The final issue of the Spider-man Story “One More Day” came out last week, and events long wished for by Marvel editorial unfolded. We’ll put this rough spoiler in white type and behind the jump, but let’s just say it’s like the last 20 years never happened.

Highlight for shock surprise! Ok I will be mr spolier but you might not believe it as it is SO bad. Pete wakes up alone in the bed to find MJ in that bathroom puking I guess (the art & story telling are so bad who can tell what is up). First 3 1/4s was pete & MJ talking over accepting the offer. They come off as so dumb with neither asking the ultimate question, what would May want which we all know she would want then to stay married. So then the devil appears, they say yes cuz… well theres no believable reason they would. Then as just a freebie the devil tosses in that he is gonna rub out the demasking of peter parker. MJ whispers something to the devil to get an easy way out if the writters need it later. Then after they agree the devil says what I predicted, hes rubbing out the child they would have had in the future,,, UGH, Then… poof! Pete wakes up alone, goes downstair to ol aunt may making wheat cakes then run off to a party for .. HARRY OSBORN!!!! Yes everything is totally as if the last 20 years hasnt happened (in fact last panel shows them making a toast & you can see petes web shooters peeking out just to say screw you payed to read is worthless now). It is so much worse than I expected it to be. They have just turned Amazing into the start of Ultimate Spider-man. Its the worst time ever in Amazing Spider-man history.
The reaction online has been predictably negative, as this Newsarama thread attests and 63% of readers voting for option “ARRRGGGHHHH!!! Worst. Thing. Ever.”

I don’t mind that the marriage is over. I don’t like the way they did it by magically and nonsensically changing the past whatever years of continuity to do it.

How about Mary Jane is sick of being constantly in danger and wants a divorce? How about the Kingpin, in his arrogance and being ticked off at getting beat, finishes the job and has whacked? How about May dies and Peter can’t deal with the grief and just leaves MJ?

How about do this that actually shows character progression and at the same time tells a good story? This is just a deus ex machina cop out.

And yes, I took a good chunk of Marvel books off my list because of it.

Of course, fan online outrage is typical and meaningless unless that guy actually sticks by his guns and starts buying fewer Marvel comics. What will new Spidey readers think of the new bachelor Petey? We suspect they’ll just take it in stride along with the other movie and cartoon versions of Spidey where he’s solo.

However, as Peter David’s comment shows, internally this move wasn’t all that popular:

What do I think of it? Well, I have not read it, to be honest, since I knew the story particulars for months now. Let us just say that it is not the direction I would have taken things.


  1. Haven’t you “avid” Marvel Comics readers learned? To quote Bart Simpson from the Alan Moore episode, “None of this stuff ever REALLY happened.”

    Read your old comics and be thankful you got to experience under-appreciated writer and editor Archie Goodwin before the days of clones and Heroes Reborn.

  2. The Spider-Man audience might be an unusual case, though. Before “One More Day”, AMAZING was outselling its two sister titles, FRIENDLY and SENSATIONAL, by roughly two to one. So whatever else we may say about the AMAZING readers, they’re clearly not die-hard completists. The bedrock Spider-Man audience (in the direct market) is the roughly 46K reading FRIENDLY.

    I’m not saying they WILL leave, but I think they’re certainly more likely to do so than, for example, the X-Men readers – most of them tend to buy all three core titles.

  3. I asked this question over at the Savage Critics site but I want to ask it here, too. When Ultimate Spider-Man launched however many years ago the whole point was that this is the teenage Spider-man that everyone knows, with the secret identity and romance problems we’ve come to expect. But then this shake-up happens to plain Spider-Man which, as far as I can tell from all of the Internet chatter (the only Spider-Man books I read are the occasional Essential or Ultimate trade), turns Peter Parker back into a young guy who is single and has a secret identity. So what’s the difference between this character and the “new reader friendly” Ultimate Spider-Man? Did Marvel just do the same relaunch twice? I’m very confused.

  4. Well, if enough people react to this as they did to the Ben Reilly storyline (that was the clone’s name wasn’t it? My memory ain’t the best….), it could cause Marvel editorial to turn on their collective heel.

  5. Well, at least we’ll finally be able to get someone to write a story where Peter is on a date and one of his rogues takes May hostage and Peter has to juggle being on his date while simultaneously trying to save May. I’ve been waiting 20 years for an original story like that.

  6. Bobby Ewing called he wants more years wiped out from his one year gone from his stories. Seems like they took us back to the time Marvel printed, “The Man From Atlantis”. It’s a shame, I really think they will screw up Captain America too, I am hoping for a correction on the Spider-Man botch. What was Joe thinking, did he have too many cups of joe? His art is suffering from lack of sleep. Call Marv Wolfman, I smell a “Crisis”. Maybe he can bring back the Flash in the Marvel universe. Joe Quesada wanted to throw a wrench at the mechanism of continuity, what can of worms you just opened. As much as people are making a big deal, at the end of the day, suspend your disbelief there is so much continuity that is full of holes on both sides of DC and Marvel. They need a reboot each 20 years, if for continuity sakes most of the stories are outdated. Don’t get me going about JSA, between old school Green Lantern and the Flash, enough already shouldn’t these guys be pushing daises. I have a solution for Marvel and DC, quite simple. They should both create a character that can travel from both universes and alter time and kill off characters when ever needed to revamp and boost sales of a comic. Unprecedented I think, a common character to clean both their messes. The crisis to end all crisis. I guess continuity is a bit like Windows, every time you upgrade, you try to fix problems but a new virus always find a way to corrupt the whole thing.

  7. It just seems to me that the personal tastes of the guy in charge matter more than what is best story-wise or what the fans want; that goes for DC as well as Marvel.
    My question now is this; if any story event can be changed at any time upon editorial whim, why should we as readers invest our time and money in them at all?

  8. We all know how the Devil operates,
    Aunt May’s life is saved but…
    …she ends up paralyzed.
    …she stays in a coma.
    …she recovers, but gets hit by a bus.

    There’s a reason you’re not supposed to make a deal with the devil. But somehow this possibility never occurs to either of them.

    At least my 30-something year old married customers will now be able to relate to Peter.

  9. I’m find it interesting that Peter David added his voice to JMS’ in saying he didn’t approve of the storyline either. From the outside looking in, it appears this was shoved through based on Joe Quesada on belief that a married Peter Parker and him alone. And since the fans didn’t go crazy with glee when he laid hints and floaters out over at Newsarama, it wasn’t becuase the fans were asking for it.

    Between PAD and JMS, along with Greg Rucka over at DC, it seems writers at the big two are more midwives than actual creators, their individuality taking second place to editorial mandate.

    I believe readers are attracted to good stories more than a swinging single Spider-Man. You can write good stories featuring married and single people, you know.

    As for fans leaving? Nah. The reason the comic companies can pull off these unpopular moves because they are sure that fans will still buy them. There have been numerous slings and arrow thrown at mainstream comics fans in the past five year, all of them criticized on message boards and blogs, and none have yet resulted in a steep decline in readership or sales.

  10. Y’know, I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the movie franchise.

    What if Kristen Dunst doesn’t do movies 4-6? Maybe they’ll go with another character as a love interest. And of course, Marvel West would want the books to follow suit.

  11. Ya know has long as they stay married in the comic strip, I will be fine.
    – I see Peter P missed the opening night of a play MJ is in,…
    I will just keep on reading the stan lee spider-man…..

  12. I haven’t read the actual story, only the reviews/synopses of it online. And I haven’t followed much of the fan response over the past few days, but from what I’ve read about it, it really is a continuity cluster-F of the worst order. Not just to stories from decades ago, but also current storylines playing out now. I really don’t understand why, if Quesada wanted to reboot Spider-Man, he just didn’t formally end the current continuity and start over with a fresh slate, the way DC closed out Silver Age Superman continuity with “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Placing the retcon within the ongoing MU only calls to attention the mess it’ll be to make the new status quo fit with everything else.

    Not that they really care to make it fit all that well.

    I still don’t understand what went down, exactly. Did the cast revert to their ages from the 80’s? Or are we to believe that a 30-year old single Peter Parker is still living with his aunt? Even Stan made him move out within a year of graduating high school. If 20-plus years of continuity is gone, why is Norman Osborn still alive? Etc., etc.

  13. I find it hilarious (and sad) that readers take any of the contemporary stuff seriously. Spidey and his cast have been dead for years; since long before the “marriage.”
    What we see now is PRODUCT and nothing more.

  14. Here’s my 5 cents.

    1. Spider-Man SHOULD NOT (a) age or (b) be married (with or without kids). So I’m glad the marriage is over.

    2. I’m all for the marriage being magically retconned away. However, I HATE the WAY (the execution) they magically retconned it away. Peter and MJ would NEVER make a deal with Mephisto/the Devil no matter what the reason may be. They should have either used the Beyonder or Loki instead of Mephisto.

    3. The way I see it, if so many of these vocal fans are so in favor of Spidey (a) being married (b) having kids and (c) aging then they would be reading the EXCELLENT AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL.

    4. For those of you who say that ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN are the books to see a young single Spidey, I should point out that both those books DO NOT feature the REAL Spider-Man. The bottom line is that if Marvel and the fans were given the choice to keep only ONE version of Spidey, they would MOST LIKELY choose the 616 REAL Spider-Man. And judging by the rapidly plummeting sales of USM and the low sales of MASM (although the latter does better in other venues outside of the direct market) it’s a pretty safe bet who Marvel and their fans will put their money behind.

    5. The reason why ASM sold much better then the other 2 Spidey titles is because ASM is the flagship book and it is where all of the “important” story’s happen.

  15. I’ve been reading comics for 30-odd years now. I have NEVER liked Spider-Man – mainly because a guy with spider-powers & a hot supermodel for a wife shouldn’t be a whiney-ass crybaby who still acts like a middle-school punching bag for bullies-in-training. It took JMS to get me to like & even start buying Amazing Spider-Man… because goddammit, Peter Parker GREW as a character. He questioned his origins, he realized that a solid marriage takes work, he joined The Avengers, he unmasked, he switched sides in the Civil War, he kicked the crap outta the Kingpin… etc, etc… all of which boils down to one simple fact: Spider-man was no longer a dull, predictable cliche.

    One of the fundamental aspects of good literature is that a character & his situation must progress. And for the first time in decades, that was happening here. But once again, the hardcore fanboys win. God forbid a character face & overcome adversity to change, grow & adapt to new situations. Much better to have Spider-man (or any hero) beat the shit out of The Vulture (or any recurring villain) for the 347th time while deeply concerned that a) Aunt May needs her medicinal marijuana, b) Generic girlfriend #14 won’t give the time of day, c) Holy crap! Harry’s gonna don that stoopid Goblin suit again!

    It’s bad enough that DC has constantly pick at the multiversal scab instead of just telling decent stories. I thought Marvel was better than to fall back on lame-ass retcons & giving into 40-year old fanboy demands of “gimmie my fix”.

    Not that it makes much difference, but my days of reading Spider-man are done. Here’s hoping JMS can at least do what he wants over in THOR without much editorial/fan interference.

  16. Wraith, that’s the thing with continuity. If fans’ emotional investment is with the “616 real” Spidey because of the significant stories told over time in ASM, that magical retcon’s gonna have to be believable for them. If you can arbitrarily eliminate decades of continuity by editorial fiat just to move Spidey or any other franchise character from one universe-shattering event to another, “important” stories become, well, less important. So why be invested?

    Truth to tell, the Marvel Adventures books are, in tone and plot, closer to the 616 Spidey I grew up with (and what Quesada professes to be the core essence of Spidey), only without the illusion of progress that Stan and Jack and Steve and Johnny Romita fostered. I think that storytelling device has proven to be unworkable for decades of soap opera characterization and still remain believable…but, if you live by the sword of continuity you have to die by it too, I guess. I do wonder what would happen if Marvel just started publishing MASM stories in Amazing…would the long term fans feel ripped off because of the lack of emphasis on soap opera or “modern” storytelling?

    I think it *would* be funny if all 46K of those outraged Spidey completists did boycott the book en masse and bought SPIDER-GIRL instead. Marvel would restore the marriage in a second.

  17. “I think it *would* be funny if all 46K of those outraged Spidey completists did boycott the book en masse and bought SPIDER-GIRL instead. Marvel would restore the marriage in a second.”

    Well MJ’s mysterious whisper to Mephisto (among other things) seems to leave that door wide open. (Yes I actually read the issue.)
    After 35 years of reading this crap off and on, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: Marvel is about the money first and foremost, with good story-telling a very distant second.
    And yes, I think Loki or Beyonder *would* have been a better choice to facilitate this turn of events. The Mephisto thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. (He pulled the same thing on Norrin Radd as I recal; did the Surfer *ever* find out about that?)

    As someone suggested a few weeks ago, I’m waiting for Aunt May to get run over by the Lizard in that beat-up Chevy van. (D’oh!)

  18. I’m 29 and besides reading a couple of issues of Spider-Man as a kid (the ones with Venom, I loved the scary McFarlane art) I was never a superhero fan.

    The JMS came on the book and I was curious.

    For the bulk of his run he did something great, he told a story with a single voice. It wasn’t spider-man by editorial committee or edict, it was Joe Straczynski, telling a story. The only other book I read like it was Morrison’s run on X-men.

    Then a couple years ago the New Avengers/Civil War crossover hoo-ha started. I don’t read those books, but suddenly their chocolate was in my peanut-butter. At first it was just annoying. More and more the voice of the book was diluted by these big silly event/stunt things. And finally the devil comes in. I wasn’t angry, I was laughing at how ridiculous it became.

    Look, Joe Quesada wants Peter Parker to be single, hitting on chicks in his spandex. Ok, that’s great, but don’t hand me this bullcrap about younger readers. Younger readers are reading Marvel adventures and the Ultimate books. Actually, they’re reading Manga and could give a crap about Spider-Man except for the movies. This was done because guys in their 30’s and 40’s want to see their hero scoring with hot caroon girls and not married. That’s just ridiculously creepy on so many levels.

    JMS wrote a book wherein the wife of the hero was as interesting a character as the hero himself. He wrote her with nuance and style. Hell, he made Aunt May interesting, something the films can’t even seem to do. He told a great 8 year story. It’s over now and I’m done buying the book. The “Brand New Day” looks creepy, is built on a horrible narrative device (you lost your true love but hey look at all the hot new girls!) and looks to feature more and more diluted voices from the writing teams.

    Just to toss a cherry on top, isn’t this another kind of women in refridgerators? The wife must go so the story can go on! Maybe guys like Quesada, a cheesecake artist if I ever saw one, just can’t get their heads around writing female characters who aren’t simply there to look pretty and preen about the heroes.

    It’s the reason my buying habits tend towards the indy stuff. I want a story from a person, not something devised to serve editorial interests.

  19. Spike has a point. Quite aside from getting rid of the marriage, “One More Day” is effectively a reboot of the series. There is a real risk of readers simply rejecting this as “not the real Spider-Man”, in which case they won’t accept that it “matters”, and they won’t buy it. This was one of the problems with the Clone Saga – it invalidated everything that the audience had grown up reading, and many of them ultimately rejected it as a continuation of the series in which they had an emotional investment. OMD is trying something similar by rewinding the status quo some twenty years.

  20. If this is a move done “for” the 30-40 year old fans, what about all those 15-30 year old fans who have only known Spider-Man as a married hero? Is their disposable income not as valuable as their older counterparts?

  21. any response from the dozens (hundreds?) of creators who’s work in the franchise (and probably childhood dreams realized) just got scrubbed from the handbooks?

  22. Wesley2006 Says: “One of the fundamental aspects of good literature is that a character & his situation must progress.”

    I would disagree that serialized adventure comics can be categorized as literature as you define it here. What you say about literature is true, but those character progressions can only be sustained within a narrative that has an ending. In a novel or a short story, the characters learn and change and grow and then we as readers stop being privy to their lives. And good thing, too, because in real life those changes are temporary, the lessons are fleeting, and that momentary adventure will swing back to mundanity. The ending of the story lends the work meaning and purpose. We know that Robin Hood must eventually shoot that arrow to find his burial spot and without that moment, without that point at which his time runs out, none of his stories carry any real weight.

    If a story has no ending it becomes more like the old movie serials — the character is a vehicle for some thrills and twisty plot points and all kinds of good old fashioned fun. But we all want these heroes without end to somehow maintain that level of change and growth and excitement all the time. How many times can a hero change and grow before none of these changes even make sense any more? Yet fans still clamor for those changes, and then get angry when the changes come.

    Tellers of serialized stories would be better served taking inspiration from those movie serials, in my opinion. Use these characters as legends or popular myths, and use the archetypes to tell however many ridiculous interpretations and permutations as they wish. Marvel Adventures, Ultimate, Spidey Loves Mary Jane — whatever it is, make enjoyable take-offs on an established theme and just have fun.

    If everyone insists on these characters having some sort of consistent “reality” then please give them the respect of a proper ending as well.

  23. None of us believed Superman was dead. None of us believe Captain America will stay dead. Why does everyone believe that this deal with the devil will last more than a year either?

  24. Let’s be honest. The ONLY reason why many fans (at least on the net) are upset about the marriage ending, is because many of them (NOT ALL of them) wrongly believe that Spidey (and other Marvel and DC superheroes) should age and grow with them. They seem to have forgotten that these characters were NEVER meant to grow and age with their readers. They don’t realize it was always about the “Illusion of change” and NOT actual permanent changes and growth.

    Remember guys, you can’t take these characters with you when you die. Let it go. Read these books for either nostalgia or for a brief period of escapism.

  25. Like most of the “big” ideas under Joe Quesada’s leadership, they’re interesting to begin with, but the execution totally screws it up. “Civil War” suffered the same fate, seemingly doing away with years of characterization and making characters like Tony Stark now unlikeable. Even the unmasking was a bold idea, but JQ himself obviously felt the need to retcon it, so what does that tell you. Now, with 20 years of continuity wiped out with a misguided gesture. Retconning is always problematic, as even what is changed can be changed back or ignored over time (sometimes immediately). I sort of understand why he felt the need to “unmarry” PP, but the execution of that idea leaves much to be desired, so he’s likely to alienate readers who may prefer a single Spidey. It does open up interesting story possibilities (aside from new love interests), but it causes just as many problems when taking continuity into account. And with the diehard fans, you always have to take continuity into account. If a major change is going to be made, it should be done for the right reason and in a way that won’t piss off the fans. I just can’t see this working out in the long run and it will probably be retconned in due time.

  26. I’m pretty sure the reason they went ahead with the unmasking in the first place was because they knew they were going to retcon it–both events were hatched concurrently. It gave the powers that be a chance to create a “bold” status-quo-changing event without the messy ramifications of permanence.

    And yeah, the door was left open to undo OMD–I think Marvel learned the lessons of the Clone Saga and Heroes Reborn well enough to leave an escape route for the next editorial regime–or if fan outrage impacts sales badly enough during the current regime…

  27. As a rapidly aging fan, 57 years old next May, I read Spider-Man and other superhero comics in chunks that are often 2 to 5 years behind the times(recent retcon of Thor being an exception). I have loved the Ultimate Spider-Man stories, read about 60 issues in bargain bin issues and heavily discounted trades, as well as the other titles current during that run, esp SMS written stories. All of which makes me not typical and not part of Marvel’s marketing plan.

    The news of this sudden rewriting of the Spider-Man mythos seems remarkably poor. This is either a cheap stunt intended to play out for a number of issues as the lead-in story to new weekly issue “experiment”, designed to be reverted or it is a move by a corporate publisher with no institutional memory of the damage it wreaked upon its franchise character with the Clone Saga. If it truly is a purposeful editorial change, I think that the bleeding of readers that will occur will be very similar to that which accompianied the Clone Saga and will be eventually be reversed to save the property. How long that would be would be dependant on the stubborness and ego of the management.
    However, I cynically believe that stunt is more probable and think the comics community is being played. For those that care, and for some reason inexplicable to me, I find myself in that number, don’t invest emotionally or financially in this stupid, tasteless, inelegant and disrepectful editorial fiasco.

  28. There’s a whole world out there! When I was your age, I didn’t read comics! I LIVED! So… move out of your parent’s basements! And get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it’s just a comic book dammit, IT’S JUST A COMIC BOOK!

  29. @Patrick Dean: Ha! Joe Q did say there were some stories you could only tell with a single Spidey. Random dating/fucking are the only ones I can think of.

  30. Also forgot to mention above that, for the first time in a while, I’m looking forward to reading Spider-Man and finding out how this all plays out and how he gets his old life back. So I guess that’s point, Marvel in this debate.

  31. Anyone else get the feeling that this specific plot was chosen so it wouldn’t be carried by any major media? Joe Quesada has mentioned not doing this in the past because he didn’t want Spider-man to be seen as divorced, that he didn’t want that image out there. The story of a permanent split between Peter and MJ might have still been portrayed that way on a slow news day … unless steps were taken to make it as convoluted as possible, involving deals with the devil, huge year-long crossovers, time-travel and other comic plot devices that would have made any non-comics-reading reporter just give up in frustration and move on.

  32. Would Spider-Man being divorced in 2008 (or whatever nebulous present in which the MU takes places) really generate a “stigma” toward the character or “controversey?”

  33. Wraith:
    “The ONLY reason why many fans (at least on the net) are upset about the marriage ending, is because many of them (NOT ALL of them) wrongly believe that Spidey (and other Marvel and DC superheroes) should age and grow with them. They seem to have forgotten that these characters were NEVER meant to grow and age with their readers. They don’t realize it was always about the “Illusion of change” and NOT actual permanent changes and growth.”

    I hardly think that’s the case. I started reading Spider-Man when I was 5. Spider-Man got married when I was 8. I had no problem with that development at all, nor did I have any problem with reading about a married Spider-Man, something I certainly couldn’t identify with at that age. I liked the stories, so I kept reading them, and I don’t see why any “actual permanent changes and growth” harm ones enjoyment of the story whether Amazing #545 was someone’s first Spidey comic or their 1000th.

    If apparently there was some great desire out there to return to an unmarried Spider-Man, why have all of his best-selling adventures take place while he was married? Does Joe Quesada think Spider-Man #1 would have sold 10 million instead of 2 if only Mary Jane wasn’t around?

  34. And just a PS on the reaction my wallet will have because of One More Day: I’ll be buying Brand New Day for at least the first few months because of the high level of quality stories the creators on it have done in the past. If it hasn’t wowed me enough by the time each team has had a chance to overcome my distaste for the new status quo, I’m done. I’m much more excited for Spider-Girl and Terry Moore’s upcoming Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane than I am for Amazing Spider-Man. *sigh*

  35. Wow, continuity. It just hurts.

    Call me new to the comics scene (I’m only about seven years deep; didn’t get started until after college), but I’ve never known a Spider-Man without a Mary Jane. I thought their romance (in its many appearances in the many incarnations of the Spider-Man story) was *the* great romance of the Marvel U. So Spidey without MJ? It’s great power and great responsibility sans the other part of the story that was great. ;)

    I also thought that the best thing about Civil War was that it shook up the way the Marvel U characters were dealing with their realities–something that is, to me (as a new comics reader) fundamentally more interesting than stagnation. Reboots are for new series. If you’re going to keep telling the same story over and over… let Robin Hood shoot his arrow, put it together in a nice collection, hard bound, limited edition (with six different covers), and you’ll still get several years of sales off of the re-reads. I also loved the interplay with the regular Marvel U characters and the “new” series–like Runaways. A retcon this big doesn’t just impact one series, it impacts every series where Spiderman has ever shown up. That strikes me as bad storytelling.

  36. this is stupid. and my favorite thing about it is it’s so bad, i don’t even have to try and justify my position. it’s just fucking stupid.

  37. As a Christian I was disturbed how MJ and Peter continued to use God’s name throughout OMD but bever called on Him for help. Mary Jane told the minister at the hospital something like she and Peter didn’t believe in prayer, while Peter called him a vulture!

    When in doubt, deal with the devil. A terrible story on so many levels!

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