last Sunday. But it was just an ordinary mass, and so not noteworthy enough to take up a couple of pages of his comic book.

      Daredevil: The Man without Fear…except when it comes to discussing his Catholic faith.

      I guess that faith is only allowed to take center stage if your character is Muslim and she’s complaining about how bigoted and insensitive nature of white people.

  2. Good point, why must Marvel claim they want to show all and be diverse from taking away from one group.
    Make new diverse and interesting characters
    Make good stories
    Problem solved
    Instead we get a company that uses diversity as a marketing tactic. Everyone knows they are doing it now. It is insulting making a character take the role of another temporarily and claim it is a big deal because of diversity. It is as if they saying the minorities are only good enough for a temp job…bravo Marvel and DC , bravo.
    No wonder they hate gamergate they know they are guilty of the same thing so they are trying to stop it before it becomes comicgate.

    1. Instead we get a company that uses diversity as a marketing tactic. Everyone knows they are doing it now. It is insulting making a character take the role of another temporarily and claim it is a big deal because of diversity.

      I’m going to assume you’re talking about She-Thor. 😉

      And yes, the GamerGate hypocrisy is real.

      The thing is that certain comic websites won’t expose this sort of thing because no one wants to lose access to the creators. There are few websites that will hold the creators’ feet to the fire. I must say, I was impressed that Spider-Man Crawlspace wrote something up on Dan Slott’s “F**k KFC” tweet: Editorial: Slott, Marvel and the New Professionalism

      Here’s the deal on that one: If I started dropping F-bombs in my Twitter feed — even in “jokes” — my boss would not be happy. He would talk to me, and at the end of the conversation it would be clear that if I couldn’t handle myself appropriately on social media, then there would be consequences not to my liking.

  3. Don’t forget Captain America and in some ways Ms. Marvel. I have a friend that is black that loves Steve Rogers he said the color of his skin is not what makes a character relate to him. He likes Falcon (as do I) and I think he would be a great successor but we all know that this is short term.
    The fact that Marvel and DC praise the fact they have a woman or black character is in itself showing their true colors.
    If they really care about diversity they would develop characters.
    Luke Cage for example has grown to be a great character.

    ” If I started dropping F-bombs in my Twitter feed — even in “jokes” — my boss would not be happy. He would talk to me, and at the end of the conversation it would be clear that if I couldn’t handle myself appropriately on social media, then there would be consequences not to my liking.”

    That is what it is like when you are a professional. I don’t know why some think they are above that.

    1. Truthwillwin1, you’re giving me great opportunities to shamelessly link to my previous comic books posts! 😉 In this case, it’s a post that covers Falcon (I’m a fan, like you), and Tom Brevoort (not a fan): Falcon can soar as Captain America, but Tom Brevoort crashes and burns as a Marvel representative.

      In all seriousness though, I agree with you about Marvel trying to develop new characters. They’ve done a good job with Miles Morales, but I think Marvel’s universe-merge (or whatever the heck it is) will be a bad move. Will New York City have Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Spider-Woman swinging around the city with Peter Parker? And what if Dan Slott decides to bring The Superior Spider-Man back, then that’s six “super-spiders” crammed into a tight space.

      It’s hard to believe that these guys really think Peter Parker is special when they appear to do everything in their power to dilute his presence in the Marvel Universe.

  4. A part of me has always sided with Quesada’s ideas about Marvel’s flagship character not divorcing. I somewhat over idealize the whole notion of marriage as I view it from afar, I’ve never been married so I don’t have the experience to snap out of my hopeless romanticism.

    Decades ago, Batman and Talia were married, then annulled in the very same story ( “Son of the Demon”), and in 2008, Grant Morrison reintroduced the child born from that brief marriage as Damian Wayne and then told a rather bleak and sad story of two parents falling out over their ideals and what was best for their world view, with the child ultimately paying the price. It was a very adult story inspired by the personal baggage of Morrison’s own family life, and I know there were a good contingent of children who read Morrison’s run and took away a rich and mature understanding of Batman and Talia’s tragedy. A lot of older fans were cross with how Morrison tackled Talia, thinking she was a tad out-of-character, and even I reckon she was, but for the purposes of the story, I let it slide because it was a compelling one told with one of the most iconic, mainstream stars DC have, a hero that has catered to as many kids as he has adults. Would I be interested in seeing Spider-Man go through a Kramer vs Kramer scenario? My heart may not be able to take it, but given I learned to appreciate Peter and MJ as characters a whole lot during the separation process penned by JMS, I probably could withstand it if it led to the two ultimately proving they’re the opposite of Batman and Talia and overcome it all to be as unified as ever.

    As a writer of fiction, I sense the possibilities in that scenario, but at the same time, a part of me will always appreciate the Mephisto deal for being a safety net of sorts, we don’t have to accept the reality we currently dealt because of it, because we don’t know how much of it is Peter and MJ and how much of it is just chaos magic influencing characterization and events, providing endless mental exercises for people like me who want to find a way out of it.

    Prior to Tom saying this, Marvel had made it clear the Spider-Man of “Renew Your Vows” will be “our Spider-Man”, they seemingly now want us not to remotely consider 616 Peter as our ideal version of the hero, hence all the crummy stuff he’s gone through, he is a side-character because he simply isn’t that important to the overall idea. The late and older MC2 Peter is more significant because he fathered the scion, Kane is more important because he embraced the Other, the Ben Reilly of Scarlet Spiders was even more important because in his reality he overcame all the hurdles “Peter” couldn’t overcome in Slott’s early run and in Superior, and he took out the cloning world. I definitely do feel that this is a lead-up to define, in a very meta sense, just what defines a character’s relevancy in a world where nobody grows past their factory settings. It’s a noble idea, but it’s execution is where it comes apart. It hasn’t been a satisfying journey, and if there is a master plan to all of this, there’s a masterful lesson that needs to be learned from any aspiring writing who’s suffered through it. Don’t make it this hard to sit through.

    1. Would I be interested in seeing Spider-Man go through a Kramer vs Kramer scenario? My heart may not be able to take it, but given I learned to appreciate Peter and MJ as characters a whole lot during the separation process penned by JMS, I probably could withstand it if it led to the two ultimately proving they’re the opposite of Batman and Talia and overcome it all to be as unified as ever.

      I think with the right person crafting the story, it could have been incredibly powerful to have Peter and Mary Jane separate — but with Marvel doing it in a way that would have had them ultimately realize they were meant to be together.

      As a writer of fiction, I sense the possibilities in that scenario, but at the same time, a part of me will always appreciate the Mephisto deal for being a safety net of sorts, we don’t have to accept the reality we currently dealt because of it, because we don’t know how much of it is Peter and MJ and how much of it is just chaos magic influencing characterization and events, providing endless mental exercises for people like me who want to find a way out of it.

      I always said after OMD that if Peter was going to make a deal with the devil, then he would have subsequently gone to the ends of the earth to find a way to rectify the situation and get his true love back. By the time “Ends of the Earth” came around a very small part of me was hoping that maybe — just maybe — it was the beginning of the end for Mephisto’s “deal.” Of course, it turned out to be the beginning of the end — for Peter Parker. Dan Slott killed him and then made megalomaniac Doctor Octopus “The Superior Spider-Man.”

      I guess my point is this: Marvel could have gone any number of directions with OMD, and they basically went with the worst possible option available. It’s not the idea that is bad per se (i.e., erasing the marriage), but the execution of that idea. A good writer could have made it happen in a way where fans might grumble, but they’d concede in the end that it was a worthy tale.

      I honestly just don’t know why all those involved in OMD can’t just swallow their pride and admit what the vast majority of comic book fans know to be true — on top of being a rotten idea to begin with, OMD was horribly executed. If they want to insist that Peter and Mary Jane shouldn’t be together, fine. But at least acknowledge that the path they paved to get there was a disaster.

      Prior to Tom saying this, Marvel had made it clear the Spider-Man of “Renew Your Vows” will be “our Spider-Man”, they seemingly now want us not to remotely consider 616 Peter as our ideal version of the hero, hence all the crummy stuff he’s gone through, he is a side-character because he simply isn’t that important to the overall idea. The late and older MC2 Peter is more significant because he fathered the scion, Kane is more important because he embraced the Other, the Ben Reilly of Scarlet Spiders was even more important because in his reality he overcame all the hurdles “Peter” couldn’t overcome in Slott’s early run and in Superior, and he took out the cloning world. I definitely do feel that this is a lead-up to define, in a very meta sense, just what defines a character’s relevancy in a world where nobody grows past their factory settings. It’s a noble idea, but it’s execution is where it comes apart. It hasn’t been a satisfying journey, and if there is a master plan to all of this, there’s a masterful lesson that needs to be learned from any aspiring writing who’s suffered through it. Don’t make it this hard to sit through.

  5. I think the flaw of the whole OMD fiasco is that it was an attempt to reboot Peter Parker character back to the “single Peter” of the late 70s/early 80s however because it was poorly conceived what it actually did was remove the “Peter Parker” from Peter Parker. This is why the current stories stink and don’t make sense (and also why Spiderman stories outside of the comics don’t use any of the OMD era content).

    It seems to me that the people “who needs to take their medicine” even if it doesn’t taste very good is Marvel’s editors. At the end of the day, the fans are the ones that buy the product Marvel is selling and to ignore their advice on how to sell more products is very foolish.

    1. I think the flaw of the whole OMD fiasco is that it was an attempt to reboot Peter Parker character back to the “single Peter” of the late 70s/early 80s however because it was poorly conceived what it actually did was remove the “Peter Parker” from Peter Parker. This is why the current stories stink and don’t make sense (and also why Spider-Man stories outside of the comics don’t use any of the OMD era content).

      I grew up with a lot of the stories that took place before Peter was married — and I enjoyed those — but it’s incredibly hard to turn back the clock. Something like that had to be done with the utmost of care, and it’s obvious that Marvel didn’t want to put in the time and energy into doing it right. It’s one thing to end the marriage, but then they went and had it dissolved as a result of a deal with the devil. Unreal. It’s almost like someone said, “How can we do this and burn as many bridges with long-time readers as possible?”

    2. Your comment about care reminds me of what was said over at Spidey Kicks Butt. The writer made the comparison between OMD and The Winter Soldier storyline. The idea of bringing back Bucky seemed unthinkable, but Brubaker was able to win over fans and tried to make the story work. OMD was lazy and, therefore, terrible.

      When it came to ending the marriage, the various Marvel personnel all had the same mentality: “let’s make Peter a carefree single guy again.” Carefulness was never a consideration (nor was logic or quality). The first time (1995), they tried to retcon Peter as a clone just so they could shove MJ and 20 years of stories out the door. The second time (2000), they tried to blow up MJ in a plane accident and push Peter towards Gwen’s cousin, whatshername. (Even John Byrne, the artist who did that issue, opposed this. He opposed the marriage, but he thought this was bad storytelling, so he drew an out)

      The deal with the devil nonsense was a brazen attempt to get around the baggage that would be caused by death or divorce. Heck, at the rate comic book time usually moves, Marvel would need to spend years before Peter could get anywhere close to carefree. Back in the ’70s, when they had Peter and MJ get together after Gwen died, they had to sync up the comic books with real time (two years) just so Peter wouldn’t look monstrously cold towards his first love. Of course, doing that meant aging Peter an extra couple of years–something Marvel these days opposes even more than the marriage.

    3. Your comment about care reminds me of what was said over at Spidey Kicks Butt. The writer made the comparison between OMD and The Winter Soldier storyline. The idea of bringing back Bucky seemed unthinkable, but Brubaker was able to win over fans and tried to make the story work. OMD was lazy and, therefore, terrible.

      Exactly. The same thing can be said with Spider-Verse; the idea isn’t bad per se, but the execution failed and as a result Dan Slott had to insert a literal deus ex machina (just like OMD) to bring things to its conclusion. It’s downright lazy. Marvel should be ashamed that such slipshod work keeps getting churned out for such an important character.

  6. Again, it’s times like this that the newspaper strip has come to the rescue recently, there’s a great storyline going on where the focus has been principly on MJ and her struggles to make a movie, with Peter saving her as both Spidey and as plain old Peter, and there’s been some lovely fluffy moments between them in both instances, it’s an engaging story with a great hook to it (Mysterio knows who Peter is) and rewards MJ fans with plenty of precision characterization and spotlighting. Definitely check this arc out if you can.

    1. As you point out, there is no reason why a married Peter Parker can’t be engaging and fun for readers of all ages. I honestly don’t understand this weird notion that younger readers would be turned off by a married Peter Parker. Good writing is good writing. If Marvel can’t hire someone who is up to the task, then that’s on the editors. Guys like Tom Brevoort make it sound like a married Peter Parker would require the writers to have him wandering around the halls of Home Depot looking for drywall repair kits each issue. Give me a break with the “medicine” line. They know they can’t defend OMD, so the response is to essentially say, “The fans are stupid and they don’t know what’s good for them.”

      I think the fans know Peter Parker quite well — Marvel just doesn’t like it that social media platforms give critics the opportunity to voice displeasure and have it seen by large numbers of other potential customers.

  7. It’s really unfortunate to see this nonsense from Brevoort. He used to have some common sense. After they replaced Peter with Ben during the Clone Saga, Marvel had Peter and MJ leave town and gave them that “Final Adventure” mini-series. According to the Life of Reilly recap, the ending was changed following Marvel backtracking on Peter and Ben due to the backlash*. The original plan was for MJ to give birth at the end of the mini-series, but with Peter about to wear the webs again, Marvel wanted MJ to miscarry instead. It was Brevoort who fought them on that–not wanting to go down in history as the guy who killed Spider-Man’s baby. Evidently, he doesn’t have a problem with Mr. “With great power comes great responsibility” making a deal with the devil (a scenario rejected as a possible Clone Saga resolution, no less). Sheesh.

    * Yes, there was a time when Marvel actually cared about what fans had to say. Stop laughing, it’s true.

    1. Yes, there was a time when Marvel actually cared about what fans had to say. Stop laughing, it’s true.

      Marvel’s bread and butter these days comes from the movies, so in a sense the comics division has a lot less pressure on it to perform. That means, oddly enough, that fans have less leverage. The money is going to be there from the movies for the foreseeable future, so in some sense the big brass just needs them to come up with a few new characters who are worthy of being turned into toys each year.

    2. Yep. Unfortunately, they stopped caring right around the epilogue years of the Clone Saga, when Tom D had every intention of bringing back the baby….the best thing about that at least was Marvel allowed Tom to develop that into Spider-Girl, a character it took sixteen years for Marvel to finally trample over with Spider-Verse

  8. “We know Peter Parker has a 50+ year history absolutely loaded with fascinating characters and events on both sides of his dual identity. And we know that those things exist in arguably the most imaginative fictional universe ever created. But do you really think a character, whose nature is predicated upon the importance of responsibility, could really flourish if he were to be married, thus giving him a whole new set of responsibilities? That’s insanity. Look, we just need you silly, insignificant fans to trust us on this one: Peter Parker works better when he’s a bumbling man-child who is wholly inferior to his enemies — enemies whom his Uncle Ben respects and relates to far more than he does Spider-Man. Only then can the character achieve his full potential as the one and only Amazing Spider-Man, amongst a lineup of Spider-books filled with Spider-people whom we will portray with infinitely greater powers and more likeable personalities.”

    Somewhere from the corner of the room Dan Slott cries out something incoherent about Silk, caps lock, $$$$, etc.

    1. Random question for you, Sal. How did you first run across my blog? Was it Peter Parker-related or one of my posts on national defense? You’re a guy who is familiar with Spider-Man history and “The Art of War.” Very cool.

    2. Haha thanks! I came across your blog from a Peter Parker related post, but I stuck around for your national defense posts. I’m a fellow concerned American and Spidey fan (Marvel still hasn’t managed to get me to drop the title haha)

    3. Marvel really doesn’t like guys like you: A Spider-Man fan who understands what they’re doing to the character while having also having a firm grasp of national defense issues. If you start commenting on certain message forums, then it’s only a matter of time before you get banned. Make sure to take it as a compliment.

    1. That. Was. Outstanding.

      Thanks for sharing, Patrick. I love this part:

      Is it just me, or is Slott stalking the Twitter account of someone he blocked to cherry pick tweets addressed to someone else rather, well…less than savory? …

      Of course, this isn’t the first time Dan Slott went after Phantom Roxas out of the blue. The following was deleted by moderators at CBR for crossing the line. …

      Again, Phantom Roxas wasn’t anywhere in that thread until Slott decided to attack. Which really begs…all sorts of questions, most of them scary, no?

      When will someone at Marvel have an intervention with Dan Slott? This is beyond embarrassing. As the author states, it’s actually a bit frightening.

    2. The part that stands out to me is when he tried to accuse ME of making my Twitter feed into my own personal echo chamber. It’s astounding how far he’ll go with his projections.

    1. He wants to control the conversation, and he can’t do it unless it’s on a site run by one of his moderator lackeys or his personal social media accounts. The problem is that every time he runs into a critic who is remotely logical he ends up making himself look like a petulant child.

      It must bother him to no end that this blog continues to call him out on his ridiculous behavior but he can’t do a thing about it. He tried to take pots shots from afar — it didn’t work. He tried to stalk me across the internet — it didn’t work. Now he’s tried ignoring me (probably because someone pulled him aside and said that was the best option) — and it’s not working.

      Again, Dan Slott will go to every dark corner of the internet to try and refute critics, but he won’t step into this arena because there are no moderators to save him from himself.

      How long will he be able to hold out? We shall see.

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