Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #173
This is the one-hundred and seventy-third in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and seventy-two. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Howard Mackie and John Byrne had also planned on erasing the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.
Recently, reader Larry asked me if it was true that John Byrne and Howard Mackie had planned their own version of One More Day to erase the Spider-Man marriage during their run of Amazing Spider-Man, as well.
It is true, Larry.
Not for nothing, but ever since the early 1990s, writers at Marvel had been trying to do what One More Day eventually DID do, which is make Spider-Man single again.
First, they tried the Clone Saga…
Later, when Byrne and Mackie were doing Amazing Spider-Man….
they also considered how to get a single Spider-Man back into the comic, and an idea that they considered briefly (according to Byrne on his helpful website/forum, Byrne Robotics) was the Shaper of Worlds.
The practically omnipotent being would come upon Spider-Man during a particularly rough patch in Spidey’s life (think Miller’s Born Again) where Spidey is bemoaning his present and thinking back nostalgic to his past.
The Shaper would then, well, shape reality and return Spider-Man to his classic status quo, a clear reboot, essentially (including the supporting cast, as well).
For some time, Spider-Man would not realize anything was different, but ultimately he would and he would challenge the Shaper, say this is not what he wanted – the Shaper would tell him he could not help him, once shaped, he can’t unshape it.
So that would be the end of it – it wouldn’t be mentioned again (during their run, of course).
Ultimately, they decided against it, and instead went with a “Mary Jane may have died in a plane explosion” storyline instead to get a more or less single Spider-Man.
So while Byrne and Mackie’s story is certainly better than One More Day (specifically the whole “not involving Peter voluntarily surrendering his marriage” thing), it is still a surprisingly metaphysical story for a Spider-Man comic, much like One More Day.
Anyhow, that’s the deal, Larry!
Thanks to Larry for the question and thanks so much to John Byrne for being so forthcoming with his past plans on Amazing Spider-Man!