Monday, October 22, 2007

Gwen Stacy Retrospective - With Scans!

Anyone who's enjoying my blog needs to check out this Gwen-centric series by Julio Barone. I'm only reading it up to the issues I've already blogged, but it's an interesting take that definitely goes into more depth than mine!

Keep it up, Julio!


Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed that it took so long for me to post, but here it is anyway:

Reading issues 11-20 and the first Annual have forced me to revise my opinion of Steve Ditko. I still prefer Romita's art, but I can see why so many people enjoy the way Steve draws fight scenes, especially when Spidey tangles with the Enforcers.

I also rather liked how Flash and Liz were developed-they both become more sympathetic to me: I find myself liking Flash more now that he's the only one sticking up for Spidey after everyone else wrote him off as a coward, and Liz became nicer to Peter when she saw how noble he was acting ("pretending" to be Spider-Man to save Betty), and telling Flash off when he acts like a prick. These are some major steps for them both.

It was also great to see Stan and Steve spread the hard luck around, so it doesn't all dump on Peter. Poor Jolly Jonah getting scooped by every other newspaper in town on his OWN story has really got to hurt, especially when, in the mid-1960s, there were many more newspapers in circulation than there are today. Stan would continue doing so after Steve left, when the photographer he hired to take pictures of Spidey during his fight with the Vulture was so nervous, his hands shook and only got some shots of the Vulture's wings and feet.

Gotta love karma.

I also loved the Sinister Six, especially how the police humiliated them all by making them share a cell in the final panel-adding insult to injury. Spidey even remarked on how some of the Six-notably the Vulture and Doc Ock-made some really stupid moves during their fights. I mean, the only person in the Marvel Universe who's better with a rope or length of cord than Fancy Dan is Spider-Man himself...what was the Vulture thinking, trying to entangle him?

I wonder whether it took Stan and especially Steve a few issues to find their groove, although fortunately when Steve left Romita was an even better replacement. I definitely like the series after the Green Goblin's first appearance-that, to my mind, is when it really started picking up steam.

As to Gwen, I still stand by my disgust at Straszcynski at making her into a whore, but we've already discussed that. I personally don't think Gwen was turned into a whiny, weepy shadow of her former self when Stan took over full-time writing duties: if anything, she became more kind-hearted, while still maintaining that same fire she demonstrated when she first appeared; after all, remember how she decked that snooty protester who called Peter a coward?

Passionate, good-natured, retiring, fiery, going back and forth between these extremes...I don't see how that makes Gwen a weaker character at all. If anyone ruined her, it was JMS turning her into someone who cheerfully jumped into the sack with someone she hardly knew and was old enough to be her father. I have a very, very hard time buying that-sure, Madgoblin made a game effort of trying to explain it, but this is one of those times where even he can't convince me.

From Terry Kavanagh to JMS, Spidey's been in the toilet for well over a decade now. Oh, and considering the Clone Saga was in part launched by Marvel having a mad-on for getting rid of the Spider-Marriage, things aren't looking much better.

It's sad when fanfiction writers who do this stuff for free are producing better storylines than the guys who actually get paid for it.


Eric Teall said...

Why would you be ashamed to take a while to post?

Yeah, Ditko had a way of keeping characters from becoming complete cartoons, for lack of a better term. Flash and JJJ certainly had their good points.

The Sinister Six used to seem cooler to me when I was younger, but when I read it again (critically read it, I mean), I found they weren't such of a much, you know?

Yeah, the Gwen-smacks-protester issue is coming up. That said, her personality really did go through a change from issue 33 to issue 68. She had occasional spark later on, but she got alternately more dreamy-eyed and weepy.

Yeah, I do think that Spidey's been pretty ill-used these last ten, fifteen years or so. How sad is it that I'm still reading it?