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CSBG Archive

Gimmick or Good? – Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #1

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with the variant cover for the first issue of the second volume of Amazing Spider-Man…

ASM1fullcoverASM1sunburstvariant

Amazing Spider-Man #1 vol. 2 (published January 1999) – script by Howard Mackie, art by John Byrne and Scott Hanna
There’s an abundance of Spider-Man-related media in the news this week, such as the All-New Marvel Now reboot of Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 3) and the North American opening of Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so the timing was unquestionably apropos for Gimmick or Good to focus on something Spidey-centric. And that something, for better or worse, is going to be the first-ever reboot of the Amazing Spider-Man series. For the inaugural issue of the second volume of Amazing Spider-Man, John Byrne illustrated a variant “sunburst” cover. That’s only about 40 or so less variant covers than what was printed this week for the ASM vol. 3 launch.

But what about inside the comic?

Pinpointing the exact “low point” for the Amazing Spider-Man franchise in the 1990s is a tricky endeavor because there’s so much to choose from. There’s the infamous “Clone Saga” that gets a justifiable amount of hate from fans (but sold wildly for the first few years of its existence) and dozens of other arcs and events that were either terrible, forgettable or both (The Gathering of Five or Maximum Carnage, anyone?).

ASM1_01

But I think a legitimate case could be made that the Howard Mackie/Byrne reboot was the worst of the lot, not so much because these stories were awful (though many were), but because they were so bland, boring and pointless. The Byrne/Mackie run all but killed any lingering interest fans might have had in the franchise before the reboot, and thing stayed that way until J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. arrived on the scene in 2001 (Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham totally killing it on Peter Parker Spider-Man starting around 2000 helped things as well).

ASM #1 vol. 2 picks up where the lousy “Gathering of Five/Final Chapter” storyline ended the first volume of Spider-Man comics. Peter has “quit” being Spider-Man so he can focus on his studies and take care of his Aunt May, who was miraculously (or inexplicably) resurrected despite dying one of the most beautiful and poignant character deaths in comic book history. The opening page of the comic shows the Human Torch sending out an S.O.S. to Spider-Man, hoping he’d reappear after what is assumingly a multi-month absence. But Peter is uninterested in putting on the webs again – even when a newly super powered version of the Scorpion shows up – “with great power must also come great responsibility” be damned.

ASM1_02

Peter’s uncharacteristic stubbornness about his obligation to be Spider-Man is actually just a symptom of the larger problem with this comic. On every single page, I cannot find a single thing – a character moment, interaction, villain battle or plot development – that compels me to keep reading. When Marvel rebooted this series in 1999, it was part of a larger rebranding effort to streamline all of the Spider-Man books into two series (thereby simplifying things for new or casual readers), but Mackie’s script reads like it was written on lithium and Byrne’s art is cookie cutter and uninspiring (if not technically proficient). There’s no drama, urgency, or any other reason for me to get excited about this brand new series. Instead, it’s a total “eat your vegetables” kind of story from Marvel – you want Spider-Man, well then this is what you’re going to get.

The only moment that sparks a little bit of interest is when a “new” Spider-Man shows up to fight the Scorpion (with Peter there as a witness to boot). But within a few pages of the new Spidey’s introduction, the character is buried underneath rubble, and even after making a comeback, the hero looks to be Peter’s inferior in every way. It’s not that I don’t want to read a Spider-Man story where Peter isn’t the main character (I just did that for 31 issues of Superior Spider-Man), but once again, there’s no hook to this Spider-Man. The character is just there, more out of obligation than anything else (plus, the character’s identity is revealed by the very next issue, so it’s not even like Mackie/Byrne had any intention of stringing along a mystery here).

ASM1_03

Probably the most “offensive” part of this reboot is Aunt May’s characterization. As I noted earlier, the fact that May was even resurrected is a crime in itself, and the explanation for her “death” strains the limits of credulity even for comic books (Norman Osborn kidnapped May and hired an actress to get plastic surgery and fake her death). But beyond May’s existence, like everything else in this comic book, there is nothing about her designed to grab or interest me. Her kidnapping is only slightly touched upon. Otherwise, she’s the same old “coot” she was when she was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15, making comments about her nephew needing to eat more while listening to less rap music (well, the rap music is a new wrinkle, I guess). Marvel came up with a preposterous resurrection angle for an old woman so she could play the exact same character she was nearly 40 years earlier.

ASM1_04

So, if I had a choice between reading about Peter Parker’s clone or this comic, clones win every time. At least the “Clone Saga” was an attempt, albeit poorly executed, to mix up the status quo and do something risky and different. Risk almost always come with some kind of reward, but ASM #1 vol. 2 plays it so safely, there’s really no reason to bother checking it at all, which is probably the most damning criticism a comic can get.

Verdict: Gimmick

45 Comments

Bill Williamson

May 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Was there ever any doubt that this would be a gimmick?

Yeah, that was a really lousy period for ol’ Spidey, especially coming off Byrne’s atrocious Chapter One mini.

Sadly, I grew up with this Spider-Man.

Man, when I was thirteen I LOVED Maximum Carnage.

Darth Weevil

May 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Point of clarification: is the gimmick the variant cover or the renumbering at 1? Or both? Not saying this comic shouldn’t count (esp. since it enjoyed the write-up), just thought it was, on the whole, less gimmicky than some others we’ve seen or talked about (the die cut Wolverine issue and the hologram Spider-Man anniversary issues come to mind).

Darth Weevil

May 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Looking at those covers, though, I’ve got to say the variant is substantially better than the busy, boring main cover, which looks like a retread of a silver age cover with all of the excitement and joy surgically removed. Not saying the variant is great, but it’s not outright awful like the other.

Damned! The first scanned page looks a lot like Mark Bagley. I wouldn’t have recognized John Byrne’s art at all !

And Aunt May must be killed for good. After Wolverine, maybe ?

The low point of Spider-Man int he 90s for me will ALWAYS be David Michelinie’s run. Everything you describe about this run applies to Michelinie more IMO: bland, boring and pointless…check…”On every single page, I cannot find a single thing – a character moment, interaction, villain battle or plot development”…check…”There’s no drama, urgency, or any other reason for me to get excited about this brand new series. Instead, it’s a total “eat your vegetables” kind of story from Marvel – you want Spider-Man, well then this is what you’re going to get.”…check…I think if not for the incredibly long and bland run by Michelinie, desperation-driven disasters like the clone saga and backlashes like this reboot would never have happened.

Annoyed Grunt

May 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I kind of like Byrne’s art in the few panels posted here, but man is that a dull, sloppy looking cover.

Captain Haddock

May 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

@ T: Whenever there’s any mention of a Spidey run, I always look forward to your 2 cents about Michelinie :p

@ Buttler: In hindsight, Chapter One may have been the worst Spiderman story ever told. The costumes were lousy, the pacing was sloppy, the art was just blah, but the worst crime was having the burglar EXPLAIN TO SPIDERMAN WHAT HAPPENED. The best part of AF15 will always be (50 year old spoilers!) when Spidey discovers that it was the crook he let get away that took Uncle Ben from him…and those last 2 panels, what a bleak, beautifuly crafted ending. You felt so bad for the kid, and you really wanted to see what he would do next. In Chapter One, that all gets tossed to hell. Man, I get angry just thinking about it, the fact that Byrne would compound this by turning Sandman into a bad guy again without explanation (ok fine, the wizard did it in a backup story) probably soured me on him for good. When Paul Jenkins came on, it was like eating a steak dinner after being fed nothing but rotten cardboard for years.

Has Howard Mackie ever written anything good? His X-Factor run was total crap too.

Howard Mackie’s early Ghost Rider run was good I thought. It fell prey to two many 90s X-tropes by the latter half though.

Captain Haddock

May 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

@Nu-D: I have a soft spot for his Ghost Rider. His Gambit and Rogue mini-series’s were also pretty good. But, wow, his recent work on Ravagers was… difficult to read, if I’m being kind.

I must totally agree with T. As a long-time SPider-man fan, I could never understand why is Michelinie highly rated among some fans. Except for the first few Venom stories, with real stinker stories between them (rabbit man or assassin nation plot) he could never ever wrote an interesting, well-crafted, well-characterised Spidey story in almost a hundred issues of Amazing plus some web of spideys. The clone saga after that felt for me like a really interesting era when anything could happen (peter is not spider-man? peter can die? aunt may can die? who are all these mysterious dudes?). The clone stories I can re-read even now, while I would never touch after-McFarlance Michelinie or this reboot stories ever again.

I was excited that Byrne was going to be working on Spider-Man, but the actual comics were/are pretty bad. The write up is here is accurate, this series was bland and pointless. JMS’S run was not a classic run, but compared to what it preceded, it was rather wonderful.

As for a number 1 issue being a gimmick; outside of post-Crisis Superman and Wonder Woman, new heroes like Wally West Flash, and books that were cancelled due to sales like Ghost Rider and Punisher, all new number 1s are gimmicks.

I also agree with T. and Fisk. Michelinie’s work was terribly boring. They were also poorly plotted. Like Marz and Winick, and typical Micheline plot was: hero goes about his business when a villain attacks/goes on a very public rampage, hero and villain fight, hero wins, the end.

I also look forward to reading T’s Michelinie rants every time a bad Spider-Man comic is mentioned, at first because I found them droll, and now, having read a bunch of Michelinie Spideys myself (and worse yet, having paid for them), because I agree 100%. Michelinie’s Peter Parker is a complete buffoon, while at the same time, never managing to say or do anything funny. Most of Michelinie’s Spider-Man stories would (not) work equally well if Spidey was replaced by Johnny Storm or Iron Man. Peter seems shoehorned into his own comic.

I mentioned this on Mark’s blog, but it bears repeating. Michelinie wrote a dozen or so issues of Web Of. He sets them in Europe and the American Midwest, opting to take Peter away from his city, supporting cast, and rogues. In the American Midwest, there’s a two-parter which is basically just a drawn out pastiche of the origin of Superman. Michelinie couldn’t miss the point of Spider-Man any further if he was trying.

Another guy I think should be mentioned along with Mackie on any list of bad Spider-Man writers is Denny O’Neil. It’s a miracle anyone stuck around to read Roger Stern’s great run after the concentrated dose of awfulness that was O’Neil’s year on Amazing.

Cass:

That Web of Spider-Man run was so bad. I remember it had GREAT art by Marc Silvestri and Kyle Baker though.

T., I’m with you about Michelinie. I became a super fan with Roger Stern, and that slowly trailed off through Michelinie’s run (and getting a little older and seeing a load of weaknesses in McFarlane’s art). I bought that first Spider-Man Epic collection out of nostalgia, as I’ve never reread them since I was 13 or 14, and I was kind of shocked at the joylessness in them. Conway too was a bummer, though I like his old stuff with Romita. The late 80′s/early 90′s were a bland time for Spider-man. I was way past caring when this series came out. There’s a level of disdain for the reader in 90′s Marvel which makes their bankruptcy unsurprising. Why they believed people would buy garbage forever is beyond me. Complacency.

Mackie is up there for me too. Joyless is a good way to describe his writing.

[…] with my latest edition of Gimmick or Good? at the Comics Should Be Good blog. This time around, I write about Amazing Spider-Man #1 vol. 2, the kickoff of the “ballyhooed” Howard Mackie/John Byrne era. In addition to being a […]

Just a quick note to Mr Ginocchio – you write that “the timing was unquestionably apropos for Gimmick or Good…”. Apropos means ‘regarding’ or ‘with respect to’. I think you mean the timing was ‘unquestioningly appropriate’.

Not tying to be a jerk here – love your column!

I’m dismayed that there’s not enough Mackie bashing on this thread. He is literally the worst thing ever to happen to Spider-Man, and that’s even after The Other, Back in Black, and the Grim Hunt. Mackie is STILL WORSE THAN THAT.

@ annoyedgrunt, the reason why the cover and interior page art looks different is because of Bryne inked the cover himself and Scott Hanna inked the pencils in the interior pages. Personally, I like Hanna’s Slick inks more than Byrne’s scratchy ones.

Bill Williamson

May 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

Dan: What about One More Day? Worse than that?

We could create a “Comics Should Be Good” Drinking Game… take a drink every time T. mentions how much he hated David Michelinie’s writing on Spider-Man :)

Honestly, I did not hate Michelinie’s Spider-Man work, nor did I love it. I thought it was okay, sort of average, and somewhat entertaining. He has done much better writing, in my opinion, on Iron Man and other series, though.

Having said that, Michelinie’s time on Amazing Spider-Man was great when compared to this Howard Mackie & John Byrne run.

@ annoyedgrunt, the reason why the cover and interior page art looks different is because of Bryne inked the cover himself and Scott Hanna inked the pencils in the interior pages. Personally, I like Hanna’s Slick inks more than Byrne’s scratchy ones.

Hi, Eric Lee. I remember that when these Spider-Man issues came out, some people were going online and ripping Scott Hanna a new one, saying he was running John Byrne’s pencils. Well, Hanna is a very talented inker, and I disagreed. And then shortly after I was over at the home of Hanna’s original art rep, buying some comic art. He showed me photocopies that Hanna had made of Byrne’s uninked work. Half of it I would not have classified as “penciling” but rather “loose layouts.” Entire crowds of people & backgrounds were very sketchily drawn, or just rendered as outlines. Hanna had to do inks / finishes over that. So it the published art on these issues doesn’t look much like John Byrne, well, that’s because Byrne did not give Hanna much to work with.

Omar Karindu

May 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Byrne was once a really talented character designer. Boomerang, the Beetle, Terrax, the Frankie Raye Nova, even many of the original Alpha Flight costumes are good, instantly recognizable, sleek looks.

And then this series happened alongside Marvel: The Lost Generation (another gimmicky book, with its reversed numbering), and suddenly it seemed as if his talents had vanished. It’s hard to imagine worse redesigns than the Scorpion (above), the ultra-bland Electro costume, the Vulture suddenly having a tuxedo-like costume, and Doctor Octopus’s giant metal pants.

What the heck happened?

Some of the Lost Generation designs were okay. Black Fox looked good, if obviously a faux Batman. Vulture looked good too. Scorpion and Electro were quite bad though. Electro was about as generic as a costume could get.

I can’t understand why the late 1990s became so Byrne-centric, particularly at a time when Mark Waid and Grant Morrison were becoming rising stars. Byrne *was* great once upon a time, especially in his Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Superman runs (though I have issues with his Superman stuff the older I get). I’m neutral on his unfinished HULK run, though I do find it odd that people have this sort-of fond longing for the issues he never produced.

Anyway, Byrne was all over the place in the late 90s. He came onto WONDER WOMAN after the Messner-Loebs period and revitalized the NEW GODS stuff shortly thereafter. Then he got to run one of DC’s annual crossovers in GENESIS. My recollection is that he started to drift away from DC in the late 90s and became heavily influential at Marvel instead, getting the Spider-books, a relaunched HULK title, the LOST GENERATION series, and the X-MEN: THE LOST GENERATION series.

Maybe it was because both companies entered into this “everything old is new again” phase in the late 90s–this was the period where heroes were being killed off and resurrected within a year, and we got the “Heroes Reborn” revitalization at Marvel. Byrne represented an earlier period of great comics in the 80s, so maybe people were longing to go back to that?

The only other thing I can think of is that Byrne was very accessible to fans at the dawn of the modern internet. DC was the first company to get into online fan interaction with its exclusive site on America Online. (I joined DC Online in 1995 or 1996, I forget when exactly.) Byrne would actually come into chatrooms and talk to us like real people, so we got a lot of “inside scoop” on his pending Wonder Woman run and stuff. There was this overall feeling of, holy crap, the real John Byrne is taking to us. Maybe that contributed to his increased popularity–because he was connecting with fans on a regular basis? I don’t recall many other big-name creators being that accessible.

The downside is that it didn’t make up for the quality of his work. I mean, looking back at that period, both Byrne’s wriitng and art became very static and dull. I don’t think it helped that he did his own inking. I wish I could describe what bothered me about it, but maybe it was that his inking was very thick and sketchy, vesus Terry Austin’s inks on his work which were very smooth.

The other thing that didn’t help was that over time, Byrne’s reputation as a “crotchety old man” came through in his conversations with his fans. If you expressed confusion with or dislike of his stuff, that was your problem as a fan rather than his problem as a creator. *He* knew the correct way of writing a story even when you, as a reader, had a different version of it and felt passionate about it. I’m not a Donna Troy fan, but I remember a LOT of people being upset when Byrne summarily killed her husband and kid in a meaningless accident.

So not only was this a dull comic, but this was a pretty weird period where a LOT of prominent Marvel product looked like this and they expected you to enjoy it.

I’ll give Byrne credit on one thing–his BATMAN/CAPTAIN AMERICA crossover was awesome. Whatever you felt about his late 90s stuff, Bat/Cap was a story that he absolutely nailed. It’s weird that particular story sticks out for me when so much else was difficult.

Bill Williamson: a list of Spider-Man stories I consider worse than One More Day:

Mackie’s Senator Ward storyline
Mackie’s resolution to the Mary Jane stalker Storyline
Straczynski’s The Other
Straczynski’s Back in Black
The Grim Hunt
THe Grim Hunt
The Grim Hunt
The Grim Hunt
A story, the second in the row where a teenager got eaten alive and Spider-Man was unable to stop it, that bizarrely valued Spider-man’s decision not to kill over the fact that Kraven and his family are irredeemable monsters who should probably be stopped by any means necessary
The Grim Hunt

[…] C2E2 Fans Will See 17 Issues of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man Ultimate Spider-Man #200 Review Gimmick or Good? – Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 2) #1 The Remaining Chase: One To […]

“Maybe it was because both companies entered into this “everything old is new again” phase in the late 90s–this was the period where heroes were being killed off and resurrected within a year, and we got the “Heroes Reborn” revitalization at Marvel. Byrne represented an earlier period of great comics in the 80s, so maybe people were longing to go back to that?”

I think it had more to do with the comics crash than anything else. With the fans still soured over the Iron Man Traitor, Spider-Man Clone Saga, Fantastic Four minus Reed, Marvel needed a name that fans could rally behind and for Marvel it was John Byrne. He had helped revolutionize X-Men with Cockrum Wein and Clearmont, plus scored big with Fantastic Four and the monumental Superman reboot for DC. It would have been in Marvel’s best interest to bring him back to oversee their franchises from their standpoint. It was either him or shutting Marvel’s doors.

“a list of Spider-Man stories I consider worse than One More Day:”

Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2001

Mackie offcially gives up and so does Mary Jane, and Peter lets her go(?) but not before both characters begin acting childish. I understand her plight but pulling away as she does just screams editorial mandate: “She’s back so you can stop the hate mail but she’s still not returning to Spider-Man comics.”

I was 14 and even I knew that this comic was crap.

Which was the story by Mackie & Byrne where Peter Parker was literally homeless, living on the streets during a torrential downpour? I think it was the same one where, after spending several years clamoring for Marvel to finally reveal who the new Green Goblin was, he was at last unmasked, only for it to turn out to be someone no one had ever seen before who then promptly died. That was awful.

“I think it had more to do with the comics crash than anything else. With the fans still soured over the Iron Man Traitor, Spider-Man Clone Saga, Fantastic Four minus Reed, Marvel needed a name that fans could rally behind and for Marvel it was John Byrne. He had helped revolutionize X-Men with Cockrum Wein and Clearmont, plus scored big with Fantastic Four and the monumental Superman reboot for DC. It would have been in Marvel’s best interest to bring him back to oversee their franchises from their standpoint. It was either him or shutting Marvel’s doors.”

I have a hard time believing that Byrne was Marvel’s only option on so many books. The Byrne/Mackie run came about in the post-Onslaught period where new writers were doing impressive stuff on old concepts–I’m namely thinking of Busiek on AVENGERS and IRON MAN and Smith/Quesada on DAREDEVIL. I get that they wanted to revitalize Spider-Man post-Clone Saga, but Byrne was the best they could come up with?

Plus, that doesn’t explain why Byrne got so much DC work as well a few years earlier. I can’t think of anyone who liked GENESIS–it stank. He got three GENERATIONS series, the DEMON, LAB RATS…they just kept giving the guy stuff. It didn’t make sense.

Ah, yeah, here is the one I was thinging about. It was in Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 #18 and Peter Parker: Spider-Man vol 2 #18, and is at the Number Two position on this person’s “10 Worst Spider-Man Stories”

http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/Top10s/10WorstSpideyStories.html

Bland, boring, and pointless describes Michelinie’s Spider-Man very well. Ditto for Gerry Conway’s 80s/90s’ stuff.

However, once again I must defend Michelinie’s Iron Man run, the first one. Maybe its because he had Bob Layton as co-writer and Roger Stern and Jim Shooter as editors. Someone who created James Rhodes, Justin Hammer, Demon in a Bottle, established Doctor Doom as a natural enemy of Iron Man’s, Iron Man in Camelot, and the Hulk as a foil, can’t be all bad.

He still had horrible puns for story titles, though.

Bill Williamson

May 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

Dan: I’m amazed that Maximum Carnage didn’t even make your list.

Rene: Um what? Say what you want about Michelinie, it’s the art that was selling the book there, but Conway’s 80/90s stuff?

That stuff was excellent.

I implore you to have a look at this, from Chasing Amazing:

http://www.chasingamazingblog.com/2013/11/19/reader-request-lobo-brothers-gang-war/

I agree Bill. I think Conway’s 1970s work on Spider-Man was far worse than his 80s/90s run, which I found to be quite decent.

Bill –

I liked the story with Tombstone and Robbie, that had real emotional punch. Apart from that, I didn’t really like Conway’s run.

It had such a feeling of by-the-numbers, going-thru-the-motions superheroics. It was like an early 1970s Marvel Comic transplanted to the 1990s, like those slightly sad rock concerts with old bands presenting new material that has passed by modern tastes. It felt old without being self-aware enough to be retro.

It was not bad. But I think I expected better, I was used to a higher standard of quality and innovation from the Shooter years. Not that the Shooter years were always good for Spidey (Denny O’Neil, etc.), but at least they always tried.

Conway was like Tom de Falco, another frozen-in-time writer. But de Falco was worse, because he tried to do “edgy” while being so ill-suited to it.

T. –

That is true. Conway’s 80s/90s run just left me cold. But his 1970s run was grating. I think Conway was never a great writer, he never had an individual voice, but he grew more polished with time.

rene – to be fair, I was so, so demoralized by how terrible Michelinie’s Spider-Man was, that I was very willing to read ANYTHING remotely decent starring Spider-Man. So I wouldn’t be surprised if I reread the run and found it not to be as good as I remember. I was so desperate I could very well have overrated the run.

The ressurection of Aunt May is a symptom of the damn obsession with chronology and continuity. I mean, it’s tempting to us readers the feeling that we’re “witnessing hystory before our eyes”, but the rule that “what happened, happened” leads to a lot of trouble.

For instance, Peter Parker had May among his supporting cast for more than twenty years. The readers-turned-writers, who had been with her for all that time and are tired of her, say “We can’t bear her anymore! She has served her purpose!”, then kill the old Auntie. Later, they feel his stories lost something, that Spidey need someone to get comfort from, and Mary Jane wasn’t enough. They tried to fill that role with MJ’s Aunt Anna, but it wasn’t the same thing: they needed the “real thing”. May needed to come back.

And they invent that mess of “actress/kidnapping/fake death” plot device. Because of that damn decree ruling that even the silliest of stories need to enter the canon.

Why can’t they simply say “Look, people, it’s not working with Aunt May dead. So, we’re goint to write her back. The writers who can think up good May-less stories are welcome to do so after our run ends”? A writer doing a “corporate comic” should be able to pick what elements would suit better for his story, only being careful to point the readers what elements are these.

(DC tried a similar approach with the “hypertime” concept, but they made the mistake of bringing it into the damn continuity, and attracting the rage of almost all obsessed fanboys in comicdom.)

@T. Hey, guess who’s birthday it is today, May 6th? That’s right… David Michelinie!

Let’s all wish David Michelinie a very happy birthday! :)

(Sorry, I just could not resist!)

We ran out of the All-New-Marvel-new-NOW-Marvel-New-Amazing-Superior-New-Spectacular-Back-To-Amazing-You-Fans-Should-Be-Grateful-We-Didnt-Make-It-$10-New-Now-Spider-Man #1 on the shelf, so I replaced it with the Byrne reboot.

Nobody noticed the difference.

I actually liked some of the stories Mackie did with Romita Jr on Peter Parker: Spider-Man towards the end of the clone saga and after Peter came back.
The stuff with Fortunato/Hydra/Morbius/Jimmy 6, revamping Trapster and Shocker, even the Stacy cousins and Friends Of Humanity story. But then it started falling apart after the Identity Crisis thing where Spidey became four other heroes while accused of murder, and the Gathering of Five/Final Chapter garbage….
To this day, I still say bringing back Norman Osborn is one of the stupidest things Marvel has ever done.

And then the reboot was even worse… Senator what’s-his-face being an alien, all the crap Byrne did to classic villains… I only read the first issue of Chapter One and that was an abomination.

Mind you, I still want to know what would have happened with the Hunger vampire and Morbius in a box story that never ended.
And what Peter did with that smelly genetically-engineered AIM cat.

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