Friday, February 13, 2009
Peter and Mary Jane (Or How I Came To Hate Joe Quesada)
Perhaps hate is a strong word, more along the lines of dislike. Tell the truth, I respect the man for helping Marvel out of bankruptcy, but I find that every time he gets involved in trying to tell the stories for the writers, the outcomes is horrendous. The biggest screw-up in his career, in my humble opinion, was the debacle of One More Day, where Peter Parker sold his marriage with Mary Jane Watson to save his octogenarian aunt from death. It has been more than a year since that happen and I have not bought any single issue or collection of Amazing Spider-Man since then in boycott to what I consider to be incredible lazy and uncreative writing. Am I bitter? Maybe, but I think I have a good reason to do so.
I have always been a fan of Spider-Man ever since I was a kid, but I never really started reading the ongoing comics until the J. Michael Straczynski years. Despite what people think about him and his run on ASM (I think Sins Past was a stupid idea as much as the next guy) one of the best things that JMS did was making Peter Parker grow as a person. While responsibility has always been a tenet of the Spider-Man mythos, during his tenure on the title, he gave Peter Parker something else, stability and maturity: Peter was no longer a freelance photographer, he got a job as an elementary school teacher, he had to finally face Aunt May about his alter-ego, and he worked out the problems and issues him and Mary Jane were having (another writer had previously separated them). During the writer's run, Peter and MJ's relationship went through trials and tribulations, but at the end their love was strong enough to mend all injuries. One More Day's greatest crime was not the fact that it undid the marriage (I'm hardly a "sanctity of marriage" kind of guy), but the fact that it destroyed the long-time relationship that these two characters had over time. They weren't always the perfect happy couple, they argued and sometimes they became jealous of each other, but those are things that all real couples must face at one point or the other. Their interests aren't exactly the same, Peter is probably not the kind to be interested in the modeling world and MJ is probably not going to be cracking open a biochemistry book, but that's how people are in real life too.
One of JMS' points about their relationship was that these characters loved each other so much, that without each other they could not function, and that is something that reverberates with me. I have a lovely wife, Janett, and together we have gone through so much that we both have grown as human beings, because our love has kept us together. When we first started going out, her hair was long and red and I have always been the perpetual nerd, so I would jokingly call her (in what is either really cute or really geeky, depends how you view it) "The MJ to my Peter Parker". In an almost petty way, it feels like Quesada and Marvel took that away (even if we still have the older stories), in order to reverse the character to what it was 30 years ago. What is the message that I am supposed to get from this? Married people are not interesting? That if the devil offered me a really good deal, I should give up my wife for it? Or maybe that I am just not the target audience for Amazing Spider-Man anymore (even though I am not that old)? In that case, I guess then it is not incredible petty of me to decide not to buy the comics anymore.
And to end this post of a happier note, I would also like to wish a very happy Valentine's Day (it already is the fourteenth here, but the blog seems to be on U.S. time) to my wife, who I love very much and who also likes to read my blog. I really did hit the jackpot when I met her, and no editorial mandate is going to take her away from me.