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Spectacular Spider-Man, The

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SpideyFan writes...

I've just gotten a chance to sit down and watch Spectacular Spidey, and it was absolutely mind-blowing. Between it and YJ, I am totally sold on your work. I love the way you structure your stories (on an episode-by-episode basis, and the way you build up longer arcs), and how you manage to present only the most pertinent/interesting information, and trim the narrative fat. It makes your shows a total joy to watch; the stories have such a deliberate sense of movement, everything seems to have purpose. Watching your work inspires me!

Here's the "Ask" part:
In the series finale (S2E13 "The Final Curtain"), Spidey's big confrontation sees him fighting pumpkin-headed grunts in little flying goop-shooting ships. Was this something the creative team was gung-ho about putting in the series, or was it more related to pressures from the powers-that-be about opportunities to sell toys?
Also, how often is marketing, or promoting the DC/Marvel/what-have-you brand a consideration for you when you're creating a show?
Finally: how did you start writing? I don't mean on the level of occupation (i.e. what jobs got you started), but how did you establish for yourself the discipline and confidence in your skills necessary to write professionally?

And I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. It sounds like it was her time. My own great-grandmother just passed on, and I can tell you she was as ready for it as we were resistant to it. It certainly made the mourning process a lot harder to initiate, since there was this enormous sense of relief that she wasn't in any more pain, or so lonely anymore. I think a sort of hollow initial response is natural. Hope this is some condolences.

Thank you and adieu,


Greg responds...

1. These were our creations, and as far as I know Hasbro never made any toys based on them. Which is too bad, don't you think?

2. I don't know how to answer this. It doesn't go into the development of our series at all. But I'm hired to do these shows, and whether or not this was a factor in what shows the studios and networks and comic book companies choose to do, is not something I'm privy to.

3. In sixth grade, I started writing my first (of many) unfinished novels. Most of the time I need a real deadline to get work done. By nature, I'm both lazy and a procrastinator. But with a deadline, I get the job done.

Thank you for the condolences.

Response recorded on August 15, 2012

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akif writes...

the new spider man show isn't that good i wish that you can continue the show anf young justice at the same time

Greg responds...

I haven't seen "Ultimate Spider-Man", but it's got some real great people working on it, so I'd suggest giving it a chance.

Response recorded on August 15, 2012

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The Greenman writes...

Hi Mr. Greg Weisman,

I have been a fan of yours since Gargoyles. One of the things that interest me is the basic structure of the themes and world building in the series. One of the styles I see continue to pop up in your series is the relationship between science and sorcery. This is something I have been a fan of in comics like Iron Man and Fantastic Four (specifically Dr. Doom versus Reed Richards). I love the simple explanation that energy is energy.

1. Now I didn't see much of this argument come up in your Spectacular Spider-Man series, because Peter debunked Mysterio, but can you say that you ever planned to and who you would've used to explore that science versus mystic aspect?

2. I am upset that directors such as Jon Favreau and Shane Black have knocked down the very idea of Mandarin showing up as not to approach the so-called mystic aspect. Though, it could be be alien in origin or something, as they claim and prove that even super-science isn't allowed in the MCU. Have you read and understand the Iron Man comics specific to Mandarin and Tony's relationship to science versus sorcery? Was it influential at all in your writing?

Greg responds...

1. Well, we had Calypso. I'm not going to get into much beyond the fact that we would have explored her character more.

2. I'm not sure specifically to what you're referring. I've read comics from the 60s, 70s and 80s with Iron Man and Mandarin. Probably nothing more recent than that. In any case, I don't think it influenced me much if at all.

Response recorded on August 15, 2012

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Mike writes...

1. How did the Rhino overcome his hydration problem?
2. What are the names of Tombstone's bodyguards?
3. Is Tombstone the Big Man or is it someone else entirely?

Greg responds...

1. I don't recall, I'm afraid.

2. I don't think we ever gave them names.

3. Tombstone is the Big Man. (Wasn't that obvious?)

Response recorded on July 26, 2012

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FanMan writes...

Being that the Spectacular Spider-Man was cancelled almost two years ago now, are you yet able to reveal details of what you had planned for season 3? Or do you still intend to keep that information back in order to use it on a later show or if Spec-Spidey gets (against all odds) renewed at a later time?

An Ask Greg Helper responds...

Greg Weisman says:

"I had many specific ideas, some of which would undoubtedly have changed over the course of production. But I'm just not too inclined to reveal them. It's not that I'm trying to torture you, it's just that there's no way I can do them justice in this format. I write 'X' would have happened, and that one statement will get dissected across the internet. And any idea is only as good as its execution - which you'll now never get to see. It may sound stupid here, but I might have been able (with the help of Vic Cook and all my other many collaborators) to pull it off on the series and have everyone think I'm a genius. Or not. But at least it would have had a shot. I just don't feel like opening myself up to potential second-guessing based on raw notions as opposed to executed episodes."

[Response recorded on August 5, 2010.]

Response recorded on July 03, 2012

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Derek writes...

I'm a big fan of continuity as I gather you are too based on your use of dates, your shows in general and an interview you did years ago critizing the X-Men for not evolving and moving forward. I think DC has some fantastic characters and concepts, which is one of the reasons I like Young Justice. However, I've found that without fail whenever I start reading their books and enjoying them, they erase characters and storylines I've become fond of from existence in a big reset or reboot in an effort to become “new reader friendly” e.g Linda Danvers, Helena Bertinelli, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, Team Titans, Infinity Inc etc.

In the end, this practice alienated me as a reader and I no longer buy DC books because as a reader I find this extremely irritating. So first of all, I'm glad that your not doing that with Young Justice. The characters in show have already greatly progressed through season 1 and I'm very optimistic about the Season 2 based on the first episode.

I'm curious though as a comic book reader what do you make of DC comics and their practice of the "reset"?

An Ask Greg Helper responds...

Greg Weisman says:

"As you noted, I have NOT had the time to read the New 52, so I will not comment on that specifically. Whether or not it works creatively depends more than anything else on execution. Since I haven't seen the execution, I can't respond to how it works creatively. But I KNOW that commercially it's been a HUGE hit. I like to believe that it wouldn't have done quite so well, if it wasn't executed well too.

But generally, on the idea of reboots, I do have a handful of thoughts:

1. I don't want to be a hypocrite. When we started Spectacular Spider-Man and again on Young Justice, we were effectively doing a continuity reboot. I feel when adapting something to a new media, that's essential, but it doesn't change the fact that (a) we did it and (b) I was relieved to be able to do it. Relieved to be able to jettison elements that I felt didn't work or were redundant or confusing, etc. Our goal, particularly on Spider-Man, was to come up with something Classic, Cohesive, Coherent, Contemporary and Iconic. So how can I object if the comics themselves want to do this?

2. In the end, whether or not either SpecSpidey or YJ was/is successful depends on our execution of our ideas, additions and cullings. I like to think both shows are successful, but that's a judgement each individual viewer would have to make for him or herself.

3. I was working on staff at DC Comics during the publication of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. In fact, during my very first editorial meeting, I raised the question as to why we weren't starting ALL our books over (with the numerical exceptions of Detective and Action Comics) with issue #1. I remember very clearly a collective groan rising up from the conference room table. (They had dealt with this question for months before my arrival.) On the one hand, they wanted Crisis to be a real sea-change, a true reboot (before we knew that term). On the other hand, if you truly reboot Batman, then Robin doesn't exist yet. No Robin, no other sidekicks either. So no Teen Titans. And at the time, the New Teen Titans was the company's best selling book.

4. So the end result was that some things got rebooted and some did not.

5. This was complicated by the fact that certain creators came late to the party, and certain characters got reboots too long AFTER Crisis.

6. And so, as a READER, I couldn't help feeling that - rather than simplifying the continuity - Crisis made it more complicated. This will happen in general, naturally, as time passes and more and more comics are produced by a variety of creators and editors, but Crisis seemed to exacerbate the problem for me personally.

7. In part this was because, I really liked the DC Multiverse. I agree that it was abused to the point of confusion. (And I think it was nuts that Earth TWO had the forties heroes and Earth ONE had the sixties heroes. Just the odd backwards numbering itself created additional unnecessary confusion.) But if limits had been placed on the number of parallel earth stories and crossovers, I think it could have been fine.

8. ESPECIALLY, if they had created a new Earth-THREE, starting over with heroes of the eighties, with Superman and Batman (being new to the hero thing but) remaining relatively constant. But with a new Green Lantern (for example) as different from Hal Jordan as Jordan was from Alan Scott.

9. But that didn't happen. And in fact, though I've read very few comics since 1996, my understanding is that reboots have hit over and over at both DC and Marvel. That negates reader trust in the worth and weight of the stories they're reading. It's more insidious than obvious. And you risk alienating old readers, even as you may or may not attract new ones. You'll always get a short term gain off of a reboot, because everyone wants to check it out. But long term...

10. And going back to my first point - which is that most everything depends on execution - I personally didn't love the execution of some of the post-Crisis rebooting. Some people may have loved it. And that's totally legit. But some of the rethinking on certain individual characters didn't work too well for me.

11. Though personally I think the Bates-Weisman-Broderick reboot on Captain Atom from his Charlton incarnation was brilliant. ;)

12. So, personally, my feeling on reboots in general is that you either do them or you don't. You've got to be thorough and ruthless about it, or don't bother, because otherwise - long term - you're creating more problems than you're solving.

13. And still and all, ultimately, it all depends on execution."

[Response recorded on February 15, 2012.]

Response recorded on July 03, 2012

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Miten Dama writes...

Hey Greg I'm a huge fan of your work and
I'm a huge fan of the spectacular spiderman
out of curiousity could you tell me what would have happens in season 3
if the show had continued I'd really appriciated
from your biggest fan Miten Dama

An Ask Greg Helper responds...

Greg Weisman says:

"As I've stated MANY times before, I don't see any advantage TO ME in vomiting out what my plans would have been absent the execution of said plans. All that accomplishes is to hold the ideas out for all sorts of second guessing."

[Response recorded May 5, 2011.]

Response recorded on May 16, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

If spectacular spider-man continued would you have mention any other Marvel heroes like the fantastic four?

An Ask Greg Helper responds...

Greg Weisman says:

"I would like to do the occasional team-up. I think I've mentioned Spidey/Human Torch and Spidey/Hulk in the past, just to start with. But one or two per season is plenty for me. I've got more than enough to explore in Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe."

[Response recorded on April 7, 2009.]

"All answered before, but now rendered moot."

[Response recorded on April 26, 2010.]

Response recorded on May 15, 2012

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Spen writes...

Hi Greg! First off, I'd like to thank you for posting all those old production memos from "Gargoyles". I love reading 'behind the scenes' stuff, and seeing the way the story develops over time. It kind of reminds me of Christopher Tolkien's "History of Middle-Earth" series, albeit on a smaller scale.

Now, I have a few questions that I hope can be considered to all fall under the general category of "series development". A couple of them might be stretching it a bit, but I think it'll be okay (and if not, you'll tell me).

1. You started posting production memos for your "Re-Awakening" ramble. Are there any surviving memos from "Thrill" to "Her Brother's Keeper"?

2. When you wrote "The Journey", did Scott Thomas send you a prod. memo?

3. Are there any memos from "Spectacular Spider-Man"?

4. One thing that really struck me when reading some of the notes from early '92 was just how early the Pack came along in the development. Which got me to thinking about another early villian. Was Tony Dracon's involvement planned all along, and he just happened to first appear in "Deadly Force", or was he created specifically because "Deadly Force" needed a new villian? (Awkward sentance, I know, but I can't seem to get this phrased quite right. Do you get what I'm saying?)

Thanks for taking the time to answer these. We will now return to our regularly scheduled "Young Justice" questions.

Greg responds...

1. I'm sure there are. But there are difficulties in posting them, including but not limited too: (a) not enough hours in the day (b) most of those memos were only preserved as documents - not electronically, so that it's not as simple as cutting and pasting (c) most of those documents are at my private office in Beverly Hills, and I'm almost never there, since producing YJ here in Burbank keeps me pretty busy.

2. No.

3. Very few. Those were mostly done via e-mail, and I didn't keep a record of that. Also, I was personally story editing SpecSpidey, so I wasn't writing memos to my story editors, as I was on Gargoyles.

4. I get what you're saying, but I honestly can't remember. My vague guess is that we always knew we'd need a "crime boss" of some kind, but that we probably didn't develop Tony until we got to his episodic premiere.

Response recorded on May 04, 2012

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DmarvelC writes...

If you could, would you have put your Spectacular Spider man on the team?

Greg responds...

I'm afraid that kind of hypothetical just has no meaning to me.

Response recorded on May 03, 2012

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