September 25, 2008

That Ca-Razy Guggenheim

Speaking of "judging" Guggenheim said a lot of people who aren't reading Spider-Man or refuse to read Spider-Man are judging it based on misunderstandings. "Part of the problem with the controversy behind One More Day is the understanding of what was retconned overstates the extent of what was done," he said. "Everything that happened in the last twenty plus years of comic book history happened! The only difference is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson weren't married. They still dated. They still lived together. They still love each other. They just weren't married. Judging from the letters and death threats we received, I think some people were confused. It all still happened."

"Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage," he continued. Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage."
Just when I thought that I couldn't find anything to blog about comes this little nugget.

Now, it would be easy to talk about the subtle homophobia within that last statement, but I won't, simply because 1) it's kind of a blanket statement about someone I don't know at all, and 2) Dorian does it much more effectively and intelligently than I could.

But Marc Guggenheim's statement seems...well, almost at odds with Marvel's rationale for undoing the Spidey marriage. The whole point of the Spider-Man: One More Day storyline (we were told) was to free Peter up, that comics fans didn't want to see Peter Parker married, because married people were boring. They wanted to see Parker - a character who was, well, kind of a nerdy guy who had problems with women - "play the field". And in the first issue of the Brand New Day story arc, Peter and Mary Jane were on uneasy terms, almost suggesting a bitter breakup in the past.

But, well, if they were never married, why would they then choose to live together? Why would the Mephisto/Satan equivalent of the Marvel Universe feel that the marriage was so valuable? Does he like bridal bouquets? Or All-You-Can-Eat Buffets?

Increasingly, it seems as if Marvel is throwing logic by the wayside in every effort to seem "cool". Quesada's "magic" comment, Bendis' neo-Mamet writing (thanks, Kevin Church!), sloppy thinking all around...yes, Marvel may be first in sales, but McDonald's is also the leader in fast food - being market leader does not always guarantee quality.

Granted, I do see some reasons for hope at Marvel (my current faves besides these series are Guardians of the Galaxy and Immortal Iron Fist), but Marvel's current editorial style seems rather slapdash. If we take the writer as an example of the overall philosophy, Mr. Guggenheim's comments seem indicative of an overall tendency towards "fuzzy thinking".

The kind of thinking that suggests a civil union is somehow, well, the equivalent of a marriage.

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