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As I'd hoped, our interview with J. Michael Straczynski this week struck a chord and got a response.

JMS and Gwen Stacey

Hey, love the site and I'm a die hard fanboy. So, is it just me or don't you hate it when writers come on to an established title and in all the press interviews it's always the usual, "We're gonna shake some things up" kinda thing. Well, lately, it's been real baffling to me, being that I've been a long time comic reader, because I just feel like it's the same old thing and most importantly just plain lazy storytelling.

The three most recent comic events that come to mind are the recent Gwen Stacy revelation in Spider Man, The rape and Death of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis, and the recent "Death" of Hawkeye in Avengers. In my opinion, all these writers are defending their positions with similiar speaking points. It's usually, "I wanted to reflect the real world" or "Death is a part of life and I wanted to represent that" or whatever excuse they come up with next. Sure sure, those are all great, but what about the other side of the coin? Where life is good, where things stay pretty much status quo, where NEW things and experiences affect us.

In my humble opinion, I think it's easy for these NEW writers to jump on a title and "shake things up" because I feel like any body can be controversial. I could take a character like Elongated Man and make him "more human" or grim and gritty. It's easy in story telling. You just put your character up a tree and throw rocks at him. And hey, that sells books. But it's just too easy.

What's satisfying is taking a character like that and making him interesting the way he is. I think J.M. DeMatteis did a great job of that in the "Justice League" books. That's story telling. That's making something interesting out of something already there. That's art.

What's going on here, I feel is just sensationalism, and I understand, that's the nature of the biz. Hey, you gotta sell books or you don't keep your job. But unfortunately what your doing is annoying your core fanbase who will still be with you when you sell your "Hawkeye Lives Issue" or your "Gwen Stacy Clone Wars" series. As for kowtowing to a younger audience, how bout ringing them in like you did in the old days. With true hero comics and solid stories.

That's how they got me.

Thanks for the time to let me rant.

Love the site.

--Lon Lopez

You're welcome. We're always glad to hear from readers, either via e-mail or on the forums, which is where I got the spark (combined with reading Scott Tipton) of the idea to contact JMS on the topic.

The problem with catering to the core fanbase, I think, is that we do age out and die off. So how do you please and/or appease both new readers and those of us old enough to remember Gwen? The jury is still out.

More on JMS and Gwen

I think I can recognize myself in some of the statements from JMS. While I understand his arguments, I frankly think that they are well-rehearsed and somewhat hollow.

I am a 30-something who has stayed loyal to Marvel Comics for nearly 25 years, through all of its various phases. To date, I have had nothing but praise for JMS. I loved his inspiring work on the B5 universe. I enjoyed the Ezekiel thread in the previous ASM issues. I even enjoyed the Sins Past storyline until ASM 512. That's where I have drawn my line. My reasons are as follows:

1) It seems every creator likes to go back through the entire history and redefine, and plug non-existent holes, PP's past. Instead of breaking new ground, let's just go back and revisit all the ancient history just to get a different spin on things. Let's create Spiderman in our own image instead of "creating."

2) Instead of taking a character whose story had been written, traumatically and shockingly, why not make something new? Why not address the social issues brought up in this interview with new characters that could continue to be a part of the Spiderman legend for years to come?

3) Did anyone at Marvel go back and ask the original creators, who actually created the Gwen character and storyline, what they thought of the resounding implications of Norman Osborne and Gwen Stacy having consensual sex, becoming pregnant, and then giving birth and raising twins who were programmed to hunt down the alleged father? Hell, it's bad enough that Osborne resurfaced after being pronounced dead (Translation: not creative but poor storytelling) but then having consentual sex with PP's lover ?!?!?!

4) The only reason that some of us have said that it would be better for Gwen to have been forcibly violated is that the existing story and the characterizations would be more true instead of being hollow and weak. Most of us realized then and still do now that Gwen Stacy wasn't perfect, but this is ridiculous! I could have even accepted it better if MJ would have had the affair with Osborne (at the time of this alleged incident) because of her character at the time but not Gwen.

5) The reason that not "one woman poster" had said what this "small group" had is that there are very few women who read comics in general and Spiderman in specific. That point doesn't "speak volumes" toward anything except the demographics are vastly more male that female and that men are typically more vocal in their protests. It's just a logical fallacy wrapped in an undefined statistic.

I, being one of the "small group", are not alleging that Gwen was damaged goods because of consensual sex, even with a charasmatic older man. We are shocked that Peter's spider sense didn't warn him of the danger with Gwen's womb, or that MJ has been able to keep her vow of silence for so long (betrayal of P's trust), or that PP's able to handle this so well (hollow mockery of how much Gwen's death affected him)! The PP that's been in the other +500 issues I've read would have immediately started hunting Osborne down with blood in his eyes and could not have been stopped until he killed him. Anything else, regardless of the nature of Gwen's pregnancy, is completely untrue to the essence of Spiderman...

Thank you for hearing my thoughts.

-- Judson Miers

Who's to say yet that Peter won't hunt Norman down with blood in his eyes?

Is This Why She Left?

I can't believe Sarah still watches Smallville......it's pure crap.

-- David Busby

Clearly, Sarah agrees. But I disagree. Which is why we now have Honda. To be fair to Sarah, she continued reviewing past the point where she wanted to, out of loyalty to Fanboy Planet. We wish her well, and hope that she'll write for us again on something that makes her at least noncommital.

JLU Bios

Hello. Saw your site and was wondering, do you know Booster Gold's bio? And is there a site dedicated to giving the background on all these new jacks like the Question, Vigilante etc.? Thanks in advance a huge fan of JLU

-- Derrick Bonner

After each episode, I contribute to Goodson's JLU reviews by writing in Continuity Corner, where I cover the comic book origins of major guest-stars. And I don't want to do that twice, so you'll just have to wait until The Vigilante plays a major role to find out that he's country singer Greg Sanders under that red kerchief.

Our Intellectual Average Just Raised 100 Points...

Thank you.

Thank you for your review (of Yu-Gi-Oh!). I am a mom who had to sit through that film with my little boy (no friends with us that day, and that was just too bad because he's now dying to have me take him AND A FRIEND BBBBBAAAAACCCCCKKKK to see it again). I think he just wants more of the free cards.

Why oh why couldn't I be the commercial genius who is coming up with these collector's cards & TV shows & merchandise & movies & whatever other thing can be sold?

Your review was such a delight to read that I read twice and laughed again in all the same emplaces. I just can't find an appropriate way (or even where to start) to say all that to any one else I know. Frankly since my mid wandered throughout the film, I had many moments of thinking, if little boys can actually understand how this whole "game" works, they better all be super global scientist geniuses by the time they're 16!

Oh, my goodness. You nailed it! OK, I was a little girl so I didn't relate to the chess game fighting-pieces thing like you, but since I am the anthropologist-mother of a young boy in America I can still dig what you mean.

By the way - I accidentally ended up on the Fanboy website looking for something about a short film that someone asked me to find for them. Think I'll look around based on your film review!

Take it easy.

-- Leslie Ferrebee

I felt really good about this letter until she got to the part where she said she'd look around based on my film review. I'm pretty sure we drove away our intellectual cache the second she left that page.

In case you haven't got the message -- write! And talk about burning issues and sensations (if you really must) on THE FORUMS!

Derek McCaw

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