The Golden Age of spiderman, where did it end for you?

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Post by CrazyChris » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:30 am

My problem with this topic is that it assumes everyone agrees that Spidey ever did jump the shark. I still buy the new issues and I love them. I'll clarify my first post by explaining that I think it's silly to try and pinpoint a golden age when every year has had its gems and stinkers. For instance we all know Stan is the man, but a lot of his stories are just plain tedious to read, even from that early college era that J.R. cited as one of his golden ages (I'm looking at you, Kraven and Blackie Drago 3-parter). Also, I love JMS' ideas but sometimes the filler issues bore the heck out of me.

For me, there are simply good issues and bad issues, and to say that there was a certain point in the past where the good issues ended is, in my humble opinion, rediculous. It's easy to look back on old issues and excuse their faults because they're "retro" (or, if your older, nostalgia can blind one just as easily), while holding modern stuff to a more cynical, critical eye, but if you focus on the negative, then you'll prove yourself right every time.

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Post by Jared » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:03 am

For me, there are two major moments that killed it:

First Moment: Morlun and the whole "spider-totem" bull.

One of the whole points of Spider-Man is that this young, socially awkward man, completely by accident, gains powers that change his life forever, and force him to grow up and become responsible. It was one of those random, life-changing events that could happen to any of us in real life. A complete and random chance gives someone a chance to make a mark on the world, but forces them to take responsiblity for it.

And now we find out it was all pre-ordained.

*smacks forehead*

So what about somebody like The Thousand? He ate the radioactive spider-would he be a spider-totem too, and food for Morlun?

And then there's Morlun himself-no backstory, no development, no explanation, and he beats Spidey up worse than even his greatest enemies-Doc Ock, the Green Goblin, Mysterio-ever could. And then, worst of all...he pulls out Spidey's eye.

I only saw it on Wikipedia, but I could literally feel my skin crawl. I enjoy superhero slugfests and bloody fantasy game troll-slayings, but even I have my limits!

Morlun-incredibly lame, and he turns Spidey into roadkill. Go figure.

First Moment: The unmasking.

Do I even need to explain? So many people, from MJ and Aunt May to the students at Peter's school, are put in danger from vengeful Spider-foes. How many of them could be kidnapped or killes? And then there are the victims who are affected more subtly-like Debra Whitman. How does she feel, considering what she's been through? What about Jameson, who now looks like a laughingstock? How will this affect the livelihoods of the people who depend on him for their jobs, if the Bugle's reputation is tarnished?

How many other people will suffer for Peter unmasking himself?

Uncle Ben must be rolling around in his grave.

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Post by Janoe-42 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:02 am

Jared wrote:
And then there's Morlun himself-no backstory, no development, no explanation, and he beats Spidey up worse than even his greatest enemies-Doc Ock, the Green Goblin, Mysterio-ever could. And then, worst of all...he pulls out Spidey's eye.
I can understand where you're coming from with that, but I'm willing to bet that JMS was planning to use Morlun quite a few times, but people reacted so negatively to "The Other" (as Crazy Chris has pointed out, people clamor for the original but are afraid of any major changes) that he either didn't want to take another gamble with old Morry or maybe the editorial staff didn't want him too. Luckily, Peter David is gonna at least explain a litte about Miss Arrow/The Other, so maybe we'll be able to hear about Morlun. Personally, I don't see what's wrong with the whole eye thing. :lol: The guy eats superheroes, he doesn't just drain them of a "life force" or something like that.
EDIT: I retract my statements about Morlun draining life force as I hadn't read the stories in a bit and thought that is said he ate the heroes. I guess that would be pretty freaky so kindly disregard those last two sentences. :oops:

As for the random incident being turned into fate, I think the most important thing to remember is that, gamble among some higher beings or no, Peter didn't use his powers responsibly. That is the foundation of Spider-Man and as long as that remains true, no one should be too upset. If the whole fate thing becomes the true version, there's still a question that replaces "Why did the spider happen to bite Peter?": "Why did the spider (or whatever force involved) choose to bite Peter?"

Still, some people just don't like that type of story and I can respect that. Just some reasons to keep in mind when saying the Other is the worst Spidey story ever.

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Post by CrazyChris » Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:10 am

That's a legitimate point about random chance you made. I tend to focus on the words of the spider priest guy from the end of "The Book of Ezekiel" regarding how there is no contradiction between fate and science. I think what confuses a lot of people about that storyline is that they take Ezekiel's words at face value, when the point at the end is supposed to be that he was just as confused as Peter. Peter believed the origin of his powers was purely scientific, and Ezekiel thought they were purely supernatural. The truth is a little more complicated than that. In the material world, everything was random and had a scientific explanation, but at the same time Peter's experience was connected to deep mythological patterns. It's tough to wrap one's head around, but the important thing to remember is that the Spider Totem saga doesn't override anything we already knew; it merely adds a new, abstract layer on top of everything else. However, in the Marvel world the abstract can and often does become physically manifested, so you can have guys like Morlun.

I agree that it is lame that we've had basically no information about who or what Morlun is. I think he's a pretty cool villain because of how unstoppable he is, but I do feel he's being forced down our throats as an A-list villain when he hasn't been made compelling enough as a character to warrant such a status.

He is pretty neat as a concept though. What he feeds on is a character's connection to mythological archetypes. The Spider is a particularly potent archetype because of how deep it is impressed in human mythological conciousness. Ever since the african myth of Anansi, the Spider has been the trickster and the storyteller (hence "spinning a yarn"). Spider-Man is definately a trickster, using his wits to defeat his enemies more often than his muscles, and that is why he is our generation's Spider, with a capital S. EDIT: JMS never focused on these aspects of the Spider archetype but instead on the "hunter" aspect of spiders. I believe the story is weaker because of that.

The Thousand would be a snack for Morlun since he is a sort of Spider-Totem, but since he isn't the one true iconic Spider in our culture he wouldn't be much sustinence.

I'll also give you my take on your points about the unmasking. While it was something Peter will live to regret in retrospect, it was the right choice for him to make with the information he had at the time. At the time the dark side of the Registration Act hadn't come to light, and if he hadn't have gone rogue, his friends and family would have been safe under the protection of the Mighty Avengers and SHIELD. If he had decided to register but not reveal his identity publicly, he wouldn't be a figative exactly, but Stark wouldn't have been able to associate with him and his family would have to leave the safety of the Avengers tower. The third option was to not register, in which case he and his family would be fugatives from the law. So he picked what seemed to be the best choice after careful consideration.

But then it turned out that the registration act was corrupt, and Peter's morals forced him to rebell against it. So now he's in the worst possition possible: he and his family are fugatives from the law AND his identity is public knowledge. That's not a good outcome, but there was never a time when he made a bad choice with the information he had. Also, I think it's fair to say Peter craved a sense of legitimacy and acceptance after being an outcast for so long. He was finally getting that by being a member of the Avengers, and he didn't want to lose it. Things just didn't turn out the way he expected.

If anything would make Uncle Ben roll in his grave, I think it'd be seeing Peter lie to the people he loves year after year. He had good reason to keep his secret from most of the world, but the fact that he never told Gwen, Harry, MJ or May was inexcusable. I think at first he didn't feel the world could understand him and thus no one could be trusted, but overtime the lying became habitual and he didn't come clean even when he should have.

Saying unmasking was wrong because it hurts people like Whitman and Jameson is somewhat dubious, because the only reason they're hurt is because Peter lied to them. You're saying it is wrong to tell a person you care about the truth after decades of deception because of how they'll feel knowing they've been lied to by someone they thought was their friend? I don't buy that. Taking advantage of the Bugle the way Peter did, if not explicitly illegal, is obscenely unethical. I doubt the Bugle's reputation will be hurt as much as JJ's pride, but they're right to sue Peter for all he's worth.

EDIT: Regarding "The Other", I think it was a poorly recieved story for good reason. It was terrible. It was too long and slopily organized, it went nowhere, and it didn't make any sense. I don't object to it because it was a Spider Totem story, but I do think "The Book of Ezekiel" ended that thread on a better note with the thought that fate and science can coexist. This whole thing in "The Other" about having to embrace the Spider within just made it more confusing than it needed to be, and wasn't really interesting. This is one of the few cases where I agree with everyone else.

And yeah, the eating of Peter's eye was disgusting and gratuitous.

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Post by Nickieboy2004 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:20 pm

Each decade has seen it's bright spots as well as it's duds. I personally lost interest in my teens, during the mid '70's. I didn't enjoy watching the series struggle, from the 6-arm story arc of the 100-issue anniversary and the weak stories up to #121-122. There were some bright spots that followed, but I was basically done by the time Gwen's clone first appeared (as I am one of those who disliked her being killed off to begin with).
With the excitement generated for me by the movies and the vast amount of information I've found available on the internet, I find myself seriously intrigued for the first time in over 30 years. However, the Silver Age still remains my personal favorite.

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ho hum

Post by Keny from Prague » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:54 pm

I only mention it because no one else has yet. I started reading spidey when i was 4 (my first issue was the one with the Big Wheel) and carried on through the 90s. Basically the beginning of the end for me was spidey #298 or so. After Macfarlane turned it into a cartoon fest and pin-ups of mary jane as a hooker, i felt artists had trumped writers and lost interest. for me, that was pretty much the death of the industry when every comic felt it had to ape his style.

nowadays, glancing at the manga art in comics, i dont feel ive missed much. i tried to buy a few comics later, but couldnt understand the storylines.

So for me the golden age was basically the whole of the 80s cause thats what i remember. i just buy essentials now.

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Post by matthewaos » Sun Dec 23, 2007 6:27 am

I don't like things like that. I mean I don't want to say that this was the golden age because I always try to enjoy stories. That said, I think that the best period started with David on spectacular and ended in when McFarlane's run ended. I don't say there aren't great great stories before or after that, and I don't say that all the stories between those runs are the best (McFarlane's storytelling is not one of the best), but it was a great period to read Spider-Man, even if not everything turned out to be great.
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Post by gregxb » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:44 pm

When Mephisto showed up.

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Post by Zarius » Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:14 am

Around the time Defalco left, I stomached the earlier portions of Byrne's run, and JMS thankfully showed me there was life in Spidey beyond misery...and then Joe had to do what NO EIC should EVER do...and diuctate what writers of succesful titles should write and interpret.

That being said, I'd have to pick ASM#500 for a "definitive" conclusion, then make up something in my personal canon to bridge the gap between that and Spider-Girl.
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Post by BruceBuchanan » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:53 pm

Long-time lurker, first-time poster here.

I agree that every era has had its good and bad stories. But in my mind, the character really started to become increasingly unrecognizable somewhere in the late 1980s. I can't say I can pinpoint an exact moment, though. It really was a more gradual process.

But Peter and Mary Jane got married, which made Pete feel a whole lot older overnight. Then they moved into an upscale apartment. Before long, Spider-Man wasn't the same hard-luck guy we'd know for 25 years. Then we had the whole focus on gimmicks, events and crossovers that plagued the entire comics industry during the Nineties. The "Maximum Carnage" storyline was perhaps the biggest offender, but hardly the only one "Round Robin: The Sidekick's Revenge", etc.) Good storytelling took a backseat to "shocking" moments, pin-up art and increasingly savage villains.

Having said that, I enjoyed a lot of Spider-Man stuff from the early 1990s, particularly Gerry Conway's return to the character and J.M. DeMatteis' stuff. I by and large liked the Michelinie/McFarlane stuff, particularly Venom's first apperance. But somewhere along the line, those kinds of stories became the exception, rather than the norm.

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Post by matthewmatt » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:50 pm

?Possible spoilers of OMD?

I Have these ages and eras. All just mine, pesonal. Sorry for it, if necessary.

Golden Age: Amazing Fantasy 15 - Amazing Spider-Man 122 (the Death of Gwen Stacy)
Silver Age: Amazing Spider-Man 123 - 183 (After the Green Goblin III storyline and 1st proposal)
Bronze Age: Amazing Spider-Man 184 - 300 (1st appearance of Venom (and a good one))
Modern Age (Age of Image): Amazing Spider-Man 301 - 365 (Peter's Parents Return - a very slow starting of clone saga)
Age of Frustration (Worse than Ever): Amazing Spider-Man 366 - 470 (V2 29) (The End of the Mackie Era)
Age of Rebirth, Promises & Comeback: Amazing Spider-Man 471 (V2 30) - 528 (Just before the Civil War)
Age of Going Down (Age of Promises Broken): Amazing Spider-Man 529 - 543 (One more S***)
Age of Darkness: 544 - ? (Who knows?)


Golden Age - of course from the very beginning until the death of the well known pl. bl. Gw. St. As it was the first really

serious story(line ?), one of the very best and the end of the first era of spidey. The era of youth (and naivity maybe?)

Silver Age - Starts with that awkwand post-Gw-St-Dth gap, where Peter is only whining about his love lost. Yes, here is the

Spider-Mobile, Molten-Cousin-Of-Liz-Allen, Dr. Faustus, The Ghost of Hammerhead etcetera strange kind of stories (which

shouldn't be already cheesy by now, should they?) and very strong milestones such as THE FIRST CLONE SAGA (which is one of my

favourite storylines) or Green Goblin III storyline (which is good as well).

Bronze Age - Then, somewhere around MJ's disappearance from the title, something got rotten in Denmark, Spidey seemed to me

as standing still, then this Denny O'Neil's awful era took place (albeit the annual with Punisher & Doc Ock wasn't that

bad)... BUT, still here are very good stories, the burglar one from 200 (and about 10 previous issues), The first Carrion

story, whole Stern's run, MJ always knew, Black Costume and Cat... But still I couldn't call it as a golden or silver age.

Maybe because the mood overall or whatever. Nevertheless still classic. It ended up for me with the first appearance of Venom

(maybe should have been the last one :-) ) Then it was the end of classic.

Modern Age (Age of Image) - The very beginning of Artists-more-importnant-than-writers, Huge-Storylines-Going-Nowhere,

Lame-Villains and Awesome-Crossovers (Now go somewhere with Maximum Carnage, please!) times. I particulary do not like the

90's in Spidey Comics. I don't know, maybe I'm too...prejudicing? But I don't like it. Period. Too modern or what.

Age of Frustration - Robotic Parents, Clone Saga, Mackie, Reboot. Do I need to say more?

Age of Rebirth, Promises & Comeback - Straczynski starts his amazing run. Spidey is classic once again. Very good stories,

very good different angle at Spidey's mythos, good and controversial Sins Past... Go on, JM!!!

Age of Going Down (Age of Promises Broken) - And here it starts. Civil war, Back in Crap (courtesy of J.R. :-) )

Age of Darkness - One more S*** - MJ and marriage is gone, Harry lives again... But first of all - SPIDEY makes a deal with

the Devil!!! Quesada starts his torture of Spidey fans.

The uncertain future awaits us.

As for the question, Spidey jumped the shark somewhere after #300...
He has returned to fame while JMS was writing, but with Civil war... It all went back... Down in the gutter.

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Post by MichaelBailey » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:59 pm

Speaking as a relatively new Spider-Man fan I can't say when or if the Golden Age of Spider-Man began and ended. I know for me personally I like the Lee/Ditko era, I like all of the Lee/Romita that I have read, I like when Peter David was writing Spectacular Spider-Man and I have some other eras I prefer. I think with a character like Spider-Man or Hulk or Superman or Batman or any character that has been around for more than three or four decades that there isn't so much a Golden Age but a bunch of eras that were really good in between stuff that wasn't so good.

It's such a subjective questions, which isn't a bad thing because any excuse to talk comics is ok by me. The thing I always think of when questions like this are posed is that someone's least favorite era is someone else's absolute favorite. A jumping off point is also a jumping on point and all that.
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Post by ScarletSpider1138 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:59 pm

For me it ended with the 1999 reboot. First off, the stories immediately following were awful, and while JMS got good for a little while (2004-2006) everything went down the crapper again pretty soon and I don't think the few good arcs done outweigh the large amount of bad. For me Marvel's appeal was always that it was one long storyline were everything counted and added to the characters and that's why the 99 reboot annoyed me and why OMD annoys me.

I know a lot of the 90s and 80s comics were bad, but I still found their characters and storylines interesting and the issues were still written very well in some cases. Also I grew up on 90s comics so I can't hate them outright. Only Marvel comic I'm buying these days is Amazing Spider-Girl. I have a friend who buys Iron Man and another who buys Captain America so that keeps me informed on the rest of the universe.
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Post by Funnykay » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:02 pm

I think it ended when Marvel decided to give McFarlane his own book to write. The 80's was fantastic with Stern & DeFalco, the 70's were amazing & the 60's speak for themselves really.
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Post by Thor » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:54 pm

I think it ended after 1989. There was a spark of life during the JMS era but now that is gone and the final nail in the the coffin is the recent storline..
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