Nick Lowe Marvel EditorMarvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe is the type of guy who dresses up as the pope on Halloween because he’s scared to death of what would happen if he pranced around the office as an imam or Mohammed. Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe is the type of guy who dresses as the pope for Halloween because Dan Slott would probably not find it funny to see his editor mock Orthodox Jew rabbis on Halloween. Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe is also the kind of guy who needlessly burns bridges with loyal Marvel customers in the Letters to the Editor section of The Amazing Spider-Man.

It’s no secret that Marvel has run its Letters to the Editor section like something out of the Kim Jong-un School of Journalism for quite some time. Issue #17 of The Amazing Spider-Man continues that trend, although 1 out of 9 letters actually provides a critique of Dan Slott’s work.

Here is an excerpt from a letter sent in by Ryan Knight of New Port Richey, Florida:

Can you please offer your readers some kind of idea when Dan will be off the book? He’s written more Spider-Man than anyone with the exception of Stan Lee … and Brian Michael Bendis. I understand that his work is accessible for many casual readers with little to no frame of reference, but even many of his strongest supporters believed he should have left when Superior ended. …

I am sick of Marvel “Events” and so-called story arcs (look up the word story arc in the dictionary. You Marvel folks will see it’s different froma multi-part look at the Tablet Arc in Stan Lee’s run or the Jackal Arc in Conway’s if you want a clue.) screaming for attention, it just betrays how corrupt and lame some corners of the universe are. …

How often do we get one-issue stories? Two-parters? Character studies? Slice of life? Of yeah, Slott is a self-confessed plotter by nature. Howard Mackie’s run is downright readable in comparison to most of Slott’s work. History won’t remember the BND/Big Time/Superior/Relaunch era fondly at all.

Mr. Knight is not too happy with the current direction of the book. However, it’s obvious that he’s been reading Spider-Man for years. He’s a loyal Marvel customer. He has stuck through the book through thick and thin. Say what you want about the tone of his email, but he’s clearly sunk loads of cash into Marvel, and by extension Nick Lowe’s and Dan Slott’s bank accounts.

One would think that Mr. Lowe would be grateful for such customer loyalty and, even in the face of hard-nosed criticism, respond in a professional manner. Mr. I-dress-up-as-the-pope-because-I’m-scared-to-dress-up-as-Mohammed Lowe chose the “We don’t need you” route instead.

Nick Lowe responded:

Hi, Ryan. Sorry you don’t like Dan’s run, but you certainly seem to know it very well. If you’re a Gerry Conway fan, definitely pick up Amazing Spider-Man #16.1, on sale now. It’s the first part of a five-parter (sorry). Pains me that you’re so unhappy, so take this as permission to leave the book behind. I’m a big fan of Dan’s work and won’t be replacing him any time soon, providing we’re still publishing Spider-Man after Secret Wars.

In the mind of Nick Lowe, Marvel’s faux pope, it is a mortal sin to question the direction of The Amazing Spider-Man, even if you’re someone who has been religiously buying the book for decades. Question Dan “deus ex machina” Slott’s work, and you must be excommunicated from the Church of Marvel.

If you’re like me, then you long ago realized that Marvel decided on a business model that involves needlessly lashing out at paying customers. If you’re like me, then perhaps you’ve become much more discerning in which books you buy each month — if any — from the company.

The next time you see Nick Lowe at a Comic Con, ask him when he’s going to be Mohammed for Halloween, and then let him know what you think about Marvel’s “permission to leave” business model.

Hi, My name is Nick Lowe. I think it's a good idea to tell loyal Marvel customers to take a hike when they disagree with the direction of a book. I also dress up as the pope as a joke on Halloween because I know Catholics turn the other cheek. Dressing up as an imam or Mohammed as a joke would actually require me to display courage, so I won't do that.
Hi, My name is Nick Lowe. I think it’s a good idea to tell loyal Marvel customers to take a hike when they disagree with the direction of a book. I also dress up as the pope on Halloween because I know Catholics turn the other cheek. Dressing up as an imam or Mohammed as a joke would actually require me to display courage, so I won’t do that.
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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.

34 comments

  1. That response is nothing short of amazing. In the old letters page days, the editor’s response would be “Sorry you didn’t like it; hopefully what we have planned next might serve to keep you reading!”

    Screw these hipster blowhard a-holes. Their “talent” — and attitudes — are so sub-mediocre compared to the 60s-80s creators it’s appalling.

    1. I find it interesting how so many of these guys equate sarcasm with intelligence. They often think they’re being witty, when really they’re just coming across as big jerks.

      If a long-time reader isn’t the most tactful guy in the world, there is still a level of respect that he earns for his years of loyalty to the company. No one is forcing these guys to respond, so when they do chose to respond they comport themselves in a professional manner.

      What is even more strange is that in a Letters to the Editor page that is printed in the comic, Marvel has the last word. It’s not like Twitter or random message boards, where the back-and-forth goes into one man swallows his pride (or the Marvel creator whines to the moderators to shut down the thread). If you’re going to print a response in the comic, it only makes sense to “end” it with you proving yourself the bigger man. Even when Marvel controls the content that is seen it goes with the response that makes its editors look like petulant man-boys. Telling.

  2. I’m not gonna lie, I jumped on ASM around the time Brand New Day was still in it’s early stages. Yes I know, sad for me, given how One More Day had already happened a little while before that. But during that time, and a little bit before then, I discovered a few reprints of ASM volume 1, and read the complete first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (also I should point out that Ultimate Spider-Man #16 was essentially my first Spider-Man comicbook as a kid). Sometime after around the Gauntlet storyline I had had a bit of a falling out with comics. For one reason or another, I just stopped reading them.

    It wasn’t until I signed on with the Hybrid Network that I actually got into comics again. I picked up ASM #1 when it was released last year, and up until somewhere towards the tail end of Spider-Verse, I was actually enjoying it for the most part. But then Dan Slott opened his gaping maw and basically slandered a great many Spider Man fans as being racist for being of the mindset that changing Peter’s race would come off as a PC driven gimmick. But that’s a whole other can of worms I don’t think I wish to go back to at the moment. But needless to say, I’ve straight out refused to support or buy ANYTHING written by Slott. And I won’t go bashing anyone who wants to read his work. That’s their choice, not mine.

    Since then, I’ve started to realize that Slott wasn’t the only bad egg in the carton. With a combination of some Google searching (which actually lead me to your site I might add), some Twitter browsing and etc, I’ve become much more aware of the behind the scenes proceedings in the comicbook industry. With all this talk of diversity and whatnot, it just bores and infuriates me. Nowadays, all I’m asking for is a good story. With decent or well characters, entertaining story lines, and a good narrative. I’m not asking for Shakespeare levels of work, all I want is a good story. None of this politically correct or social justice BS. Just a good story. That’s all.

    Nuff said.

    1. Since then, I’ve started to realize that Slott wasn’t the only bad egg in the carton.

      The thing is, I honestly don’t care if these guys are liberal, so long as their stories are strong and they’re even pseudo-respectful of my point of view if I interact with them online. A good story can generally put forth a liberal worldview, but in a way where it has so many intellectual layers to it that only a political hack would say it’s bad. I’m pretty sure that Alan Moore and I have nothing in common politically, but I enjoyed Watchmen. The same goes for me and Brian Michael Bendis, but I did enjoy Secret War.

      Where I get upset is when it’s something like She-Thor, where the author metaphorically hits the reader of the head with a hammer (ironic, isn’t it?!) with political correctness. Then, when they’re called out for it, they lash out at the people who are telling the truth about what’s going on.

    2. The other thing that infuriates me about these writers and their political perspective is that they can’t write a character who has different beliefs than themselves. I find things like Spider-Man (a man whose whole deal is a crushing sense of personal responsibility!) and Captain America (a man who holds fast to a sense of morality from the 40s!) having casual sex with various women to be so absurdly out of character that I don’t even really want to read about them as written by these people. They can’t write a character who has values that differ from their own, so they drag all characters to the same place (Nightcrawler can’t be Catholic anymore because they don’t believe in Catholicism, there are no other openly Christian characters I can think of, Captain America fights Tea Partiers, etc.). Even apart from how insulting that is to much of their audience, it’s terrible storytelling. How interesting is it to read about a whole bunch of characters who all have the same values and beliefs?

    3. Precisely. But even if they’re called out for it, the more respectable thing to do would be either have a rational discussion with that person, or just ignore it entirely and go about your day.

      But nope. We gotta slander our fanbase just to prove that we’re right and your wrong, even though (just a random possibility here) the vast majority of said fanbase might just know more about the character you’re writing about than you do.

      Also on an unrelated note, the comment I posted earlier kind of inspired me to expand on it a bit in my own blog. It’s a shameless plug I know, but more people need to stand up against people like Dan and others.
      http://zacbstudios.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-lovehate-relationship-with-comics.html

    4. Haha. No problem on the plug, Zac. 🙂 You read and comment on the blog — and it’s germane to the conversation. The only time I ever get annoyed is when someone who has never commented here just plugs their stuff without even engaging in a conversation.

  3. It’s amazing how childish Marvel employees are these days. Granted, Lowe wasn’t being as insane as Mark Waid was during his Obamacare meltdown, but it’s still pretty childish. I never took any economics or business classes in college, but I’m pretty sure one of the first rules is “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Marvel employees seem to have this perverse idea that the customers need them more than the other way around. Loyal customers are irreplaceable, especially in this business. I was like Ryan Knight: a loyal customer for years. But I got sick of bad stories and opted to spend my money elsewhere. Based on the way sales have been declining for years, a lot of people felt the same way. And clearly, not enough new readers filled the void.

    Months ago, I read over at Four Color Media Monitor a story about Bob Layton’s thoughts on publishing.
    http://www.boblayton.com/what-is-the-future-of-comic-publishing/

    Layton made the observation that, sooner or later, Disney is gonna realize they can save money by shutting down the publishing arm. It’s gotta be cheaper to release reprints than what they’re doing now. Sometimes I wonder if Marvel employees (as well as their counterparts at DC) realize they’re on borrowed time. For all the hoopla they try to gin up about the multi-ethnic Avengers, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to anticipation for “Age of Ultron.” The comics simply aren’t important anymore. Everyone knows Disney didn’t buy Marvel to publish comics; they bought it for the movies and other licensing deals (i.e. the stuff that makes money). Really, between the back issues, the reprint books, and the various movies or cartoons, why would anyone plunk down $3.99 for a decompressed part of some bloated, gimmick-filled event produced by people who denigrate loyal customers with a dissenting viewpoint? For perspective: I’m reasonably sure that a DVD or Blu-Ray of the first Spider-Man movie costs less than the entirety of Spider-Verse. That final scene at the graveyard alone packs more of a punch than anything I’ve ever read from Slott.

    Lowe really should try approaching his job from the position of WWSLD? (What Would Stan Lee Do?). As I’ve said here and elsewhere, you’d never catch Stan Lee behaving in such a way. But then, I doubt Lowe even has a clue who Stan Lee actually is. “Um, he created Devil Dinosaur, right?”

    1. Couldn’t agree more my friend.

      Also I don’t mean to correct, but I think it was an abandoned building that the final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin took place in.

    2. You’re right about the final battle taking place in an abandoned building, but that’s not what I meant. I should’ve been clearer. When I compared Slott’s work to the graveyard scene, I meant the emotional and dramatic stuff (Peter choosing not to be with MJ, rededicating himself to his mission, etc.). When I wrote that, I was thinking about how Slott recently compared Spidey to Charlie Brown. To me, it’s like Slott and Marvel just make Peter suffer for the sake of making him suffer, whereas the movie’s bittersweet ending was organic to the plot.

      Though I don’t think Slott has penned a good as fight scene as the movie, either.

    3. There was a period of time where I was spending probably $600 or more per year on Marvel comics. This was right around 2000-2002. As the creators started getting nastier and the tales more blatantly political, I got fed up and basically walked away. This year I’ll probably spend about $50 on Marvel. Do guys like Nick Lowe really believe that I’m some sort of outlier? They can just go through the history of all my comic-related posts to see that I’m not.

      I’ve said this before, but I’d love to do a professional survey of the comic industry to see how many people me, Truthwillwin, Nate, Hube, Zac, Carl, SpiderTerry, Zariusii, Patrick, Donald, Issaac Wolffee, Magnetic Eye, and many others who commented on my blog represent. In the aggregate, that has to be a huge chunk of change Marvel is missing out on each year. Now imagine what would happen if all the fans who are annoyed with the politics and the petty behavior were energized about the brand and encouraging their friends to go out and give Marvel comics a try.

      I have plenty of friends who have fallen away from comics over the years who I know I could get back into it if I emailed them and said, “Hey, check out [insert Marvel title here] this month. It’s pretty darn good.” Am I going to do that when Nick Lowe is telling fans to take a hike? No way.

    4. There was a period of time where I was spending probably $600 or more per year on Marvel comics. This was right around 2000-2002. As the creators started getting nastier and the tales more blatantly political, I got fed up and basically walked away.

      That sounds identical to me across the board, in terms of $$ spent, time-frame and reason for leaving.

    5. Marvel’s writers and editors have alienated me so much with their liberal pandering, condescension toward long-time fans, and long, drawn-out, pointless storylines that I threw in the towel years ago and only buy classic stories from them.

  4. It’s a shame Lowe had to resort to that, really. A while earlier, he had turned heads when he said “I could have taken Slott off the book if I wanted to”. Keep in mind also that, once upon a time, it was stated Howard Mackie would be on the book “for the long run” back in the letters pages in 2000, and a year later, Mackie was gone and we moved on to the rather fondly remembered JMS era, so who knows how much of Nick’s guarantee that Slott is’nt going places will stick.

    Meanwhile, Dan has just gotten worse, and again chooses to contradict himself. This is the man tasked with writing a title that focuses on Peter and MJ’s marriage over the course of the summer this year, and do you know how he spends his time promoting the characters? By insisting Stan Lee’s initial concept of a dizzy party girl with no strings attached was the ideal version of Mary Jane rather than the well rounded, caring, considerate and persistent life partner she was (or remains if you read the newspaper strips). Despite his recent comments, Lowe has tried to assure readers the story over the summer will be interesting and will be a “bold step for Spider-Man”, trying to get people interested and invested in Renew Your Vows, and Slott is spending his time assuring people hearts will break over the story and there’s a monkey’s paw catch. I really don’t want to see Nick dragged down to Slott’s level, I don’t want him to become another Steven Wacker, not with the way he’s been acting lately, it would diminish and tarnish the good will he’s built up over the last several months during the relaunch.

    1. I may do a blog post on this in the near future, but I find it interesting how Marvel views the “best” version of Peter as someone who endlessly objectifies women. They want him to grow just emotionally connected enough to woman after woman after woman so that he’ll have sex with them, but not enough so that it actually goes anywhere serious. Wouldn’t a man who respects women actually commit to one for life? I think so, but apparently the Marvel editors disagree. Meanwhile, the Tumblr feminists sit back in silence. Telling.

    2. I would be more optimistic if someone like Gerry Conway was writing RYV. There is no harmony in Slott’s bad taste and that’s probably what RYV will offer.

  5. Well he seems better than Wacker so far…but it seems he may be going down the wrong path. How hard is it to respond with something nice such as “I am sorry you are not happy with the direction of the book, maybe you should check back later and see if it is more to your liking”.

    These guys don’t understand basic business.
    Has anyone else noticed that Slott seems more concerted with marketing his books than writing them?

    1. Dan Slott would make a good carnival barker. I’m not trying to denigrate carnival barkers, either. That is one important aspect of the business. However, as you point out, there needs to be something worth looking at inside the tent…

  6. I wonder if they all think they’re at the tail-end of the business, and have given up most of what we call professional excellence. If you think you’re on the Titanic, you probably don’t care what the passengers think about your quality of service.

  7. Yeah I wrote that letter months ago but never expected to see it publish. My financial support for this era extended to buying one post-omd trade (The Return of Anti-Venom) a couple years ago but I follow what’s going on online like anyone else. I’ve been following your blog for about a year and a half and I’m as frustrated as ever about Slott’s antics and Marvel’s overall refusal to REPENT! It is precisely this impatience and frustration that has motivated me and several of my friends to work on making an animated series set in the MC2 universe chronicling the history of Spider-Man from Amazing Fantasy #15 all the way through Spider-Girl: The End in chronological not publishing order offering a very hindsight view of all the characters that an extremely accurate and definitive version of Parker and his world may exist that way the casual readers that Slott is always trying to court will be given a proper frame of reference realizing that Spider-Man was once more than just mindlessly entertaining and will stop investing in his work sooner rather than eventually buying the old stuff and joining the ranks of us veteran readers against the regime. The series is called The Sensational Spider-Man our first season will cover the whole Ditko period over the course of 11 Episodes a large part of the pilot is based one the first act of Parallel Lives.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Ryan. I appreciate it!

      Feel free to circle back to this post in the future with any Spider-Man projects you’re working on. I’d love to see the finished product.

      Spider-Man was once more than just mindlessly entertaining…

      Agreed. Imagine if ASM had a creative team that aimed to have the character work on multiple levels. As I’ve said before, right now fans are only getting The Superficial Spider-Man when they could be getting so much more.

    2. Ryan, I have to say congratulations on standing up for the Peter Parker story and having the grapes to point out how it’s been mangled beyond all recognition by the powers-that-be. As for your project, I wish you every bit of success. Dramatizing the classic stories is something that’s been catching on lately, but the idea of chronicling what a lot of people consider the “proper” story, from Peter being bitten to Mayday and Wes hooking up, is something I would be very interested in watching. I’ll be sure to pass this along to the folks over on ComicVine as they’ve been posting up the audio dramas of various classic Spider-Man stories and I’m sure they’d like to bring your project to the attention of viewers also.

  8. Ol’ Slott has, alarmingly, let me creep into his head again, as he’s now accusing a new member on CBR of being me and telling him to “get a grip”. I know the user in question as “Big Al” who runs several Spider-Man blogs on tumblr. It’s troubling to think the man has not the faintest grasp that there exists the possibility of like-mindedness in people.

    1. There was a period of time where he was telling people they were getting talking points from me, that they were my “cronies,” etc. 🙂 Like you said, the guy refuses to admit that there are people out there who have legitimate gripes about his work. It’s simultaneously humorous, yet sad.

    2. I hope he doesn’t, at this rate, commission an artist to doodle the first page of ASM Annual one where it’s him shuddering in a corner thinking about all his e-enemies assembled like the Sinister Six.

    3. Mr. Lowe, your well-researched costume appears to have neglected one detail: You can not dress up as the Pope while wearing a wedding ring. Yes, I know the Pope has a ring, but if you didn’t have a replica, it might have been better not to have worn any ring at all.
      *twirls a fake handlebar mustache* I’m a girl wearing a mustache. Think I’ll be let in the “villain club” as well? (Because I know all my friends would buy an issue of a comic where Spider-Man fought a girl wearing a fake mustache, if only for the sheer silliness!)
      Though, on second thoughts, I might be too lame for even these people. *brightens up* I’m the world’s lamest supervillain! I should get a medal!

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