JMS: One more response

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Over at Newsarama J. Michael Straczynski explains what his exact problems with the ending of “One More Day” were, as mentioned in passing in the Joe Q interview: mostly that the Me-fix-o ending was a magic bullet.

And that’s the part I had a real problem with, maybe the single biggest problem. There’s this notion that magic fixes everything. It doesn’t. “It’s magic, we don’t have to explain it.” Well, actually, yes, you do. Magic has to have rules. And this is clearly not just a case of one spell making everybody forget he’s Spidey…suddenly you’re bringing back the dead, undoing wounds, erasing records, reinstating web shooters, on and on and on.

What I wanted to do was to make one small change to history, a tiny thing, whose ripples we could control to only touch what editorial wanted to touch, making changes we could explain logically. I worked for weeks to come up with a timeline that would leave every other bit of continuity in place. It was rigorous, and as logical as I could make it. In the end of OMD as published, Harry is alive and he’s always been alive as far as the characters know…so how is that different than he was alive the whole time?


Much more in link. JMS remains professional throughout so those looking for a flamewar between JMS and JQ will have to look elsewhere.

Comments

  1. You don’t need to be impolite to pull someone’s punk card in public, which is exactly what JMS has done to Quesada, twice now.

    The only way Quesada could be more PWNED at this point would be if he was being eaten by a shark, while a bear was simultaneously punching him in the face.

  2. Is the bear already in the shark’s stomach? Or is the shark eating him foot first, and the bear’s punching his face?

  3. Michael says:

    So essentially, Joe Straczynski, who has written hundreds of episodes of television and is currently the screenwriter for several A-List film projects and written years and years of award-winning comics, tried to convince “editorial” to use basic storytelling mechanics…and was ignored?

    Smart play on Marvel’s part. Reeeeal smart.

    Straczynski’s been pretty classy in his response, especially considering the usual John Byrne “slash and burn” approach so many creators take.

    Reading the dregs of the Newsrama thread replies, it looks like JMS’ plan would have sat alot better with the very fans that Quesada claims to be so anxious to please. Again, smart.

  4. Neither. Joe Q made an on-the-spot deal with the devil, so neither the bear and the shark ever existed.

  5. yeah, but were the bear and the shark married?

  6. arch 14 says:

    “Reading the dregs of the Newsrama thread replies, it looks like JMS’ plan would have sat alot better with the very fans that Quesada claims to be so anxious to please.”

    Not that that means anything.

  7. And is Peter Parker free to fuck that shark now that he isn’t married?

  8. Alan Coil says:

    Patrick, he may as well do the shark, as the title has quite obviously already JUMPED THE SHARK.

  9. Roman Bednar says:

    Tom Peyer’s interview over on Newsarama about getting the Flash and the responses to the throw down between JQ and JMS are some of the funniest stuff I have read on the Interweb in a long time. Than God that Al Gore invented it for us. A big shout out to JQ for being such a twat in the the first place and providing us with years worth of material.

  10. Sphinx Magoo says:

    Suddenly, the idea of a reality altering series of super-punches doesn’t seem so bad…

    But seriously, snark aside, I can see Joey Q’s reasons for making this change. Part of it must be pressure to make the comics “like the movies”, which is why the happy couple is no longer married and Harry Osborn is back. I think if he’d been more straightforward and declared this upfront instead of making odd statements about Peter and marriage, it might’ve made things more palatable.

    Another thing is that the initial marriage was kind of rushed and turned into a publicity vehicle. There was even an article in “Back Issue” (available at http://www.twomorrows.com) which gave a good history of the event and had a bunch of creators weigh in with their thoughts. But what was done was done and for 20 years Marvel made the marriage work. But just as the marriage deal may have been rushed, the un-marriage deal also seems rushed.

    I think what may happen is that the Spider-Man books may seem a bit “radioactive” for a time as readers circle around and away, and wait and see how things work out once the excitement dies down. At least that’s what I think I’ll end up doing…

  11. My prediction…

    Harry = evil demon

  12. I’m just happy that it wasn’t yet another time travel story. I’ll take anything over one of those. I think that’s what Joe Q. was trying to replace, and I thank him for that. I couldn’t take another one. As for Spider-Man making a deal with the devil… well, I haven’t read it, but it dose sound kind of interesting when you think about it. I didn’t see it coming. That’s for sure. Then again, I always tend to enjoy what the hard-core fans hate.

  13. I’ve been reading Spidey comics for some twenty-five years (since I learned to read) and have to say that I for one prefer Peter to be single (well, unmarried). No matter how good (and bad) the various Spidey runs have been since 1987, I still love the feel and tone of the 1970s era Amazing, which seems to be what the BND teams are looking back to for inspiration. That said, was OMD a perfect solution? No, but I’m still very excited about what the future holds.

    I do have to say that the level of vitriol and outright hatred (especially the personal attacks on JQ) that is being displayed by the fanboys on the various message boards (and in conversations that I overhear at my LCS) is beyond the pale. You guys are coming off as a bunch of whiny morons who have lost complete touch with reality. This is stuff is FANTASY for Pete’s sake, and if you’re getting this worked up about it well, my friends, you need to step away from the keyboard, step outside for some fresh air and maybe, you know, GET A LIFE. Go out and TALK TO A REAL GIRL (or boy, if that’s how you swing). Learn about politics or do some volunteer work. Take a shower. Pet a kitten. Just anything that will get your collective heads out of your asses.

    Jeez, I’m a fanboy myself but I’m appalled and embarrassed by the myopism, sense of entitlement, ignorance and hatred displayed by all of these keyboard badasses with empty lives and too much time on their hands. Thanks, guys, for perpetuating the geek stereotype that those of us who have socials skills and (mostly) well-adjusted lives work hard to change.

    Another thing: I’m old enough to remember that there was also a sense of outrage from fans when Peter and MJ got married in the first place (of course, this was before the Wild West of the Internet and the debate was much more decorous).

    And let us not forget that the marriage was editorially mandated in the first place — it was a race to beat the newspaper strip to it. Peter and Mary Jane weren’t even dating at the time it was decided to marry them (they were in one of their periodic lulls).

    And this fan outrage towards “editorial mandate” is b.s. anyways — comics HAVE ALWAYS been editorially driven and always will be (indies aside). It’s the nature of the coporate beast — movie studios are run the same way. (I know this from experience — it’s just the way the system is — you want to run it a different way, start your own company). Hell, Stan’s creation of the FF (and the subsequent birth of Marvel) was editorially mandated — he was ordered to come up with answer to National’s Justice League.

    Most of you guys who flame Marvel and DC every single time either company shakes things up would also be bitching and moaning if nothing ever changed. You’re never ever happy. (Case in point: fans were pissed when Spidey was given organic webshooters during “The Other” — now some are apopletic that the mechanical shooters are back). Nothing is ever as good as the fanfic in your heads.

  14. Not JQ says:

    Hey TC funny you making comments about being a whiny moron. Whats it like being a “bitch”?

  15. “Neither. Joe Q made an on-the-spot deal with the devil, so neither the bear and the shark ever existed.

    Yeah, he might have entered into an unholy alliance with Satan, but at least he didn’t get a divorce.

  16. My prediction…

    Harry = Sex Shark

  17. Fanboy Menace says:

    “Harry = evil demon”

    Please, don’t give them any ideas.

  18. Fanboy Menace says:

    “This is stuff is FANTASY for Pete’s sake, and if you’re getting this worked up about it well, my friends, you need to step away from the keyboard, step outside for some fresh air and maybe, you know, GET A LIFE.”

    Hahaha! There’s always that guy that wants to try to pull a Shatner in online discussions. The one nerd that wants to assert himself as the superior voice of reason in a mad, mad world of fanboys, and is willing to go to great lengths verbally in an attempt to prove it.

    Go sell it somewhere else.

    What do you think this blog is here for? Why do you think people (and this includes you too, Uber-geek) go to online comic discussion forums anyway? Shock! To do just this! There is a genuine reaction to a comic story going on, in various intensities, so grab a side if you are REALLY interested in posting something. The real tragedy would be if fans didn’t care about what they were doing with Spider-man at all and there wasn’t a reason for these boards and blogs to even exist.

  19. Jonathan says:

    I haven’t been following this closely (because I have stopped buying comics, or rather collecting “pamphlets” as The Beat would refer to them), and while I’m definitely not happy with the execution or the direction of this story, I was wondering if someone could inform me:

    1) does this mean that Gwen Stacy didn’t hump Norman Osborn?

    2) hell, is she still alive now?

    3) did the Clone Saga happen?

  20. “Part of it must be pressure to make the comics “like the movies”, which is why the happy couple is no longer married and Harry Osborn is back.”

    I agree … which makes this even more amusing & confusing. By the end of SPIDER-MAN 3, in movie continuity, it’s apparent that MJ and Peter will eventually wed. And Harry is dead.

    So now the comics look LESS like the movies. Again. It’s almost as though Marvel is TRYING to keep itself distant from the films.

    (I don’t know how I managed to rhyme like that above either)

  21. to Fanboy Menace: I did pick a side — stated at the beginning that I’m for the undoing of the marriage and looking forward to BND.

    And yeah, I might be guilty of getting worked up in my own post but the real point I was trying to make was the extremes some of these guys are taking — the personal attacks on Joe Q and others involved, especially the name-calling and wishing of personal or professional harm. It’s really pathetic. That may make me sound like Dudley DoRight but that’s how I feel.

    Besides — I think the fact that some of these guys have nothing better to do is post all day on message boards says it all. Whenever a big story like this breaks I scan a few to gauge the fan reaction — and this one has been beyond the pale.

    And with that, I’m out suckers. Not going to get drawn into a war of words on the Beat. I have a day job to go to.

    ‘Nuff said.

  22. I suppose the whole storyline is an attempt to rekindle “the good old days,” which I remember, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this is a good idea. Here’s what seems to be a solicitation for Bright New Day:

    “AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING! This is it, Arachnophiles!!!! Prepare for what promises to be the most pulse-pounding piece of four color fiction to be delivered unto the Mighty Marvel Minions in decades! You asked for more Spidey! You demanded it! And, by Buckley, you’re gonna get it! After the devastatingly heartwarming events of ONE MORE DAY, Peter Parker puts the past behind him and sets forth on a BRAND NEW DAY! Starting with Amazing Spider-Man 546, you now have THREE times the action! THREE times the villains! THREE times the danger! Amazing Spider-Man – Now 3 times every month! Bank on it, buck-o! And if that weren’t enough: ASM 546 goes double-sized to bring you back-up features that introduce you to the new players in the lives of Peter and his family! On-sale: January 9th 2008″

    That whole paragraph screams “Stan’s Soapbox” or Bullpen Bulletins, circa 1968. But then, why read an imitation when you can just pick up a Marvel Masterworks? This could be proof that every series should probably have an ending.

  23. Michael says:

    The future of comics is 1968!

    Comic books are a medium where literally anything is possible, and yet Marvel would rather polish the nostalgia knob. Even TC is “excited” to see comics going back to the 70’s.

    Back. Retro. Old-Fashioned. Yaay.

    Anyone surprised that new readers aren’t flocking to comics? Why do I want to read comics that are harkening back to a time a decade before I was born? My girlfriend’s brother got into comics reading Hellboy, Goon and Sandman. To him superheroes are for old people and movies.

  24. “To him superheroes are for old people and movies.”

    I can’t understand the “old fanboy” crap. If you don’t like super-heroes, you don’t like them. Same with manga … I’m not interested in characters who all look female with big round eyes. Knock yourself out, if that’s your cup of tea.

  25. Regarding Jonathan’s questions…

    1) does this mean that Gwen Stacy didn’t hump Norman Osborn?

    According to JMS, yes. Probably the best thing to come out of this!

    2) hell, is she still alive now?

    Joe Q. admitted that he wanted to have her alive again, but was talked out of it. Thank GOD.

    3) did the Clone Saga happen?

    Yes, it still did. It’s still missing from my Spidey collection, too, thankfully.

  26. Here’s a quote from CBR, also quoting Joe Q.

    “To Quesada, that solution discounted every issue of Amazing Spider-Man since that 1971 story arc, and by doing that, would have caused far-reaching and unmanageable changes throughout the larger Marvel Universe. ‘In other words, there was just no way to tell Joe’s [JMS] story without blowing up the entire Marvel U and every Spider-Man fan’s collection,’ Quesada said.”

    Yeah, but … this OMD invalidates twenty years worth of comics, anyway. And, as I’ve already pointed out … the copy promoting the next issue sounds like a 1968 blurb. Glad I don’t buy Spider-Man anymore …

  27. MBunge says:

    I think it’s amusing that JMS thinks his anal-retentive fanboy retcon “Mephisto changed this, which then changed that and that and that and that and that etc.) is really any better than JoeQ’s “It’s magic” retcon. It’s still a turd no matter how much you polish it.

    Mike

  28. Roman Bednar says:

    A few years ago I moved from a big Telco with 35,000 employees, working in a division with 1500 people to a small IT company with 100 employees. I was looking at Marvels financials around that same time and was shocked to see that they had more in common with the tiny IT company that I was working in than the big Telco I had just left. Their publishing arm was actually generating less revenue than the family owned company I was working for. I also read that Marvel had almost run out of money at the end of 2000 and people had talked about having the books published through another company. Marvel would have basically ceased to be.

    Marvel makes money from toys, licensing, publishing and now making movies. They make a lot more money from licensing than publishing. A lot of their profit for 2007 ( a great year for them financially by the way) was supplied by toys and licensing for Spider-Man 3. There is no new Spider-Man movie on the horizon and the 3 Spidey books that Marvel produced prior to OMD only had one consistently good seller. One of the books actually sold about the same amount as the Aquaman book over at DC which is pathetic really given how bad that book turned out to be.

    I understand that Marvel publishing needs to generate more money from the Spider-Man brand. I also understand that the Spider-Man books had little in common with the licensing and movies which depict a Peter Parker more in tune with the classic Lee/Diktko/Romita days. I have no problem getting to a new (old?) place with them but I don’t want to be insulted along the way or told that something was done for a certain reason when I know that it was not. Marvel probably wants this book to do World War Hulk numbers 3 times a month. That means about 145,000 an issue in sales. To get there, they need to keep the readers they have, bring in new ones along the way and keep them there for the whole of 2008 to meet their overall revenue projections. Based on the terrible execution of OMD and the fallout from it, I really wonder if that is possible.

  29. James Van Hise says:

    Bring back the good old days? You mean Steve Ditko is going to write and draw Spider-Man again? It’s amazing how much of the Spider-Man universe is based on just those 41 issues (including the 2 annuals and Amazing Fantasy #15).

  30. Ceaser says:

    Roman’s comment is really interesting. If that is the case, OMD was a really really smart (but badly executed) step on Marvel’s part. They’re not selling to the people reading Spiderman now! They’re selling to Spider-Noobs! If that is the case, I advise doing self contained stories. Anyone who wants to pick up Spiderman is driven away, I’m sure, by the confusion and convolution. I know I am.

  31. Torsten Adair says:

    I read part four of OMD. I’ll read the first issue of the next arc. I might read the trades. What I will do is buy the hardcover collections of JMS’ spider-man titles.
    The possibilities of JMS’ outline …make it perfect, then slowly let Peter know just how awful such a life is… could have sustained years of storytelling. Meanwhile, you pull a Secret Wars technique, where the next issue shows Peter, May, and Mary Jane back to normal, leaving readers to wonder what happened in between. Heck, if that alternate line works, then they do the same for other titles, like Marvel did for Zombies or House of M. Maybe Bruce Banner can control his change into the Hulk, or Betty gains gamma abilities. Or Sue Storm doesn’t lose the baby. Or Doctor Doom succeeds at Empire State. Or various deaths are reversed. Each year is an event, running complete and parallel to the 616 universe. Or let it continue as long as sales and stories allow.

  32. Unpopular says:

    Hmm, editorial mandates at Marvel making the actual writers of the books unhappy?

    Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

  33. Exactly JMS, exactly.

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