SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Back in March, I took part in Marvel's Beyond Amazing event (celebrating 60 years of Spider-Man) with erudite editors Tom Brevoort and Steve Wacker. Marvel's released video of the conversation and you can watch it below. Enjoy!
The horror comic element actually has some legs. In the Book "Webslinger," there is an essay that claims Spider-man WAS a covert horror comic.It goes into great detail, but something that are NOT touched upon are things like the "typical Parker luck" which is of course functionally ore of a curse. A curse which often infects those closest to him.Also, the fact that Stan Lee was a pretty together editor, who kept his line orderly. Stories went in the anthologizes that matched a specific book... not just wherever there was space. This continued with the creation of heroes.Iron man was introduces in a book that with slightly harder sci-fi. Ant-man in one that had more fantastical elements, like of a B-movie quality. Journey into mystery was already doing fantasy like stores.Amazing Adult Fantasy was not a horror comic really, it was more like the Twilight Zone. However, like the Twilight Zone... there WERE horror elements to them, especially for those who acted immorally. Like...not using power responsibly.Also the part about stories of even the 60s being dark is well taken. I remember reading a Marvel Masterwork softcover as a teenager, and being somewhat shocked that the Crime Master got shot in the face. They don't show it but that is clearly what happened.When Lee started reorganizing the company, stuff got a little darker. It was not Hellbalzer or anything, but Marvel was showing a heavier world. Which I realized is why the MCU has always felt off to me.With the exception of the Captain America Franchise and Iron Man 3, the MCU feels a to more like DC. Superheroes acting as a sort of subculture. and interacting more wit fellow heroes than those in their secret identities. The public loving heroes. Lighter elements.I am not saying they are bad or that comic fans who like the interpretations are betraying them. I am just saying it seems more like a thought experiment of "what if DC created the Avengers."The MCU Spider-Man is basically Robin to me.Anyway, I have a question. Do you think that early aversion to the character is what made him more interesting as you got older?Like it built up in your mind as something more edgy.My brother is a horror movie fans. He used to tell me about them, among other things...because older brothers are assholes.. As you might expect, having half elements of horror elements scared me.However, I found as I got older it ultimately made them more interesting to me. They were this mysterious thing I had to know about.Just wondering if you and Spider-Man was something similar.Jack
Ditko's Spidey was SOOOO creepy. And I hear that old story about Kraven was pretty much a horror story disguised as superhero tale. And you're right about those old Atlas books having very distinctive tones that carried over into the Marvel superhero books. Interesting insight, as always!
Stan liked to play up the cool, detached, fly-by-the seat of-his-pants persona, but he was more serious of an editor than people want to admit.It is hard to place a lot of things, spherically since he had a bad memory, and his plots could get repetitive, but their is some real evidence that he may have tested ideas out before launching them full stop.If the F.F. did not sell, they could easily claim it was the same type of books they had been doing. Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-man could EASILY have been just anthology stories. There is plausible deniability in case they flopped, so fans would not think they were losing steam, or that they would stop reading the book.There were other tests. Amazing Fantasy has a story about a man who is called a mutant, and specifically uses the words "hated and feared." At the end, he is summoned by a mysterious voice. It was the X-Men.Doctor Doom was introduced in F.F. #5, but did not get an origin until two years later. As I understand it, he had become pretty popular, and readers wanted an origin.Well, in between F.F. #5, and the origin there was a comic called Amazing Spider-Man #3. IN it Doctor Octopus in introduced. In which, science experiment goes wrong, harms Octavious, and he swears revenge on the world in a scene that looks and reads very similar to Doom;s origin.Like I said, Stan got repetitive with plots, and had a bad memory. However,I think when it comes to Stan and Jack. people forget they were storytellers. Maybe testing ideas and writing origins so that they would not lose readers is not the mot interesting story to tell at a convention.Maybe sometimes their storytelling was ALSO about the real world, because as much as they may have enjoyed it, they were guys with jobs and families and calculating things so you can keep getting paid is less interesting than planning or just being an easy going genius who gets a thunderbolt.Jack
You're right, Jack. These were hard working guys, trying to earn a living. And they were pretty much flying by the seat of their proverbial pants.