You do realise I was joking right?
And I agree. But my disagreement is with people who believe it solely or existed to get rid of the marriage.
I cannot comment on the fan reaction, but I believe Greenberg merely mentions that the fans didn’t like it and that higher management decreed a reversal.
Again though, the events don’t carry that out, but that’s because if we believe DeFalco then most of the writers were unaware of those plans and were writing things sincerely with the idea Ben was the original recipe Spider-Man, thus obviously the stories would hint/convey that idea. More than this that plan was jettisoned relatively early on and thus the groundwork for the longer term game plan he and a few others had in mind never became a thing. It’s like starting to cook with the intention of making a cake but then during the course of your cooking session changing gears and making pancakes instead. To the onlooker it doesn’t look like you ever intended to make a cake at all. But imagine if like 5 people were sharing in the cooking and 3 of them really belived they were making a cake without realising they’d actually wind up making pancakes because the other 2 privately decided there would be pancakes. But then a sixth person says actually we are making pancakes for real….that analogy might’ve gotten away from me.
I know it wasn’t hinted at or communicated to the rest of Marvel. DeFalco said that too although the other writers knew they might need to reverse gears.
Superior was indeed set up to be undone although I think not as soon as it was. Much like Ghost Peter’s inclusion in the first place I think Peter’s return was mandated to be earlier than Slott wanted, possibly to tie into the movie.
I know you were there, but there is not a universal standard across fandom. I am not saying they were the minority or the majority I am saying they existed. I am saying there were people who liked Ben for himself and some who even liked him replacing Peter (though they were a minority of a minority).
Well technically speaking replacing Peter with Ben wouldn’t have solved thier problems. Yeah Spider-Man is now single but there is the tiny problem of how he can’t look like or be called Peter Parker nor have proper interactions with the supporting cast of Spider-Man given his lack of memories and history.
Well saying you disliked Redemption or Lost Years is like saying you don’t care about a Damien Wayne Robin story. He was a whole other character and could thus resonate with some people whilst not resonating with others. I know I was only vaguely familiar with Ben and when I read Lost years at the start of the clone saga I fell hard for him. I also think that whilst some might find it not like it personally, Lost Years in terms of story craft and characterisation is strong.
There are other really good stories as well though. Whilst killing him off was dumb Web of Death is very strong for Doc Ock, the issues where Peter and Ben bond are very good and the status quo was interesting by virtue of how unique it was. Also Final Adventure is pretty good.
See the final issue of Revelations is I think the best part and a mostly excellent ending to the clone saga. It was heartbreaking, terrifying, larger than life, titanic and a most worthy end to the proceedings.
I don’t see that at all. Gwen’s death story was not undermined at all since Gwen herself remained dead. Harry was also dead meaning his actions weren’t cheapened and the Hobgoblin never even met Norman in the first place. on the flipside Norman himself reached new heights as a villain no other Spider-Man adversary had ever reached by that point or since. Far from not recovering I think Norman’s death helped make the titles MUCH better afterwards when he became the owner of the Bugle and the ongoing villain for Spider-Man. more than this amaxing stories like the Revenge of the Green Goblin, A Death in the Family and Marvel Knights Spider-Man hinge upon Norman being back. And far from damaging the titles, they gave Spider-Man his greatest adversary back and then built him up even further, and for a super hero title that is integral.
I don’t see how not killing Norman is cheapened by his resurrection at all. The point that even when driven by his immense anger Spider-Man still won’t cross a moral line is still there. The irony that the Goblin dies despite that is lost, but is replaced instead by a new gravitas and irony. That of us knowing he isn’t really dead, but has been set up to return more powerful and more terrible than ever before as the single greatest source of evil in Spider-Man’s life. More than this, Peter’s decision to not kill him adopts a new irony since if he had hypothetically killed Norman then he would’ve spared himself a lot of heartache later on.
Norman’s return wasn’t justified?
Dude…he’s literally the best Spider-Man villain ever. Whole runs and stories delving into his and Peter’s psychology have been told with his return, they’re rivalry has drawn in and damaged the people around them making use of the supporting cast as a whole. Thematically he is the perfect nemesis for Spider-Man. His psychological complexity as a villain and as a character is unmatched by any of the other villains, apart from arguably Harry but even then Harry’s psychology is somewhat dependant upon Norman’s character. They’re fights were epic and more personal than with any of the other Spider-Man villains. It was an incredibly justified return for the character which righted the competitive disadvantage Spider-Man was up against. Batman and Superman had Lex and Joker. Spider-Man though lacked a good Goblin villain in his rogue’s gallery and Venom and Doc Ock were simply never as good as Norman was in life nor as good as his potential promised him to be. Harry was a good villain but not in the long term, plus he was dead and had a death that really shouldn’t have been undone since the story was entirely about that.
I didn’t like Sins Past but at the same time let’s remember Norman being the dad was never the original intention. Also the problem with Sins Past is less that Norman and Gwen slept together (that actually isn’t all that unbelievable) but that it makes no effing sense in continuity since she was clearly never pregnant. It does arguably make her very frequent bouts of tears more understandable and improves Gwen as a character, but (unlike Norman’s resurrection) it was not a good retcon and not a good trade-off.
Well in fairness new villains are the hardest kind of characters to come up with because the concepts for them have been so thoroughly canvassed. So when you have a good one, unless there is a very good reason for it, keeping them dead is a bad idea. Kraven sucked as a villain he didn’t need to return. Doc Ock and Norman were great villains they DID need to return. By the same token having Venom be a good guy is a bad idea. Good villains are golddust basically hence they inevitably come back to life when they seemingly die.
And Norman was also like the only character who could realistically be behind the clone saga. Yeah they suggested harry but he never made any sense when you thought about it.
What do you mean? What Mackie stories weren’t in continuity apart from the Reboot stuff referencing Chapter One (which was more Byrne’s fault). Name of the Rose sucked but that was like early in his career. I don’t see how the Stacys were really inconsistent apart from maybe Jill.
Well yes and no. He was wrong because he was handed a character who wasn’t Spider-Man and therefore wasn’t inclined to stay. He was the right writer for the time because he was writing the strongest book and we needed strong books at the time, e.g. he opened up Ben’s debut as Spider-Man in a very effective manner.
In a way even though he didn’t like writing on the Clone Saga, his issues were good and weirdly I give him credit for that as a professional for getting the job done despite his reservations.
I am mixed on having him on the mainstream title due to his anti-marriage policy and his idea that Spider-Man is about suffering.
Not saying Jim Lee sucks, just saying Bagley is good on a professional level.
I was pretty sick and tired of discussing the clone saga at the time it was happening, so whilst I appreciate the conversation, I’m going to bow out. I still have deep scars, and the scabs apparently aren’t healed over yet despite the time passage!
I will say, however, that there is NO WAY one can even come close to justify Norman’s return to the books.
1) It cheapens the original story, which is a classic and should not have been tampered with. Norman was killed by his own hubris - it’s practically a perfect story and works on so many different levels. Also, Norman’s effect was still felt in the books - he didn’t have to physically return at all.
2) No story since then has justified his return. And most of them have been crappity-crap shit like the Gathering of Five and Sins Past (I disagree that story improves Gwen’s character. It makes her even more of a helpless female and an even more overt object of lust for male lust’s sake).
You mentioned A Death in the Family - I think that story shows an innate failure to understand either Peter OR Norman. Paul Jenkins - whose Hellblazer I adored - has completely the wrong sensibility for Spider-Man.
A Death in the Family undermined the very foundation of Spider-Man. Peter pretty much told Norman to go ahead, kill all of Peter’s loved ones, Peter will still survive. Which is a very strong theme and a terrific character insight - for some other character. Because Peter’s whole raison d’etre comes from Uncle Ben’s death, compounded by Gwen’s death. Peter is built on “with great power comes great responsibility” - and that means a responsibility to STOP Norman, not give him carte blanche.
Ah, others said, but Peter knew Norman was bluffing!
To which I say: WTF?!?! Norman killed Gwen! Norman killed Baby May! (not that Marvel will ever acknowledge the baby ever again. But Peter should have known that). Norman kidnapped Aunt May for eons and replaced her with an actress (even though that stretches all bounds of credulity). Norman killed and tortured all sorts of people! He is, in the literal sense of the word, a serial killer! But he’s going to stop because Peter says, “Sure, go ahead and do it.” RLLY?! SRSLY?!?!
Marvel Knights didn’t need Osborn. Kingpin would have worked just as well for the whole “Crime Boss” angle bankrolling bad guys. And then maybe we wouldn’t have YET ANOTHER bridge scene. Originality, Marvel! Originality! Stop being so creatively bankrupt for once! And then maybe you’ll have new stories to reference thirty years from now instead of going back to the same old, same old, same old! /rant Plus, really, kidnapping May AGAIN, Norman? :rolleyes
So no, there is no story since Norman’s return that makes up for crapping on ASM 122.
3) It takes away something special from the Spider-Man mythos and turns the comic into just another four color punch up fest. The death of Norman was unique BECAUSE Norman stayed dead. The death of Gwen said that heroes don’t always win; the death of Norman said that karma, fate, the universe what-have-you still looks out for the good guys. The guys that try. The guys that continue to live up to their responsibility, even when it hurts, even when life hands them one tragedy after another.
With Norman’s return, Peter loses both the karmic symbolism and he becomes just another run-of-the-mill comic book hero, No matter how dead and vanquished the bad guys looks, the reader knows the bad guy will just show up again as if nothing happened. Sigh. Ho hum.
In fact, Norman’s death made the resurrection of other heroes believable. Because THIS TIME the bad guy might actually stay dead, like Norman. THIS TIME Peter (or fate) might put the bad guy forever for good.
But now that Norman keeps showing up like a bad, cackling, megalomanic penny pulling all the strings, now we know the bad guy will never stay dead. S/He’ll just show up again for another game of Whack-a-Villain.
It’s like Peter’s dating life after OMD: now we know no love interest is destined to stick around for good. Peter will just bounce from one girl to another; and from one resurrected bad guy to another.
And hey, it works for DC characters. But I’ve always felt that DC heroes are archetypes first, characters second. That’s how they can get away with rebooting every ten years of so - the characters’ histories don’t really matter, because the characters themselves don’t really change. It’s the idea of the character that matters.
But Marvel - pre-Quesada - the heroes are characters first, archetypes in the background. Peter is interesting because he’s PETER; because he has this long history; because he was allowed to change and grow and learn (to a certain extent).
But I guess even though Marvel has long ruled the sales charts, it feels that character longevity relies on eliminating deep continuity and character growth - just like DC. Which, fine, it’s a choice. It’s just not a very exciting or creative or designed to grab and hold readers choice.
I disagree about new villains. Comic book creators are paid to create. That’s their job. There are all sorts of new worries and concerns in the world off which to create bad guys and new scenarios. After all, much of the Marvel Universe was a response to 1960s fears about nuclear science - radiation, mutation, etc. We have new fears today. And all bad guys were brand new once. Surely all the imagination in the world hasn’t been tapped out!?
No it doesn’t. Beleive me I have thought about this one intensly.
The story was never about Norman’s death but about Gwen’s and she was still alive. It did not cheapen the story at all so much as swap out one sense of gravitas for a different kind. Instead of being the final note in the life of a villain, it is a sinister moment for said villain to arise again greater and more terrible than before. Hardly a cheapening. His own hubris in a sense could be said to have still killed him since he didn’t know about his healing factor so the hubris aspect is still there to an extent. But it adds a new layer of malevolence to Norman that he was the Spider-Man villain who more than anyone else (at the time) truly came back to haunt Peter.
That isn’t true. Norman’s presence was felt but there is a Helluva lot of difference between Norman’s ghost looming over Spider-Man and actually locking fists with the Devil himself, the primary source of pain and torment in his life who’s taken more from him than anyone. In having Norman be alive and fighting Spider-Man it actually makes Gwen’s memory even more relevant since it’s obviously at the forefront of everyone’s mind whenever they meet. More than this that sinister ghost like presence Norman had in a way is exactly WHY bringing him back as a corporeal villain was both scary and effective. Now a villain of that magnitude and gravitas can actually FIGHT Spider-Man.
Revelations, Citizen Osborn, that entire run where he ran the Bugle, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Revenge of the Green Goblin and A Death in the Family. Not only are they all stories which feature him they are all GOOD stories and some of them are absolutely great. Marvel Knights was fantastic fun, A Death in the Family was dark and psychological, Revenge of the Green Goblin brought Spider-Man and his nemesis closer together and played upon a massive theme of Spider-Man and the Revelations storyline was Norman as a truly malevolent villain who reached heights no other villain in Spider-Man had. Those were ALL good stories and they ALL justified his return. You literally can’t tell like half of Spider-Man’s history post 1996 without Norman Osborn being alive again.
Er, excuse me but no. Most of them have fundamentally NOT been crappity crap crap. Sins Past and Gathering of Five are the exceptions and by no means the rule.
I say Sins Past improves gwen character in so far as it develops her and makes her more interesting since she was now a woman who like the rest of ‘the gang’ had her own dark secret that she was struggling with and to deal with that by herself demonstrated an immense strength and moral ambiguity (since she expected Peter to be the father). In these ways it made her a more fleshed out character but it’s pointless to develop a dead character. As for the object thing that’s another debate I won’t necessarily disagree with you on.
…Why? How does Jenkins demonstrate a misunderstanding for Spider-Man or Norman?
I think that’s a misunderstanding of the ending. In no way shape or form are we supposed to truly take Peter on his word to Norman and believe he’d really not care if Norman harmed his loved ones. Peter was scoring the moral victory by taking away Norman’s reason for being. If he convinces Norman that he isn’t going to worry about him anymore (that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to stop him, just not angst about him) then Norman has just lost much of the point in tormenting Peter and thus a lot of his meaning in life has been undermined. Peter was playing a head game on Norman basically because he knew that Norman wanted suicide by Spider-Man and Peter wasn’t going to give it to him. Which left the suicidal Norman temporarily defeated with the only option being to kill himself but he couldn’t bring himself to do that. Thus Peter’s ‘victory’ was to leave Norman to languish alive as a miserable piece of crap. At least for awhile.
Peter knew Norman would commit acts of evil, but Peter in that story made it clear that no matter what Norman did, Peter would never cross the moral line and kill him. And since the whole point was for Norman to make Peter kill him Norman lost the battle. Peter also clocked Norman’s true intentions and some of his bluffing when norman threatened Normie Osborn. Petr knows that however screwed up Norman is, in a warped way he loves his family too much that he’d ever deliberately kill them.
Also, FWIW, Norman probably did not kill May at all. That’d be dumb and out of character for him. I don’t think even he’d do that and also why bother when you get to cause pain by making your enemy feel grief whilst making it ultimately meaningless and you get a potential super powered baby out of the deal too.
Well…I dunno if technically speaking Norman counts as a serial killer, they need patterns. He’s more just a mass murderer.
Marvel Knights didn’t need Osborn? Dude…you NEEDED someone who knew Peter was Spider-Man for that story to work, you needed someone with super powers to fight Spider-Man and that whole businessman’s cartel thing was building upon Untold Tales continuity. More than this it’s a Helluva lot less interesting without Norman since he has a personal connection to Peter and history with him, and having HIM re-enact the bridge scene is WAAAAAAAAAAY more dramatic than with anyone else.
YES it’s another bridge homage….but it is also literally THE BEST bridge homage EVER, because it’s really Norman there and MJ too. I.e. the most important character in the series, the most important supporting character and the most important villain.
On top of this, Norman is the only guy who knows and cares enough to upgrade all of Spider-Man’s villains to screw with him the way he did and construct ridiculously complicated wheels within wheels plans and play dirty the way he did.
Kingpin hasn’t got any of that stuff. In fact there isn’t a single villain you could’ve swapped out for that role.
Well hold on, he kidnapped May again, but this way played significantly differently because this time we KNEW she was abducted and there was a mystery built around that.
So yes actually there was a lot of great stuff that came out of Norman’s return in ASM #122
No it doesn’t. The super hero genre is driven by the conflict between the heroes and the villains and when you really get a good hero.villain dynamic that is golddust. This isn’t just “punch the villain”. This is a BLOOD FEUD, this is a clash of two ideologies which cannot tolerate one another and draw in the people in both of their lives.
This taps into a personal and PRIMAL conflict.
That is a great thing to have in ANY super hero comic and if you lose a character which can generate that for the sake of having another character be unique just for NOT being in the seires that’s a poor trade off. We could’ve had that if Harry or Kraven had stayed dead. In fact in that sense Norman became LESS unique because he suddenly wasn’t the only major villain to remain dead for awhile and then when he came back Kraven and Harry also still remained dead so that quota was still filled.
Ultimately it is nonsensical to let good characters languish in limbo if you gain more from them being IN the book than out of it
Like I said, what you lose in ASM #122 is replaced by something different but equally good. And technically the karma angle was present in Kraven’s death as well. Plus you gain different symbolism from just having Norman in the book as well.
He really doesn’t become anything at all like a run of the mill comic book hero because of the immense crap Norman puts him through which he still endures is still noticatbly different. And considering Norman’s death led to a helluva lot of grief anyway, how much karmic symbolism was in there in the long term anyway. Norman’s death unleashed the Hobgoblins AND led Harry down a path of destruction. And on top of this if Spider-Man becomes less unique and more generic by having a massive arch-nemesis who generates potent conflict and drama, I think that’s not a bad trade off. It’s like being unique in a sporting event with a handicap, you’re at a competitive diasadvantage. You NEED the good villains and Norman 100% was one. You cannot afford to waste those guys because creating new villains is MUCH harder than creating just new characters or even new stories since there are only so many effective gimmicks and personalities to go round.
Dude c’mon death had already become a cheap currency in comic books by the time Norman came back. If nothing else the Death of Superman had seen to that. villains and supporting character might not have been coming back from the dead AS cheaply as they do now but by 1996 it was definitely a serious trope.
Yes, the villain will always show up again….isn’t that wonderful because why would you want the great villains to go away forever? Also what exactly is wrong with Norman pulling the strings? It’s within his character, it’s sinister, it generated good stories from that and it was only egregiously revealed ONCE in Sins Past and every other time was legit.
Oh I’m sorry but it’s really not like his dating life. Peter’s dating life was intended to go somewhere, in the superhero genre you understand they’re always gonna fight the villains because that’s very much at the heart of the point of the genre and symbolic of the never ending fight real life people wage to uphold justice.
I disagree with that. DC characters are also characters (or became characters. Superman is inevitably an archetype because he came first.
I actually don’t think they get away with rebooting. After the 1980s reboot they should’ve stuck to their guns and their continuity was really good whereas now it’s a mess along with the whole company.
I….actually don’t think Marvel characters are bult to last indefinitely. I think they were created in an inherently finite way.
They can create new villains, but how many honestly great new villains were created for Spider-Man after Stan’s run? Jackal, Hammerhead, Tombstone, Venom, Carnage (who’s derivative of Venom) and Hobgoblin (who’s derivative of Norman). After those guys there are no great villains. GREAT villains are a small pool to draw from and Spider-Man in having the second best super hero rogue’s gallery would be foolish to kill off his absolute best villain if the aim to to tell interesting stories. it’s different for someone like Kraven who honestly sucked until he died. Norman was awesome before during and after his death.
The Green Goblin and Kingpin weren’t really villains spawned from 1960s Cold War fears. Nor was Electro, Mysterio or even the Vulture or Scorpion really.
Dude, I’m not a dude. It’s a condescending form of address you’ve used at least twice now. I don’t appreciate it.
You’re not the only one to think “intensely.” I’m pretty damn happy with my thought processes and demonstrated ability to think critically about pop culture, high culture, low culture and all in between. Basically you’re saying it’s kewl Norman returned and you just want to see him and Peter slug it out. *shrug* But kewl is in the eye of the beholder, and I firmly believe thematically, dramatically and creatively the return of Norman was and continues to be shit.
Funny, too, how Spider-Man managed to last - and grow in popularity - in the thirty years Norman did remain dead. But sure, go on believing Norman is necessary for interesting stories (because the super-powered megalomaniacal supervillain who has unlimited resources at his control and always shows up pulling the strings: that’s not a storytelling cop-out AT ALL). As for the Devil himself - they did that story, too, in Spider-Man and it resulted in the crapfests OMD and OMIT, so, yeah, I think devils - whether literal or figurative - aren’t Spider-Man.
Before Norman’s return, Spider-Man was somewhat grounded in real life stakes; beloved girlfriends can die, but so can your worst enemy. Death. Mattered. And other villains could be resurrected because each time, the reader didn’t know if this death would stick - because Norman’s death stuck.
Now? There’s no suspense. There’s no gravitas. Just some more meaningless, senseless punch ups that, in the end, won’t matter one bit because Peter and his rogues gallery apparently have to stay static.
Kinda like this conversation. There’s no suspense, because on my end? This is my opinion and it’s a well-reasoned one. It’s not going to change, no matter how passionately you argue - and I do appreciate your passion. So just like a supervillain returning for yet another go-round, continuing this would be pointless. And of course, you are more than welcome to hold your own opinion and interpretation. It just isn’t - and never will be - mine.