Letters : Editor : 2002 : To the Editor 01/06/2002

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Date: Jun 1, 2002
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From Daniel

Here is my spider tattoo. Steve at Clairmont Tattoo was the artist who did it. You can't see it too good in the pic but last month at The Shrine in Los Angeles, Stan Lee signed it and I had the signature tattooed over.

Man, that is one heck of a great story. Your masterpiece is now up on the Fans : Tattoos section with all the other incredible inkings.

From Orff

John Romita Sr, Jr, and family chartered a boat that I worked on in San Diego during '97 comic convention. I asked for and received from John Jr. a head and shoulders drawing of Spiderman. I watched him draw it with a pen and paper that I provided for him. It is signed, dated, in ink, about 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide. Is there a market for this and if so, how much is it worth?

So, you're asking about a picture which is from a special time in your life, and a magical chance meeting with two of the greatest artists in Spider-Man history... where you innocently asked for manna from on high, and had bestowed on you a fantastic honor. And you want to know where you can cold-heartedly cash in your gift for what... the price of a night's drunkenness?

Well, I'd say something beautiful like the magical, once-in-a-lifetime piece you hold is worth... oh, around 30 pieces of silver.

From Steve

I notice you link Eric Gillette's site www.samruby.com and you mention on your message header that it is down. I noticed it was down and didn't know why. What happened, do you know? His is also a great site and well deserving of 5 spiders...

His site is down for the same reason that our site was down for four days, and Peter Kroon's comics cover site is down... too much popularity. All of our sites are completely non-commercial, no advertising, or other revenue.

As well as the hundreds of hours that running a Spidey site takes, it also involves paying for web-hosting... and that means paying site rental with limits on disk space and more importantly on traffic.

When the movie-mania hit on May 3rd, we all ran out of bandwidth... some of us with some nasty financial consequences. Fortunately, SpiderFan managed to quickly organise alternate hosting with CrawlSpace. Others like Eric and Peter have not managed to do so yet, and hence are still out of action.

From Arvind

What's with the Spider-Man comic covers? Usually when I click on them they enlarge to fill the whole page. Now when I click on them, they hardly enlarge at all. Please make it so that they enlarge to full size again, please.

Sadly, this is also related to the bandwidth problems. We had to reduce the covers from 100kb JPEG files to 25kb JPEG files, and we're still serving 4GB of data every day. Until the traffic dies down, our bandwidth budget just doesn't allow us to support the large files.

Please try again in a couple of months; by then, we might be serving the large images again...

From Barry

I'm currently selling an original SpiderMan costume on Ebay. I put the link below. I've been getting emails from all over the country and from collectors that my costume is from the Electric Company show back in the 70's. How would I be able to tell if that is so. Can you take a look and tell me anything that might help me. Do you have any idea of its value or how many still exist?

This is a good wake-up call for part-time spidey fans who like to drop a bit of cash on eBay auctions.

In this case, a guy was selling a 1970's TV show costume (asking price US$25,000). Turns out that the costume was probably from The Electric Company episodes. Even though the guy didn't mean to mislead people, he was so keen to seize the opportunity to sell the thing while the hype was still floating around, that he went to market without doing the full research on what he was offering. I smell unhappy bidders, revoked eBay accounts, lawsuits, etc., etc.

Sadly, I suspect that this is not that uncommon. Please, shop with care.

From MikeRetro

Alright. Seriously, what happened to Peter's baby?

Well, between you and me, there were doubts about "Peter's" baby. I mean, Ben is a cute-looking blond guy. Plus he didn't have all those hang-ups. I'm not saying either way, mind you - but it's a question that maybe needs to be asked!

From DrClawTeeth

I think Spider-Man has the power to make himself slippery, and you don't mention that. He frequently evades the grasp of villains with this power. It also explains why he is able to so easily let go of his webbing. Please add slipperiness to the grabbing ability you list.

...Hey, if any Spider-Character has the power to become slippery, it must be Spider-Girl, who slipped away from having her title cancelled... twice!

From PC

Do you have an idea where on the web I could find "scripts" for the Spider-Man adventures that were recorded, performed and put out on those old Power Records Book & Record sets? I teach school and, in light of the recent SpiderMania, I thought it might be cool to listen to a Spider-Man adventure and read along with it, but I only have the record as I lost the book that went with it.

A script? If the book ever had a proper "script" for the recording, it most likely got tossed in the nearest bin as soon as the sound engineer yelled "that's a wrap". But I'm pretty sure that the Power Records were word-for-word matches between the book and the record, so the book itself is essentially a "script with pictures".

You can find them on eBay, and often pick them up for a few dollars. That's where I bought mine, for around ten bucks, as I recall.

From James

There are two characters I haven't been able to find pics of... One is some model friend of MJ, named Tara...and another is a guy named Mr. Hyde. Are these existing characters, or do you think they were made up in the script I have. I got the script from Marvel's website under their submissions page. what, if anything, can you tell me about these jokers?

Mr. Hyde is a genuine villain. A big brutish type, he used to hang around with a guy named "The Cobra". Spidey has fought them both at least a couple of times. I do recall a model named "Tara". I think she might have been involved in the "Slasher" storyline in Web of Spider-Man #37... hmm, no, that was "Elyse". Perhaps somebody else out there can help track down Tara, if she existed in the comics at all?

From TDunkley

I recently watched the new Spider-Man movie, and am very intersted to read about the story. Anyways, The movie portrayed that Spider-Man made his own costume. Was he a seamstress too or something?

Was the comics different, my friend thought for some reason his Aunt made it for him.

Well, for the first 40 years of Spider-Man, his Aunt May never knew that Peter was Spidey!

Peter has made nearly all of his own costumes in his long history, with a few exceptions. He found an alien symbiote costume on a distant planet, and Black Cat made him a few at one stage. All the rest are the work of his own fair hands, and he hates sewing!

From Joyce

my question is about MJ. I read your recaps in 2001 and saw that she hasn't appeared in any subsequent volumes. Is she gone for good? Or, do you think they'll bring her back anytime soon? It's hard to imagine Peter without MJ around after more than a decade of seeing her character.

Head on down to the comic shop and pick up the latest issues. MJ is starting to sneak back onto the scene. Given that the movie story is heavily based around Peter and MJ, I don't believe that the marketing guys will let her stay out of the comics for very long. You can almost guarantee we'll see a re-uniting before too long!

From Nick


Man is mortal, Nick. Even Spider-Man!

From NatBruce

Will you please make your Spider-Man comics like how Stan Lee did it? THANKS!

Sure, let me just head over to the color photocopier...

From KottonKid

where can i find the first ever appearence of S-M?

Hmm, we really don't cover the kinky stuff. Maybe your local adult shop can put you in touch with a support group?

From DrKay

dear editor guy i known for sure that Blade and Venom are Spidermans allies, why arent they on the page

Venom? So, what part of "Spider-Man... I'm gonna tear off your head and eat your brains!" sounds friendly to you?

From Ficus50

I am not a comic book reader at all, but I always liked spiderman on TV when I was a kid.. well a few years ago I am still pretty young. But anyway, I just wanted to know a site or something that maybe would get me caught up to what is going on in the comic.

Hmmm... with a near-complete comics database, and reviews of every story for the last 8 years? Sorry, nothing comes to mind.

From Brendan

A recent article in The New York Times noted that there is an actual Parker family living at Spider-man's address in Forest Hills. Stan Lee says he never actually gave Spidey an address. Do you know when the address was added?

Also I am from the Queens area and I'd love to learn more about Peter Parker's experience in Forest Hills. Are you aware of any real life places he might have hung out? Any rare information about his childhood or life in Forest Hills would be greatly appreciated.

Yes, I heard this rumour a while back. Apparently, there was a reference to a specific address in a book in the 80's. And more surprisingly, there is supposedly a Parker family living at that address.

I did have the full rumour on the site, but with all the hype surrounding the movie, I decided to pull that content off... out of concern for the privacy of the people who lived at that address.. Parker or not. I'm sure you understand.

From Mick

I'm looking for a simple comprehensive check list for Spider-Man comics. So far all I can find are pages that have checklists that include scans of the comics. What I really would love to find is just a simple text only checklist that just has a heading for the series name, and then just one line for each comic, listing the comic number, and it's title. And a list that includes all the various series made. Does such a list exist?

It used to! But it was a bit messy, and I thought nobody was interested, so I removed it from the site. Since then, I've had a good number of e-mails asking for it back, so by popular demand, here is the newly reinstated Spider-Man Comics Checklist.

From Paul

Hi my name is Paul Guerette I'm a 33 year old post-doc at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada.

In 1997 I obtained a PhD in Zoology/Biomechanics and the title of my thesis was "Molecular Bases for Spider Silk Mechanics".

In 1996 I discovered that spider silk genes are part of a gene family and that spiders control the mechanical properties of their fibers by switching on or off these different genes. This work was published in the journal Science (272:112-115).

More recently, one of the genes that I cloned was used by a company in Monteal (Nexia Biotcehnologies) to make the first artificial spider silk with reasonable mechanical properties. This work was also published in Science on January 19th of this year.

I continue to work on spider silk and am now focussing on the protein structure and mechanical properties of the spiral silk in a spider's orb-web. I now have the gene sequence, x-ray structure and mechanical properties from the cross-garden spider and I plan to submit this data to either Science or Nature in the near future.

I have always been enthralled with your comics and, although I recognize that you must have a large support staff, I was wondering if I could help to provide any technical insights for your work.

Well, I'm impressed! Spiders, gene-sequencing, cloning. Wouldn't surprise me if you got bitten by a radio-active spider every now and again! Of course, everything we deal with is fiction, and too much reality would spoil the whole thing, so I'll just pass on that. But still, that does sound like a way cool project!

From Jon

I don't know if you would consider this a question or a gripe. I've always loved the Mysterio character (how can you not love a guy whose power is that you can't see his face and uses chemical smoke as his main weapon?), but he seems to be a victim of Marvel Mediocrity; the new writers can't figure out what to do with a classic character, so they kill him off with an incredibly lame story (Beck gets brain cancer from chemical smoke...right.

Also, he decides he can't get Spider-Man, so he'll take down Daredevil to be remembered by. How can I get paid for writing this bad?

My question is why doesn't Marvel simply bring back Beck and have some decent stories written? Also, what is this characters present state? At one point he had a hi-tech helmet that allowed him extremely powerful illusion-casting abilities, then it gets broken and forgotten about. I would like to care about Marvel stories, but the only heart or continuity left in them seems to be seen in the Spider-Man movie.

When Stan Lee goes, I think the spirit of Marvel will really be gone. So I guess a larger question is, why does anyone care about Marvel stories at this point?

Well, let's take those one by one. Yes, Mysterio was a good character. But I have to disagree with your next comment. The Daredevil vs. Mysterio story by Kevin Smith & Joe Q was in my humble opinion a lyrical, dramatic and artistic tour-de-force. It was beautiful, and it made perfect sense. I think it broke artistic ground and near single-handledly dragged Marvel out of the staid cesspool it which it was festering.

When Joe Q was appointed to Marvel Editor-in-Chief, it was on the back of his work on Daredevil, and could hardly have been more deserved.

"Why doesn't Marvel simply bring back Beck and have some decent stories written?" Well, those are two completely independent questions. Bringing any specific character back is totally unrelated to writing decent stories. You can have good or bad stories on any character. Personally, I don't like seeing characters that died well being returned from the other side.

As for "the only heart or continuity left in them seems to be seen in the Spider-Man movie". Actually, the movie is not in continuity. How can a two-hour film be considered continuity, compared with the 2000+ comics which span 40 years? The movie is a great piece of fun, but it would be a stretch to say that it defines a new continuity which overwhelms the existing huge legacy of two generations of written stories.

"When Stan Lee goes, I think the spirit of Marvel will really be gone." Good news! Stan Lee went--from the comics scene, anyway--at least ten years ago! And it was long overdue - he hadn't done anything worth reading in the last twenty years. Sorry, Stan. Former glories were all very well, but Stan had lost the edge. Yes, it is sad. Still, that's the way the world works - when you've done all you can do, you move over and make room for the next great thing.

And finally... "why does anyone care about Marvel stories at this point?" Well, because some of them are brilliant! The latest Spidey stuff is great. Without Mysterio, and without Stan Lee. Just my two cents.

From Peterson

can you please tell me how and where i can get information on which is a better superhero Spiderman or Batman? and please give me your opinion based on some hard fact?

My one-sided opinion based on hard fact regarding two purely fictional entities? My opinion is that Spider-Man Rocks and Batman Sucks, and that's going to be a pretty hard fact for any Batman fan to accept! Good thing this is the SpiderFan page, eh?

From Benny Chan First, great site...absolutely everything a spider-fan could want. Second, since I love Spider-man, I naturally love drawing him too. Since you enjoy fanart as much as I do, I thought I'd share mine with you.

Man, that is awesome art. Spidey fans can see Benny's art, plus art from James Kagel and new art from long-time Spidey artist Jaymz Casavant over at the Fans : Art page. Thanks guys!