Amazing Spider-Man and the craft of writing: A YouTube hangout with Mike McNulty (Stillanerd)

It’s been years in the making, but the stars have finally aligned for your friendly neighborhood blogger and Mike McNulty (Stillanerd) to team up for a discussion on comic books.  If you’ve enjoyed Mike’s reviews over the years — both at Spider-Man Crawlspace and now with Whatever a Spider Can — then you’ll want to check out this YouTube chat. It’s one hour of the two of us talking about craft or writing, The Amazing Spider-Man, and a few other topics of interest to those who tuned in during the live stream.

Mike, as always, was the consummate professional. I hope to have him back again for another YouTube hangout sooner rather than later.

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Amazing Spider-Man #25: Dan Slott’s Peter Parker wonders if punching Asian criminals is racist

It’s a rare occurrence when a Marvel comic is worth multiple blog posts, but The Amazing Spider-Man #25 has managed to pull off the ignominious feat. The anti-faith claptrap that was shoved into Peter Parker’s mouth was covered yesterday, but today I would like to address writer Dan Slott’s decision to turn criminal beatdowns into an occasion for political correctness.

Mr. Slott’s version of Peter Parker literally wonders if there is something wrong with punching Asian thugs while in China.

“Doesn’t it feel weird that we’re only beating up … Asian people? I’m just used to beating up people of all races and creeds,” Peter says after an interrogation. When Mockingbird asks if he would feel better fighting masked criminals he says, “I know it’s a cop-out, but yeah, it would.”

Yes, that’s right, an entire page of of creative real estate was dedicated to the racial dynamics of beating up Asian criminals in China. That, my friends, is Marvel Comics in 2017. Writers like Dan Slott are so concerned about shoring up their PC credibility that they will sacrifice character and plot development in favor of racial diatribes.

There is much more to say, but for that I would like to point you to my latest YouTube video. Make sure to hit the subscribe button if the format is up your alley, and feel free to share your thoughts on all-things Spider-Man in the comments section below.

 

Editor’s Note: I plan on doing a live discussion on YouTube on March 25th at 3:00 p.m. EST. with Mike McNulty (Stillanerd) from Whatever a Spider Can. The topic of the day will be the craft of writing — with ASM as our creative backdrop.

Also, consider this recent tweet by Mr. Slott if you doubt that the ASM creative team was thinking about Richard Spencer when they were thinking about Doc Ock’s new look, haircut, etc., as part of Hydra. When will someone conduct an intervention and tell these people that their obsession with politics is unhealthy?

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Related:

Dan Slott shoves anti-faith bilge into Peter Parker’s mouth in ASM #25 because reporters shouldn’t believe in God … or something

Dan Slott shoves anti-faith bilge into Peter Parker’s mouth in ASM #25 because reporters shouldn’t believe in God … or something

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Fans of The Amazing Spider-Man plopped down $10 this week to read the start of The Osborn Identity, which was jam-packed with extra stories (some of them not so good). While your friendly neighborhood blogger is happy to talk about the issue as a whole, one exchange in the main story stuck out for the anti-faith claptrap that writer Dan Slott shoved into Peter Parker’s mouth.

Since this issue takes place after The Clone Conspiracy, Peter Parker goes to check on reporter Betty Brant to see how she’s doing. She mentions seeing a spiritual advisor and possibly bringing Aunt May along since her second husband just passed away, to which the hero replies:

“You’re a reporter. You live for facts. When did you start looking to the spirit world?

Note that at this point Peter knew nothing about Betty receiving phone calls from the clone of her deceased husband. All he knew as that she wanted to see a spiritual advisor. And his response?  A condescending remark that people who deal in “facts” should not be turning to spiritual advisors.

Spider-Man fans who subjected themselves to Jose Molina’s atrocious Amazing Grace will note how he also infused Peter with anti-faith smugness. In 2016, however, the message was that faith in God and science are somehow at odds, which is not true at all (my guess is that Dan Slott and Jose Molina have never even heard of Georges Lemaître, for example, but I digress).

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What makes Dan Slott’s decision so weird, as has been stated before, is that it makes even more sense in the Marvel Universe for people to believe in the supernatural because citizens witness it on a regular basis. Peter has literally been to the astral plane, dealt with demons, and knows first-hand that they exist, and yet Dan Slott makes him act like a callous jerk towards a friend who is spiritual.

The absurdity of Peter’s statement is made even more bizarre when, moments earlier, he is seen talking to “Uncle Ben” — a dead man — at his grave. Why would scientists and reporters and superheroes talk to long-dead relatives unless they believed that on a spiritual level their words were being heard?

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And why would Peter behave like such a jerk towards Ms. Brant when Amazing Grace ended with a meeting between he and a priest — “Hey, Father. You got a minute?”

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Here are some historical “facts” for Dan Slott.

  • There was once a man named Jesus who made some pretty “bold” claims (Understatement of All Time Award material, I know.)
  • Jesus was crucified — just as he foretold — for those claims.
  • Jesus’ enemies were so terrified of Him that they literally entombed his corpse behind a giant rock and used an armed guard to watch over it. (Yes, an armed guard for a dead body.)
  • Christ’s own disciples, from a historical perspective, had every reason in the world to say, “Well, I guess it’s over,” after he was executed. False prophets came before him, and all their movements soon died with the individual. But these apostles didn’t turn in the towel. They too were eventually executed for telling all the world that Jesus rose from the dead. They traveled far and wide to tell everyone who would listen that they saw him, that they literally put their hands in his wounds, and that He is exactly who He claimed to be.

I can go on and on (What came before the Big Bang, Dan Slott?), but the point is this: Peter Parker would never behave the way he did in that scene with Ms. Brant because it was a total jerk thing to say. If you think that he would say that — despite hanging on occasion with Doctor Strange … traveling throughout the multi-verse … and generally dealing with the supernatural on a regular basis, then good luck making that case.

If Dan Slott is not a religious man, then that is his prerogative, but he should not turn Peter Parker into a condescending jerk when a story delves into spiritual matters.

With that said, I highly suggest checking out Stillanerd’s review of ASM #25 over at Whatever A Spider Can.

I should also mention that the two of us will be discussing the craft of writing (through an ASM prism) on my YouTube channel on Saturday, March 25. As of now we plan on starting at 3 p.m. EST. Make sure to subscribe and hit YouTube’s little bell icon to receive a notification when we go live.

Dan Slott belly flops in ‘Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy’ finale

The finale to Marvel’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy is now in stores — or is it? Yes, the event that began with Before Dead No More has technically ended, but there are so many questions left unanswered that readers will now be forced to buy Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 for some semblance of closure.

Months ago I jokingly predicted that Marvel would come up with After Dead No More and Dead No More — No More, and it looks like readers will essentially get just that because “Omega” sounds edgy and cool…but I digress.

Anyway, the one question that fans of The Amazing Spider-Man should ask themselves right now is this: Was it worth it?

Was DNM: CC worth turning ASM proper into supplementary reading material? Was it worth creatively monopolizing the tie-in books? Was it worth digging up the memories of the original Clone Saga? Was it worth the sheer amount of effort expended by Marvel to try and convince people to care about “reanimates” as much as the original characters?

I would definitively say the answer is “no.”

Check out my latest review, and then make sure to head on over to Whatever A Spider Can to read Mike McNulty’s take. He always does great work, and this time it provided me with a much needed assist for a YouTube review of DNM: CC #5.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts in the comments sections below.

Renew Your Vows #4: MJ plays feminism card so Peter will endanger child

Gerry Conway’s fourth issue of The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows came out this week, which means that Peter Parker fans are treated once again to a light-hearted and fun read devoid of Slottian baggage. The writer’s “All In The Family” tale wraps up with the Parkers defeating Mole Man, but it doesn’t come without a few creative red flags for the future.

Ask yourself this question: Is it sexist for Peter Parker to want his young daughter as far away from megalomanic super-villains as possible? This version of Mary Jane thinks so, and for some bizarre reason the hero backs down without much of a fight.

Check out my latest YouTube review for a better explanation of why RYV appears to be taking a problematic stance towards the family’s superhero dynamic. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section below — and be sure to subscribe if you enjoy the video format.

Marvel flinches on hack writing after backlash, but actions speak louder than words

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It appears as though sagging sales, fan backlash, The New York Times dropping comics from its “bestseller” list, and a general consensus that Marvel has lost its way has finally pushed the “House of Ideas” to return to its roots. Bleeding Cool reported Feb. 6 that a back-to-basics approach will take place in 2018.

The website said:

“Last week’s Marvel creative summit I am told by well connected sources who have proved themselves in that past there was more of a focus on what DC Comics internally called “meat and potatoes” comics that preceded their doubling down on the popular characters and bringing back old favourite takes with DC Rebirth.

I am told, as Marvel brings back the X-Men line with a bang, to expect a return to more of a status quo for titles such as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and more. A more familiar looking Marvel Universe by the autumn – although, just as with Captain America, as classic-look-characters return, expect new characters to keep a number of their books. …

I am told to expect that Secret Empire will be a bit of a last hurrah for this kind of [politicized] storytelling from Marvel for a while. A little how Marvel writers were told to get the use of the Marvel 616 dimensional nomenclature out of their system before it was done away with for good…”

Twitter, YouTube, and other social media websites were abuzz — in a positive way — with this news, but your friendly neighborhood blogger would like to remind everyone that actions speak louder than words — and Bleeding Cool reporting.

While it is true that Marvel has flinched in the face of a growing number of fans who are sick and tired of political preaching shoved into their books, it is also true that its writers and editors only made the right decision when all other options were essentially taken off the table.

If Marvel had to hemorrhage fans to DC Comics for months on end before its top brass decided to retreat on their social justice crusade, then it stands to reason that they will return to their old ways as soon as possible. Even Bleeding Cool’s report indicates that this is merely a tactical retreat by the New Puritans.

At this point in time Marvel has done nothing tangible — I repeat, nothing — to engender good will among the fans it has alienated for years.

There has not been any admittance that loyal customers were treated like dirt while classic characters were needlessly dumped upon for the sake of diversity.

Now is not the time to let up, but to stay increasingly engaged in terms of holding the publisher accountable for partisan or sloppy writing. Until Marvel and its creative teams consistently deliver the goods and extend an olive branch to those who were told to “eat a bag of d***s,” then they should not be patted on the back.

It is time to be cautiously optimistic, but it most certainly not the time to shake hands with writers and artists who have rarely missed an opportunity to sucker punch long-time readers.

David F Walker Twitter bag

Dan Slott’s Clone Conspiracy #4 goes full Ben Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Your friendly neighborhood blogger wrote on Oct. 12, 2016, that one problem with writing stories about conspiracies is that they sometimes get so big and convoluted that they collapse under their own weight. Dan Slott’s fourth installment of The Clone Conspiracy (along with The Amazing Spider-Man #23), are clear-cut examples to study for any aspiring writing to study.

The problem with The Clone Conspiracy, as is often the case with Mr. Slott’s work, is that he creatively bites off more than he can chew before realizing that he must somehow finish the whole meal on a tight timeline.

Check out my latest YouTube video for the more detailed explanation of why the Marvel event is imploding, and then let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, if you like what you see in the video format, then make sure to subscribe for regular updates.

Mark Waid: ‘Every superhero you love’ is a SJW

There was once a time when activist-writers tried to hide their attempts to hijack comic books and turn them into little more than social-justice propaganda. Writer Mark Waid has changed all that. This week he took to Twitter and told the world that “every superhero you love” marches (or flies or teleports) under a SJW banner.

Check out my latest YouTube video on Mr. Waid’s opinion that comic book writers should look to anti-free speech ideologues for inspiration.

Marvel’s zero-sum politics needlessly damage the comics industry

The partisan politics of modern Marvel Comics creators is a mainstay of this blog, but for the most part it is usually discussed within the context of whatever “red state vs. blue state” argument makes headlines each week. Today, however, I’d like to dig a little deeper into the zero-sum politics of these writers and artists. In short, they act as if any positive development for “Character A” means that “Character B” is negatively affected.

For instance, Tony Stark’s existence as Iron Man was problematic for writer Brian Michael Bendis’ to introduce Ironheart — Riri Williams. Normal people have no problem with a young girl named Riri flying around the Marvel Universe while Mr. Stark does his thing. That is not the case for Marvel writers these days. In the mind of the modern Marvel creator, Mr. Stark needed to be hurt or sidelined or have his reputation sullied in some way so that a minority female character could succeed.

This line of thinking has poisoned Marvel’s decision-making from the top down in recent years, and as long as it continues the industry as a whole will needlessly suffer. For more details on this, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video on the subject. Then, if you like what you’ve seen, be sure subscribe for regular updates.

As always, make sure to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Amazing Spider-Man #22: Dan Slott’s Clone story tries to be ‘Lazarus Conspiracy,’ fails

Do humans have souls, or are we deluding ourselves into thinking free will exists thanks to a complex series of chemical reactions that take place in our body every moment of every day?

Are humans somewhat like a computer, where the “you” that defines your being can be boiled down to biological code that began running (how fortunate!) with the Big Bang?

These are questions you should ask yourself as you read Marvel’s latest event, The Clone Conspiracy, and its tie-ins to Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. If you haven’t pondered these questions up until now, then take a few moments to watch my latest YouTube review of ASM #22.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d like to hear what you have to say.