Letters : Editor : 2002 : To the Editor 01/07/2002

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Date: Jul 1, 2002
Next: To the Editor 01/08/2002
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From Clay Peterson

Hey, great site. Always has been (I've read it since the second issue); always will be, as long as you all remain committed to the high quality you have produced thus far.

To get to the point; I've disagreed with your reviews many times in the past. This is fine; everyone has their own opinions, right? However, for the first time, I feel compelled to write in to say that the reviewer who covered "The Meglomaniacal Spider-Man" simply did not "get it." If he had "gotten it," and just didn't like it, that would be one thing, but I feel that he just missed the point of the story. (He even admits that this is possible.)

Now, I didn't entirely "get it" either. However, I got it enough to know that there's stuff going on in the story that I'm missing. I would ask that you check out the following review by Paul O'Brien:

http://www.esoterica.demon.co.uk/reviews/210402.html#startling-stories

HE doesn't entirely "get it" either, but the review is a good one. (If he gives permission, it would be great if you could post his review on your site as a second opinion.)

I hardly know where to start with this one. Firstly, I have to agree with Steve and Paul that I also did not "get" this comic. Furthermore, it was not immediately obvious to me that there was much to "get".

As a background, I must state for the record that I have the utmost respect for Bagge, and the other leading figures of the literate alternate comic scene. I hold nothing sacred about Spider-Man - he's a pop figure, and as such, it's a compliment that artists like Bagge find him useful in their social and political commentaries.

As a former student of philosophy, I believe I understand the basic aspects of the hedonist and humanist ideals which (as it appears to me) are the key targets of Bagge's focus. So - I don't have a problem with taking the piss out of Spidey, and I think I have sufficient grasp of the concepts. So why didn't this work for me?

Firstly, this has nothing to do with Spidey. Right from page one, the characters bear only superficial relationships to those in the Marvel saga. The histories, motivations and behaviours diverge in the second panel, and head off at a tangent. The idea of a successful self-indulgent man who in his later years regrets his behaviour bear scant parallels to Spider-Man's tale. In the Marvel version, Peter's selfishness is short-lived, and he spends the rest of his life in an endless search for his own forgiveness.

Secondly, the personae in Bagge's tale lack almost any sense of realism. It is hard to imagine any person wallowing in cynicism and loathing of humanity to such a degree that they could identify with any of these characters.

Thirdly, I just don't think it was clever. Maybe it was so clever that it shot clear over my head, and over the heads of all the people I know. But if that was true, it was poorly aimed in a Marvel comic. All that Paul has been able to suggest is "Ayn Rand, Ditko & Spider-Man"... but the story-teller's art is more than suggestive juxtaposition. Maybe Bagge had something in mind, but that's not enough - his job is to tell the story.

Perhaps this seems like a case of "high-art" misses "low-art". Marvel gets the chance to get some street-cred by hooking up with some independent talent. Bagge gets a chance to make some cash, and hint at some Warhol-esque pop-art statement. There's no Campbell's soup in sight, but Bagge gets his 15 pages of fame... and squanders them.

As a story, it fails to entertain. As a parable, I see no message. As art, it barely hangs together. I'm sorry, Clay, but I have to agree with Steve on this one.


From WienerDude

As a kid, I vaguely remember a superhero who was blind and who used to bounce a basketball(?) in front of him as he ran along the tops of buildings. From listening to the sounds of the ball, he could tell how close he was to the edge of the building, to a wall, etc. I had been thinking all those years that it had been the original spiderman. Do you know if the original spiderman was blind?

A blind super-hero? I don't know if such a thing is possible. Our legal team might have some insight... I can ask Matt if he remembers any?


From Tim

I have a question that I cannot find an answer to anywhere. I'd love your help if you could... I was trying to find the address of the Daily Bugle in the comics.

Did you try looking up the yellow pages in the comics?


From BlinkBoyJr

hey what is peter's uncle's name?????

I'm sorry, but the Oracle is stumped by this one. We'll just have to admit defeat.


From Penujuk

how can be spider or x-men club?

be spider or x-men big piece wood hit villain or bad guy type.


From Colleen

My husband and I were curious as to who made the spiderman suit. One of us were under the impressision it was his aunt?

...and the other one was correct, it wasn't. Peter himself made his own costume. Peter kept the whole thing totally secret from his aunt until very, very recently.


From Ribeiroa

hi, i am brazilian man, plis send to me any material of spider-man

Sorry man - his aunt used it all, making the costume. Just be happy with the football results, and let it go.


From ParadiseStar

A friend of mine in Lynn loves Betty Brant. The problem is she doesn't know what style of martial arts she practices and what martial arts weapons are she experts on.

Betty never practiced any martial arts. She didn't have to. One day the writers decided she was no longer a secretary, she was a secret ninja warrior private eye super-investigator, and that was all it took. No work required at all!


From Kate

a question please. who was your stunt co-ordinater? i would like to be a film star when i am older, director or a stunt co=ordinater could u give any advice. were the stunts hard to perform?

Most of my stunts were romance-related. Doctor Spooner would describe me as a cupid stunt.


From Judy

In the mid 60's when I was about 6 years old and in a fit of rage I tore up my big brother's beloved Spider-man comic book. It was a copy of the first Spider-man comic ever printed and he loved it more than any other posession he had. To his credit he did not beat me to a pulp. I'd like to replace it for him now all these years later but I'm not sure which one it would have been exactly.

Hey Judy, that's a lovely suggestion, and I'm delighted to tell you how to make it up to your brother. So let's get started; first I need to know about your major assets. Do you own your own house? Or, I should say... did you?


From Jon

I really like your site. In my opinion it's better than the official Marvel site for the fans. Do you have to pay some sort of licensing fees to Marvel, or is it free? What's the deal in showing one of their characters?

Do they pay us? Nah, we do it for love.


From Serres

I WANT SOME GOOD SPIDER-GAMES.

Spider-Jacks? Spider-Tiddywinks? Spider-Chequers? In any case, you're going to need a good supply of spiders, and a playing partner who isn't overly squeamish.


From Brent

Thank you, for devoting your life to such a worthwhile cause. I am a huge Spider-man fan and one day, I hope to marry him. I have it all planned out.

Well, Brent. Sometimes these things just don't turn out like you expect...


From Ron

My wife and I just saw the spiderman movie and were delighted to identify parts of our neighborhood (Sunnyside, Queens, NYC) in the filming.

What is Peter Parker's Official address?

C'mon Ron. What part of secret identity don't you understand?


From Draconas

could you give me Stan Lee's home or e-mail adress please

Hey, if I had Stan's home, I'd be living there...


From Jason

I've looked at your review, and I say, why'd you treat the Spider-Man Movie Official Adaptation as if it was trash? It was written by Stan "The Man" Lee, for crying out loud. I understand what you say about it, but to paraphrase General Blue from DragonballZ, to give a bad review of Stan Lee's work is like pouring a can of red paint on the Mona Lisa.

If you count DragonballZ amongst the primary of your sources of literary reference, then we may have trouble discussing artistic merit. But then again, I read more comics than I do books, so who am I to throw stones.

The key point here is that when discussing the work, the final decision should be based on the quality of the work - not the popular appeal of the artist. Yes, Stan Lee was ground-breaking and inspirational in his early period - his impact on the Silver Age of comics is undeniable. That was then, now let's talk movie adaptations.

I'd say that the movie was skillfully executed, and actually improved on the original comic... in that it carefully distilled all of the key elements of the Spider-Man story and the Green Goblin conflict into a tightly-written mix of action and pathos which did justice to the original story without being a slave to the myriad details which could so easily have been its downfall.

By stark contrast, he movie adaptation just ham-fistedly picked random elements out of the movie and stiltingly projected them into a two-dimensional shadow of the film. Flip Stan Lee over and check his butt, he's 20 years past his "use by" date.


From FrkyDakotaKid

Where does Tobey live?

In America, as far as I know.


From Bill

This is going to sound like a really stupid, nit-picky question, but I am curious. Why do you guys say that a comic get 1,2,3,4,5 webs or whatever, when they're actually spiders?

Hey, nobody loves a smart-aleck.


From DB

I read that Kevin Smith is writing for Spider-Man. Has the first issue with him writing been released yet? If so, which one is it? If not, do you have an estimate of when it will be available?

Nothing just yet, but it can't be far off. You can read more about the latest titles in the Current Titles Summary in the Comics Section.


From Gotenks

I was looking at some future comics at marvel.com and saw one called "Incredible Hulk: The End". The description said "Ever wonder how the careers of your favorite heroes would end? Us too, so we're asking the greatest creators associated with top characters to tell the final story as if their series were drawing to a close!"

Does this mean they would do one on Spider-man?

If Spider-Man ever ended, you can bet it would go something like this: "After 64 years of Spider-Man comics, sadly, subscription numbers have dropped below the level where we can support this title."

Then, the story would just stop, half-way through a two-year plot development. Believe me, I've seen it a zillion times before.


From Adam

I am elated at the new Spidey film, as I am all grown up now, and had forgotten quite how into the whole webslinger thing I used to be.

When I was about 8 years old, I designed and put together a prototype for a webslinger. Granted, it was shit, and didn't do much more than fire a length of string across a room - but hey, I was 8 years old what do you expect.

That was a quarter of a century ago...and I'm wondering...just out of idle curiosity... with the advances in technology, the shared information of the net etc...do you know if anyone has ever put together a viable attempt at a working webslinger? I studied engineering at Uni, and the necessary mechanics and electronics of a webslinger would be fairly straightforward. The only problem area is the liquid / fibre that the slinger would have to emit under pressure. That would require the expertise of a chemical engineer I fear.

Anyways, I'm rambling - but I've scoured the net looking for anyone else who's given it a go, and other than the rather crap and ugly looking toy version, I've come up empty handed. Surely I'm not the only nutcase freak out there who has a closet grasp-of-reality problem?

Sorry Adam, but even after 40 years of technological advancement, we still have no real Spidey web-shooters, no flying Iron Man armor, no potent telepaths, no guys shooting ruby-red eye-beams. Also, note the distinct lack of cybernetic limbs, jet-packs, jet-gliders, vibranium robots, adamantium claws and personal teleportation devices.

I'm sorry, but it seems like the "grasp-on-reality" problem might be right on the button.


From Jack Ellenberg

Hey, I wrote you not to long ago asking if you could put up my art,and you aid send here so here it is. I'm sending five of my drawing that I drew all will not come with this message so you will get 2 messages from me.

P.S. Thanks for posting(if you do)put me as SpiderLizard cause when he spider-man turned into the lizard it rocked!

Our pleasure, SpiderLizard. Your art is now up in the Fans : Art section. Plus, since we're talking about Fans stuff, there are a couple of new tattoos up this month, on the Fans : Tattoos page.