Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Here's an intelligent and insightful analysis of Kraven's Last Hunt. Very grateful that people are still discovering, and discussing, this story more than thirty years after its publication.  


  1. Len Wein always struck me as a soup an sandwich type of guy.

    But, as to what you were saying Dematteis, let me see if I have this correct...

    Your saying that that both the shift from Superman to Batman as DC's biggest hero in the 80s, and Spider-man to Iron Man as Marvel's every-man hero share similarities, and tell a possible story of society?

    I will grant that you are correct about both characters being obscenely wealthy and the characters they usurped the role from were from working class backgrounds, and the shifts happened in times not great for working class folks (80s and late 00s/early 2010s). BUT correlation is not causation.

    The other replacements you talk about... Superman's morality and faith in humanity vs. Batman's rule bending and cynicism, Spider-Man's learning from his mistakes and evolution to a character of altruism... his self-examination and doubt vs. Iron Man's arrogance, shirking responsibility to others, and self-involved nature.... that is really weird.

    I mean, your implication is so profoundly disturbing. If arts popularity is truly reflective the society that consumes its values, it would mean people believe only being born fortunate is a way to make some type of difference in the world, that their questionable moral stances and behavior should not be questioned.

    That only things done to you matter, not proper raising like Superman or growing moments like Spider-man. I self-centered form of altruism... or at least social interaction.

    That these negative ideas, which admittedly the characters have seen ramped up in the 21st century, are viewed as as the only way to accomplish. That goodness for its sake and hard work is a liability to success.

    That there would be real world equivalents waiting in the wings, working to exercise influence devoid of notable and lacking in doubt because of overriding ego... that will enter into a world full of people waiting to just let it happen.

    I guess as a credit to your point, the MCU Spider-man doesn't go to public school, seems to be beloved by people, and is beholden to a character who is somewhat contrary to the usual Spider-man mantra. Also, the MCU Dr Strange didn't seem to learn the same lesson about arrogance being bad that the comic version did.

    You may not want to try penciling those comics of yours Dematteis, because you draw a picture that is Bal-leak.

    That isn't even getting into the larger picture of Marvel moving away from the underdogs, outcasts, and weirdos (yes that includes Cap) that was part of their DNA.

    Stepping aside from your... really depressing theory... I have one of my own.

    I have always theorized Peter Parker subconsciously wants to be on the poorer side.

    Almost like a holy man's vow of poverty, to keep his mind more focused.

    Where as people in his life like May and MJ remind him why he fights, there is a fear that the finer things would distract him.

    Just look at his origin. Seeking personal wealth made him make the wrong choice. The loss of Uncle Ben, and thus the connection he had, helped him get his head straight.


  2. What I was saying? I wasn't saying anything!

    But, as always, Jack, fascinating thoughts and insights.

    Re: the MCU Spidey. The current movie incarnation of Peter Parker—however well done and entertaining (and it is both)—really doesn't align with the Peter Parker I've written. The Raimi version is much closer to the "everyman," working class hero I know and love. The MCU version feels more like Iron Man, Jr.

    This isn't a knock on the movies—they're terrific!—and folks are free to evolve and interpret these characters however they'd like. I'm sure there were fans of the classic Lee-Ditko-Romita Spidey who thought my interpretation strayed too far from the established template. It's the nature of the beast. We all have "our" versions of these characters and sometimes find it hard to adjust to new, different interpretations.

    1. On the surface level, I don't think Peter would ever seek out poverty. He has real material needs, not the least of which is providing for Aunt May. But I can totally buy into the possibility that on a subconscious level he's terrified of material success. That even though he'd never admit it to himself, he's grateful for all the occasions where being Spider-Man has been an obstacle to any kind of long term career path. Both as punishment for Uncle Ben's death and the fear that he's still not equipped to handle success.

      If you look at the Lee/Ditko era, for instance, Peter paradoxically sought out and rejected professional connections at the same time. I mean, Peter's a smart kid, he has to know on some level that picking a fight with your potential employer is not the best way to go about a job interview. Nor is burning that bridge when they tell you they aren't a for-profit organization.

      Over time, Peter matured and stopped deliberately antagonizing established heroes. But his distancing manifested in different ways; at heart, it became about him feeling he would never be worthy.

      There's a brilliant sequence in Roger Stern's story "The Daydreamers" where Peter achieves everything he's ever said he wanted. The public acknowledges him as a hero, including J Jonah Jameson. The Avengers and the FF fight over who gets to recruit him. But then Captain America catches a reflection of Spider-Man in his shield, and it's Peter Parker. And suddenly the dream fades to nightmare as all the heroes reject him, saying "he's just some skinny kid." (Never mind the fact that he'd been drawn as pretty muscular since the Romita era--that's how Peter still saw himself.)

      On another level, Pete just isn't an establishment type. He needs the kind of flexibility embodied by the freelance lifestyle and those awkward Ditko and McFarlane poses. He can work with others but he's just not the kind of guy who joins up. Realistically, if he joined the Avengers he'd get fired for letting his world-saving take a backseat to the friendly neighborhood.

      But I digress. Also, there are versions of Spidey other than yours? I just assumed some people were better at writing it than others! :)


    2. I heard a rumor that there were a couple of other writers who worked on Spidey over the years, David. But that's just a rumor! :)

  3. Wow, just glossed over the point I was making, huh.

    If it makes you feel any better, there is a reason the MCU Spider-man doesn't seem like the one you wrote... he wasn't.

    When they were putting the character together they wanted to separate him from the other two film versions. Because of this they drew largely from Miles Morales.

    He has Miles (from the comics, not as Much from Into the Spider-verse) personality, relationship with other heroes, school situation, and even some of his supporting characters.

    That is actually why Miles from into the Spider-verse is how he is, they had to differentiate him form the MCU Spider-man.

    It is also odd that you mentioned the Lee-Romita version being different that the Lee-Ditko, because... yeah, however Ditko by all accounts wanted to change SPidey.

    He wanted him to grow out of having problems, and making mistakes. A change that would have seen much more of a stray from the original than hanging out with friends.

    The odd thing to me is how they tried to legitimize Iron Man's role as the "every-man hero" by making Peter his sidekick.

    It is almost a less severe version of what happened over at DC with Superman when Bats became eh bigger name.

    How many times has Superman become a villain in alternate realities only to have Batman have to stop him. While I won't pretend some of those aren't great stories, it seems a little less likely the guy who becomes a hero because of a moral obligation goes evil than the guy in a cave with strike files on all his friends, built a genocide device for anyone with superpowers (both actual main DC Universe story lines), and dangles people off rooftops.

    Or in main continuity, how many times has Superman been brainwashed with Batman having to stop his friend?

    In both cases it is almost like what the Romans used to do, where after the conquered a people they had to humiliate them and crush their spirit. They can't just take the position and be happy, they have to constantly remind the heroes they replaced that they have lost their position.

    Which admittedly is more a Batman and Tony Stark thing than Clark and Peter.

    Which again brings back around to the question of just what these changes to characters who are less connected to basic humanity on an interpersonal level, and who have egos the size of all out doors... with a wallet to match... says about us as a society. Which, Dematteis, I believe was your original point.


    1. I knew absolutely nothing about Miles Morales before seeing INTO THE SPIDERVERSE (which I really enjoyed), so I never noticed similarities between the current MCU Peter Parker and Miles.

      Interesting point about Superman and some people's need to
      turn one of greatest, purist heroes into something dark.
      (Said the man who co-wrote the JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS mini-series.)

  4. To be fair... wasn't that technically Zod's kid as Superman? I think that might be a bit different.

    Don't forget the replacement of the every-man hero.

    Disbelieving in goodness in a character like Superman is depressing, but his arch-villain basically lives by that credo. Where as Spider-man has character flaws he feels bad about, and at least wants to change, Stark doesn't

    That is actively having an issue and saying it is someone else's problem. Even the most cynical people view that as bad. It is a strange habit for a hero to have.

    There was a story in the 2000s where Stark became secretary of Defense, despite having no experience in combat, ego-politcs, or diplomacy.

    Can you imagine what would happen if a wealthy person bluffed themselves into a a political position, refused to acknowledge any flaws in themselves, shrugged off or attacked people who critiqued them, and always believed they were the smartest in the room on everything,, even if they weren't.

    How disturbing would it be if that mentality made it to the real world.

    Or if the people tasked with real world crime stopping had the modern Batman's arrogance, contempt for being questioned, and willingness to bend laws, and belief that those who dolt are weak or foolish.

    How would the populace ever TRULY feel safe.

    All we can do is hope those things never happened, and look into ourselves and society itself as to why wanting to be better has gone out of style, and embracing our worst elements and saying they are okay. I mean, Batman wasn't REALLY like that very often until the 21st century (though the 8i0s did start down that road)... what changed.

    I mean... Batman's favorite thing to do is dangle people off buildings until they give him the answer he wants. At best that is coercion.

    Tony Stark is an ass who is okay with being an ass.

    Why did these become not only acceptable, but considered the best? And why does it seem only if the person is a billionaire? What do any of those questions say about our society at large.


  5. "Can you imagine what would happen if a wealthy person bluffed themselves into a a political position, refused to acknowledge any flaws in themselves, shrugged off or attacked people who critiqued them, and always believed they were the smartest in the room on everything,, even if they weren't.

    How disturbing would it be if that mentality made it to the real world."

    Preposterous, Jack. Absolutely preposterous!

    The interesting thing about Batman is that he's a character who is open to so many interpretations. The version you describe is one, and I've written him that way; but I've also written him as a truly good and decent man, trying to emulate his father by being Gotham's "doctor," as a straight man (in on the joke) with the JLI, and as the innocent, slightly goofy 50s era Batman of BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD. And yet, somehow, they all remain Batman!

    A character like Iron Man doesn't have those kinds of broad interpretations.

    1. But... Doesn't Batman being such a malleable character make it even more... notable ...that for the past 20 years he has been in this curve towards this form, sacrificing the Man for the Bat, decreasing the respect for human rights, increasing the paranoia and authoritarianism?

      If he can be anything... why do people seem to want him to be that.

      Even in the days after Crisis, when they were really playing up the dark-brooding bat, Starlin, Moench, Grant, and company still kept it in check.

      Moench even once commented on the direction the character had taken since he left, believing it had changed from the way he and his compatriots of the time wrote him. And they were no stranger to dark and intense stories.

      Why make an icon into this? It isn't just a few folk, or a moment. It is two decades, countless comics, and critically acclaimed films.


    2. I can only think that Batman has become a repository for writers' reactions to changes in the world around us.

      Another reason why I was so happy to write for BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. That Batman was actually fun!

      I'm not overly familiar with (relatively) recent interpretations of the character, but didn't Grant Morrison do a big, fun spin on Batman in at least one of his runs?

    3. That isn't really how I remember Morrison's run. I remember him bringing back the the "club of heroes," but he made the Swedish one so petty and the Italian one such a fat wash-up that they sold them out to a murder.

      I believe Bat-mite returned as part of a psychotic Break, he created Professor Pyg... whose whole thing was mutilating people.

      Also, Bats sent a guy into space who shouldn't die to live completely isolated for all eternity.

      Let's not forget, the creation of Damian Wayne, the first psychopath Robin. Who tried to kill the previous Robin... a lot, and and perpetually told him adoption doesn't count.

      So... kind of Dart. Also,who was stabbed in the heart as a child.

      But I have to disagree about "writers' reactions to changes in the world around us."

      I mean, writers write a lot of stuff, but it doesn't imprint itself on an icon for two decades. The people have to accept it... want it. WHY?

      Crime started to drop dramatically in the 21st century, the same time this happened. It couldn't be a desire for revenge on crime.

      Denny O'Neil wrote the character in the crime-ridden 70s and bought him back to glory be specifically highlighting his humanity and caring.

      There is something in society clamoring for the character of Batman to rise to prominence above all others, and do it by being arrogant, aggressive, and violent. Hell, one of the biggest complaints long time Bat-fans have is that he doesn't even do detective work anymore, just hit people.

      Perhaps most... interesting... as he took on these more extreme tendencies he became strangely uneatable, shrugging off an army of 100 highly trained assassins, an actual story from mainstream Batman within the past five years.

      For some reason people want this angry, criminal hating to the point of paranoid behavior to be so smart and skilled he can't be stopped.

      IN something like comics the creators are only one piece of success, it is also a willingness to accept it. How many great runs don't sell well because they come out at the wrong time, with a talented creative team?

      Maybe that is why Spidey had to become a sidekick, more beholden to another. A character born out of learning from a mistake that cost someone there life, accepting humility and responsibility, and based around the idea of being fallible doesn't work.

      Or maybe...


    4. I haven't read the Morrison run—just a story here or there—but I thought he sent Bats on some goofy (in the best sense of the word) time travel adventure, with a Cave Man Batman, etc. But I may be mistaken!

      "Or maybe..." what?

  6. With comics, there's always the danger of imagery escaping its original context. There's also certain themes that naturally repeat themselves in serial storytelling, to the extent that they can eventually be mistaken for character traits as opposed to temporary crises.

    Since Jason Todd's death, there have been multiple long-form arcs that explore Batman descending further into his crimefighting persona, alienating his allies, and eventually coming out on the other side of the crisis a better man. But generally the next creative team picks up and puts him through something similar again. And after a while it's easy to lose sight that, taken individually, each of these stories intend to show Batman's brutality and thoughtless behavior as being outside the norm. A temporary lapse.

    That's my two cents, anyway!


  7. Well Dematteis, that is kind of hard to pin down. Yes there was a story where he was racing through different time periods. However, it was because Darkseid hit hm with Omega Beams, after Batman pulled a gun him. Yeah, that is not a typo. Bats pulled a gun on Darkseid.

    I am not sure how that fits into "fun scale." Also... and no one who has ever read Morrison's work should be surprised by this... it was less a big fun type story as a contextualize commentary about the Batman archetype existing through the ages. So... yeah.

    as for the "or Maybe..." that was an invite for you to guess, but if I am required to do the heavy lifting for everyone:

    I guess one could argue that Peter Parker represents nuance. His personal life is problem, but often because he is trying to do the right thing, but still wants to correct that. He is the ultimate loner, and like being a loner, but resents being shunned. He is both the most serious of Marvel characters, and also the most fun-loving. In his first appearance, even as he says he hates the world, he makes a notable accretion for his Aunt and uncle. He refuses to ever talk about his problems with anyone, lay his burden at their feet, but still they claw in his mind, almost begging to be said in hopes of understanding. He loves his aunt as a mother, but also seeks to separate himself from her.

    This is the kind of thing you would learn about a person in the course of a conversation over time. Really getting to know them.

    Iron Man conversely, the "new every-man," is brash, unapologetic, throws his problems in your face, and demands you apologize, even if he is the one who is wrong. Sounds a lot like a person on social media.

    Batman is about symbology, even from the beginning. He designed a costume to scare people. He was the dark Avenger. Then he was the sunny masked-man here to help. No matter what form he takes it is always stressed that you know immediately.

    In an era were forms of communication are shrinking into soundbites and 280 characters, a nuanced character is seen as less commercial. As that form of communications leads to the extreme emotions and misunderstandings, we gravitate to that personification, because it is a simpler sell.

    Feel free to do your own hypothesizing as to why these two changes occurred and why in the general populace. Companies can do whatever they want and writers write what they want, but it only becomes a thing if society accepts it.

    Also Dematteis, you are Italian, right? Is it true all Italians are addicted to oxygen.

    Now I hate to traffic in stereotypes, I don;t think a single person of Italian descent I know can go even an hour without sucking down some of that sweet O2. Regardless of where they are.

    I hate to tell tales out of school, but word on the street is that back in the 80s, you, Nocenti, and Defalco were all seen sucking down Oxygen at work in the Marvel HQ. Completely uncaring if your employers saw.


    1. Yes, Jack, you've found us out. All Italians are secret oxygen-suckers. But I guess it's not so secret any more!
      I hear there are many others, around the world, with the same addiction!

      (That really amused me.)

      Here's a question for you regarding the more serious part of your post: I don't read current Spidey comics (or many other comics, for that matter). Does the Spidey of the comics have more in common with the classic Spidey or the movie Spidey?

    2. That is a somewhat hard question for me to answer.

      When they undid the marriage in 2007, I read the first three story arcs and decided it was not for me, so I stopped reading. I DID read some stories here and there, until recently when I hopped back on the monthly train.

      So, while I do stand behind what I say, you'll have to take it with a grain of salt... or in your case a jug of oxygen.

      The answer, like everything else in comics, is that it is complicated.

      While his run has ended, I do think that there are some very real parallels between the MCU Spider-Man and the way Dan Slott portrayed the character. Even if it started before the movie came out.

      I will NOT be casting judgement on any of these choices, simply stating the parallels.

      Both versions of the characters tended to be more naive, easily dumbfounded, and easily excitable. They both seemed to operate in a sort of idealized version of an era of someone's life. Also, both seem to view the "real world problems" Peter is known for as bring more like embarrassing than actual struggles or long term hardships. Not that the previous is unknown to Peter, just that things with more heft tended to follow him as well.

      The Avengers also played a much bigger role, but that was a tradition started my editorial mandate (as I understand it) during JMS's run. However, SLott did have a habit of playing it up.

      By 2012, the comic Spider-Man was also much more gadget based. Then in 2014, Spider-man was the head of a Billion dollar company, with mechanized-ish version of his costume. Obviously the former has not happened in the MCU (though I could see it), but the later is the norm.

      I wouldn't say that it is a perfect one to one parallel, but I think these types of choices are what cause a split in the mind of long time readers between them and the previous iterations,

      As for the current series... I read the first story arc and thought it was a shrug. Then I was told that since I am a long time fan, I should try it again. This was back in March, so I had to wait for comic shops to reopen.

      That first issue back had shades of the MCU Spider-man, and I was not a fan. The next issue largely didn't do it for me, but there was one great scene that was classic Peter Parker. The one-shot tie-in after that issue and the following issue were both really enjoyable. At least for. Felt like classic Pete... with a few minor hiccups.

      I don't think the similarities fed into or off one another, but rather that there is a similar type of thought process going on.

      You may have heard that The New 52 was an attempt to make DC more like Marvel. That is complicated. I do think on some level Marvel his tried to be more like DC in the past decade or so, specifically trying to make them more in the vein of icons. Not fully, leaning that way for the sake of selling the idea, or simplifying for a guideline.

      I think both ended up with the primary elements being young, kind of dorky, loves science, and young... as young as you can get him in behavior if not age. Most of these are not bad, and certainly not inaccurate, but not necessarily the biggest things to take from him. It is why Marvel characters don't really work with with the iconic side of the coin... there are too many elements that people come to identify with and like.


    3. Thanks for the Spidey update, Jack.

      Having been involved with the New 52, I don't know if it was an attempt to be more like Marvel, but there was definitely a push to keep the characters younger. That's why, when I wrote Phantom Stranger, he was only twelve.
      : )

    4. Yeah, younging the characters down is something both companies think is a necessity, and I am not sure why. It kind of happened in the 90s, except it was with new characters instead of say... DC revamping history.

      As someone in their 20s when DC made that choice it was a little insulting.

      There was also somewhat of an irony that some of the choices for Spider-man were made when they were.

      If truly it was to get the youth, that would have been Millennial. A generation who is not only known for having little money and working less than steady jobs, with studies showing that effected social lives, but the scant bit of popular TV shows they created, have a genre based center (comedy, action, or what have you) and then exploring deeper character elements. Spider-Man was almost tailor made for the generation, and then they may made some choices that undid it.


    5. When I was a kid, Superman (ala Curt Swan, Wayne Boring, George Reeves) seemed like a man in his mid-thirties, which to me was a real grown-up, like a parent. And it never bothered me. In fact it seemed appropriate. Reed Richards and Ben Grimm fought in WW II, which when I was a kid seemed like a loonnnng time ago, but it didn't lessen my affection for, and interest in, the characters.

      I don't think I ever cared about the age of characters, as long as they were interesting. (Of course I'm the guy who created The Gargoyle, an 80 year old man in a demon's body!)

    6. Captain America was supposed to be born in... I believe... 1922. That is literally the same year as my grandfather... and Stan Lee, and Betty White, and Norman Lear.

      I loved the JSA as a teenager... and after, and the main three characters were supposed to be older than THAT.

      Dr. Strange is at least 50.

      Before the New 52, Damian Wayne aged the normal way. Which means, Bruce had a 12 year old kid with a woman he me after he had been crime fighting for a little while. He didn't even return to Gotham until he was at least 22. He didn't take on Robin until Year 3. so. 25. Robin was reconnected post-Crisis to be, what...14 at the time? He met Ra's when Robin was in College. so that is four more years,l which would make him abut 30. So, even if Bruce knocked up Talia on the first date, he would have to be at least 40.

      Since the 80s Green Arrow, one of my favorite DC characters, had always been written to be middle aged.

      Point is, Spider-Man being young was an abnormality in the world of comics for a reason. IF you want characters to have x amount of experience to draw from they need to be older than 25.

      It is especially weird since in the MCU Iron Man and Ant-Man were both played by guys in their 40s. The rest were mostly in their 30s when they began... or very close to it.

      It is a weird choice is my point, and a little insulting to younger folk.


      P.S. as a kid I always figure Superman and Batman were like my parents age, and while I didn't do the math then, but when I was in elementary school (I later realized they had not aged like my parents) the World's Finest would be 46/44 - 52/50.

      For all the complicating for step-families entertainment media never really compensated for Baby Boomers having children later in life. Mark Waid.

    7. Julie Schwartz's rule, if I'm remembering correctly, was that Superman and Batman were always 28.

    8. Maybe, but Jerry Sielgel was clearly writing someone closer to say 20 or 25.

      The JLA classic are all supposed to be around the same age, and in 1987 Green Arrow said he was celebrating his 40th birthday.

      Maybe it is just best to not even have Superman and Batman have hard and fast ages... even in the office. Like they and Spider-man not mentioning religion. It gets too messy for the biggest names to have TOO spelled out.

      You don;t want the age version of Spider-man belittling someone for believing a "bearded man in the sky." An actual plot point in a SPider-Man story from a few years back. I guess you can decide for yourself how "classic Spider-man" that was or wasn't.

      Just let people fill in certain blanks themselves. There is so much more to play with.


    9. Which part? I kind of rambled on there.


    10. The characters not having "hard and fast ages."

    11. Like I said, I loved green Arrow when I was in High School (and before and after), and he was at that point just vaguely middle aged. The lens of an aging baby boomer.

      To men, if he had aged normally from the 80s when he was stated to be 40, he would be the same age as my parents and most of their friends/colleagues.

      However, some of the flashbacks made it look more like his pre-archer youth was in the late 70s or maybe early 80s. However, they never REALLY addressed the topic. So, anyone who was interested in those types of stories was cool.

      I think it becomes a little more complicated at Marvel, where characters do have a history of changing... and are often wanted to keep growing. But you can probably still keep the age relatively nebulous.

      I also think that that there are certain characters created in a certain decade that are still good, but are way too tied to teh ear of their creation. This is why some books fail with the characters, even if they are not bad.

      I have always been surprised that Marvel, and even more so DC, don;t to what Batman: TAS and Pulp Fiction did. Set up a world that is technically contemporary, but is inspires an gives off the vibe of a bygone era.


    12. That's one of the traps of a shared universe and too much loyalty to continuity. If Batman exists in a timeless city and Superman exists in a contemporary city and everything has to be interconnected, then how is that reconciled?

    13. It is kooky, I will grant. Of course, Batman the animated series was designed to be like the 40s and Superman the animated series like a 1950s view of the future, while JLU was just the 2000s... and it all worked somehow. That somehow obviously being a lot of work and creativity.

      How ever I am not talking about your men Super or Bats. I'm talking about your Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Challengers of the Unknown, Shang-Chi, Cloak and Dagger, characters who are not really part of the mainstream and not as likely to interconnect.

      For that matter, the Marvel Netflix shows gave Daredevil an 80s New York feel, Punisher the 90s, Luke Cage the 70s, and Jessica Jones a post 9/11. However, all were contemporary.

      I don't think you have to put in all the art that and time Bruce Timm did, a little can go a long way in influencing someone's mind.

      Imagine a Man-Thing comic... or TV show if you must... where the hairstyle and clothes are slightly reminiscent of the 70s. No one has a cell phone, not for any reason they just aren't mentioned. Certain types of character types from that decade show up, but the details are different. The president is still the same, the same movies have come out... but the feel is like something from the 70s. You could probably get a way with a lot more,... and if Ben Grimm showed up he wouldn't feel like a time traveler. Okay, technically he is a time traveler... he just wouldn't be in that moment.

      It could be a way to save really cool characters, who have trouble making sense in a fully contemporary world.


    14. All good points, Jack!

      I'm actually working on a (creator-owned) series right now that's set in a mash-up of Dickens' London and contemporary times and it's great fun playing with that kind of world.

      But, of course, it's my own world and there's no one over my head telling me I can't do that! :)

    15. You are combining Dickensian London with 2020... that has potential to be the most depressing setting ever. ...Kudos?

      I do have to say, you are wrong about the traps of a combined universe. That isn't the worst part, the worst part is that you are all but guaranteed to have Batman and Wolverine show up, criticize, and still focus from your own story.


    16. Also since I mentioned Challengers of the Unknown and Ghost Rider here are two songs that reference them

      Hope you were in the mood for some mellower music... or the songs at all.


  8. By the way, can you name the publication that called Stan Lee "The famous beatnik grinner?"

    If so, where doe that rank in his nicknames?


  9. Esquire? The Village Voice? Pseudo-Hipsters Monthly?

    Tell me!

    (Has there ever been a character call The Grinner? If not...)

    1. It was in the April 1973 issue of the Rock n/ Roll magazine CREEM.

      Here is a photo of the cover


    2. That's so funny. I was just reading a magazine about CREEM magazine yesterday!

    3. You read a magazine about a magazine? That is kooky.

      Now, if it had been about the recent documentary that would make sense.

      I actually brought that up because there was a story about said documentary in the Detroit Free Press that day. So, I dug up my copy of that very issue of Creem, and looked at the article about Marvel again.

      That cover is an actual Romita Sr. bu the way. I would love to know the story of that article and cover.

      Like the Village Voice or Esquire could come up with that type of Stan Lee discrimination.


    4. You're correct. It was an article about the documentary.

    5. Well, I'm sure the old rivalry from your days involved with The Rolling Stone probably blocked out that Stan Lee nickname from a rival Rock n' Roll magazine.


  10. By the way, if you are interested in some "classic Peter" Spider-man stories, the books that collect SPider-Man's newspaper strips is pretty interesting.

    It is almost like Spider-man prime-prime. Like the truest Peter Parker... even more than the mainstream comics in some ways.

    Unless you have already been reading them... then IN apologize for wasting your time.


    1. No, haven't read them. Sounds like it's worth checking out!

    2. Well, here is why I think it is such a true Spider-Man.

      So... in 1987 there was this Justice League run, you probably didn't read it, but they completely revamped Blue Beetle's character. Made him more fun and jokey.

      Before that he was more stern, stoic, and moralistic. He was essentially what Steve Ditko thought Spider-man should be. Yeah pretty far cry from our beloved Peter Parker.

      I believe this is more or less the fullest expression of what Stan Lee wanted. You might be saying that he was creator and editor, isn't the main Marvel universe Spider-man that exact same reality?

      Kind of. There is a lot of focus on character, and Peter's personal relationship.

      It is also implied at one point (until Roy Thomas took over in 200) that Spider-Man might be the only known Superhero. There is Doctor Doom, but no mention of the F.F., and when Namor appears Peter is shocked because he used to read MArvel comics as a kid, and we see comics involving most of the Marvel pantheon.

      The stories also are strangely more grounded and diverse, with fewer "true" supervillains, and more of Spidey fighting organized crime, spies, assassins, and a true evil... child abuse.

      There is also an interview in one of the books with Jim Shooter, where he says the plots often came from other people, but that Stan would actually be upset when people tried to write the dialouge.

      So yes.. every word of of Peter Parker's mouth comes straight from the mind of Stan "the man" Lee. Which means when you read these stories you are reading the character as Stan intended him to be.

      Peter Parker is the star, not Spider-man, which ids probably true for every great iteration of the character, but it is very apparent here.

      Also, if you really need a push, look up Fred Kida's SPider-Man art. One of the greatest SPider-Man artists that no one remembers.


    3. Thanks for the info, Jack! It's a part of Spidey history that most folks don't pay attention to, although I'll be more people saw those strips in the early days than read any of the monthly comics. Back then, newspapers (remember them?) had huge circulations.

    4. Yes Dematteis, I do remember newspapers, in fact if you recall in the previous conversation I mentioned that I learned about the Creem documentary from a Pulitzer-prize warning one.

      In fact, if more people remembered them we would probably be in a better state as a country.


      I actually remember them form the Saturday paper when I was a kid, and I read them daily on the King feature syndicate website before the strip ended.

      Reading them in a book instead of a few panels daily ids kind of a trip... in a good way.