Movies & TV / Columns

Breaking Down The Creator War Over New Amazing Spider-Man

July 8, 2015 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1, We Stand On Guard #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we looked at Marvel’s “All-New, All-Different” Universe Announcement!. Here’s what you all had to say:

Jeffrey: “No Iron Fist book makes me a sad panda.”

Al Lobama: “First off, I feel like I need to lie down after seeing that list of new books. Just reading the titles and looking at the covers has left my head swimming and my knees weak from information overload. And if that’s just the TEASERS, I can only imagine how confusing the actual books are going to end up being.
Otherwise, my initial reactions are…

1.) Way too many team books.

2.) Way too many Spider-mens.

3.) Way too many Spider-womens.

4.) Way too much…well, everything. Two Captain Americas, two Hawkeyes, at least three Hulks (if if you count Hulkling and Maestro), two Wolverines, two Novas, two sets of First Class X-Men,…two STARLORDS!?! Do we really need TWO Starlords?!! This just reeks of laziness, and the inability to just pick one hero and run with him/her only waters down the uniqueness of said hero. So instead of putting their money where their mouth is and going all in on, say, Miles Morales as the one and only Spider-Man, we are now getting the Marvel equivilent of “I’m Squidward. He’s Squidward. We’re ALL Squidward!”

5.) Why does Howard the Duck still have to wear pants? Now that Disney owns Marvel, this shouldn’t be an issue anymore. If Zardsky can be as outside the box and inventive/subversive as Steve Gerber was in his prime, I will do back flips for this book because that’s the kind of comic Marvel needs now more than ever.

6.) The one book I am one hundred percent ready to drop my hard earned money on…is Carnage, and that is solely thanks to the return of Gerry Conway, one of the finest writers ever to grace Spider-man. Glad to see Marvel give him another shot at bat, as I am confident he still has some of the old magic left in him.

What else can I say, other than I hope the next young, up and coming comics writer gives C.M. Punk an earful for walking in off the street and stealing his spot?”

JestersTear: “All I could think as I went through this list:

1. What the hell happened to art styles? Maybe I’m an old man, but most of this cover art (particularly Scarlet Witch) is horrible. Guardians of the Galaxy – is that Thing? That’s one of the worst defined Things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen the Roger Corman FF movie.

2. So the Marvel Universe is Spider-Man, Avengers (with Spider-Man) and a few other guys.

All in all, I think I’ll pass on this mess and I’ll check it out in 2 or 3 years when they decide another reboot is in order and put things back the way they were.”

ENVYotb73: “Wow…no fantastic four. Honestly Im somewhat underwhelmed and disappointed in the variety.
To me theres 1 too many Xmen and Avengers titles and probably 2 to 3 too many Spiderman. Id have rather seen four other books.
Im not against a family of x titles, but 3 Xmen books? Id rather 1 was the New Murants or something different. And Im still not a fan of bringing the original young xmen into the future. Its dumb and makes no logical story sense, if they arent in the past how do their older selves come to be?!
While I certainly maintain some big gripes with aspects of how DC launched the new 52, it was a much more diverse and varied set of books over all than this is. Sadly much like DC, the few unique and interesting new titles will probably die within 6 issues as fans money is tied up with 18 spider books etc leaving no room to try anything new.
And Im sorry but Spider-man does not lend itself to that large a “family” of books nearly as well as Batman. It really waters Spidey and the concept down.
I wish both companies grasped that less is more sometimes. Ill put mobey down this “All new Marvel U” gets basically put back together into the typical versions of the characters in 18 mths, 2 yrs tops.”

theburningfire: “I’m… just gonna go catch up on Invincible.”

Travis Homewood: “Not a huge fan of Ramos’ art on the extrodinary xmen. Too cartoony for me. Honestly i am not thrilled about a lot of the character selections. 2 solo spider man titles? Cool. The avengers being a combo of young and old? Not so much. I barely care about miles and he is the one i most like from the youngsters. They finally cut thr number of xbooks but where is grown up cyclops? Whats up with angels wings? Is that gambit as daredevils sidekick? We need more info but while some books look good i havent found much to be SUPER excited about.”

Robert Stewart: “Comics are still priced way out of a reasonable range. I’ll wait till these come out in trades and pick up the ones with the best reviews.”

Onkel Rikek: “I really wish they don’t shit on Carnage this time. And I’m certainly not hoping any dumb romantic storyline involving a witch and a robot…”

Watryisgarbage_1: “Sojme really interesting books coming with some great teams behind them. Plus the only Ellis book is one I’m not interested in – YAY!”

Mark of Excellence: “Face palm.

The caption for “Squadron Supreme” leads me to believe everyone will remember the events of the incursions and Battleworld.”

BoycottWWE: “Sigh…I’m gonna need to win some lotto money or something for all of these books…
Oh and who is the a Totally Awesome Hulk???? I don’t mind the spoiler and haven’t seen it spoiled anywhere.”

David Oliver Burcham: “No Puck anywhere?

No Silhouette or Wiz Kid either?

WHERE’S TH’ DIVERSITY???”

Ryan: “I got to admit the Carnage one looks kind of cool, but there are too many Spider Man and X-Men ones again. It’s not like it used to be, when you had Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, and so on, but it’s still overkill.”

Solomon Grundy: “This whole Marvel reboot stuff has killed my love of comic books for the time being. It reminds me of the dark days of the early 90’s when the comic book crash hit hard. I mean how are all those 1st issues of X-men with the 5 covers working out for people from back then?

Also can’t stand the art style they are going with, it’s almost seems manga inspired, and while that certainly has fans, I’m not one of them. And to make almost every comic in that style, along with all the reboots and stuff….no thanks.

The worst part is you just know 1-2 years from now all the old guard will be back and all of this will be forgotten about (in spite of what Marvel may tell you).”

Jack Napier: “What are they doing with Hulk now? The guy gets a soft reboot and “all new direction” every 7 issues. At least it doesn’t seem like he’s on any teams now.
I think that’s my biggest gripe here. I don’t want to start all over AGAIN and have to re-orient myself in the universe. Books don’t have enough time to carve out an identity or tell a real story before the next event or reboot brings everything together again and changes it all up.
Out of all the Marvel books, I only read Hulk and let me tell you it’s been start, stop and “what the hell is going on?!” for years now because the guy can’t get any traction. Basically since Pak left the last time I think.”

ggny: “I really hope they dont mess up Ms.Marvel,Silk and Spider Gwen. 3 really good book they have going for them right now. Also is that Kitty in the Starlord helm on the GOTG book? If so awesome. But this line up looks great and after the crap fest that is Battleworld they are gonna need a great lineup.”

As always, great stuff! Thanks again and keep them coming!

This week we tackle…

John Byrne Vs Dan Slott!

I went back and forth on this one. I know the majority of you want to debate the Best Supervillain Costume but sometimes I like to dip my toe in matters that are just outside the comic book world. Especially with the San Diego Comic Con this week and we’ve had a couple of worthy comic book related news pieces to choose from.

Reading comics in the 80s, I didn’t have the internet to give me the dish on the latest gossip and drama that the writers and artists of my favorite comic book were up to. When Wizard magazine came along, you got bits and pieces but were kept in the dark, for the most part. Bring it to present day and we’re loaded with social media posts and forum battles that play out in front of us.

Like John Byrne and Dan Slott, two guys in the industry who I respected greatly. Byrne, love him or hate him, is a legend in the business. Since the mid-1970s, Byrne has worked on Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four, She-Hulk, Alpha Flight, the Hulk, and the 1986 relaunch of DC Comics’ Superman franchise. During the 90s, he produced a number of creator-owned works, including Next Men and Danger Unlimited. He scripted the first issues of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series and produced a number of Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing. He’s also very opinionated and has been a subject of controversy over the years.

Dan Slott is the current writer on Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man and since 1991 is known for his work on books such as Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, The Superior Spider-Man, and Ren & Stimpy. He’s passionate about comics and his name causes a division among fans and other creators.

Slott is relaunching Amazing Spider-Man in October with a Peter Parker as an international tech-company maven. As with a number of books announced by Marvel, this has created quite a stir among readers and John Byrne’s Forum contained a back and forth between Byrne, fans, and Slott. It’s too lengthy for me to post in its entirety and I suggest you seek out the full transcript:

John Byrne: Slott, of course, expresses the all too common fannish position the Change Is Good! And a quick review of the last forty years or so shows us how well that has worked out!

Dan Slott: To be fair, Mr. Byrne, didn’t a lot of your best runs of Marvel/DC Comics start with a premise of “Change is Good!”

The Hulk and Bruce Banner get separated.

Namor uses the wealths of the oceans to become a major mogul.

Superman’s origins from Krypton through Smallville through Metropolis get changed and over hauled.

She-Hulk becomes a break-the-fourth-wall style of comedy book.

And so on…

Reasonable comparisons, right?

John Byrne: •• Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

The Hulk and Bruce Banner get separated.

•• And that was intended to be permanent? No.

Namor uses the wealths of the oceans to become a major mogul.

•• Which he’d done before, with Stan and Jack at the helm.

Superman’s origins from Krypton through Smallville through Metropolis get changed and over hauled.

•• Which had happened many times before and since, and didn’t change the character.

She-Hulk becomes a break-the-fourth-wall style of comedy book.

•• Which didn’t change the character.

And so on…

•• Such as?

Reasonable comparisons, right?

•• You seem to think so. There’s the problem in a nutshell.

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Dan Slott:“The Hulk and Bruce Banner get separated.”

•• And that was intended to be permanent? No.

*** Technically, I could say the same thing about my last big run, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN with the Doc-Ock-mind-swap. And also at the start of any story that you’ve told where a major-status-quo-changing event happened. Imagine if we were having this conversation when your run of HULK was just starting and the premise had barely been released.

Some of the assumptions you’re levying against this new run are about a book where no one’s even read one page from the interiors yet. For the past two and a half years this has been the best selling title set in the Marvel U. I think the team on the book has earned enough good will for people to give the first issue a go.

“Namor uses the wealths of the oceans to become a major mogul.”

•• Which he’d done before, with Stan and Jack at the helm.

*** In all of one issue when he was a movie mogul. But you took that, extrapolated on it, and produced some great comics! In that same vein, we’re taking something Stan & Steve did– having Peter come up with amazing, ground breaking inventions (like Spidey’s web-fluid, or the anti-magnetic inverter he used on the Vulture) and are extrapolating that to tell a new chapter in Spidey’s life.

“Superman’s origins from Krypton through Smallville through Metropolis get changed and over hauled.”

•• Which had happened many times before and since, and didn’t change the character.

*** I’d disagree. You did some phenomenal changes in that run. Especially your take on Clark’s life in Smallville. Things you did in your run WERE changes– and have found their way into everything from LOIS AND CLARK to SUPERMAN ADVENTURES and in SMALLVILLE. In those cases, most people would agree with me that YOUR changes were changes for the good!

“She-Hulk becomes a break-the-fourth-wall style of comedy book.”

•• Which didn’t change the character.

*** Again, I’d disagree. The way you changed her character were profound. She became completely different then the way she was in David Anthony Kraft’s run of SAVAGE, Stern’s AVENGERS, and even your FF. In your run of SENSATIONAL you gave the character the license to be goofy, a little bit screwball, and more upbeat than anyone had portrayed her before. That BIG change to her character remains to this day because of the risks you were willing to take in that book.

John Byrne: Like I said, the problem is obvious. And it’s yours.

Jason Scott: I quite like the idea of Peter using his smarts to make some actual gains for once. I know there’s a tendency to always want to paint him as that eternal high school loser figure, but too much doom and gloom can get really wearying after a while. This sounds like a way to have some original adventures, and maybe even get some more humour from seeing Pete being outside of his usual comfort zone..

John Byrne: And you know what’s supposed to happen when it gets “wearying”? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO MOVE ON. You are NOT supposed to selfishly demand that the comics and the characters change to fit YOUR needs. Nor are the writers, artists and editors supposed to pander to the ever diminishing pool of people who make such demands.

Dan Slott: I make this same argument a lot as well. Though I do believe there can be exceptions. Like any belief, if held too rigidly, it can stifle and suppress good ideas that could prove the exception.

For example, when you told the story where Sue had her miscarriage– and by the end of the following arc, she declared that she was no longer the Invisible Girl, and that from now on she would be the Invisible Woman, that was powerful. That was the Marvel Universe progressing and moving forward. That was change. And it has stuck for decades because it was a good change.

In an age where every phone has a camera and where newspapers are dying, it doesn’t really make sense to have Peter Parker be a newspaper photographer anymore. It just feels wrong in the book.

When Ed Brubaker did his legendary run on CAPTAIN AMERICA, he reenvisioned how James Buchanan Barnes worked in WW2. Imagine a movie like CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER with a red domino masked Bucky. With today’s audience, that would seem silly, right? If Ed and his team hadn’t told the Winter Soldier stories, we all would have missed out on CA:TWS, which a LOT of people think of as one of the Top 10 super hero movies of all time. (SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE still easily holds the #1 spot, of course.) 😉

As much as there are elements that (I feel) should always be there for each and every generation (for when THEY discover the characters), there are also elements that should have the freedom to change, so that Marvel Comics can stay relevant and reflect “The World Outside Your Window”… today!

And… sometimes… messing with the concepts that we feel SHOULD be immutable CAN shake things up and provide some really fun stories! Treading on forbidden ground is something that can really keep the reader on edge and interested. If comics ever feel the need to play it too safe, that is as sure of a death knell than anything.

How many people here have been liking Flash Thompson as Venom/Agent Venom? When we made that switch 5 years ago, Eddie Brock fans were furious. Cut to 5 years later… the character has had a great run by Rick Remender, been a character in the Secret Avengers, joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and is now getting a new solo book with further adventures in outer space! He’s been in cartoons, video games, and multiple action figures. I go to cons– and I see at least one Flash Thompson/Agent Venom cosplayer at each show! This has been a FUN change– and it was all borne out of the idea of Pete’s former bully, someone who always idolized Spider-Man getting a chance to BE a weird version of Spider-Man– a proud serviceman using those strange new abilities in a way to serve his country. And it worked!

Long story short: There’s no hard and fast rule. There’s something to be said for holding the line– but there’s also something to be said for change.

Mike Benson: Drama comes from change. Can’t have the first without some of the second. The trick for comics, or any serial fiction, as Mr. Byrne has many times pointed out, is to create the illusion of change.

Mr. Slott, absolutely correct. Criticizing at the beginning of a storyline seems very unfair. If your goal truly is to tell great stories, honor the characters and their history and leave those toys just the way you found them, then kudos to you! I don’t know much about your work but you seem like a real class act.

But you’ll forgive me for not having the greatest confidence in anything that Marvel is doing. They’ve shit on characters I love so much at this point that they have no part of my interest left to pique.

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Josh Goldberg: Respectfully, drama comes from conflict.

Dan Slott: If you want to be technical and go back to the ancient Greeks (who invented “Drama”), it come from “action.”

I like to think it comes from state change. A character begins a scene in one frame of mind– makes a change– and leaves in a new altered state, for good or ill. And this happens on a larger scale from scene-to-scene, from act-to-act, from story-to-story and so on.

And, like others have said here many times, one of the tricky things about writing for iconic characters is writing the “illusion of Change”, so that you can tell great, big, epic yarns– and yet still have the characters in their iconic rolls for the next generation.

Josh Goldberg: And, as touched upon elsewhere, I don’t see the point of turning Peter Parker into Tony Stark. Marvel already has a Tony Stark. Such a change leaves them with, essentially, two Tony Starks and zero Peter Parkers.

Dan Slott: Not so. If you check out your other Marvel solicits (like for Mark Waid’s AVENGERS), you’ll see that there might be some changes on that front. Also, w/ Miles Morales running around in high school, there’ll be someone having some very classic Peter Parker-style problems. This new status quo for Peter will put him in an interesting state change where he is the only one filling that kind of role. And how WILL a Peter Parker react/function IN that role will be something fun, unique, and new– and I guarantee that it will cause some… DRAMA! 😀

John Byrne: When Ed Brubaker did his legendary run on CAPTAIN AMERICA, he reenvisioned how James Buchanan Barnes worked in WW2. Imagine a movie like CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER with a red domino masked Bucky. With today’s audience, that would seem silly, right?••Always fills my heart with joy to find myself in a discussion with someone who has such a deep and rich understanding of the characters and their histories.

Dan Slott: I’ve been reading comics for over 40 years. I love ’em and respect ’em from every era.
I loved watching Superman lift jalopies over his head.
I loved watching you craft tales where he lifted space shuttles.
It’s okay to enjoy both the camp of Adam West/Burt Ward’s Batman & Robin…
…while at the same time enjoying the modern day take of Chris Evans/Sebastian Stan’s Cap & Bucky.

I don’t think of it as a wrong or mock-able opinion. Just one that I have, that I enjoy, and one that I’m entitled to have. 🙂

John Byrne: I like to think it comes from state change. A character begins a scene in one frame of mind– makes a change– and leaves in a new altered state, for good or ill. And this happens on a larger scale from scene-to-scene, from act-to-act, from story-to-story and so on.

••

That is not how serial fiction works.

Dan Slott: Respectfully, character state change and action could define everything from every issue of SAGA to LOVE & ROCKETS to every single comic made with sequential panels in ’em. 🙂

It’s a wide open enough view to be applied to both any scene with conflict– and any scene with a character, alone in a room, making a personal choice.

If I’ve overstayed my welcome here and you’re just trying to shut me down, that’s okay. It’s your board. It’s your rules.

John Byrne: “I’ve been reading comics for over 40 years. I love ’em and respect ’em from every era.”

Fit that into your work some time. Might make for fun reading.

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Dan Slott: Have you read the SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH mini-series?
It’s actually very faithful to every era of Spidey and FF that came before it.

My SHE-HULK run was very reverent of yours and, over the course of 33 issues, touched on ALL Marvel history, from Timely to present day, through Stan, Starlin, Stern, and Straczynski (and that’s just people whose names start with “St”.) 😛

I know you’ve been down on Marvel (or M*****) for many years now and probably haven’t given my stuff a go… so that seems like a weird shot to fire across my bow. If it makes any difference a lot of your predecessors and contemporaries– from Gerry Conway, Len Wein, J.M. DeMatteis, and even your pal, Roger Stern, have given my Spidey run a shot– and have passed along that they’ve enjoyed it.

And I think you can tell from some of the comics that I’ve cited in this thread alone– that I can easily wave my credentials as one of your Faithful 50 from years gone back– and that the assignments I’ve pitched and accepted over the years (a Spidey Team-Up book, She-Hulk, Great Lakes Avengers, The Thing, The Mighty Avengers…) all come from a foundation built on longboxes filled with your works. I honestly think that if you did pick up some of my books, you’d see that they were fun reads (especially the current Silver Surfer book that’s on the stands.)

Anyhoo… I should probably hit the bricks.

Anyone on the thread who thinks this is an odd bounce for Peter Parker– going off of the promotional blurb and the one cover– I hope you give the work a chance and read what the team’s actually put there on all 20+ pages.

Later.

John Byrne: “It’s actually very faithful to every era of Spidey and FF that came before it.

My SHE-HULK run was very reverent of yours and, over the course of 33 issues, touched on ALL Marvel history, from Timely to present day…”

•••

I remember the effort you put into restoring the character to who she’d been before I changed her.

Oh, wait. You didn’t. Because I hadn’t.

Dan Slott: I am really not following this train-of-thought or argument you’re making here.

My She-Hulk run was very reverent of all the character’s history up to that point– from the Kraft/Vosburg run, to Stern’s use of her in Avengers, your use of her in both FF and Sensational, all the way up to the status quo changes Geoff Johns did with her in the Avengers issues preceding my run.

And do you honestly think you didn’t change the character? That the fun-loving, joking character you did in Sensational was the same as the melodramatic character in Savage? Or the tough, bickering-with-Hawkeye character in Stern’s Avengers? C’mon.

You made changes to She-Hulk. And they were for the better. They added more facets to who she was and what kinds of stories you could tell with her.

There was no part of my run where I tried to “restore” her to a previous setting. Juan and I tried to build on what came before and have fun taking the character and the book in new directions. I’m sorry if you felt otherwise.

John Byrne: Consider the whole history of comics, dating back to the Thirties, when new material was first being commissioned for publication in what had been, up until then, reprint books. After a brief “settling in” period, roughly 3 or four years — often considerably less — the characters were pretty much locked in, so that the Batman (for example) I “met” circa 1956 was virtually indistinguishable from the Batman of 1946, and would remain so until 1966 or so.

During this period — roughly a quarter century — altho comics experienced steadily diminishing sales, that decline had little or nothing to do with the characters. A series of bad business decisions had been made (among them, reducing the page count in order to keep the 10¢ cover price), and comics as a medium suffered for them. But the characters remained the same. The talent was largely anonymous — we recognized artists by their styles, not their names — and all focus was on the characters. Characters who were kept “on model,” so that the constantly changing audience would find the same product, “generation” to “generation”. The notion that these characters would (or should) “change and grow” was not even considered. Superman was always Superman. Batman was always Batman. Et cetera.

This was accomplished, to a large extent, by mostly ignoring the readers. Sure, they wrote in, and if their (heavily edited) letters had some comment that was of use to the editor, they would get printed. But there was no thought that these readers were participating.* Not until the Sixties when, after a long interregnum, new talent started to filter in — talent drawn mostly from the pool of fans that had been created by the quarter century and more comics had been in their present form.

At first, the influx of fans-turned-pro presented no real problems, since the Old Guard was still steering the ship, and the idea of artists and writers bringing their own “vision” to characters was largely unheard of. But it couldn’t last. The Old Guard were dwindling as the New Kids became more and more prominent. For a while, this had no major effect beyond everybody trying to draw like Neal Adams. These New Kids had been trained by the Old Guard, and they understood how it worked. They understood that those ideas that had been bouncing around fandom were very, very short-term thinking, and such fan-think should be checked at the door.

But steadily, more and more, the fan-think started to take over. By the time I joined the industry, circa 1975, there were writers, artists and editors who seemed to exist solely to “fix” things. Some who seemed unable to even start thinking about a story unless it was soaked in “continuity.”

The talent split into two uneven camps. There were those who thought “continuity” was the all-important driving force, and those who, as Paul Levitz expressed it, thought that “continuity” meant that Superman was from Krypton, and would always be from Krypton. Sixties Marvel leaned much in the direction of the former, more and more as the f-t-ps flowed in. Julie Schwartz, the longest survivor of the Old Guard, called these writers and artists “archeologists.” Eventually the balanced tipped, and they were pretty much all there was.

And, yes, it was great fun to play with the old toys. To dig down into a character’s “history” to find nuggets that had not previously been examined. Went there quite often myself. But after what seemed like not a very long time, this “archeology” began to make the books more and more impenetrable. The latest issue could not be read without having read ten or twelve issues before it. Things became dense and clubbish, and moves were made to clean house and get things on track.

Unfortunately, it was the people who’d created the problem who were largely put in charge of cleaning up — rather like Congress voting itself a pay raise. The “house cleanings” were done from the viewpoint of those who had been immersed in these characters and stories for decades, much longer than a typical fan/reader — altho increasingly, such longtime devotion was becoming common among the fans.

Now, again and again, we see the companies “rebooting,” but each time the “new” material is heavily dependent upon a deep knowledge of what went before. After all, there’s no big deal in Peter Parker becoming “Tony Stark” if the readers don’t know how things used to be.

_____________

* The exception was Mort Weisinger, who asked neighborhood kids what they would like to see Superman doing.

Dan Slott: “After all, there’s no big deal in Peter Parker becoming “Tony Stark” if the readers don’t know how things used to be.”

Readers know who Tony Stark is and is supposed to be.
Readers also know who Peter Parker is and is supposed to be.

In 2015 we live in a world where layman on the street and small children know that Clark Kent is Superman, Bruce Wayne is Batman, Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and Tony Stark is Iron Man.

It is a radically different world then it was before 2008 when the first IRON MAN movie was released and became a worldwide hit.

Tony Stark, Iron Man, and that status quo is a central part of three of the highest grossing movies of all time (IRON MAN 3, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, and AVENGERS).

Spider-Man has been a cultural touchstone that reaches beyond comic book audiences and into the public at large since the animated cartoon of the 60’s, let alone a Macy’s day balloon, and being the star of 5 major motion pictures and some of the most watched modern day cartoons around.

The idea of Spider-Man being suddenly thrust into the role of a Tony Stark– and “Oh No! What happens NEXT?” — is a clean and simple concept that anyone off the street can get.

The same held true with the Superior Spider-Man run. Spider-Man’s worst enemy is now mind-swapped into his body. People got it. The most watched sitcom on television even tipped its hat to the premise in one of their cold opens.

And, as weird as it sounds, when I go to shows and signings, I constantly meet people of all ages (even– gasp– children) who started reading super hero comics for the first time with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN because they heard about the premise through the news, TV, or word of mouth– and decided to give it a try because they thought “it sounded weird.” Go figure. 🙂

Steven Legg: I can’t honestly say I’m at all interested in the all-new all-different Spiderman you’re doing Dan, but I do respect you coming here of all places to defend your work. You could be having a coffee somewhere listening to music or mowing the lawn or something rather than coming here. Not that it’s hostile here or anything, but the vast majority here agree with JB, Darwyn Cooke and others about how superhero comics should be.

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John Byrne: It doesn’t take courage to express an opinion in this Forum. Only an absence of visible agendas.

Dan Slott: Thanks, Steven. I totally get if the teaser images, copy, or high concept hasn’t grabbed your interest. Honestly, I’m being patient till I see how people respond to what the book actually IS– and when they’ve gotten a chance to read it as a story.

I’ve been to this rodeo before with Superior Spider-Man. And for that, readers were far more volatile and incendiary over that premise– until they actually read the book when it was up and running. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to win over a lot of the people who are ready to doubt the book out of the gate.

“It doesn’t take courage to express an opinion in this Forum. Only an absence of visible agendas.”

I wouldn’t say it takes courage to express an opinion in this Forum. I think it takes an understanding of what the most likely outcome is going to be, and the willingness to accept that as an inevitability.

It’s not courage to speak out in a place where someone else controls both the vertical and the horizontal. You don’t fly into Cuba and say anything that might upset Castro. That wouldn’t be courage. That’d be madness, right? 😉

John Byrne: Perpetuating the myth that opinions different from mine are not allowed in the JBF? Want to scurry down to your LCS with a tale of how you stood up to Big Bad Byrne?

yawn

Dan Slott: Sorry. It must suck to see/hear myths about who you are, what you do, people you collaborate with/for, or work you’ve produced perpetuated.

OK, Steve here. That was a lot but it was pretty telling for me. John Byrne lives inside his own little bubble and has lost sight of some simple new truths about the world and the comic book industry. Slott looked to engage in a respectful and insightful way and usually received disdain and petty replies from Byrne. In a way, it’s like he’s covering his ears with his hands and refuses to hear anything other than his own opinion. Slott presented his “case” clearly and straightforward, coming out the bigger man. I’ll be honest, I was OK with Slott before now but my respect for him has grown, while it has diminished towards Byrne.

What do you think? Does this change your opinion about either one?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!