Ultimate Spider-Man: Is it an all-ages book?

Discuss your thoughts on the articles written by J.R. Fettinger from the www.spideykicksbutt.com website.

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Ultimate Spider-Man: Is it an all-ages book?

Post by Chuckles » Tue May 29, 2007 3:18 pm

I just re-read a selection of the SKB archive, and I've noticed one thing that's been irking me. MadGoblin repeatedly lambasts Ultimate SM for being on the one hand "for the kids" and on the other containing fairly frequent sexual references. I don't hold him to task for this particularly, as I realise he probably doesn't spend all that much time chatting with teenagers these days, but just to clear the matter up, most of the teenagers I know are fairly intimately aware of sex, and a pretty hefty chunk of them think it's bloody good fun. It could be that American teenagers are rather more prurient than our own British variety, but somehow I find that...doubtful.

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Re: Can't find much of a thread to post this in, so I'll mak

Post by Janoe-42 » Tue May 29, 2007 3:51 pm

Chuckles wrote:I just re-read a selection of the SKB archive, and I've noticed one thing that's been irking me. MadGoblin repeatedly lambasts Ultimate SM for being on the one hand "for the kids" and on the other containing fairly frequent sexual references. I don't hold him to task for this particularly, as I realise he probably doesn't spend all that much time chatting with teenagers these days, but just to clear the matter up, most of the teenagers I know are fairly intimately aware of sex, and a pretty hefty chunk of them think it's bloody good fun. It could be that American teenagers are rather more prurient than our own British variety, but somehow I find that...doubtful.

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Actually, from personal experience over the last year, I'd say us American teens are probably, overall, the people most crazed about being in bed. I think what J.R. meant though, was that Ultimate was for the range of 8-12 year olds, to help bring the younger set back into comics. I could be completely wrong, but that's what it seems like, at least with the early issues of USM.

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Re: Can't find much of a thread to post this in, so I'll mak

Post by MadGoblin » Tue May 29, 2007 4:01 pm

Chuckles wrote:I just re-read a selection of the SKB archive, and I've noticed one thing that's been irking me. MadGoblin repeatedly lambasts Ultimate SM for being on the one hand "for the kids" and on the other containing fairly frequent sexual references. I don't hold him to task for this particularly, as I realise he probably doesn't spend all that much time chatting with teenagers these days, but just to clear the matter up, most of the teenagers I know are fairly intimately aware of sex, and a pretty hefty chunk of them think it's bloody good fun. It could be that American teenagers are rather more prurient than our own British variety, but somehow I find that...doubtful.

Thoughts?
I'm not lamblasting the content of Ultimate Spider-Man - I'm pasting what I interpret to be a "bait and switch" by Marvel when the ultimate line came out. Back in 2000 when Bill Jemas was in charge all of the talk was that the existing Spider-Man line was too complicated and catered too much to old fogies like myself whose business Marvel didn't really want anyway, so there was going to be this brand spanking new Ultimate line directed toward the "young" readers, which would make Peter Parker a teen again, and would not have the convoluted continuity of the old line, because Marvel believed young people were too stupid to "get" Spider-Man as he existed (of course, no one was "getting" Spidey at that time because the titles were crap, but that's another story). The whole idea was to get "kids" reading comics again - and by "kids" we're not just talking about older teens, we're also talking about 9-12 year olds who I would hope would not be in a position of thinking that sex was "bloody good fun." But then, the Ultimate lines almost immediately began dealing with more mature themes than was advertised (and Joe Q admitted that this had happened, particularly with the Ultimate X-men title) - but beyond that - there have been a number of issues of Ultimate Spider-Man which don't even feature Spider-Man - such as the issue consisting solely of Aunt May talking to her therapist, another consisting of Gwen and MJ's girl talk, and another of MJ being romanced by Mark Raxton. What kind of kid wants to buy a $3 Spider-Man comic that doesn't even feature Spider-Man in it? Plus, the long and labored story arcs are not catered to the typical young person's short attention span, which is wired toward the pace of video games these days.

So, Marvel advertised the "Ultimate" line as one thing, and then came out with something else. It's not the content of USM or a dig on Brian Bendis, it's Marvel's disengenuousness and deception. Speaking of Bendis, when the Ultimate line first came out, he implored readers to not judge the title based on Marvel's promtional campaign (which was very alienating toward the existing clientele), but the stories themselves.

Besides, I don't write about Ultimate Spider-Man anymore - you must be going back to some of the older articles.


EDIT: After first posting this - I saw Janoe's response which summed it up quite succinctly.

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Post by Chuckles » Tue May 29, 2007 4:51 pm

Fair enough. I know of 12 year olds who know quite a bit about sex, but they're a) not the norm and b) dirty chavs, and therefore unlikely to express much interest in Spider-man when more attractive pursuits like smoking and petty theft are available.

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Post by BD » Tue May 29, 2007 6:12 pm

You know this would be a good discussion for a future podcast. Hmmmm.
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Post by stevenkof » Tue May 29, 2007 9:37 pm

without sounding like an ass, id like to put my 2 cents in on the whole ultimate spiderman issue. Firstly, m.g has made it clear he dosent read the book and hasnt an intrest in for quite awhile. Then we have the issue of the ultimate line of books "for the kids". Well i can i think i can answer these questions and why they are brought up alot around these boards. Firstly, i dont think anybody shouldnt listen to joe q, ever. lol. When he says "for the kids" i dont think hes talking literally. Thats a very broad statement, and today for the kids means sex and violence, thats all there is too it. As for m.g, i think the problem lies wherein the fact he has continually said he dosent like ult spidey (which is fine, its his opinion) but the reasons he gives dont cut it for alot of people. For example, he said he was done with the book for good because he didnt like the story and bendi's writing, however this was after a positive first year review, so by that logic, al the spiderman books should be dumped, as (at least in my opinion) they have been going down the crapper for quite some time, with retcons, lame ass stories about murderus uncle bens from the future (?!) civil war, etc. I think also it may have to do with popularity, now i could be wrong, but im guessing ult spiderman moves more copies then lets say sensational or fn'n. Someone may have to look into which book is the highest selling and which is the lowest, im jus guessing on that. So what we have to do is this, simply think of ult spiderman as a more modern version of the same stories everyone has loved, its just a diffrent taste, but at the very least try to think about the reasons its liked and not liked, in reality do they apply to all the books? what makes 616's stories so much better? why follow through civil war and the newest venom ressurection? the writing? the art? Personally, yea i like ult spiderman, but its not my favorite book that i read, but i do read it and enjoy it, it is a breath of fresh air i think. This is just one mans opinion, no flames please :D

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Post by CyberGhostface » Thu May 31, 2007 2:21 pm

I think kids are smarter than people let on. I started reading the series at a fairly young age (I forget exactly but it was when #14-15 came out and I'm 18 now--you do the math) and I never had a problem with the slow pacing. I think the Harry Goblin arc tested my patience but nothing besides that.

As for its content...I don't recall USM ever having that much sexual connotaions. The two cases of female nudity I can remember were in a non-sexual fashion (both Gwen and MJ after being reverted from their 'monster' incarnations) and they were pretty well covered up by other objects. There has been some risque dialogue but nothing too extreme. On a side note I remember the Black Cat #1 being one of the DotComics on the Spider-Man DVDrom and that had a shot of Black Cat in the shower with 90% of her breasts exposed.

I think in terms of violence, however, is another issue. While never overtly graphic, there has been some extreme stuff. Doc Ock impaling numerous people and ripping out Peter's tooth, the whole Carnage arc where people getting impaled and drained into a skeleton, Ultimate Six had some violent killings too. On the other hand, I don't recall it being much worse than the films and those have had five year olds seeing it. So if they can handle Mary-Jane in a wet t-shirt and Green Goblin getting impaled and squirming on his glider, they could handle USM.

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Post by Venom65437 » Thu May 31, 2007 9:54 pm

Doc Ock pulling out one of Peter's teeth was one of the best moments in the series ever.
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Post by CrazyChris » Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:32 pm

I was waiting for the podcast to come out to give my two cents. I defenitely agree that USM is a perfect teen book. I was in my early-to-mid teens when it first came out and it wasn't hard to get me hooked on it at all. Then again, I read the first 13 volumes in trade form, so the pacing never bothered me. I think tweens would probably feel the same way about the books. As for younger children, well, J.R. is right that many issues don't feature Spider-Man, and even in trade form a conversation between an old lady and her therapist is going to bore them to sleep.

Content-wise, I really don't know. That's for a parent to decide for their own children. USM can be pretty violent, but it is only occasionally graphic. If I had kids, I'd probably let them read it when they were around ten or so, but it also depends on the kid.

I reject the idea that all-ages books should have simpler plots. If we can comprehend a convoluted plot, then surely a kid who can remember the names of 500 pokemon will be able to just as well. Also, don't forget the all in all-ages. It should appeal to adults and teenagers too, so that one can read it several times throughout one's life and gain a new appreciation for it every time. That's why Disney movies, Harry Potter, and the classic Spidey issues are so successful.

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Post by MAN-SPIDER » Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:28 pm

From a content point of view I would say that it varies from arc to arc.

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Post by Wombat 909 » Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:00 pm

On the latest issue it has a "A" and thats 9 and up which what I would say as it has sexual references and uses the word "Crap" alot so no. Its a 9 and up book.
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Post by CyberGhostface » Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:23 pm

Just something I remembered:

There never was an issue dedicated to just MJ and Gwen talking. There was only two pages in one of the Carnage issues, and that was pretty much it. The rest of the issue dealt with Carnage and Gwen's death.

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Post by Valo » Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:06 pm

Wombat 909 wrote:On the latest issue it has a "A" and thats 9 and up which what I would say as it has sexual references and uses the word "Crap" alot so no. Its a 9 and up book.

When Ultimate Spider-Man started out it didn't have a rating. Not until issue #79, which the rating was T+ (for teen). And it remain like that until issue #85.

I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think it have to do with a letter in issue #84, about a 4 year-old having a crush on Elektra.

I'm guess that "A" mean for young adult. Since, "M" is for adult/mature.
Still Ultimate Spider-Man does have some sexual references, but not enough to call it mature.

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Post by Scarlet Spider » Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:36 pm

I was at the library on friday and the had Ultimate spiderman vol.3 trade.In the teen section.
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Post by Valo » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:11 pm

Scarlet Spider wrote:I was at the library on friday and the had Ultimate spiderman vol.3 trade.In the teen section.
Yeah, it still a teen comic.....but it more for the older teen, like 15+.

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