Tagged: Dan Slott

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Ticket Sales went… well…

In an almost textbook example of what to do, and what not to do when inundated with high levels of traffic to one’s virtual door, ticket websites Fandango and Cinemark had wildly divergent responses to the avalanche of would-be customers trying to buy tickets to the live simulcast of The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary adventure of Doctor Who, premiering globally on November 23rd.


Review: Superior Spider-Man #1

That last page is going to calm a LOT of people down.

With the seven hundred issue run of Amazing Spider-Man ended, Marvel has started this new odd hybrid Spider-Man in a new title, Superior Spider-Man, which premiered this week.  Writer Dan Slott has presented one of the most controversial plot twists in comics in some time and set it up in a new book.  And it works exceedingly well. (Spoilers ahead.)

by Dan Slott
art by Ryan Stegman, color by Edgar Delgado


Review: “Amazing Spider-Man” #700 / “Avenging Spider-Man” #15.1

I already said in my discussion of Amazing Spider-Man 698 that I had utter faith in Dan Slott.  Yes, the plot twist he’s spun here is, at the least, controversial.  It proves, simply, that he’s got what it takes to sell  real estate. This is a story he’s been setting up for several years.  Slowly, deliberately, under our noses.  He’s taken an almost standard plot twist, seen in countless comics, movies and TV shows, and built it into a firestorm.

And I want to go to the people who don’t like it and take their comics away.  because if they don’t like this storyline, they just don’t like comics.

Do not click past, lest ye see spoilers. (more…)

Emily S. Whitten: Another Day, Another…Death Threat?!

We’ve talked about being disrespectful of the dead because you don’t like their creative work. Now let’s talk about being disrespectful to the living.

As has been reported elsewhere, some pages from Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man #700 have been leaked to the Internet prior to its December 26 (tomorrow!) release date, including the big conclusion to the current plotline that fans have been speculating about. Despite this being its own unfortunate situation (of spoiling a story conclusion Slott has spent a slew of issues building up), that’s not what I want to focus on.

As it turns out, the spoilered ending appears to drastically change the status quo of the Spider-Man story. This is not the first time that’s happened in comics or anything (not even the first time in Spider-Man, as I’m sure we all remember (hello, Clone Saga and One More Day!). But this particular change, which Slott knew would bring controversy, has drawn a huge amount of venom, and all of it is being heaped on Slott’s head – in many cases, in the form of death threats.

Death threats. Against a writer of fiction. About a fictional character. Whom he has been writing to great acclaim for quite a while now. People, I think we need to step back and think about our priorities and our behavior for a minute, here.

I can understand disliking the work of a writer who takes on an already beloved character and then does something unexpected with him or her (hello, certain Deadpool writers). I can also understand liking a writer’s work but not liking the turns they decide to have a story take. I can even understand taking to the Internet to discuss your unhappiness with the whole situation. What I can’t understand is threatening to physically harm someone because they wrote some words (or drew some pictures) you didn’t like. That is just not okay, and even if the people making the threats are being facetious (and some of them may not be, which is scary), that sort of behavior encourages an acceptance of a casual attitude towards violence, that, especially with the recent tragedies this year, should certainly be discouraged.

Look, I love comics just as much as anyone out there. I get invested in the characters and the stories too. I might get upset, or even stop reading a series, because they’ve changed the direction and I don’t like the result. And that’s A-OK. As readers, it is our prerogative to stop reading a comic if we no longer enjoy it, and it’s also one good way to show our dislike of the current direction of a story, since the companies pay attention to sales data. And as readers, it’s also fine to express our unhappiness in public forums, and can even influence further changes in direction, as these companies also tend to take note of the aggregate level of satisfaction we the readers are expressing about story direction. We are actually lucky in that way; it’s a pretty special thing to know that our opinions on a work of fiction might actually mean something to the future of that fiction. So hooray for us, consumers of a medium that, uniquely, tends to listen to its consumers sometimes and adjust its story accordingly. That’s cool.

What’s not cool is forgetting that this is a creative medium and a fictional world, produced by real people without whom it would not exist and who deserve our consideration as fellow human beings. What’s also not cool is getting so involved in hatred for a storyline that you forget what comics are – a series of stories that, by their very nature, must change and adjust with the times, and to keep the series from stagnating; a fate which to my view would be worse than a change in the status quo. The plots of ongoing comics will inevitably include some crazy stories like the Punisher turning into Frankenstein, or people making a literal deal with the devil (or demon) which makes them forget they were married and brings other people back to life. That’s actually part of the fun and wonder that is encompassed by the medium – that writers can do that kind of stuff (whether it turns out well or not) and then do something else, and then something else – and the story keeps changing, even when the fundamentals (generally) remain the same.

In this instance, I doubt the current turn of events will remain in place forever… and even if it did, well; would it really be so bad? Maybe it would. Maybe it wouldn’t. We don’t know, because the rest of this story hasn’t been written yet. It may turn out to be an amazing story. And if it doesn’t; well, then in time, it may be replaced by something better. Either way, it’s kind of how comics work, and it’s not worth threatening to harm a real, living, breathing person.

Slott has said that he’s taking the threats to his person seriously, and I’m glad. But I’m sad for the fact that he has to do that. Imagine living in that situation for a minute – being a known entity, with your picture out there for all to see, and knowing that more than one stranger out there has expressed the desire to hurt you, and could possibly do so. That’s a terrible and undeserved thing for someone to have to deal with. He shouldn’t have to be worrying about that, especially in the midst of what is probably some well-deserved time off for the winter holidays.

I didn’t realize when I started writing this piece that it would happen to fall on Christmas, but I find it apropos at a time when we are supposed to be experiencing the joy of the holidays and expressing goodwill towards our fellow people, to be posting this request to comic fans at large, and particularly to those who have been taking their fandom much too seriously lately:

Let’s keep remembering, as a community, that comics are a wonderful thing, created by wonderful people, and that those people deserve our respect and consideration as fellow human beings.

Oh, and one more thing: let’s remember that real people are more important than fiction. And not threaten to harm them, because that is terrible.

Thank you.

And now, all that remains as the year draws to a close is to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas! Or a Happy Hanukkah! Or a happy holiday of whatever sort you may celebrate!

And until next time, be kind to each other, and Servo Lectio!




Marc Alan Fishman: The Superior Spider-Ploy

SPOILER ALERT: To be fair… if you’ve not read Amazing Spider-Man #700, and care about the ending, and haven’t scoured the interwebs for spoilers previously? Please don’t read this week. Go read Dennis O’Neil’s article instead. It’s better than mine anyway.

Awhile back Michael Davis and I got into a heated argument over balls. Not kickballs. Not softballs. Not soccer balls. Balls. Juevos. Or Huevos, depending on how you look at it. We bickered a bit on whether DC’s New52 was a move made with testicular fortitude. Well, I’d like to think ultimately I won. I said they didn’t use enough man-juice. They got the bump in sales they wanted, but I don’t believe for a second they “changed the industry,” “changed the game,” or did anything more than what they did after the first Crisis on Infinite Earths – but in a significantly more watered down way. But I digress. This week, I’m not here to chastise DC. This week. I’m here to celebrate a bold and ballsy move by none other than Dan Slott. His Superior Spider-Man is a gutsy concept that deserves recognition.

Slott started in on his run on Amazing Spider-Man way back at issue #546. One-two-skip-a-few-ninety-nine-six-hundred. At issue #600 Dan started what would lead to a hundred issue long game wherein he would eventually do the (mostly) unthinkable: he would kill Peter Parker, and in true comic fashion mind-swap Otto Octavious into the titular hero’s body. And he’d keep it that way. Thus, when Marvel launches Superior Spider-Man with Doc Ock as Peter Parker… we have a new(ish) Spider-Man in the 616. Balls, kiddos.

The ideology here is simple. Thwarted time and again, Octavious decided to play one of the longest cons in comic history. In bits and pieces and dribs and drabs, Doc Ock found ways into Peter Parker’s head. And after his nefarious plan succeeds, in very a Ozymandias’ way, we are left with Spider-Ock. But instead of proclaiming potential world domination, instead Slott aims Octavious towards a goal that makes him more a shade of gray than previously thought. To paraphrase: all Otto’s ever wanted (aside from a dead nemesis for years and years, and maybe a better haircut) was to improve the world. Now, with this newfound great power will come great solutions. He has proclaimed that he will be the superior Spider-Man. Natch.

Now, the whole body swap thing has been done before. As has the “replace the title character with character X.” Bucky-Cap. Dick Grayson-Bats. Frog-Thor. And yes, we know that Spidey-Classic will no doubt be back in his own body safe and sound. And let’s even be so bold as to suggest somehow Otto will get himself a new body too. Younger. Stronger. Designed with 100% more lines and angst. It’s just the nature of this business. Don’t believe me? Go look at Frank Castle. Bloodstone my Jewish ass. But that’s a whole ‘nother show, as Alton Brown might say. The key here, and the reason I’m so excited about this, is because of the sheer novelty.

It’s widely known my favorite book of 2011 was Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics, starring Dick Grayson under the cape and cowl. I had not purchased a Batman book for eight years prior. Thank you, Hush. Why did I return? Especially when I didn’t know Scott from a hole in the wall? Because of the opportunity to give me something new. And whereas seemingly all other Marvel titles being brought into the “NOW,” here Slott decided to end his pre-now run with a big bang. Everyone else put the toys neatly back on the shelf. Balls. Of course, it may be a bit unfair to say that. Slott leaves Amazing Spider-Man to go to… Superior Spider-Man. So, perhaps he’s only semi-ballsy? Nay. To start a new number one with such a concept – for however long it goes on for – is a calculated risk.

Most of us in comic land know that a shiny new #1 on the shelf is an invitation to hop on board the bandwagon before it’s too late. I missed the boat (er… wagon) already on Daredevil, Hawkeye, and a few others outside the big two. To start a book by throwing out the previously known characteristics of your lead hero is something even more refreshing that Bucky-Cap and the like. Octo-Spidey has a cold and calculating mind behind the bright spandex. He has knowledge of the underworld other heroes would not be privy to. And he has all of Peter’s knowledge on top of his own. That’s two super-scientists for the price of one, for those counting. All of these things contribute to an amazing (superior? Nah, too easy) amount of potential energy. So long as Slott can convert that to kinetic energy he has an opportunity to redefine a hero with decades of backstory (and a ton of it truly despised). Goodbye clone saga. Goodbye “One More Day.” Hello new stories. For however long they last.

Speaking of that length, I cite Señor Miguel Oro. “…It’s not merely a matter of execution: eventually, the readers’ patience will wear out. The trick it to make the arc so compelling you don’t want it to revert. That’s some trick. But even then, you’re racing against the reader’s expectations.”

And therein lies the ultimate question. How long can Dan Slott keep the ball in the air. The longer he does it, the more attention will gather around the book. I mean, with a major motion picture looming not too far off in the distance, can Slott successfully maintain a Spider-Man that isn’t? Only one way to tell. And while I only read “Ends of the Earth” on his Amazing Spider-Man run before being lured elsewhere… I for one will jump on board as long as he delivers.

Dan Slott, the balls are in your court. Now (heh), use them.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


So…Amazing Spider-Man #698…

amazingspiderman_698_secondprint-292x450-5122730I’m not going to show you the spoiler.

I’m not going to link to the spoiler.

I’m not going to allude to the events in the spoiler.

I’m going to discuss the REACTION people are having to the spoiler.

Now, Dan Slott has a Scorched Earth, Zero-Tolerance policy on spoilers for both this issue, and the two that follow, leading to the 700th (and LAST) issue of Amazing Spider-Man:

“Heads up: People are getting their hands on review/advance copies of ASM #698. I see anyone spoiling it ahead of time (before November 21st): I will BLOCK you for life on ALL social media. Very serious. We’ve worked VERY hard to keep this stuff under wraps and make this fun for people WHEN they read the book. We’ve done all we can on this end– now it’s up to you.”

He’s kept the pressure on by thanking the few people who have seen the page for keeping their mouths shut.

So as I say, I do not intend to discuss the spoiler itself, That is, other than to say it is as ground-shaking as he’s promised, or more precisely, threatened.

In honesty, it’s not technically a spoiler, in that it’s not the end of the story. It’s a single leaked page, upon which is a pretty cool plot twist. To say it’s a spoiler would be like saying the “spoiler” of Deathtrap (out today on Blu-Ray via the Warner Archives) is “And then they kiss!” That’s not the spoiler, it’s a major twist in the middle of the story, one that turns the tale on its ear. It does not tell you the ending, not even close.

The issue is expertly written.  You read it through, and then this happens, and you immediately go back and re-read it, saying, “When did…” and you realize the answer is BEFORE THIS ISSUE EVEN STARTED.  And you read it through again, and now every line means something WILDLY different.  It’s a delightful twist, and if you went and looked at the page online yesterday, you did NOT get the full impact of the moment, and if you go and read the issue today, you will.

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, I can best compare this to the big WTF moment at the end of The Almost People.  This is as good a conversation starter as that – when did it take place, how was it done, and most importantly, how will he get out of it?

People who have seen the page or read the issue seem to be making what is likely an incorrect assumption. They presume that the event in question is a harbinger of the status quo for the new series. They seem to forget that there’s two issues to go after this one. Dan Slott has started, whipped fans into a frenzy, and ended bigger storylines than this in less time. If this same exact,event occurred in, say, 648, people would be kicking up their heels and licking their lips and saying “THIS is gonna be fun!”

But the assumption is that the event will not change, not end, and represents what we will be reading in Superior Spider-Man in a few months. People who have been reading comics all their lives are suddenly convinced that this event is a fixed point in time.

And I have to wonder why.

If Superior Spider-Man was to be taken over by a new creative team, I’d be right there with you, convinced that we were in for months of A Bold New Direction, until cooler heads prevailed and we got back to reading about Spider-Man again.

This is DAN SLOTT. The man who successfully washed the taste of One More Day from our mouths with a narrative mix of peppermint schnapps and Sprite. The man who, when seeing that all the creative teams were being spun about like deck chairs in a storm on an ocean liner, lashed himself to the mast and nailed his feet to the deck.

You don’t know how it happened.

You don’t know what happens in the next one, two or three issues.

You can only look back at past performance, and extrapolate as to whether or not he’s going to write something you’ll enjoy. Not “agree with”, not “won’t get upset about”, but ENJOY.

I am not worried.


I don’t own a single Spider-Man comic. Wait, scratch that. I own some painted comic released in the mid-aughts… Secret War. Didn’t care for it.

That being said, I love Spider-Man. I loved his cartoon in the 90s. I loved the Sensational Spider-Man cartoon even more. I owned Maximum Carnage for the Super Nintendo. I played about 8000 hours worth of Spider-Man 2 for the original Xbox. So, with all the love I have for the character, why don’t I subscribe to a single web-headed book? Well, consider it a barrier to entry. Never found the right jumping on point.

Until now. Dan Slott’s upcoming in-book epic “Ends of the Earth” looks to be as good a point as ever to jump on. Given my recent love affair with the Fantastic Four… I figure why not roll the dice on the House of Mouse one more time. You see, deep down my love of the character stems from the fact that he’s generally been written to think his way out of problems – and that’s something I’m finding more and more keeps me reading comics.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This we know. When I think of other classic (and current) comic book heroes… their books always come down to the best use of a super power. It’s akin to the ‘85 Bears victory in the Super Bowl: it’s all about brute strength. In Blackest Night? It was collection of rainbow raiders and a deus ex machina in the form of “It was Black Hand all along! Now shoot him!” In Fear Itself? Solved by a ton of punching, and Odin getting off his ass. Even in the non-epic books, I see too many stories solving their problems with mindless fighting, and sheer force-of yelling. Hell, Avengers Vs. X-Men is essentially based on that entire 13-year-old wet dream of a concept. And frankly… it’s really old hat.

When I was first getting into comics, no doubt it was all about the fighting, and punching, and super powers. A grand excuse for violence and gratuitous action sequences. And the books at that time gave in to the gluttony. Spawn was belched out of the machine that demanded insane amounts of gore, and detail, and splash pages… And the reason why his stock (and its four-barreled-thigh-pouch kin) sits somewhere a thimble above “wait, that’s still a thing?” is because the book never grasped for more than a climax built on banality.

When a movie, a book, even a song reaches for the middle, our brains turn off. The reason why Karate Kid is better than Sidekicks (aside from the obvious….)? Because Danny Larusso defeats Johnny with his mind more than his body. Yes it was about perseverance, but I contest that it was that moment when he realized the crane kick could win him the match… we as an audience collectively feel like the win is earned. It’s the reason why Batman is always better than Superman. Because nine times out of ten, Batman saves the day because he figures a way out to do so. Superman, nine times out of ten, uses one of his 1,000,000 powers.

I recently reviewed Blue Beetle #6 over on MichaelDavisWorld. In said review I was elated by the book’s choice to have their azure-hued bug boy save the day not by commanding his alien armor to make a bigger-better-bug-zapper… but by out thinking his opponent. The whole reason I’m looking forward to this Sinister Six arc in Spider-Man is because my first thought is “in this modern take on Spidey, how is he going to think his way out of being pummeled by sextet of sinister sleeze-bags?” Don’t get me wrong, I want to see plenty of quips, punches, web-shooty-balls-of-justice, and kicks-to-the-mush – I just want the day to be saved by Peter Parker’s greatest power… his mind.

In comics, we build up an antagonist – an alien race, a long lost angry god, a crazy man with a gun and a diaper – and pit our titular heroes in combat with them. Whether the Avengers are fighting the Kree, the Skrulls, Ultron, Enron, or the X-Men… only those with a short attention span and a “most-posted” badge on a message board are truly salivating on just the outcome of a fight. As a reader, I genuinely feel like the best stories give us an arc that introduces us to something we didn’t think of in the first place. When the only thing that stands in the way of a happy ending is a well placed punch we end up with Michael Bay’s Transformers… pretty to look at, and not much else.

That being said, I’m going to go look at my script for the Samurnauts. My original page of notes for the climax literally says “use some mega-super move… lots of photoshoppery.” Looks like I better get thinking…

SUNDAY: John Ostrander