My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

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Big Al
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My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by Big Al » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:02 pm

If you look at Slott’s entire career in writing the character I think it’s very very obvious that he either does not understand Spider-Man or else clearly prefers his costumed life to his life as Peter Parker. In this issue he’s pushing the idea that Peter is useless but life in costume as Spider-Man is better. Throughout Volume 4 Peter spent far more time on James Bond/GI Joe style adventures as Spider-Man than doing anything actually as Peter Parker, whether it was just living his private life or running his company. That permeated even his work at the start of his run in 2010. How much time really was honestly dedicated to Peter’s relationship with Carlie compared to everything in his Spider-Man life? Not much.

I’m not saying it should be a 50/50 divide. Spider-Man superhero action should most of the time dominate the stories, but not to the extent we see under Slott.

I think Slott’s prioritization of Spider-Man over Peter Parker speaks to how he fundamentally doesn’t get the character. How he doesn’t truly understand beyond paying lip service to the idea that what made Spider-Man special back in the day was the fact that his normal life was so important to the narrative and whilst not given as much panel time was clearly valued equally by the original stories.

Slott’s imbalanced approach to Spidey likely is rooted in the fact that his earliest exposures to Spider-Man stemmed from two key sources, the first being the 1960s cartoon series which, being a 1960s children cartoon, was hardly likely to focus too much upon the soap opera human drama of Peter Parker’s private life.

The other source being Marvel Team-Up a book which by it’s inherent nature devalued the private life of Peter Parker in favour of Spider-Man’s world because it was only within that world that the premise of the book (Spider-Man teams up with other costumed characters in order to promote via his own popularity) could honestly function.

It is equally little surprise then that the Spider-Man story he is most acclaimed for (by reputable Spider-Man sources, not shills at CBR) is his Spidey/Torch mini-series which is essentially a 5 issue long Marvel Team-Up mini-series.

When you understand that Marvel team-Up was Slott’s favourite Spider-Man book growing up his entire run makes so much more sense.

The frequent guest appearances.

The prioritization of Spider-Man superhero adventure at the expense of Peter Parker human drama.

The shallow pointless love interests.

The bombastic over the top (even for series about a man with spider powers) storylines.

The lack of ‘down to Earthness’.

The shallow characterizations.

The fact that for Slott the importance of Peter Parker being Spider-Man is only somewhat more relevant than any given super hero’s secret identity.

He doesn’t grasp that BOTH sides of his life are vital but that most people, whilst respecting that it shouldn’t usually dominate the page space, place greater value by the private personal life of the character.

We understand Peter doing his laundry, paying his rent, doing his job, hanging out with his friends and engaging in romantic relationships shouldn’t be 15 out o f the 22 pages of most Spider-Man comics but equally we also are egregiously more EMOTIONALLY invested in that aspect than who he happens to be punching this issue.

That’s why villains like Norman Osborn, Doc Ock and Venom resonate so much, because they are people Peter physically battles but ALSO have a connection to him on a personal level.

Fans who were first exposed to or began reading with you know, GOOD Spider-Man material understand all that.

People who began with the Ditko/Romita era, the Conway, Stern or DeFalco runs, the 1994 cartoon, the Spec cartoon or the Raimi movies understand all that because THOSE things understood Spider-Man properly.

A 1960s children’s cartoon and the comic book equivalent of that with guest stars didn’t and couldn’t.

But they are the touchstone for the man who’s defined Spider-Man for 7 years straight now.
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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by Masked Guy » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:12 pm

Big Al wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:02 pm
If you look at Slott’s entire career in writing the character I think it’s very very obvious that he either does not understand Spider-Man or else clearly prefers his costumed life to his life as Peter Parker. In this issue he’s pushing the idea that Peter is useless but life in costume as Spider-Man is better. Throughout Volume 4 Peter spent far more time on James Bond/GI Joe style adventures as Spider-Man than doing anything actually as Peter Parker, whether it was just living his private life or running his company. That permeated even his work at the start of his run in 2010. How much time really was honestly dedicated to Peter’s relationship with Carlie compared to everything in his Spider-Man life? Not much.

I’m not saying it should be a 50/50 divide. Spider-Man superhero action should most of the time dominate the stories, but not to the extent we see under Slott.

I think Slott’s prioritization of Spider-Man over Peter Parker speaks to how he fundamentally doesn’t get the character. How he doesn’t truly understand beyond paying lip service to the idea that what made Spider-Man special back in the day was the fact that his normal life was so important to the narrative and whilst not given as much panel time was clearly valued equally by the original stories.

Slott’s imbalanced approach to Spidey likely is rooted in the fact that his earliest exposures to Spider-Man stemmed from two key sources, the first being the 1960s cartoon series which, being a 1960s children cartoon, was hardly likely to focus too much upon the soap opera human drama of Peter Parker’s private life.

The other source being Marvel Team-Up a book which by it’s inherent nature devalued the private life of Peter Parker in favour of Spider-Man’s world because it was only within that world that the premise of the book (Spider-Man teams up with other costumed characters in order to promote via his own popularity) could honestly function.

It is equally little surprise then that the Spider-Man story he is most acclaimed for (by reputable Spider-Man sources, not shills at CBR) is his Spidey/Torch mini-series which is essentially a 5 issue long Marvel Team-Up mini-series.

When you understand that Marvel team-Up was Slott’s favourite Spider-Man book growing up his entire run makes so much more sense.

The frequent guest appearances.

The prioritization of Spider-Man superhero adventure at the expense of Peter Parker human drama.

The shallow pointless love interests.

The bombastic over the top (even for series about a man with spider powers) storylines.

The lack of ‘down to Earthness’.

The shallow characterizations.

The fact that for Slott the importance of Peter Parker being Spider-Man is only somewhat more relevant than any given super hero’s secret identity.

He doesn’t grasp that BOTH sides of his life are vital but that most people, whilst respecting that it shouldn’t usually dominate the page space, place greater value by the private personal life of the character.

We understand Peter doing his laundry, paying his rent, doing his job, hanging out with his friends and engaging in romantic relationships shouldn’t be 15 out o f the 22 pages of most Spider-Man comics but equally we also are egregiously more EMOTIONALLY invested in that aspect than who he happens to be punching this issue.

That’s why villains like Norman Osborn, Doc Ock and Venom resonate so much, because they are people Peter physically battles but ALSO have a connection to him on a personal level.

Fans who were first exposed to or began reading with you know, GOOD Spider-Man material understand all that.

People who began with the Ditko/Romita era, the Conway, Stern or DeFalco runs, the 1994 cartoon, the Spec cartoon or the Raimi movies understand all that because THOSE things understood Spider-Man properly.

A 1960s children’s cartoon and the comic book equivalent of that with guest stars didn’t and couldn’t.

But they are the touchstone for the man who’s defined Spider-Man for 7 years straight now.
This seems like a pretty well thought out explanation. However, I don't recall ever seeing or hearing Slott say that Marvel Team-Up was his favorite Spider-Man book. That being said, it does make sense when placed into context based on how he often writes the character. Could you please provide a link or quote that supports your statement?

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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by RDMacQ » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:22 pm

Well, what you are salted on does influence how you approach a franchise. Someone who was exposed to Star Trek via Next Generation is going to have a different idea about what the franchise could be as opposed to someone who was introduced to it via Deep Space Nine. And I can see Dan being influenced by Marvel Team Up along with the particular era of Spider-Man that was prevalent during the time he really formed his opinions about what the series "Could" be.

That being said, I don't think that's the only reason. I think the real reason Slott's Spider-Man is not enjoyed by certain fans is that Slott really isn't that good of a writer. He's more of an idea man than anything else, coming up short in terms of characterization and plotting. He equates enthusiasm with quality, that because he's excited about a project that therefore means it will automatically be good. He wasn't mentored properly in terms of his writing, not having the bad habits ironed or smoothed out, working out or on his flaws as a storyteller. He seems like the type of guy who got into writing because it would be "Easy" and "Fun," and not really acknowledge that writing- if you want to make a career out of it- is something you need to do every day, and work on it again and again to make yourself better at it.

He also has a significant ego, and thin skin when it comes to criticisms of his work, which means he is less likely to actually take steps to try and correct mistakes and flaws in his narrative. If you spend more time coming up with excuses as to why your critics are wrong than actually trying to rectify the mistakes they point out, that's not a good sign of someone who is willing to grow creatively and honestly evaluate their own material to see how they can do better next time.

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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by Big Al » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Masked Guy wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:12 pm
Big Al wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:02 pm
If you look at Slott’s entire career in writing the character I think it’s very very obvious that he either does not understand Spider-Man or else clearly prefers his costumed life to his life as Peter Parker. In this issue he’s pushing the idea that Peter is useless but life in costume as Spider-Man is better. Throughout Volume 4 Peter spent far more time on James Bond/GI Joe style adventures as Spider-Man than doing anything actually as Peter Parker, whether it was just living his private life or running his company. That permeated even his work at the start of his run in 2010. How much time really was honestly dedicated to Peter’s relationship with Carlie compared to everything in his Spider-Man life? Not much.

I’m not saying it should be a 50/50 divide. Spider-Man superhero action should most of the time dominate the stories, but not to the extent we see under Slott.

I think Slott’s prioritization of Spider-Man over Peter Parker speaks to how he fundamentally doesn’t get the character. How he doesn’t truly understand beyond paying lip service to the idea that what made Spider-Man special back in the day was the fact that his normal life was so important to the narrative and whilst not given as much panel time was clearly valued equally by the original stories.

Slott’s imbalanced approach to Spidey likely is rooted in the fact that his earliest exposures to Spider-Man stemmed from two key sources, the first being the 1960s cartoon series which, being a 1960s children cartoon, was hardly likely to focus too much upon the soap opera human drama of Peter Parker’s private life.

The other source being Marvel Team-Up a book which by it’s inherent nature devalued the private life of Peter Parker in favour of Spider-Man’s world because it was only within that world that the premise of the book (Spider-Man teams up with other costumed characters in order to promote via his own popularity) could honestly function.

It is equally little surprise then that the Spider-Man story he is most acclaimed for (by reputable Spider-Man sources, not shills at CBR) is his Spidey/Torch mini-series which is essentially a 5 issue long Marvel Team-Up mini-series.

When you understand that Marvel team-Up was Slott’s favourite Spider-Man book growing up his entire run makes so much more sense.

The frequent guest appearances.

The prioritization of Spider-Man superhero adventure at the expense of Peter Parker human drama.

The shallow pointless love interests.

The bombastic over the top (even for series about a man with spider powers) storylines.

The lack of ‘down to Earthness’.

The shallow characterizations.

The fact that for Slott the importance of Peter Parker being Spider-Man is only somewhat more relevant than any given super hero’s secret identity.

He doesn’t grasp that BOTH sides of his life are vital but that most people, whilst respecting that it shouldn’t usually dominate the page space, place greater value by the private personal life of the character.

We understand Peter doing his laundry, paying his rent, doing his job, hanging out with his friends and engaging in romantic relationships shouldn’t be 15 out o f the 22 pages of most Spider-Man comics but equally we also are egregiously more EMOTIONALLY invested in that aspect than who he happens to be punching this issue.

That’s why villains like Norman Osborn, Doc Ock and Venom resonate so much, because they are people Peter physically battles but ALSO have a connection to him on a personal level.

Fans who were first exposed to or began reading with you know, GOOD Spider-Man material understand all that.

People who began with the Ditko/Romita era, the Conway, Stern or DeFalco runs, the 1994 cartoon, the Spec cartoon or the Raimi movies understand all that because THOSE things understood Spider-Man properly.

A 1960s children’s cartoon and the comic book equivalent of that with guest stars didn’t and couldn’t.

But they are the touchstone for the man who’s defined Spider-Man for 7 years straight now.
This seems like a pretty well thought out explanation. However, I don't recall ever seeing or hearing Slott say that Marvel Team-Up was his favorite Spider-Man book. That being said, it does make sense when placed into context based on how he often writes the character. Could you please provide a link or quote that supports your statement?
Nt off the top of y head no though I feel like it comes from either an interview he did with this site or something that was commenting on volume 4
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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by Big Al » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:50 pm

RDMacQ wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:22 pm
Well, what you are salted on does influence how you approach a franchise. Someone who was exposed to Star Trek via Next Generation is going to have a different idea about what the franchise could be as opposed to someone who was introduced to it via Deep Space Nine. And I can see Dan being influenced by Marvel Team Up along with the particular era of Spider-Man that was prevalent during the time he really formed his opinions about what the series "Could" be.

That being said, I don't think that's the only reason. I think the real reason Slott's Spider-Man is not enjoyed by certain fans is that Slott really isn't that good of a writer. He's more of an idea man than anything else, coming up short in terms of characterization and plotting. He equates enthusiasm with quality, that because he's excited about a project that therefore means it will automatically be good. He wasn't mentored properly in terms of his writing, not having the bad habits ironed or smoothed out, working out or on his flaws as a storyteller. He seems like the type of guy who got into writing because it would be "Easy" and "Fun," and not really acknowledge that writing- if you want to make a career out of it- is something you need to do every day, and work on it again and again to make yourself better at it.

He also has a significant ego, and thin skin when it comes to criticisms of his work, which means he is less likely to actually take steps to try and correct mistakes and flaws in his narrative. If you spend more time coming up with excuses as to why your critics are wrong than actually trying to rectify the mistakes they point out, that's not a good sign of someone who is willing to grow creatively and honestly evaluate their own material to see how they can do better next time.
Well yes obviously that too. But your skills as a writer can also be influenced by the content you are salted on to a certain extent. Chris Eccelston said as much when explaining why he felt Dr Who was important.
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Joey Z was F.A.C.A.D.E.

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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by Timmyb52 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:41 pm

Big Al,Masked guy and RD...cheers for the well thought out comments concerning Slott's ability as a writer and how he approaches the writing of Spiderman/Peter Parker as a character. Very well done gentlemen!
[smilie=spidey_cheers.gif] [smilie=spidey_clap.gif] [smilie=spidey_cheers.gif]

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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by BlackSuit » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:39 am

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I think that nails the main influence Slott have about his writing in Spider-Man and pretty much explain why he handle the character the way he does. But, I would say that he doesn't care about characterization and character motivation because he is a poor writer, probably he never was attracted to a more elaborated type of literature and storytelling like other comic book writers have and try to emulate in their works. Even if his gateway was of poor quality, if he was more diligent he could get its poor quality references and elevate them.

Other factor is the editorial as well, the decision of do One More Day and change Peter's characterization. Marvel wanted to make 616 Peter more appealing for a younger audience did the laziest thing possible, took the characterization of Ultimate Spider-Man and slapped into adult Peter Parker and just ignoring he is a established character in his own right made him behave like an immature teenager that act like a rookie who gets no respect from the other heroes. But, while USM had some character development despite the editorial constraints, this version have none, there is no learning or any character arch whatsoever (with only one writer in the most part of the last decade!). Slott is partially to blame, the editorial wanted to make this change, but he went along with it and showed a lot of pleasure doing it.

At the end, you have a really crap characterization and a writer that is not willing to handle the character properly and you have this unnapeling mess that Peter Parker became in the last years.

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Re: My theory on why Slott's Spider-Man is so bad

Post by RDMacQ » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:33 pm

BlackSuit wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:39 am
I think that nails the main influence Slott have about his writing in Spider-Man and pretty much explain why he handle the character the way he does. But, I would say that he doesn't care about characterization and character motivation because he is a poor writer, probably he never was attracted to a more elaborated type of literature and storytelling like other comic book writers have and try to emulate in their works. Even if his gateway was of poor quality, if he was more diligent he could get its poor quality references and elevate them.
I think that is a very interesting point, and something I think is a bit of a detriment to Slott's abilities as a writer. As you pointed out, he doesn't really seem to be attracted to "more elaborate" types of literature and storytelling. Instead he talks about being influenced by Doctor Who and comic books. And while there's nothing wrong with those mediums, and they can be powerful tools, they alone can't really give you a good grasp on storytelling.

It's kind of like how if you want to be a comic book aritst, you can't just study comic book artists. You need to learn the basic fundamentals of drawing in order to hone your craft. Most of the drawing books I have to help me with my art aren't about comic book art. They're about drafting and how best to draw the human body.

Slott doesn't really seem to be influenced, or even references, other types of literature other than what comes from TV's, movies and comics. And that kind of shows a lack of sophistication on his end. Much like how the Image guys back in the 90s were really influenced by movies, televisions and comics as well, and you could tell that their stories lacked a certain sense of maturity.
Other factor is the editorial as well, the decision of do One More Day and change Peter's characterization. Marvel wanted to make 616 Peter more appealing for a younger audience did the laziest thing possible, took the characterization of Ultimate Spider-Man and slapped into adult Peter Parker and just ignoring he is a established character in his own right made him behave like an immature teenager that act like a rookie who gets no respect from the other heroes. But, while USM had some character development despite the editorial constraints, this version have none, there is no learning or any character arch whatsoever (with only one writer in the most part of the last decade!). Slott is partially to blame, the editorial wanted to make this change, but he went along with it and showed a lot of pleasure doing it.

At the end, you have a really crap characterization and a writer that is not willing to handle the character properly and you have this unnapeling mess that Peter Parker became in the last years.
As I said, I think Slott really benefited in a lot of ways of being in the right place at the right time. He was there when they needed a writer to work on OMD, which essentially undid a development he strongly disagreed with as a Spider-Man fan.

He was really the only choice to stay on the book once they transitioned from BND to Big Time. None of the other writers were either able to work on a series full time, or were big enough "Names" to sufficiently create enough buzz on the title. Slott was also clearly the only one willing to make Spider-Man hi sole focus.

Superior was a surprise hit, but it also was a standard tactic that even Mark Gruenwald admitted was a sales gimmick back in the 80's- replace the hero, then bring him back to great acclaim.

Slott also benefited from the fact that the first ASM movie was a surprise hit as well, and anticipation for the second film, along with the new #1 and the return of Peter Parker, helped propel ASM vol. 3 #1 to new heights.

Plus he also was part of the "Event/ relaunch/ event/ relaunch" trend that artificially boosted numbers.

And, as I've often said, he was the only writer on the only title featuring Marvel's flagship character. That had to help his profile a lot.

So, really, there were a lot of mitigating factors to Slott's "Success" that I think helped propel this notion that he was a "Draw," when in reality he could have mainly just been along for the ride.

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