Letters : Spider-Oracle : 2006 : Spider-Oracle Petitions 13/09/2006

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From James

Hey, in your character bio for Gwen Stacy you mention the *snap* sound effect near her neck and how it implies a broken neck. Just wanted to mention (since its not on the page) that in issue #207 its confirmed that she died of a broken neck (when he saves the hypnotized jumper they have a quick flashback panel that says this).

Thanks for that, we have added that info to a brand new FAQ item - Did Gwen Stacy's Neck Snap or not? Note that in the letters page for Amazing Spider-Man #125, Roy Thomas also confirms this, and it was confirmed again more recently in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #50.

From Merv

Are you going to add a bio or section for Spidey's new Red/Gold costume? And in which issue did it first appear? I know Tony Stark made it for him, but I missed it's offical "introduction".

The Red & Gold costume is first seen on the final page of Amazing Spider-Man #528. There will eventually be some reference to it in our "Costumes" section, however that part of the website is currently frozen while we work on automating the HTML generation.

From Mike

have you had any questions about a 12" action figure of spiderman that comes with a scarletspider costume? it is a special collectors edition made by toy biz and the really odd thing about it is, he has blonde hair.i've looked all over and havent even seen another this size, only the smaller painted figures.

The figure you are describing was part of a series of 12-inch "doll" sized figures that came out in 1996 in the Marvel Collectors Series as a Ben Reilly "New Spider-Man" figure. It was called the Spectacular Spider-Man, and it came with the Scarlet Spider costume as well as the "new" Spidey suit. Unmasked, he had blond hair.

From Lee

i have a CGC comic and i am trying to find some one to repair the CGC cover, or do i have to send it to a main dealer?

When a comic is CGC graded, it is sealed to prevent tampering, i.e. to avoid the possibility of a lower-grade instance of the same comic being placed in the CGC cover of the higher grade version. If the seal or cover is damaged, then the CGC grading is invalidated.

You will need to resubmit that comic to CGC for regrading.

From John

I'm doing this story for a "Spider-Man Unlimited" pitch and was just wondering, is Shocker's mom and dad still alive?

I don't know where it was ever mentioned.

It's a bit of a weird question, I know, but I figure you guys get them all the time.

Weird is our specialty. But in this case we must say that as far as we are aware, there have been no mention of the the Shocker's Mom or Dad at any stage. You may feel free to create a story around them without fear of being contradicted.

From v3n0m'S allie

some people portray venoms costume as black. some portray it as light to dark blue color. i was wondering if it changes colors or some people just make it one color to be cool

The alien symbiote costume is officially black. However, black is a difficult color to work with in terms of shading and highlighting. Particularly with 80's comic book coloring and printing techniques, but even so with the latest high-quality coloring technology available to comic book artists, it can still be difficult to create a three-dimensional look for a character in a black costume.

One of the solutions is to use some blue in the mix, or even to draw the whole costume in blue. In fact, Spider-Man's costume was drawn as red-and-black in some early issues, and Eric Larsen returned him to red-and-black for a while. There is generally some artistic licence accepted between black and dark blue.

From Stephen

Okay, two of my favourite Marvel villains are Doctor Doom and Doctor Octopus. Doom is more of a Fantastic Four villain, although he has fought Spider-Man on many occasions. Now, part of me has always wondered what it'd be like if Doom and Octopus either crossed paths or teamed up. So, my question is, do you think such a team-up could ever work? Not every team-up would work, but I do like both villains and have always been curious about seeing them together (I can't recall any stories where they've crossed paths, unless Secret Wars would count, but even then, did they even meet and talk?). I look forward to reading your opinion on this, if you have the time to answer.

No comic book story leaps to mind which features these two powerful villains working together. Both are natural leaders, and neither would wish to share the limelight with the other. As you say, they have co-starred on a number of occasions, such as in Secret Wars. But a genuine team-up? None in the comics as far as I can recall.

However, if you extend your question to Novels, then the answer is "Yes". Specifically, refer to Spider-Man & Fantastic Four: Wreckage (Doom's Day Book 3). However, the situation is not exactly one of a team-up, rather one of forced and rather uncomfortable co-operation, with unhappy consequences.

From Todd Novak

Obviously in comics there is this muddy continuity. Any time a new team of creators take over a title or a character they interpret the character a little differently, sometimes interpreting events from previous stories a bit differently. Sometimes there are direct contradictions. Sometimes there are indirect contradictions, meaning there's no direct conflict between the events in an earlier story and what's added in a later story but the additions change the tone or the spirit of the original story.

An example of the first might be Spider-Man Chapter One which changed actual physical events that were on panel in earlier stories. An example of the second being the more recent Sins of the Father story-line that revealed events from the past that could possibly have happened off panel (however in a very unlikely soap-opera-ish manner) but which changes the tone of a whole period of stories. When you go back and read all those Thomas/Conway/Kane stories, do you suddenly think about how well Gwen Stacey is hiding her secrets? Of course not. Obviously this later added continuity had nothing to do with the story the writers were trying to convey so whether you accept them or not as part of current continuity, they certainly had nothing to do with the continuity of that era. Chapter One is pretty much ignored by most fans even though there are contradictions that have never been explained, and I suspect in time the same will be true of Sins of the Father.

So when you present a profile, what do you use as the definitive continuity? Do you accept the most recent explanation for a classic story or do you accept the classic version? Or do you present both, leave it somewhat vague and let the readers decide?

The reason I bring this issue up is because one of my favorite characters is The Crime Master from one of my favorite stories in Amazing Spider-Man #26-27. The series Untold Tales of Spider-Man ended its otherwise brilliant run by altering this classic tale. In the Lee/Ditko story it was said that the Crime Master and Green Goblin both knew each other's identity. This was interesting because it created a tension for the more popular villain whom had an unknown identity at the time (and remember, Ditko left before Norman Osborn was revealed to be The Green Goblin so the Goblin probably did not have an identity at this time). It also presented an interesting after taste because of the demise of The Crime Master, a sort of 'look what might have been' moment. Kurt Busiek changed this by making The Green Goblin, as Norman Osborn, more of a mastermind than he was in the original story, and The Crime Master more of a pawn by the Goblin's duping the Crime Master to believe he was Jonah Jameson.

Not only does Busiek's story change the tone and characterizations of a classic story line it also alters the actual story presented on panel. On page 17 of Amazing Spider-Man #26 the Crime Master tells The Green Goblin that the Goblin cannot kill him or his identity would be revealed when a safe deposit box would be opened that contained his secret. A couple of panels later IN A THOUGHT BALOON, the Goblin thinks to himself that he needs to hold back or else his secret would be revealed. Busiek's story could not stand side by side with the original.

Your profile on The Crime Master presents Busiek's story as historical continuity without any question or mention of the contradiction. As much as I enjoyed The Untold Tales of Spider-Man series, I don't feel comfortable with Busiek's version of events being presented over the version presented by Spider-Man's creators. Now, I admit, the reason I care is because of my nostalgic attachment to the original story and to the character of The Crime Master. But beyond that, The Green Goblin is one of my favorite characters, it is often forgotten that his identity being a mystery was one of the definitive characteristics of the character in that era. Norman Osborn didn't become a part of that character until Ditko left). It is also forgotten that the character was struggling to become a mastermind but like Spider-Man himself, he was struggling with it. This version of the character was much more intriguing than the "Kingpin" version that is currently accepted in the modern books whom is always one step ahead of everyone else. I Accept that like the time characters and stories evolve and I'm not going to like all the evolutions, but still, don't mess with the classics.

I'm challenging you to alter your profile of The Crime Master (and possibly the Green Goblin as well), if not to side against Busiek's retelling to at least mention the contradiction.

I sympathize with your view on the Crime-Master. ASM #26-27 is one of my favorite stories too. Often the early profiles are written in conjunction with the "From the Beginning" Lookbacks and I often mention these retcons within that context. For example in the lookback to ASM #27, I wrote:

The Crime-Master is dead but this is not his last appearance. He shows up again in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #20, May 1997, springing the Vulture from jail so he can use him as a hit man in a failed attempt on the life of Wilson Fisk. In Untold Tales of Spider-Man #23, August 1997, he coerces a doctor named Carson to use his "cerebra-chip" to turn men into a mind- controlled super-squad. These stories take place before the events in these 1965 issues, of course. In Untold Tales of Spider-Man #25, October 1997, we learn that the Goblin tricked the Crime-Master when they traded identities, using a mask to make C-M think the Goblin is really J. Jonah Jameson. An unnecessary retcon that doesn't sit too well with me but there it is.

In the Lookback to ASM #26, I wrote:

From the cover to the shock ending, this is one of the best issues of Amazing Spider-Man... ever. I'm a sucker for Ditko's masked mob bosses that dress in good suits and fedoras and the Crime-Master is a classic example of that type. The power of the Green Goblin has been trashed ever since Norman Osborn was brought back to life during the Clone Saga but, at this time, he was still the best villain out there. Great looking, devious, ingenious and still a complete mystery!

And check my Lookbacks of ASM #39 and #40 for my objections to making Norman Osborn the Green Goblin.

That said, the idea of the profiles is to lay out the continuity as Marvel wants it right now. And Marvel's policy is that all of this stuff is in continuity. If there are contradictions, then a way must be found to reconcile those contradictions rather than trashing a later story... much as you might want to do it. I know this because I am working on the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe books. If it makes you feel better (and this is just between you and me because I'm not supposed to give out any details) there is a new official Marvel Crime-Master profile coming which I wrote and, even though it does include Busiek's retcon, it also mentions the scene you are talking about where the CM threatens the Goblin with revealing his identity and concludes that CM must have later figured out Gobby's identity and the Goblin knows it. So, you're stuck with the retcon but there are ways to tweak it here and there.

(Response by Al Sjoerdsma).