It was only a couple of years ago, but I remember it like it was a few seconds ago, with the comic still in my hand. And io9 had to remind me of it this morning as I did my morning vacation ritual of blog reading-coffee drinking-emailing. It was Amazing Spider-man. In the comic, the world knew who Spider-man was. Aunt May had been shot by a sniper. She was dying. There was nothing Peter Parker could do. So he made a deal with Mephisto, who is sort of like a devil in the Marvel Universe. I’ll save Aunt May’s life, Mephisto promised, if you allow me to dissolve your marriage with Mary Jane. Peter agreed and Peter Parker and Mary Jane never got married. I promised to stop reading Spider-man until that mistake was fixed. And something about the decision caused me to stop reading comic books all together. Maybe I was just burned out, but I think it had more to do with the revelation of a “hand”, of someone behind the scenes manipulating this story, this guys life, in order to create a different sort of story. I don’t know what it was about the whole thing, but it made me disgusted and disturbed. Now the rumor is that they might get “Re-married” or some crap like that. Is it too late for me to care?
Comic books have a strange fate. They are supported by their rich, unending history and they are hemmed in by their rich, unending history. What makes them interesting also makes it difficult to tell good stories. The editors over at Marvel decided two years ago that a “Single” Peter Parker would be much more entertaining and relevant to the audience than a “Married” one. I disagree completely. Anyone that is single knows that being single is the easiest thing in the world. A relationship? Where you have to think of other people’s feelings and emotions and where you have to support them and care for them? And be a super-hero? That’s complicated. That is the top-soil of good stories. And, hopefully, Marvel Comics will come to realize that in 2010.