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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: Com-Con panel followup
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 8/13/2002 1:50:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>and i think it's been stated recently that mj and peter being married will
>be dropped too, so as not to confuse the movie customer pickups.

Nope. Marvel never stated it to me, and I've certainly never stated it to
anyone.

Definitely not true.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: Com-Con panel followup
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 8/13/2002 2:04:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>So my question was: How much of Spider-Man's continuity are you familiar
>with? You're a big comics fan -- how much of his history have you read?
>And is anyone at Marvel doing anything to get you up to speed on
>continuity that you may have missed?

I was a huge Spidey fan for many years, starting with his first appearance
right up through about maybe five, six years ago when it wandered away (for my
tastes anyway, ymmv) from what I was interested in following.

What I tend to do is check with Axel to find out what's current to make sure I
don't step on anything significant (though there's so much out there that it's
nigh impossible not to step on *something*). For instance, when I did the Doc
Ock story out now, I asked Axel for the latest on the doc, what he did and
didn't know, what his relation was currently if any with Aunt May, and so on.
He checked it out at his end, and gave me the skinny. Which is what a good
editor does.

The problem with being strict on continuity is that there's so much that has
been done in and around the character, for so many years, that it begins to
wall you in dramatically. So my take on this is that you have to be mindful of
the major themes and major stories and broad strokes of the character's
history. They are there and they work for a *reason*. But in the small
strokes, you need to have some measure of flexibility.

What art is about -- and I'm going to call comics art because I've always
believed that's what they are -- is not regurgitation of facts; it's about
interpretation. In his plays, Shakespeare took liberty with stories and
histories that preceded him, bending them to the story he wanted to tell.

Similarly, in present, you'll often see many of his plays presented in modern
dress, or with a female in the lead role of Hamlet; you look at what's there
and re-interpret things to see how they look when you turn the mirror just a
bit to one side.

Otherwise, if you don't have this freedom, you may as well have one of those
computer programs where you input the names, histories, and powers of the
various Spidey characters, input plot complications, and let it keep
regurgitating elements of the same formula, over and over. Or you turn the
book over to supporting characters, which I think is what happened over the
last few years.

I think you have to be mindful and respectful of continuity; but a writer's
*job* is to reinterpret the world, and the past, in new and interesting ways.
If you ain't doing that, you ain't doing the job.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: Com-Con panel followup
      To: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe  
    Date: 8/13/2002 9:41:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>I thought that here would be a good place to let you know that your recent
>work has brought a long time spiderman fan back into the web, so to speak. I
>too drifted during the clone saga, however in the last 6 -12 or so months, i
>have thoroughly enjoyed once again reading spiderman books. Thanks.

You're most definitely welcome, and just as definitely not alone. I've been
hearing this from a lot of folks. I wish I could take more credit for it than
this, but it's really just a matter of getting out of the way and letting Peter
be who and what he is...that, and John's art. The character is solid, the
mythos is solid, and all you really have to do is not screw it up.

What's been gratifying also has been the slow but steady rise in the book's
sales figures, so that it just recently broke 100,000 copies for the first time
in a very, very long time. That tells me that the character, and the venue, is
still valid; it's just a matter of being honest with the book.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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