A fresh outbreak of “Spidey is single!” stories hit the world yesterday, and what title the news outlet chose is quite interesting. WaPo went with Spider-Man’s Marriage Spins Apart
The LA Times, however, bombed out with: Spider-Man divorces. BZZT! WRONG!
We hear Joe Quesada will be on the CBS morning show today, so the mainstream press attention keeps rolling on. Has it meant higher sales? The anecdotal evidence from retailers is conflicting. Some do report lots of walk-ins; others say regulars are taking the book off their pull lists. We were in one of the local shops yesterday, and the manager said he had over ordered. Is the civilian audience tiring of these big events as much as the fans are?
Johanna had a couple of comments on One More Day we though were interesting. This part is smart:
Marvel has just announced that this issue sold out (which doesn’t mean much if they won’t say how many they printed). They’re going to print a new issue with a variant cover (of course). So my first question is: when are comic customers going to learn that all that counts is sales? If you don’t like the concept or think it’s a dumb choice, don’t buy it. Whatever you say gets ignored if Marvel sells comics.
But we find this part not so persuasive:
Second question: This all came about because head honcho Joe Quesada doesn’t like the idea of his supposedly young hero being married. He thinks there are stories you can only tell about a single superhero. (Which shows a distinct failure of imagination.) He wants to do cheap-and-easy romance stories. Oh, no! How will Peter get a date with Girl X when he has to leave the coffee shop in the middle to fight Doc Ock? Should Peter kiss the girl superhero or the girl next door? (Are there any left?)
Actually the motivation is a little more nuanced than that, we feel. In his CBR interview, Quesada goes on at length about core character traits:
At the heart of every great character and character universe, there are certain metaphors, iconography and trappings that play a significant part in what makes those characters great. You can deviate from time to time and move away from those things in order to keep the characters and their world’s interesting, but you have to be careful how far you deviate. There is a point where you can go one step too far, to the point where you can’t take it back easily without tearing everything up.
In other words, bringing the comics Spidey back in line with other media Spidey’s was the main factor. To be honest, there’s a lot to be said for this “core concept.” It wasn’t until we were researching an earlier post that we remembered that Superman and Lois are STILL married. It seems such an added on part of the Superman mythos at this point. Significantly, in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, Morrison reverts to the unmarried state of Clark and Lois. It’s hard talking about the “true” version of any character whose been around 40-60 years, but there are certain aspects of the mythos that end up standing the test of time.
Johanna wonders why Spidey didn’t just get a divorce, but that would have been a licensing nightmare. Face it, Tiger. The Spider-man in the comic book is the same one as on your gloves and bedsheets, and that one is single and always has been.