- Posted by Johanna on January 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Marvel
There has been much drama over Spider-Man making a deal with Mephisto (aka the devil) to make his marriage never have happened in order to save his dear old aunt’s life. (Man, you only get to write sentences like that when you’re talking about superhero comics.) This is called “Brand New Day”, and the story started in Amazing Spider-Man #546.
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.
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?)
Yet divorce wasn’t an option. Why, exactly?
If divorce would stain the character, what does that imply? And what does that say about Quesada’s attitude towards the huge number of readers with divorced parents or spouses or other relatives? And since when is a broken marriage a worse moral choice than making a deal with the devil?
The fact is, divorce implies the possibility of reconciliation. (Viz The Parent Trap and all those other fantasies.) Having Spider-Man and his wife of over 20 years (real-time) divorce would give fans an opening to constantly badger Quesada and his crew about the eventual reunion story. Quesada doesn’t want that. He wants to wave a magic eraser instead, because he’s interested in the lazy way out. At least, that’s my opinion.
Sheesh. Trafficking with Satan over simple no-fault divorce. Only in superhero comics. Or should that be superhore?
Update: John Jakala has a terrific conversation with his non-comic-reading wife, trying to explain the situation, and she has a wonderful idea. As she says,
“[Y]oung adults never get divorced? Look at entertainment ‘news’ — it’s almost all gossip about which celebrities are getting married and divorced. They should have gone in the other direction and made Spider-Man’s divorce as trashy and tawdry as possible! Say that Spider-Man was caught sleeping with Wonder Woman! Have there be all kinds of rumors circulating about illegitimate Spider-Babies crawling around! Insinuate that Spider-Man is gay!! It could have made him even more interesting to kids who follow the lives of ‘stars’ like Britney and Jessica Simpson.”
“Well, his wife is a supermodel, so I guess they could have played up that angle and tried to cash in on that whole aspect of popular culture.”
“See? I’m a genius! I should be writing these comic books!”
Yes, yes, she should.