Monday, May 25, 2009

And THAT is why we call him Stan "The Man" Lee.

SOURCE: Atop The Fourth Wall

Linkara says it best in the video on his site, but allow me to sum up.

At the start of the year, the syndicated Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip changed to reflect the reality in the comics as of Brand New Day (i.e. Peter is still living at home with Aunt May, is still in college and has no girlfriend much less a wife). Peter just went to bed one night and woke up in his old bedroom in Aunt May's house. No deal with the devil occurred; it just changed.

The newspaper strip, it should be noted, is still written by Stan Lee; the gentleman who co-created Spider-Man and handled the writing of the character for his first 100 issues. Stan is somewhat better known these days as the elder statesman and spokesman for the comics industry in general and Marvel Comics in specific. He has always toed the party line for the company he helped bring to prominence and has never had a bad word to say publicly about anyone who has worked for Marvel since he left. He's never even criticized any of the various storylines Marvel has published in the last 30 years since he left his editor position. Not even the ones the fans really hated.

That seems to have changed, as of yesterday.

Yes. Stan has changed things back to the way they were in the newspaper strip. Because You Demanded It!

Well... maybe not.

Awesome as it would be if Stan Lee were actually listening to the fans (unlike some Marvel (mis)management we COULD mention), some fans think it unlikely that the dinosaur that is syndicated newspaper comics could possibly inspire THAT much negative fan response in these days of dropping circulations and numerous established papers going bankrupt.

And apparently Roy Thomas may have announced four months ago on some database list that the change was planned to be a temporary one and that things were always going to go back to Peter and Mary Jane being married.

In either case, this is still a good sign for those of us who are hoping for a return of Mary Jane to the Spider-Man books and a return of sanity to Marvel Comics editorial team.

Why? Because Stan Lee is just as fastidious about continuity as he is polite about not saying a bad thing about HIS company. This is the man who established the interlaced nature of Silver Age Marvel, after all and set things up so that it was possible for other characters to cross-over with one another without any stories conflicting with one another. And it was Stan's plan that fans of the strips should not be confused by the comics (and vice versa) that lead to Peter and MJ marrying in the first place after Stan decided they should get married in the newspaper strip.

The fact that Stan Lee has allowed this split with mainline Marvel continuity as it is now says a lot about how Stan truly feels about the mess Joe Quesada has made of Spider-Man.

If it wasn't planned and honestly is the result of fan demand, than it's a sign that the fan outrage is finally working SOMEWHERE. It's not much - but our hopes weren't high with a company whose response to the massive outcry against Marvel Divas was to say "Well, you obviously aren't real Marvel fans, so why are you reading our books anyway?"

And if it was planned months ago, as Thomas suggests, it reflects badly on Quesada because it shows that Stan had no confidence in the idea being worth bringing over into his own work permanently.

Especially given that - by the way the text in the box at the end of the above comic is worded - Stan is painting it like fan demand WAS the cause for the change. That's a big F.U. to Joe Quesada and the first time Stan Lee has snubbed a editor like this.

And that is why we call him Stan "The Man" Lee.