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Anonymous writes...

"I did read "One More Day" and I read the first year or so of "Brand New Day" before my workload overwhelmed me. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to rant against the resetting of timelines, since in essence that's what I've done on this show. "

How would it be hypocritical? You are starting a new universe from scratch with the benefit of hindsight. Marvel reset an existing universe to a status quo that hadn't existed in two decades.

What are your thoughts on the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson? Do you think it was a good idea? Marvel, and a lot of anti-marriage fans seem to be stuck on this Spider-Archie character. It's like they don't want their characters to grow and evolve.

Spider-Man has always seemed to be a story about coming of age and growing up. That seems to be the theme of your show also.

Did Marvel drop the ball and lose sight of who this character is? Because it seems that way to me.

I would have loved to see him as a dad, raising Baby May with Mary Jane, but Marvel chose to have Norman Osborn kidnap or kill that child (they never said what happened) because they felt it would age him.

But what sucks the most is that Stan Lee was the one who married them. It's what he wanted for his characters. What Marvel did to them would be like some future writer of "Gargoyles" deciding that it's boring if Goliath and Elisa get together because the tension there was the core of the relationship and resets their entire relationship back to what it was in the first episode.

Greg responds...


Personally, I like characters who grow and change. My all time favorite episode of The Simpsons, is the one where Lisa is having her fortune told and we flash-forward to her in college, falling in love and NOT getting married.

But when you're working on a commercial property that fundamentally has to work commercially, it can be tough when your series has evolved beyond its original premise, especially when you have MULTIPLE authors who have pushed and pulled the thing in multiple (well-intentioned) directions over the course of 40+ years. (Stan wasn't REALLY the guy who married Pete & M.J., no matter how much he participated in the decision and execution of the wedding itself. His run on the book had long since ended.)

Ttake the argument to it's natural extreme. Let's say, to be generous, that Pete was 15 in 1962. So now in 2009, he's 62-years-old. By all rights, if we really wanted to see him change and grow over time, we wouldn't be reading about Pete and M.J. raising baby May. We'd be reading about Pete and M.J. attending May's wedding and the birth of HER kids. (Or whatever.) And we'd be seeing a 62-year-old Spidey swinging around the city... or seriously considering retirement (or whatever).

Now, me? Yeah, actually, that REALLY interests me. It totally does. But I get why it's a commercial nightmare -- and you must also.

You ask how would it be hypocritical of me to rant against resetting timelines, but the answer is pretty obvious. Sony and Marvel approach me about doing a new Spidey show, and I pitch them a sixteen-year-old Pete in high school in 2008. I'm resetting. (You call it "starting a new universe from scratch", but really, what's the difference?) I could have pitched them: I'd like to see Spider-Man as a grandpa. They wouldn't have bought it and frankly, as much as it interests me, I'm not sure I'd have wanted to do it as a Saturday morning cartoon even if they had said yes.

And bringing up an ensemble show like Gargoyles with (more or less) a single guiding hand is really apples and oranges. I can evolve the premise and the relationships and even age the characters, because I can constantly add younger characters at the other end to maintain commerciality. Best of both worlds.

But with a single character property like Spider-Man, what happens when you've aged him beyond his premise. Do you live with it? Do you try to make it work commercially anyway? Can the premise evolve? Or do you find a way to reset. There's no one right answer, but folks have to bite the bullet and decide. Once a decision is made, then it becomes about execution.


Look at the recent Star Trek movie. They took the continuity and reset it using time travel. The Spidey staff used Mephisto. The concept of the reset/clean slate was surprisingly similar. What remains is execution. Some folks may buy into the Trek reset because of the execution. Some may not. Same with Spidey. And then there are some folks who just don't like the idea of doing a reset AT ALL. That's legit too.

I had the advantage of doing an adaptation for another medium. So I could reset without any continuity excuse. And still, at the end of the day, whether people liked what I did had a lot more to do with execution than themere FACT that I did or didn't reset. Same, I'd guess, goes for One More Day/Brand New Day.

Response recorded on May 14, 2009