Letters : Staff : 2008 : To the Staff 29/10/2008

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Date: Oct 29, 2008
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From Thomas

I am just a vistior to the site with a question.

Do you know how Stan and Steve came up with the classic Spidey villains like Mysterio, Electro, Scorpion ect?

I'm not sure Stan and Steve even know at this point... or can agree on the answer. Steve did write (back in 2001-2002) about some of the villain creations.

For the Green Goblin, for example, he claims that Stan came up with a supernatural character but that he (Steve) rejected that and created the non-super-powered Goblin instead. (See some of my reviews of the early GG issues for more on this.)

For the Vulture, Steve claims that Stan wanted him fat but Steve made him old and gaunt. For Doc Ock, Steve says he had the idea for a villain with four mechanical arms and Stan named him Dr. Octopus. I haven't seen anything on Mysterio, Electro, or Scopion.

Finally, it's best to just chalk it up to the creative process and enjoy the results! Or as Steve put it, in his own inimitable way, "The Lee/Ditko Spider-Man involved different ideas, interpretations, and continuing free will choices, options and developing possibilities. It was like the manufacture of some alloyed product needing, using different skills, needing to search, find, discover raw material to develop a method to detach, refine, and recombine material in new and novel ways to produce a new saleable product."

From Daniel

Let me quickly begin just by saying I really enjoy reading your reviews. The synopsis is great, especially with your occasional little quips, and the rating and opinion at the end is even better!

I was reading your Amazing Spider-man #429 review about Absorbing Man and Titania. I haven't read the issue in a while, so I'm mainly going by your synopsis, but I have a question- at school, Peter's spider-sense goes off and he sees a figure on the rooftop. It turns out that the figure was Daredevil. WHY was his spider-sense going off about Daredevil? I thought it only warned him of danger?

Am I remembering things wrong? Or was this simply a mistake? I was wondering if you might know, since I can't figure it out. Let me know.

Lord, Daniel, you must know that Spidey's spider-sense is the most misused power (by writers) that he has.

It's because it's such a convenient way to draw him into the action. Need Spidey to be aware of something? Need him to get involved? Need him to meet someone? Throw in the spider-sense! As a result, there's no real consistency, no explanation that covers every use of it throughout the history of the series.

For the record, though, you're right, Daredevil is an ally and his presence shouldn't set off the spider-sense unless he intended to do Spidey harm. Which he isn't intending here. So, yeah, DeFalco shouldn't have used the spider-sense here but it's just so darned convenient and reduces the explanation to a single word balloon so how could he resist, really?

So, stop trying to figure it out! There's no great mystery here. Your second option is correct. It's simply a mistake.

From Phillip

The Kilowatt Kaper is true classic in every sense.I saw this in November 1980 in the U.K and has always stayed with me. How I miss those days of yester-year.

Great show.

I saw it for the first time back in '67 when we were so geeked to see a show starring Spider-Man that we would have watched a half an hour of the same shot of Spidey swinging from building to building. (And in some of the later episodes, that's pretty much what we did).

There have been some pretty impressive Spidey cartoons (and, ahem, some fairly cool live-action movies) since then but, you're right.? In some ways, you can't beat the classics.

From Jim

While in search of copy to use for some books I'm letting go on ebay I fell upon your synopsis of Amazing Spider-Man #37... BRAVO!

Tears to the eye & ev'rything :)

I thought I was being wise & clever talking about my old beloved Spidey collection. Choke! U put me to complete & utter shame lol.

I'll be back for more of your EXTREMELY comprehensive/entertaining, well thought out words on the subject of Stan & Steve's (et al) creative efforts!

Gosh, Jim, now MY eyes are welling up. Thanks for the kind words.

From STWA3

Your reviews of early Spider-man issues have been very helpfull to me, especially the "In Detail" sections. I was wondering, do you review other, non-spidey comics in this way on other sites? If you don't, would you happen to know someone who reviews these comics in great detail as you do?

Glad to hear I've been of help to you. I only review non-Spidey comics when Spidey makes a cameo appearance in them. Check out Journey Into Mystery #124, Fantastic Four #61, Strange Tales #156, stuff like that.

No, I don't write for other sites. I wouldn't do that to my blood brother Jonathan! And, sorry, I don't know of anyone else who reviews in the same way that I do. I like to think I'm one of a kind.

[Editor's Note: We get asked this question a fair bit. So much so that we've created a F.A.Q. Do similar sites exist for other characters?.]

From Dan McFan

Your review of Journey Into Mystery #124 was right on except for one thing. Vince Colletta's 1st THOR (I believe it was) should have been celebrated, not panned.

Colletta was what brought that series back to midieval times.

Thanks. And, hey, if you like Vinnie's ink work on the series, that's cool. He altered or erased too many details from Kirby's pencils to suit me but there is a certain softening aspect to his work that I know appeals to some Thor fans. I didn't exactly pan it but, you're right, you're not going to get a celebration of it out of me.

From DanMcFan

By "softening aspect" you mean things like shading, musculature detail and fine pen and brush lines. It's what illustrative artists do rather than what the graphic thick line type of inkers preferred by kids did.

I know you've seen them all but I did a comparison of THOR inkers that you might want to look at.

Okay, Dan, I can see you're passionate about this and have put together a persuasive melange of Thor images. I would only say that you can't judge the complete product just by the inking on Thor.

The biggest complaint with Vinnie is that he took out details from Kirby's pencils. There have been comparisons between Kirby's pencils and Vinnie's finished product in places like The Jack Kirby Collector (yeah, probably by Mark Evanier!) that are eye-opening.

I understand why he did it. Vinnie was a fast inker and the go to guy for Stan for a lot of years. With a deadline looming, he chose to simplify things at times. That doesn't mean he wasn't capable of good work (and, yes, your Thor examples are definitely in that category) but overall he dilutes Kirby too much to suit me.

But I'm not a Vinnie hater by any means. Good luck with your mission!

[Bob Adds: Hence while Vinnie's inks could salvage inferior or late pencils, it could also diminish better pencils. Therefore Vinnie often got paired up with newbies (especially in later years).]