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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139
In Reply To

Member Since: Wed Dec 23, 2009
Posts: 2,790
Subj: Re: Yep...
Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 06:29:19 am EDT (Viewed 228 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Yep...
Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:56:18 pm EDT (Viewed 253 times)

    That's a great idea, and I agree about those years being a lot like the 90s. It's too bad that that period of comics (1986-2000) was not given an age name. I think it deserves one.

I think some would call 1986-2000 the Iron Age. I could go with that, although I wouldn't name the message board that, personally, since too many people wouldn't know, or might disagree about, what the term Iron Age referred to.

Although I guess the board could be named like so: "Iron Age (1986-2000)" - thus putting the explanation right in the name.

    I don't know if I'm the only one, but I consider the comics of the 80s and 90s to be the perfect blend between realism and the fantastical over the top elements of older comic books(in both characterization and stories). In the 2000s I think they started trying to make comic stories and characters a little too realistic with a lot of shock value and mischaracterization thrown in as well (not that I don't still enjoy many modern comics).

What I don't like about some modern comics is when realism is shoe-horned in, retroactively, to comics that were never that way - but what I'm talking about here is moral realism, or psychological realism. Peter Parker, for example, just doesn't seem as morally upstanding today as he used to be, even in the Iron Age, let alone the Silver or Bronze. The Punisher, while popular under Garth Ennis from 2000 onward, was no longer the guy I wanted to read about, as he had been shifted from the Mack Bolan: Executioner end of the spectrum to the more extreme Judge Dredd end.

    Yeah, the Clone Saga was a bit of a rough period for Spider-Man. I really enjoyed it up until Peter was revealed to be the clone though and I also liked Ben Reilly. Also, as bad as it got once he was revealed to be the clone, it was thankfully retconned and was no where near as bad as One More Day which made me drop Spider-Man for good and made me not like seeing Spider-Man in a post OMD comic at all.

Making Peter the clone was weird, yes, but predictable as a temporary story twist. Seriously, if the Clone Saga had been a novel, or a movie, it surely would have been written, by almost anyone, with Peter thinking for a while that he was the clone. This was an almost obligatory storytelling stratagem. Unfortunately, comics, coming out in monthly installments, don't always lend themselves to this sort of thing, because people can't just keep reading for a few more hours or days and see the twist resolve itself. Instead, the twist just sits there, for months, with the creative and publishing personnel of course behaving as if the twist is permanent, because if they did anything else, the story would be ruined. Plus some of the creative or publishing personnel might even have wanted, or perhaps, crazily, actually intended, for the twist to be permanent, despite the fact that such a thing was never to be, marketing realities being as they are. Peter Parker would always have more fans than Ben Reilly, and for that reason, Peter Parker would always emerge, eventually, as the real deal, and Ben Reilly as the clone, because marketing always wins. All of this was exacerbated by the fact that many of Peter's fans were young enough at the time to be unclear about such things as marketing.

Where Marvel screwed up, in my opinion, was treating the eventual return to status quo (Peter the original, Ben the copy) as a retcon, with all of this made all the more egregious by having Ben disappear in a puff of smoke. Ben should never have disappeared. The Scarlet Spider was a legitimate character who could have stuck around forever as part of the Spidey family. Here we could have had an arachnid hero who made different moral choices than Peter would have. Ben could even have decided that, sometimes, killing was justified. Ben could have moved in very different circles than Peter did. He could have become a SHIELD agent and gotten involved in the kind of adventures the Black Widow would. These opportunities went literally up in smoke because Marvel panicked.

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