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the thing is...
gwen and mj dance
Peter Parker is too awesome a character to be reduced to the team mascot, everybody's kid, or the comic relief. He has one of the all time great superhero origin stories. In almost every continuity, he's one of the heroes most likely to come through for you. He's self-sacrificing, experienced, really, really smart, and all around too great to be an also ran. JUSTICE FOR PETER PARKER NAO.

(This journal just gets increasingly ridiculous with every post, doesn't it?)

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I saw some of Ditko's original art for Amazing Fantasy #15 at an exhibit last week, and it reignited some of my old love for Peter Parker. Oh comics, why do you break my heart so.

One day we will have good Spider-Man comics again. One day.

Somedaaaaaaay. *shakes fist at the heavens*

But yeah. The older I get, the less interested I am in stories where Peter is perpetually a teenager, or characters like Nightwing and Kitty Pryde aren't allowed to age past 21. Like, look comics, I am NOT older than Nightwing, okay? old, so oooold....

This is basically what Skalja and I have been talking about lately.

I think this a problem with serial comics generally. It's hard to keep on reading them indefinitely, when the writers and editors aren't interested in exploring new angles. And even worse, they're interested in the most childish versions of the characters.

The issue comes when creators are only emotionally invested in the version of the characters they remember from their childhoods. It's a particular problem now, with the current generation of editors and editors-in-chief calling the shot. They're all late thirty-something creators from a generation when the Spider-marriage was a new thing, or before, when Kitty Pryde was the X-men's token teen and so on. There's always that pullback to those stories, whereas the readers are usually of a younger generation. Even those of us who were reading comics in the 90s are of the generation when the Spider-marriage was the norm and Kitty had graduated the X-men to Excalibur etc.

Things will change when the next generation of creators start to have more creative control - especially readers who become creators. Those who remember Peter Parker as a maturer married man with fondness, for example. You're seeing it a bit more now with those people getting given higher profile projects - people like Kieron Gillen. But, for all that, creators seem to be aiming their comics, not at one specific age group, necessarily, but one specific generation. Like the Harry Potter books grew more mature along with their readership, the current attitude seems to be to latch onto, say, the 16 year olds who picked up X-men and Spider-man comics off the back of high profile movies a decade or so ago and get more mature, (or, at least, the comic book idea of what maturity is, which is something else entirely), along with them. It's not an attitude I understand and it's basically meaning there's no new blood being brought in, no kids reading comics, which used to be the generation who then grew up into creators and took the olive branch and ran with it.

But there's this thought that kids and teenagers can't get invested in characters who are older. There's an element of truth in this, maybe, that kids do invest in characters like Kitty Pryde and Jubilee who are hanging around with older characters as someone like them, but they don't necessarily view older characters in the same way. To a kid, Spider-man, Cyclops, Wolverine, Batman, Storm, whoever, they're always older and it doesn't matter if they're 20 or 29. So, the regression of character who've aged past that "entry level" age is a pointless exercise. And Kitty and Jubilee have aged now. Why keep them as perpetual teenagers? Why not create new characters to fulfill that role, exactly like Jubilee was brought on board to the X-men once Kitty and the New Mutants had moved on?

And certain creators are bold enough to try something new, either with setups and new characters, but they're left with an aging readership that doesn't get behind the characters or an aging editorial team the same. Although, to a degree, it's understandable. When, say, a creator is given the X-men to write, of course they want to write the classics. Creating something new is both scary and, often, unrewarding considering reader's receptions.

Honestly, I'd hoped there'd be a shift once Disney came on board at Marvel. They're right in that they now have a stable of iconic characters to draw on, but Disney have always been good at aiming at this generation's kids using pre-existing characters. Yet there's been no shift in attitude at Marvel and DC's reboot was such a half-hearted attempt to attract anything in the way of new readers.

Anyway... I've lot track of what I was even attempting to say now.

I enjoy all those tropes as much as the next person, maybe even a little more (I have a thing about Tony and Peter and how their relationship was awesome before it got ruined), but this :( I would love to read more stories where he's around to do more than just quip a line or something. And I'm only now reading his actual comic line but from what I understand, most Peter fans are quite displeased with where it is now, so he should get better comics, too. Although who isn't that true for these days? :/

I get why people enjoy those tropes but they give me nerdrage. I don't consider myself a big Peter fan, but the character has too much history to be 'the kid'. And making him the kid, or the junior member (as he is in some iterations of Avengers), just annihilates everything at the core of the character. Uncle Ben, great responsibility, Gwen Stacy, yada yada. He's nobody's sidekick, you know? For stories where Peter is an Avenger, I strongly prefer him to be an equal member, someone the older heroes rely on, just as much as him relies on him. MA Avengers does this well, actually. They play around with the idea of Jan and Peter as the kids, but they don't indulge in it. Jan and Peter are showcased as much as any other character.


I actually haven't read MA yet! I am saving that for being my reward for getting through this Ultimates line (it will be quite awhile before I can look at Hank the same way again which I feel awful about because it's a different Hank but DAMN). But I mean really guys: if he's a strong enough character to SUSTAIN HIS OWN BOOK FOR LONGER THAN MOST OF YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND, then treating him as a little kid who has no idea what he's doing just...doesn't make sense to me? Like he's young, and you're older, but he should be treated as an equal ESPECIALLY IN THE FIELD.

Confession, I've read very little of Ultimates. I kind of cherry-picked my way through it, and my memories of it aren't very fresh. It's ALMOST my least favourite take on the Avengers. Some of the 90s stuff is actually less to my taste. I just kept thinking, "I liked this better when it was called Supreme Power." Which probably isn't fair, but there you go.

It's really very dark and depressing and uber-violent for seemingly no reason and made me dislike virtually everyone except Thor. It was actually kinda upsetting to read, I had to take a break :/ I just don't like the feel of the entire WORLD; if I wanted to watch people being jerks, I'd watch TV. I know that a lot of times it's not the reality but for me comics are supposed to be about the good guys. Not the guys who are slightly better than the horrendous ones.

Also, Peter Parker does not need to be more cool or more 'special'. QUIT FUCKING WITH SPIDERMAN DAMMIT!

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