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Comic Book Legends Revealed #560

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COMIC LEGEND: Joe Madureira’s final issue of Uncanny X-Men was partially drawn by another artist because some of Madureira’s pages were lost by FedEx.

STATUS: False

Mixed into Joe Madureira’s final issue of Uncanny X-Men…

joemad

Were a few pages drawn by Andy Smith instead…

smith0

smith1

smith2

This has led to a rumor over the years (I saw it first on G. Kendall’s Not Blog X, by a commenter there) that Madureira’s pages had been lost by FedEx.

We’ve certainly seen stranger stories over the years, like a whole final issue of a comic book lost in a cab! However, I checked with the editor of the issue, Mark Powers, and he said that the truth was a lot less interesting – Madureira was just late.

Thanks for the info, Mark!

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Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Was the beloved Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, originally written as a possible low budget sequel to Star Wars if the first film did JUST well enough to get a cheap sequel approved?
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On the next page, learn which member of Alpha Flight almost died at the hands of a super-serial killer!

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95 Comments

That shot with Spider-Man zeroing in on Wolverine’s skull and blasting him into the tombstone is one of the most powerful scenes ever….

Can’t say I agree with the reasoning behind the finished version of the fight, but I can’t argue with the final resort. A great fight! I’ve got to seek that comic out!

Wow. Christopher Priest really had a foot-long hard on for humiliating Spider-Man.

I’m dying to know who is the “loud voice” that convinced Jim Shooter not to let Spider-Man be curb-stomped.

Things I learned today: Spider-Man vs. Wolverine is the Schindler’s List of “this guy vs. that guy” superhero comics.

This just reminds me of why I hate comic fight debates. Priest’s point made total sense to me. He came up with a context where Peter could believably be overpowered and defeated, but got shouted down by some clown whining about how Peter is technically stronger.

So Joe Mad was mad late. Nothing new.

I wonder how many Spider-Man/X-Team cross-overs there have been?

Buttler –

Dude sure is humble, right? I mean, he could have compared his work to Citizen Kane…

But speaking of Orson Wells, there are some sort of parallel between this story and The Third Man. If they had removed Harry Lime being scum that doesn’t care that children are poisoned and also changed the ending of the movie, that is. Wolverine is the cool anti-hero that is in his element in a dark European underworld, Spider-Man is the naive/wrong American who does nothing right the whole story and gets his ass kicked physically, emotionally, and morally.

This isn’t just fights either. It’s the same reason we’ve had 3 years of nonstop tired jokes about how Hawkeye and Black Widow are useless in the movies because they can’t punch through steel. There’s more ways to approach a problem in a superhero story than punching it in the face repeatedly, but people don’t seem to get this.

That story is awesome, despite editorial meddling. One of my faves.

Rene— I’m willing to bet it was Tom DeFalco. He and Priest did not get along at all (partially because Priest had to constantly be on him about missed deadlines, partially other stuff), plus as writer of Amazing Spider-Man at the time SvW was being developed, DeFalco would have been likely to both object and to be listened to by Shooter.

I love SVW, everything works, the story is great and the art is top notch. It’s a shame that it gets overlooked when talking about great comics.

I have always wondered if the SVW was supposed to be a Marvel Graphic Novel……It really came out of nowhere and being a double sized Prestige Paper book. With the “violence” depicted in the book, could it have been originally a GN, but the higher ups decided on a special issue?

One mystery solved, only to be replaced with another. I’m not familiar enough with who was on staff back then to make an educated guess as to who ‘ the voice’ was.

The SvW story is really dark as it is. I understand Priest’s frustration, as nobody likes to have to implementd changes which are unnecessary.
For his comfort though, for me, as a reader, the story does not suffer from it.

I like Priest, but this is just another example of his tendency to think in overly fanboyish terms. “See, Wolverine is uber-kewl. He lives in the dark, gritty, real world. Spider-Man’s just a crayon-colored wimp. He’s not gritty and real and stuff.”

And, yeah, comparing Wolverine to something out of Schindler’s List is just silly. Wolverine is every bit as unreal and comic-booky as Spider-Man, just in a different way.

Priest certainly has a humble opinion of his work, huh? Schindler’s List, indeed.

I’ve always had a bad opinion of Christopher “I’m gonna steal the name of a successful novelist” Priest but now I dislike him even more.

Priest has a pretty healthy opinion of himself and his writing. I can sympathize, it’s painful to have a story edited so drastically, but it wasn’t Schindler’s List by a long, long ways.

I remember that story, which I thought really mis-read both characters’ personalities and powers. I thought Spidey was too weak and indecisive, and too scared of Wolverine. Priest made it seem as if he hadn’t faces a real killer before, when he had not only faced killers but also wild animals and even the Lizard, a relentless monster with claws and fangs.

And the idea that Spidey couldn’t even get Wolverine to stop smiling seemed way off. Just because you can’t break someone’s bones doesn’t mean you aren’t hurting them. Prior to this story, Wolverine had been hurt worse by weaker punches (this came just a year or two after the excellent Wolverine/Iron Fist fight in the last issue of IF, I think).

Now, reading what Priest was trying to accomplish, it makes more sense to me, but I still don’t buy it. He didn’t do a good job of selling his premise to the reader and it just comes off as a story by someone who doesn’t know and doesn’t like Spider-man.

Goblyn was an interesting character: the only autistic character in comics at the time and one of the only of all time; a different take on the idea of the Hulk; and a minor that was being put in dangerous situations. I always felt there was more to explore around that character. I think it would have been a shame to kill her off.

She’s not being used by anyone now though – probably long forgotten!

In the pages of the Uncanny X-Men story, Psylocke refers to her first body as “a British marm”, suggesting a dowdy appearance. That’s far from how she was portrayed: in the British comics, she was a model before being recruited as an agent.

Interesting point that occurred to me around that: in one comic I have from the old UK run, Brian and Betsy meet after years of not seeing each other and almost don’t recognize each other – he being all buff and muscular and she having a model look with her hair dyed purple. That’s right: dyed purple – not actually purple. But in the US comics, her hair (in both bodies!) has been purple with no hint of it coming from a bottle.

I’m not sure how the original fight would have played out, but the fight shown is a bit laughable. Like Spider-Man has never faced any crazy person trying to kill him! What B.S., nearly every villain Spider-Man has fought to kill him! And I’m pretty damn sure Wolverine isn’t strong enough to break Spider-Man’s webs. Spidey could easily web the crap out of Wolverine until Wolverine is incapable of cutting himself free. The only way Wolverine ever beats Spider-Man is if he cuts him good (and I believe Wolverine is good enough to hit Spider-Man- Spidey is not un-hittable)

There’s a lot wrong with that Wolverine vs Spider-Man fight. Maybe Wolverine’s fast enough to hit Spidey, maybe not.My main issue is with a character that is established to be super strong, hitting Wolverine with his best shot, and it not concussing Wolverine nor does it knock him out. Wolverine at this point had been ko’d by much lesser impacts in Claremont’s run. Now knowing Preist’s back story about this comic, the whole thing comes off as kind of fan-fictiony.

Yeah, I agree with the three posts above.

Priest writes Spider-Man in this story as if he’d spent his whole career fighting harmless loonies like the villains in Batman ’66, and now suddenly he’d been thrust into the “real world” that Wolverine is a personification of.

Uh, guys, I don’t think Priest was literally saying his story was the super hero answer to Schindler’s List. He was saying that the changes applied a more simplistic logic to a story that was intended to be a bit more complex and nuanced, using a rather extreme example.

It’s striking to me that all of the comments seem to assume that editorial involvement or a team approach is a bad thing,as though comic book writers are auteurs with creative visions that should not be interested with by lesser minds (usually editors with more writing experience than the authors they ovesee).

Nu-D –

Not all comments, dude. I am pretty iffy about “Spider-Man vs. Wolverine”. As thrilling and engaging as the story was, I think it was selling Spider-Man short. And according to Brian’s legend featured here, if Priest had his way, it would have been even worse.

Considering how out of his way Priest/Owsley went at this point in time to undermind DeFalco in the Spider-books (killing Ned Leeds off in this comic primarily because he thought it would get a rise out of DeFalco), I’m kinda glad to learn he didn’t get his way with this story, logic be damned. This is such a strange era for the Spider-office filled with some good stories that could have been all-time great ones if not for Priest’s admitted immaturity as an editor.

I’m glad Priest was overruled. It’s hilarious that Priest was criticizing somebody else for being “simplistic” when the idea of Spider-Man getting beat by an inferior opponent because he was “out of his element” had already been done to death.

Spider-Man has been ignoring his spider-sense since the days of Stan Lee. How many times over the years has he been tagged by normal humans because he was “sick” or “rattled” or “mad with rage” or because he just flat out ignored his own super-powers.

Writers dragging out that same tired excuse again and again to bring Spider-Man down to somebody else’s level was old before Wolverine even existed. It wasn’t new, original, or complex. It was lazy and boring.

Having read Priest’s words, I wish the original version had seen print.

Matthew- “(this came just a year or two after the excellent Wolverine/Iron Fist fight in the last issue of IF, I think). ”

A year or two? Sorry, try ten years. SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE came out in 1987; the last issue of IRON FIST, with the Wolverine fight, was in 1977.

Priest’s concept of complex is very different from mine. As pointed out above, Spider-Man isn’t anywhere near as clueless as Priest portrayed him. And Charlemagne seemed like a nasty piece of work, so I never felt much sympathy for her, or for Logan trying to help her.

ahh the wolverine spiderman mini that caused the whole the hobogoblin is suppose to be ned leeds mess. since priest seemed to have some issues with spiderman including that he would proably have spider man wind up having to prove wolverine wrong and kill him thus really destroying part of the character. and glad to know that joe was just late as happens with comics some time. including the time the x-men line up had a magnetoe clone and a guy whose guts were bugs that eat every thing. aka maggnot

Yeah, Kitt, I got that he didn’t literally mean his work was as good as SL, and just comparing the gap in story complexity, but really SvW was just a good serious comic story, it wasn’t really in any way a great treatise on the mental complexity of superhero confidence. It makes it sound like this was Spider-Man’s Watchmen. I like the book, so I won’t hate on it…except when they shoehorned the Hobgoblin stuff in because it screwed up the main storyline. He was frankly saved by the person he thinks is a child from putting out a more inconsistent storyline.

I thought pre-Siege Psylocke had made reference to her hair not being naturally purple…but I don’t know that Asian Psylocke ever has.

And oof, that picture of the Sorcerer. He looks like he’s 90 but still sporting the Superman briefs. It’s like Adrian Toomes in a speedo.

Personally I’m on Team Spiderman.

This comic is the start of Wolverine jumping the shark and changing from an above average brawler/ beserker to Wolverine-God.
Ridiculous

For someone who was editing the Spider-Man titles, Owsley / priest really did not appear to actually like the character.

Rene – I’ve read several accounts of what happened, including Jim Shooter’s, Peter David’s and Tom Defalco’s, so I know that Tom Defalco was the loud voice. He was upset both because of the death of Ned Leeds, a major character in the flagship book he was writing, took place in a one-shot without his being consulted. Peter David claimed he asked Priest why he did it, and Priest said he did it just to piss DeFalco off.

In one of the accounts I read, maybe Shooter’s, he claimed in the original version of the story that Spider-Man didn’t just lose, he actually froze up in total fear and awe of Wolverine’s ferocity and lost without even landing a punch. Priest’s logic was that Wolverine was just so ferocious and awesome a killer that Spider-Man would realize that he had never in all his years fought anyone that dangerous and immediately realize he was out of his depth.

So according to whoever wrote the opposing account I read, again I can’t remember who, it wasn’t that DeFalco thought Spider-Man should be a Mary Sue or untouchable in a fight (because in DeFalco’s own work that wasn’t even the case) but that he thought Spider-Man shouldn’t be utterly humiliated and frozen in fear that he couldn’t even get off one punch.

I wish I could remember where I read the “frozen in fear and unable to throw a punch” story, but I can’t.

This scene makes no sense on one level. Wolverine says Spider-Man could kill him if he used his superhuman strength to snap his neck. But it had been established well before this that every bone in Wolverine’s body is encased in adamantium, an unbreakable metal. “Every bone” surely includes his neck bones. Even Thor can’t break true adamantium, and he is far stronger than Spidey. So I give this scene an F for sticking to canon.

Uh, guys, I don’t think Priest was literally saying his story was the super hero answer to Schindler’s List. He was saying that the changes applied a more simplistic logic to a story that was intended to be a bit more complex and nuanced, using a rather extreme example.

I don’t know how “Wolverine is so KeWL and BaDas$ and that he’d totally kick wimpy Spider-Man’s ass cuz Spidey doesn’t KILL!!!” is so complex and nuanced. If anything it’s a cliched, adolescent idea. Making the fight more evenhanded and showing strengths and weaknesses of both characters (although it didn’t show that much of Wolverine’s weaknesses, even after it was rewritten) is far more complex and nuanced in my opinion.

Looking back I think the interview I am thinking of where people offer alternative versions to Priest’s version of the dispute over Spider-Man/Wolverine was actually in Back Issue #35. I believe that’s where it is said that Spider-Man not only loses but totally freezes up in fear over having never fought a foe as awesome as Wolverine. DeFalco’s counterargument is that this was particularly silly because Spider-Man by then had met and even fought against Wolverine several times already.

I find the background of the Spider-Man/Wolverine book much more interesting than the actual story. I still find it incredible that the Spider-Man editor would derail a popular storyline in such a way. I think Priest/Owsley as described here, at least had an interesting idea, but it didn’t come through to me as a reader either at the time, or now. Priest’s reach exceeded his grasp here.It would have worked better as a graphic novel, with Ned leeds taken entirely out of the picture. As it was, it didn’t seem like Peter, and it robbed the on-going book of a dramatic reveal.

On the positive side, it allowed Stern to reveal his real candidate years’ later, so it has that going for it. And, the various behind the scene stories are fascinating.

I’d love to revisit this from Tom DeFalco’s point of View, Brian.

Darth Weevil –

Good call, by the way. DeFalco makes sense as the “voice”.

Funny thing is, I usually like Priest’s work as a writer a lot more than I like DeFalco’s. Despite Priest’s tics, he can write an engaging story, while DeFalco leaves me cold, at best. But whenever I read about the off-stage politics of the time, Priest always comes across as much more of a bad guy.

I think DeFalco’s call actually helped the story.

Scott – I’m VERY sure I’ve read DeFalco’s version of this (I’ve read so many interviews about this era that they all kind of blur together). I’m not 100% sure where, but I think it may be Back Issue #35, as I mentioned earlier.

I seem to remember reading somewhere- maybe on Spideykicksbutt- that it was DeFalco who opposed the ending and it was because Priest had Spider-Man freeze because Spider-Man had never fought anyone as dangerous as Wolverine before, which DeFalco thought was idiotic. It’s hard to dispute that- this wasn’t this first time Spider-Man fought Wolverine.

Rene: The interesting thing is that Priest has written about how awful he was for the Spider-Man editor position—it was his first editorial gig and he was thrown in the deep end because no one else wanted to take it on. Plus, he got caught on the wrong side of office politics, as he was really close to Shooter when everyone hated him and he was soon to be ousted. Basically everything was stacked against him doing well in the position.

DeFalco’s Amazing run has some pretty good moments, but there are a huge number of fill-ins. I tend to believe Priest’s version of the DeFalco firing (Shooter approved and then back down after the fact, saying he never thought Priest would go through with it), but there probably is also something to DeFalco’s complaint that Priest made it more difficult to be on time because of editorial indecision/changes. Basically, these two should never have been working together.

Speaking of DeFalco, im suddenly reminded of Steve Engelhart’s parody of him in Silver Surfer: Clumsy Foulup, who manages to seize control of the Kree Empire after betraying his boss (Reptyl).

SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE always struck me as a pretty uninspired and somewhat boring story which displayed a fundamental lack of understanding of Spider-Man as a character.

Priest’s underlying themes for the story are flawed to begin with. The whole “fish out of water” approach is pretty ludicrous when you consider that Spidey has not only been to loads of foreign countries, but he has also been to such exotic locations as outer space, alien planets, other dimensions, the Savage Land, and even the past and the future. He’s also fought plenty of spies and secret agent types. So given all this, how exactly would going to Europe and getting caught up in cloak-and-dagger stuff throw his entire game off?

Priest’s original plan for the referenced fight (Wolverine wins) AND the revised fight (it’s a draw) both cater to the “Wolverine is uber awesome and everyone’s kewlest character” mindet that was running rampant at the time, and which ultimately led to Wolverine practically becoming an immortal superhuman god and a much less interesting character. The whole concept that Spider-Man would be actually afraid of Wolverine is just dumb. Spider-Man had faced numerous enemies that were a lot more deadly, formidable, vicious, and merciless than Wolverine. The Spider-Man I am familiar with would leverage his superior speed and agility against an opponent like Wolverine – not go toe-to-toe within striking range of several admantium knives capable of cutting him to pieces. Also, Wolverine has a healing factor and an unbreakable skull, but he’s not invulnerable. One good punch from someone at Spider-Man’s strength level would put Wolverine down for the count, at least temporarily until his healing factor could repair the damage. An admantium skull wouldn’t stop the severe concussion and/or severe brain damage that would result from a punch capable of demolishing a brick wall. File this battle under “the wrong side”.

Perhaps the saddest part of this entire affair is that such an old and well-established member of Spidey’s supporting cast as Ned Leeds was casually disposed of, with little or no fanfare, in support of a pretty forgettable story, and not even in Spidey’s own book. To add insult to injury, he was later revealed to be the Hobgoblin until that ill advised idea was retconned. Poor Ned. He wasn’t the most significant or memorable supporting cast member, but he deserved better than this, And how many of Spider-Man’s friends and acquaintenaces are secretly super-villians anyways? Does he know anyone who is NOT a super villian?

This was a terrible, boring, and uninspired story that propped up Wolverine at the expense of marginalizing Spider-Man, and unnecessarily and casually killed a major supporting cast member. (But hey, it got a lot worse, the excesses and dive in quality of the 90’s was right around the corner).

Oh, yes, speaking of Owsley / Priest’s apparent contempt for the character whose books he was editing, I’m reminded of how he had Peter David write those two Spider-Man annuals featuring Ace. You know Ace, the Prince / Michael Jackson stand-in who was sooooo super-cool and who made Spider-Man look like a rank amateur over and over. Ace, who even stabbed Spider-Man with a trick retractable switchblade just to prove that he could have killed him if he’d really wanted to, saying that he just demonstrated that Spider-Man can’t survive in his world of super-dangerous street gangs. Yeah, THAT Ace.

I happen to have enjoyed Priest’s later work as a writer, especially on Black Panther. But I am extremely grateful that Priest never had Spider-Man show up in that series, because we would probably have gotten 22 consecutive pages of T’Challa totally pwning Spider-Man.

And let’s not forget Priest was also the editor on that awful Web two-parter where Peter basically tells several attempted rapists “Go and rape no more”.

Where does that maduiera wrap up rank on shortest all time in legends revealed?

Dont get me wrong if theres nothing to embelish why do it, just funny ;)

I really lik e Priest as a writer, but whenever I read his site talking about old projects, he always made it sound like he had the great masterpiece that was ruined by somebody else. Weird. And now of course I see here for the first time that “Baywatch to Schindler’s List” thing. Yikes, no. I like the idea he describes (and I’ve never really cared about the Wrong Side winning at all if the story was good)… but no.

Also, Scott: a broken neck isn’t really about breaking bones. Spider-Man could definitely kill Wolverine with his bare hands, provided we’re not talking about the immortal version that we ha a few years ago.

Duff,
if we wanted to get really gruesome, Spider-Man could use his wall crawling power to stick to Wolvie’s neck and just tear his throat out in that panel.

Which would of course be awful.

Joking aside, I don’t know which version is worse. The Spider-Man who is a blithe idiot in this comic, or the Spider-Man in Wolfman’s run who seemed to forget he had super powers, and would get his ass kicked by Sydney Greenstreet.

SVW felt always off to me…I liked the art, but it seemed to me as if Spidey was drugged.
Wolverine is faster, Spidey can’t make out what he’s saying, they gotta kill each other…

This reads like a Morrisson book. It tries to be different, to be edgy but makes no sense.
As far as I can remember Spidey accidentally kills the woman in question in the end. Ok, that was pretty memorable for a 12 year old. Then the Ned Leeds stuff that came out of nowhere.

Priest seems pretty full of himself, can’t say I like the guy.

My first guess for the loud voice was Stan Lee.
But what’s with Spidey can’t be touched? Never heard about that and frankly it’s a pretty stupid idea to begin with.

I’m not a huge fan of Spidey but it doesn’t make any sense that he would be scared of Wolverine’s supposed “savagery” when he’s fought the Lizard who is physically more intimidating and outright ferocious wanting to rip out Spidey’s throat with his teeth! Plus Spideys gone up against the likes of Hulk and Thanos but never “froze up.” But he’s intimidated by a short guy with claws? Really?

Goblyn was an interesting character: the only autistic character in comics at the time and one of the only of all time; a different take on the idea of the Hulk; and a minor that was being put in dangerous situations. I always felt there was more to explore around that character. I think it would have been a shame to kill her off.

Laura Dean, her twin sister was autistic but I think Goblyn was just a feral child due to growing up in the Dreamqueen’s dimension. Laura had a portal power of her own, and she and Goblyn were both members of Alpha Flight as separate characters.

The story hasn’t aged as well as it might, because Lara’s autism is “cured” by the end and treated as a psychological illness caused by parental mistreatment rather than as neurological diversity. Charitably, I suppose it reflects the limited popular understanding of autism at the time of publication.

I always felt that this story helped kick off the Grim and Gritty Marvel Era. Less fun, more death.

Where does that maduiera wrap up rank on shortest all time in legends revealed?

Dont get me wrong if theres nothing to embelish why do it, just funny ;)

Ha! I think there’s been a few like that over the years, if the answer is just as simple as “no,” then, yeah, whaddayagonnado? :)

@Ben Herman:

Oh, yes, speaking of Owsley / Priest’s apparent contempt for the character whose books he was editing, I’m reminded of HOW HE HAD PETER DAVID write those two Spider-Man annuals featuring Ace. You know Ace, the Prince / Michael Jackson stand-in who was sooooo super-cool and who made Spider-Man look like a rank amateur over and over. Ace, who even stabbed Spider-Man with a trick retractable switchblade just to prove that he could have killed him if he’d really wanted to, saying that he just demonstrated that Spider-Man can’t survive in his world of super-dangerous street gangs. Yeah, THAT Ace.

(emphasis mine). Do you have a source for the emphasized part, i.e. that David was specifically instructed to do the Ace stories? I’ve only heard that he was told to do something with Mark Beachum, who might’ve been Priest’s friend or something, I can’t recall. All these years I’ve been laying the blame for those terrible stories at Peter David’s feet; it’d be interesting to know if the plots were dictated to him.

I loved Spidey vs Wolverine, even with it flaws. I considered the absolute pounding that Spidey gave to Wolverine to have been a great way of showing that Wolverine is beatable, at the time he was becoming the uber popular character that was beating everyone. Yes it had a flaw with the characterization of Peter as someone out of his depth with international intrigue, but I could live with that.

The story Priest wanted to tell, would have been atrocious. The only thing it would have done that made sense, is explained why Spiderman ended up killing Charlie. Since in Priest version he wasn’t trusting his instincts, and after losing, he would have realized he wasn’t trusting his instincts and would have maybe reacted the way he did in killing Charlie. But the version we got still worked on that level, mostly, although Spidey assuming that his senses was going off because of Wolverine after the fight, doesn’t really go well the dialog(if I remember correctly) since both sides had declared a truce.

T. –

Spider-Man freezing up? Damn. I think Priest should get down on his knees and thank God that DeFalco intervened then. Because it sounds like DeFalco saved the story. As it is, SVW felt somewhat off, but it can be explained away as Spider-Man having one of those very bad days, and Wolverine having a very good day, and it’s still a good story despite all that. But the way it was originally planned it would have been just silly.

And yeah, it sounds like this story is the prelude of Wolverine’s getting his secondary mutation, and going from a Claremontian underdog to an invincible god.

Wow, Spider-Man was written MUCH more maturely a few decades ago. He had doubts, but was not such a self-loathing whiner. I really liked 80’s (I’m assuming this is 80’s) Spidey.

@Jamie: This comic is the start of Wolverine jumping the shark and changing from an above average brawler/ beserker to Wolverine-God.

Discounting, you know, the original Wolverine concept as somebody who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk..

@T: DeFalco’s counterargument is that this was particularly silly because Spider-Man by then had met and even fought against Wolverine several times already.

I suppose you can argue that A) in the previous encounters, Wolverine wasn’t really trying to kill Spider-Man (in Secret Wars, he is just annoyed, while in SMvsW, he believes he’s fighting for Charlie) or B) Spider-Man misreads the situation and Wolverine doesn’t want to kill him in the cemetery either. After all, right after Spider-Man thinks Wolverine is out to kill him, he lets him tackle him. Luckily, Wolverine’s claws have mysteriously retraced for that panel, so what should have been a lethal slash is now a friendly shove.

Rene – it’s funny but it feels like down to the end Priest tried to do whatever he could to punk Spider-Man. Like given that this is the Marvel method probably rather than full script I imagine MD Bright had some say in how the fight was depicted. It seems like maybe he made it look too good for Spider-Man and he went in and made sure he tempered that with the dialogue as much as he could by loading it with scared, overwhelmed narration captions. Look at that scene for example where Spider-Man is pummelling Wolverine’s head through the tombstone. As MD Bright drew it, Wolverine’s face is clearly stunned. Priest must have saw that and said “Uh-oh, people might think Spider-Man is competent or may forget for a second that Wolvie is KeWLeSt” because he uses the dialogue to negate that one cool moment for Spider-Man by throwing in that he can’t get Wolverine to stop smiling throughout the beating. So Spider-Man’s best moment gets transformed via dialogue into Wolverine toying with Spider-Man out of amusement.

Omar, you’re correct of course. Laura was listed as autistic, Goblyn was her twin. I guess my recall isn’t as good as I thought.

It’s a shame that her autism was replaced with PTSD – even worse that it was still described as autism – I thought the idea of an autistic character was more interesting than yet another PTSD survivor who’s retreated from the world (which is not even a good parallel for autism).

Thanks for the clarification! Even though it’s made me remember the character a _lot_ less fondly :)

Discounting, you know, the original Wolverine concept as somebody who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk..

Yes, and gets knocked out by one “glancing blow” from the Hulk. That’s not godlike status. Plenty of heroes have been able to survive glancing (not head-on) blows from the Hulk. Such a blow wouldn’t know Wolverine-God unconscious today.

I really don’t get the hate against Spider-Man vs Wolverine. It’s all just “Your hero can’t beat my hero” in more or less fancy clothes. Spider is stronger and under some circumstances, Wolvie can still hurt, defeat or kill him, just like Wolverine can be defeated by an old man with a stick – in the fist Wolverine limited series, which most Wolverine fans adore. I guess if it was a Spidey story, Spidey fans would hate it.
We accept this as Wolverine was confused, rejected by his love, drugged and tricked. Also, not long ago Wolverine was manipulated into killing an innocent ordinary man – who really was Mystique and the whole point of the story was to bring him to that point. I suppose I must be the odd one to like stories outside my fav character’s comfort zone, instead of having him beat up everybody, but to each his own, I guess.

The scene is set in Brazil, they even SAY it’s translated from portuguese… and there’s spanish everywhere. Wtf?

Inner Circle –

Major difference: Wolverine rises to the occasion and proves himself by the end of the Wolverine mini. I guess fans would have reacted differently if the story ended with Wolvie coming back to the USA like a whipped dog, rumminating about how Mariko’s father was so much better and cooler than him.

Also, Chris Claremont really can sell it, when his characters are defeated by “lesser” foes and then have to get their shit together to prevail. Christopher Priest, by comparision, often had Spider-Man embarassed by Wolverine, Daredevil, a frikking Michael Jackson cosplayer, whoever, and the story ends with… that is it. Spider-Man punked.

I really don’t have a problem with Wolverine beating Spider-Man, by the way. Wolverine is supposed to be tough and resourceful. But Spider-Man depicted as a coward that never faced real danger before is just off. He’s been facing death since he was 15. There were ways to depict him as uncomfortable with the situation without completely derailing the character.

All I can say is, whoever the big, bad EIC was at the time (Shooter I think), I’m glad he ruled the way they did. This comic came out at a time when Wolverine’s popularity was exploding, and Spidey was, well, not as cool. While I appreciated the quality of the writing and art, and I liked the Charlie character, it’s pretty clear one of the the main goals was to get over how bad-ass and cool Logan was, and how weak a character Peter Parker was by comparison. Now to hear that this was how the co-creators of this comic wanted the end fight to go, it just reinforces that belief.

So Peter never experienced a world quite like this and he’s a fish out of water. Fine, all of that is well and good, but he’s been in thousands of dangerous situations and had watched people die since he was a teenager, yet he survived to be a reasonably well-adjusted adult. A couple of reasons for this are his resiliency and strength of character, both of which have been well-documented through previous stories, but that this story ignored all together. Sure it would have made sense to see Peter grappling with what he’s experiencing, but for most of this story, he’s reduced to a blubbering mess, incapable of even defending himself. That’s not the Spider-Man readers know and love.

On the flip side, Logan gets to look awesome all the way through. He’s depicted in the best way possible completely in keeping with the character his fans know and love. The relationship with Charlie was also really interesting, and saved this comic from being a completely wash for me. If they made this a solo Wolverine adventure, I would have thought much better of it. Frankly, it makes me wonder if the co-creators were forced somehow to make Spidey a part of it, and they responded by crapping all over him.

As I said, I’m glad Shooter had the fight at the very least end on a stalemate. The idea that they wanted to end it with Spidey being completely ineffectual and getting his ass handed to him would have made me tear that comic up and throw it away. And I’m sure a lot of other readers would have felt the same way.

@Inner Circle,

“Discounting, you know, the original Wolverine concept as somebody who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk..”

Except he really didn’t. Go back and read his original fight with the Hulk.in INCREDIBLE HULK 181, he never really hurts the Hulk.

Re: Autistic characters. There was another autistic character in later issues of New Universe’s Psi-Force at around the same time as Laura Dean (though she came first and lasted longer), Johnny Do/Dehman Doosha, a Russian pyrokinetic kid who was rescued and adopted by one of the main characters. Like Laura, IIRC it was written somewhat like a lot of his problem was due to abuse and a lifetime of isolation and, although he wasn’t cured, he did speak by the end of the series’ run thanks to good surrogate fatherhood.

But in all honesty, those two characters were how I first learned about autism at all, and I think they were well-intentioned if nothing else.

T:”. I believe that’s where it is said that Spider-Man not only loses but totally freezes up in fear over having never fought a foe as awesome as Wolverine. DeFalco’s counterargument is that this was particularly silly because Spider-Man by then had met and even fought against Wolverine several times already.”

Others have already commented on this, but, really, that has got to be one of the silliest ideas of all time.By this point in his career, Spidey has fought crazed monsters like The Lizard, Man-Wolf, and Morbius the living vampire.He’s fought super-powerful bruisers like the Rhino and the Sandman. He’s gone up against vicious mob-bosses like the Kingpin and Silvermane. Heck, he’s even taken on European terrorists before (cf AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 95, way back in 1971, where he fights terrorists in London). And then there was the time he went to North Africa and tangled with international spies (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL 5).

Liam Nothing Clever

January 30, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Spider-man is way stronger than this. Even “punching hard enough to wreck cars” would be him pulling his punches, if I’m not mistaken. He could have just thrown Wolverine away, a few blocks if he wanted.

Wolverine could take Spidey on, if it’s well written (as comic fights should be), but never in a straight brawl, he’s just not on Spider-man’s level, strength or speed wise. Actually kinda like Captain America vs Soider-man, but Cap has the fighting ability. Which Wolverine does too, considering his samurai training. But a straight out brawl – nah. And that would apply even sans spider-sense.

I totally agree that the idea of Spidey freezing up was stupid. Maybe if it was a story set just after Peter became Spider-man, ok, fine. But how is Wolverine more intimidating than the Rhino, Scorpion, Green Goblin or Doc Oc? Never mind the Lizard, as has been pointed out.

@Ananias Dare: My point exactly, as Hulk didn’t hurt him either. He lands a punch when Wolverine is distracted and later, Wolverine is extracted from the fight when his time to bring the Hulk in is up.

“Back off kid. This is too deep for you.” “Here it comes” along with some other lines that suddenly transform Wolverine into a “never-understood” teenager; and Spider Man being written as if he is in his first days, as well as substantially depowered; are quite prime examples of the sort of childish writing of those days in mainstream comics, not quality writing. The cringe factor in those lines is overwhelming! And the stupidity factor acts as if it’s trying to rival the former in strength. Wolverine may be the best at what he does, but that is being a guy that knows a lot about combat, has heightened senses, an improved healing factor, some claws, and really tough bones. None of those things make him any credible threat to someone of Spider Man’s level of power, the same way special forces operatives, despite all their training and capabilities aren’t impervious to bullets and shrapnel. This story should have come with a billboard for the obsession to make a “edgy” story about how “cool Wolverine” is in expense of Spider Man, because “screw Spider Man, that Marvel poster boy, he will never get us brooding folks”. It’s such a failure of a gritty story when compared to some actually good ones of the kind, it’s like a parody.

@Derek:
“Goblyn was an interesting character… She’s not being used by anyone now though – probably long forgotten!”
Not by me. I even named my cat after her.
“Omar, you’re correct of course. Laura was listed as autistic, Goblyn was her twin. I guess my recall isn’t as good as I thought.”
To be fair, they were originally treated as if they were the same character, as if they were transforming. It was only a while later that the whole real story was revealed.

@Kit Walker:
“I don’t think Priest was literally saying his story was the super hero answer to Schindler’s List.”
Agreed.

@M-Wolverine:
“And oof, that picture of the Sorcerer. He looks like he’s 90 but still sporting the Superman briefs. It’s like Adrian Toomes in a speedo.”
Thanks for the mental picture!

John Calimee’s art on AF was… not the best. He’s come onto AlphaFlight.net and said that he wasn’t ready to draw a team book at the time.
His style is much better now, though (he posted some more recent pictures in the interview).

Drithien –

What I do find interesting about SVW is that it has shades of a proto-Garth Ennis story. There is a “clown in tights” that proves himself to be completelly innefective when he has to face something “real”. There is a cooler anti-hero that is comfortable in that realer world. The anti-hero completely dominates the clown.

It’s almost a sort of meta-commentary on genre. The equivalent of saying that conventional superheroes suck, gritty spies rule.

It’s strange, because the only way such a story should work in a honest way is if the superhero stepped into a portal and moved to our world and there he’d found himself less effective because our world follow other rules. Sort of like the movie LAST ACTION HERO.

But the Germany in this story is the Germany of the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man facing killers and spies there shouldn’t be that different from Spider-Man facing HYDRA in New York City. The whole universe Spider-Man and Wolverine inhabit follows superhero rules. So the vast experience Spider-Man has amassed in his career should still hold.

Something else that was bad was that Priest also did a sequel of sorts to this story in Web of Spider-Man.

In that one Wolverine comes to NYC to see Peter after the events of this issue. I thought at first it was going to be a role reversal where Wolverine would find out he was out of his depth in Spider-Man’s world of gang wars and the mob and realize he didn’t quite get the rules of Spider-Man’s world any more than Spider-Man understood the rules of international espionage.

No such luck. Peter came off as an inexperienced kid next to the cool, grizzled old man Wolverine. Wolverine keeps cracking jokes at Pete’s expense, Pete is exasperated and playing catch up and Wolverine is a fish out of water in Spider-Man’s world but in a way that’s not flattering to Spider-Man….he acts as if Spider-Man’s world is a corny and confusing circus of weirdos. You get the impression that he’s not at all impressed with the environment Spider-Man deals with and finds his world comical and amateur hour.

So when Spider-Man is the fish out of water in Wolvie’s world, it’s clear Wolverine and his world are cooler and more deadly. When Wolverine is the first out of water in Spidey’s world, it’s clear Wolverine and his world are cooler and more deadly.

Also insulting was a father-son type pep talk Wolverine gave Spidey telling him he wasn’t responsible for Charlie’s death. Somehow that was like insult to injury to me. Especially because if Wolverine just worked with Spider-Man as an equal instead of shutting him out all along and getting into fights with him, Charlie may have lived, so if anything he is as responsible for Charlie’s death as Spider-Man is. Having him condescend to sit Peter on his lap and “forgive” him for Charlie’s death made me want to retch.

@Inner Circle- in Hulk 181 Wolverine’s reflexes allow a glancing blow from the Hulk to make him loopy rather than outright kill him (along with adamantium skull). That story makes clear his claws do nothing to Wolverine, and Wolverine’s lucky he doesn’t get killed by the Hulk. The whole point is giving Wolverine credit for not quiting even though he has no chance, not that they’re in any way equal. That it’s presented like that in latter stories was the change, and problem. The Wolverine mini-series was consistent with the character at the time. He was basically Daredevil with metal bones and could heal from injuries a lot faster, but not be saved from being killed because of it. In those street level heroes class, not the Hulk’s.

To add to Tony, neck vertebrae aren’t fused; you can turn your head. It’s breaking the spinal cord that can be done, and is the problem.

It wasn’t Stern, but I thought DeFalco’s Spider-Man run was excellent, probably his best work. And when you just read the story and find out the leading candidate for the Hobgoblin WAS a red herring and that killed him off in a shocker you thought it was a brilliant master plan. Later when you find out there was no plan whatsoever and it was just a big FU between creators the mess it turned into later made sense. DeFalco was certainly no saint, but comes off looking great compared to Priest/Owlsley/whatever he’s going by today. (Is it any doubt any dude with multiple names has issues?)

Hulk #181 is problematic, both for Wolverine’s defenders and accusers in those discusions, because Len Wein had a very different idea of Wolverine’s powers when he introduced the character. Wolverine was supposed to have Spider-Man level strength, durability and agility. No healing factor, and the claws were in his gloves.

THAT Wolverine had more of a fighting chance against the Hulk and consequently against Spider-Man too. He WAS Spider-Man, but with no webs.

Claremont changed his powers and made him much less of a powerhouse. Claremont’s Wolverine could still take Spidey, IMO, but he had to sweat. Priest’s story inverts things, with Spidey struggling to contain Logan. And obviously, Claremont’s Wolverine could never take the Hulk head on.

I’ve always loved Spider-Man vs. Wolverine. It was such an unusual and dark Spider-Man story. He’s in a foreign country, off-balance and unsure of himself. That’s demonstrated just by the graveyard setting of that fight alone, which just added to the whole unsettling vibe of the story. (Plus, it was way back before Wolverine’s ends-vs-means personality hadn’t become so overblown and cliched.)

But something else I like about it is how it set the stage for Kraven’s Last Hunt, which began several months later and is perhaps my all-time favorite comics story. Ned Leeds is one of the “ghosts” Peter sees while drugged by Kraven in the first issue. SVW clearly laid the foundation for one of KLH’s central themes–Peter’s very real mortality and fear of death. The inner monologue and frank admission “I’m afraid to die” would be right at home in KVH. I know SVW and KLH were written by two different people, but it can’t be coincidence that they share similarities this way.

Rene- It’s even more complicated than that, since in Claremont’s earlier stories, Claremont’s own idea of Wolverine’s powers was clearly changing constantly. Compare the scene in X-MEN #98 where Wolverine easily busts out of his metal bonds with the scene in issue 111 where he has to strain very hard to break free. I don’t think Claremont’s idea of Wolverine’s powers and skills really solidified until sometime after Byrne started working on the series. In the pre-Byrne Claremont/Cockrum issues, Wolverine comes across as more powerful but less competent.

As for SVW, yeah, the way Spidey suddenly acted like an incompetent amateur didn’t make any sense at all, given everything he had seen and done in his career up to that point. On the other hand, I never liked the way he was sometimes treated as impossible to hit in a fight during the ’80s- it made his fights a little too easy on the whole- he should be difficult to hit, but some writers during that time were taking that to an extreme, as being completely unhittable, just as certain writers were treating Captain America as completely unbeatable, and Reed Richards as being infallible, at the same time. To me, those trends made it harder to sympathize with those characters, just as Wolverine’s increasing uber-ness made him harder to sympathize with. Spider-Man should take a hit now and then, Captain America should (temporarily) lose the occasional fight, Reed should occasionally be wrong, Wolverine should sometimes find himself over his head. To me, it makes both the stories and the characters more interesting.

@Rene: but Spidey doesn’t for a minute think Wolvie his better. He doesn’t even give a shit about him once they part ways, he’s focused on Charlie. As for bringing a closure to the story, that happened a few issues later in ASM when he first learned the identity of the Hobgoblin, defeated him, decided to remain Spider-Man (with some, erm, help from the Black Cat) and finally engaging Mary Jane (which was quick after the aforementioned, erm, help). All this required Spidey to be really messed up at the end of SMvsW, but that was only halfway through the story.

And I as a Wolvie fan certainly never thought the story portrayed him as better. If “more comfortable after killing scores of people” would make anybody better, Nazi death camp guards would be the kewlest characters around.

Inner Circle –

“but Spidey doesn’t for a minute think Wolvie his better. He doesn’t even give a shit about him once they part ways, he’s focused on Charlie.”

Of course he thinks Wolverine is his better. He is in awe of Wolverine for much of the story. He may not like the feeling, though.

But I agree with you that Spider-Man has some closure. With Wolverine appearing again for the infamous pep talk, like T. describes. :)

“If “more comfortable after killing scores of people” would make anybody better, Nazi death camp guards would be the kewlest characters around.”

But that is using real world logic. Yes, I don’t think killers and gangsters are cool. I don’t think revenge is a sweet thing. I don’t think winning a fight makes one cooler or better than the one who lost it. But movies and comics can all portray those things, through the magic of storytelling that, at least for the time you’re experiencing the story, can make you think A, when actually B is real.

While, in real life, I don’t think any gangster is ever cool or grandiose, In the fictional world of the Godfather and Goodfellas, they are cool and grandiose, no matter how much real life logic we try to slap on them. A movie that actually aligns with my real life view on gangsters? An Italian movie called Gomorrah.

Another example. Revenge is a repugnant thing, that is my real world conviction. But I still thrill and root for the Bride in Kill Bill, the movie is built in a way that puts us in the position to root for her, despite a few scenes that take us out of this revenge thrill momentarily, like with Vernita Green’s daughter. However, Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In is a movie that portrays revenge as a crazy, evil, repugnant thing that only brings grief to all. It aligns with my real world views.

The story invites us to admire Wolverine, his prowess, his experience. We can keep telling ourselves that what Wolverine does is not nice while we read the story, but it’s left to the reader the job of constantly doing that and rowing against the tide. It’s not like some kid in the story is let down by Wolverine and realizes that Logan sucks as a human being, it’s not like Spider-Man’s nonviolence ends up saving the day, it’s not like Spidey manages to take some action that makes Charlie want to live and repent her ways, quite the opposite, he is the schmuck that ends up killing her. His good guy-ness and non-killing ways are not ever shown as effective inside this story.

When you remember you own this comic and it was shiny, im gonna have to dig this out for reminiscing purposes!

The reference to Peter as an inexperiecned teenager in one of the comments made me remember that the Lee/Ditko run actually has Spidey hit with a dose of reality when he runs up against Doc Ock for the first time, right after patting himself on the back that he’s pretty much invincible. Only in that story he learns from his defeat and comes back stronger, which obviously wasn’t an approach that interested Priest.

I’m actually a bit surprised that it would be DeFalco given how much of a hands-off EiC he was. I can understand him being pissed (especially about the Ned Leeds thing since he and the other Spider-Writers at the time weren’t even given a heads-up about it), but based on what I’ve read about professional style the rationale offered surprises me. Especially given that Preist refers to the unnamed individual as being, “a particularly loud voice who kept arguing that Wolverine could never land a glove on Spider-Man. This was the simplistic, Crayola colorforms through-line of thought this particular voice was famous for, and it was a way of thinking that totally worked against the complex story we were telling.” That doesn’t much sound like DeFalco to me. My first instinct was that, despite suggesting that it came down to the EiC, it was Shooter himself who was the insistent voice and that he forced the title’s immediate editor (Ann Nocienti) to change things. Everything I’ve read about where Shooter was at the time this was being produced paints him as highly micromanaging, meddling more-and-more in creative content, extremely narrow in his perception of how the characters should behave and what they should do, and increasingly unstable in his battles with both the publishing owners he reported to and his own staff. Sean Howe’s “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story” also presents an image of DeFalco during this era as somebody who was steadfastly loyal as an intermediary between Shooter and virtually everybody else at Marvel, and willing to throw himself under the bus as Shooter’s mouthpiece. Perhaps those accounts are unfair, but they made Shooter seem the most likely candidate to me, and while I would believe DeFalco would make the case on Shooter’s behalf, given their respective track records both before and after with respect to dealing with other creators and their attitudes to how characters were handled and written this more convoluted scenario actually strikes me as more likely.

In any case I wonder if Spidey being beaten by Wolverine would still have led to the story ending where it is Peter who actually lands the killing blow that he was trying to prevent? If not the ending we ended up with may be far more effective in maintaining the theme of Spider-Man being in over his head than the original effort.

I don’t see how that plays in. Unless getting over inexperience once means it for all time. Frankly it sounds like a lot of people just don’t like the assertion of Spider-Man losing to Wolverine.

Never read the story myself, so I have no opinion on the actual story. That said, I’ve been a Spiderman fan since I started reading comics. I have no problem with him losing fights, he actually loses alot and comes back to save the day! I think the issue is HOW he’s depicted. Despite all the “Darn my Parker luck!” He’s really an optimist, so I think that’s what people may have a problem with. And all the wolverine fans… Pixie could beat him by teleporting him into a volcano. ‘Nuff said ;-)

Tony Centofanti

February 1, 2016 at 7:26 am

Honestly, I don’t mind any character beating any other, as long as it’s composed well.
Having Wolverine take multiple shots to his noggin’ from Spider-Man “not holding back”, is a poor choice of occurrence, for the way that Wolverine was portrayed at the time.

There’s a way to do this battle and have it make way more sense. Also, I’d rather read a story where Wolverine overcomes competent Spider-Man, rather than this rube.

“I can’t get him to stop smiling”

I love that line.

@ Rene: Well, Spidey repeatedly says he considers Wolvie a maniac, a madman, somebody that should be locked away etc. – that’s more like “shock” than “awe” in my book :-) The only scene when he truly is humbled is the restaurant, but that’s nothing serious. In fact, HE looked down on Wolverine and Charlie and realized he shouldn’t have, that’s all.
But OK, I see your point about gangsters and vengeance portrayed as positives. Let’s look at it from another point of view. I read a novel set in immediate post-WWII Soviet Union where the protagonist met a family on the train. The father introduced his wife and their children, and explained they had a smaller girl who unfortunately starved in the siege of Leningrad. He added that of course he could have given more food to her, but then he himself would have starved and he could not have gathered food for the family, leading to ALL dying. The protagonist and the company good-naturedly murmur agreement at this then-everyday story.
The book is fiction but the scenario was very real for thousands. None of us could bear to see their child starve, I’m sure, but that’s here and now. After a year of siege on less and less food and seeing the family starve and being powerless to stop it, I think most of us would do as the father and save whoever he could, sacrifying whom he must. But we really wouldn’t be the same person afterwards. Spider-Man would never let a child starve (not even others), and if he would, he wouldn’t be “he Spider-Man we know anymore. (See the “What if?” story diverging from Spider-Man vs. Wolverine. To make up for Charlie’s death, Spidey follows Wolvie even deeper into the underworld and he is changer forever.)
Wolvierine is different to Spidey as he was forced to reach this stage before. Parts of his personality is indeed cool and awe-inspiring, but for his ruthlessness, he is to be pitied. And he knows this as well – when he saw Lady Deathstrike turned into a cyborg killing machine, he freaked out at her throwing away her humanity, while he would give almost anything if he could reclaim his.
(Sorry for the late reply.)

Inner Circle –

I agree with your take on Spider-Man and Wolverine, and their respective personalities and stories, but I don’t think SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE, as written, presents Wolverine as someone to be pitied. Spider-Man comes out of it as a child that has much to learn, with an unrealistic view as to how the world functions, and honestly as kind of sheltered self-righteous noob.

You’re telling me that a guy that does not kill ever is not a noob, he is admirable. I agree. You agree. But Christopher Priest does not seem to agree.

@ T: The “freezes up in fear” and so on quotes you were seeking may be from the ‘Spiderman creators interviewed’ book whose precise title & author escapes me at the moment.

Peter Sanderson may’ve been the author, maybe not.
DeFalco was one of those interviewed, plus those from Silver, Bronze Ages, etc, such as Lee, Conway…

You’re telling me that a guy that does not kill ever is not a noob, he is admirable. I agree. You agree. But Christopher Priest does not seem to agree.

Yes. It’s a problem I have with Priest’s writing in general. He often seems to either write noble characters as chumps, or he takes a formerly noble character and has to dirty them up a bit and give them an edge in order to write them with respect. In fact I read an interview from the time that said that Priest was supposed to become the regular writer on Web of Spider-Man and one of his plans was to make Spider-Man a grimmer and grittier character. I think all of his stories where he was a rube and a patsy were meant to set up the stage for his darkening journey.

Seems like this either is or was the central debate in superhero comics- Continuity or good story? Story might be better if Spider-Man is a clueless naif. Continuity says Spider-Man is not a clueless naif. It is possible, but increasingly difficult, to create a good story that accounts for all continuity. Absolute dedication to continuity will probably prevent some good stories being written, which is bad. But without the previous continuity that caused people to care about and identify with these characters in the first place, would anyone care about your story? Might as well say ‘go and watch ‘the Third Man.’ It’s better.’ But probably better to take some risk than never write a story with that character again.

Certainly a delicate balancing act.

It’s one thing to say Spider-Man might be out of his element, off-stride, slower to respond than usual and otherwise primed to be beaten by a foe who is strong, feral, and possesses a lust for killing.

It’s another thing to say Wolverine is the foe that makes Spider-Man react that way.

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