Monday, September 17, 2007

Comicbabe battle Round 4 - Spiderbabe Winner - Part 1 ( now finally finished )

It´s been a whole week since my last post and even longer since the last post about comicbabe battle that ended with a kind of cliffhanger.

And I mean the comic related thing and not what we here in Germany call a cliffhanger which you know all about if you ever used the showering gel that goes by the name " cliff ".

The last week I was too wrapped up in doing more and more banners but at the same time I did not have more time on the computer. And as my brother has a new comic project it gets extremely difficult to endure his mobbing. It´s nearly impossible to live under the same roof under normal circumstances but by the time you get used to all the verbal abuse and the total lack of social interaction. But of course that just is multiplied when he has a new comic project and needs to vent his frustrations ( most of them caused by ignoring the good advice of his fellow brothers ) on anyone he finds.

Yesterday I went to bed early in hopes of getting something resembling a normal daily routine. Lately I have been getting to bed in the early morning because during the day I couldn´t get anything done. So the stuff I had to do kept piling up and when my brother finally went to bed I could do something. But that got later and later and it´s just too much. My problem is that while my brother hates everyone he also is doing what I call " ninja living ". Like a ninja who can melt into shadows and follows his prey unnoticed, shadowing his every movement my brother also " shadows " me. Which kind of baffles me because he acts like he can only work when i´m not around - as in off - planet at best. But on the other side he always adapts to my daily routine. If I stay up longer to get more time on the computer - he does the same after a few days. If I get to bed earlier because it´s no use to wait for him to go to bed - he does the same after a few days. If I start to do the siesta in the afternoon because I can´t do anything anyway at that time - you know it.......Ah, the joys of family.

Today I wanted to go to Stuttgart but because I got to bed so early and then couldn´t sleep till noon I was so tired I had to lay down. And then I slept till almost six o´clock.

But enough about how much my life sucks at times and back to the good things of life : comicbabe battle. In my last post about the sexy spiderbabes I was still undecided who should be the winner. And after one week the decision is not any easier but I have finally a winner. Which means that I can also announce

Sexy Spiderbabe Number Two : Mary Jane

As Marvel´s premiere redhead the partygirl par excellence Mary Jane is in the number two position of spiderbabes of all times. Playing second fiddle to the unforgettable Gwen Stacy for far too long MJ has stepped out of her shadow and into the spotlight proving herself to be a strong and confident character who even got Spider - Man to ignore his " Parker luck " and finally tie the knot.

Although there are a lot of fans who didn´t like this development. Yes, there are some readers who think making Peter Parker a married man means less trouble in his life. Well, let me say I have heard quite the opposite from all my married aquaintances. From the moment when MJ entered Pete´s life as " the neighbour´s niece he had to go out with " things got more intereting. And who could ever forget MJ´s catch phrase that has become part of the pop culture vocabulary ?

Now that´s how you know you made an impact.

At first MJ was conceived as a running gag being the girl his aunt was always trying to hitch up with Peter but then Stan Lee decided : what if she was really hot. And so she transformed into a real stunner. In the beginning Mary Jane had not much of a personality aside from always being hip and rushing from one party to the next.

In the beginning she wasn´t even Peter´s girlfriend. No, she was going out with Harry Osbourne when her rivalry with Gwen Stacy started. And in the beginning she was not much more than the more exciting and funnier version of Gwen.

That all changed when Gwen Stacy died and she and Peter grew closer together. Of course not everyone saw them as a couple and so MJ was written out of the book for five years only to come back with one of the worst retcons in retcon history.

It was revealed that Mary Jane knew that Peter Parker was Spider - Man long before the two of them ever met. Which not only lead to a lot of old spidey stories making no sense at all. All those times when Mj would have had the chance to cover for Peter because she knew he was somewhere else being Spider - Man and didn´t made her seem like a really selfabsorbed person. I mean if she secretly knew he was Spider - Man would she really have gone to the length of making a scene when he came late for a date only to not let him know that she knew ? That revelation that she had known all along really didn´t make things easier.

In fact is it even possible ? Doesn´t Spider - Man have a spidersense that would warn him ? Isn´t that the reason why Stan Lee invented the spidersense in the first place ? You see it is really difficult to really wrap your mind about the whole thing.

Back to MJs history she and Pete became an item and even tied the knot. Now during all the hype surrounding ONE MORE DAY Joe Quesada and the rest of Marvel ( and the WIZARD too ) are portraying the whole marriage deal like it was the most controversial thing that ever happened in a spidertitle. And I can say as someone who was reading comics at that, it wasn´t. If you read the wizard article you get the impression that there were hordes of fans foaming at the mouth and stroming the gates of Marvel with torches and pitchforks demanding the release of the unbelievers who dared to soil Spider - Man´s glory with such an unmanly thing as marriage.

I don´t know how things were in America but here in Germany nothing of all that happened. Maybe the readers would have had the impression that it was all a cheap publicity stunt when Marvel decided they should marry them off because they were going to be married in the newspaper strip. But first of all the newspaper strip was not published in Germany and secondly it didn´t seem rushed.

They were going steady for a few years now and Peter had even proposed to Mary Jane before. So it was not like this development came out of the blue. It was rather the next logical step in the normal evolution of their relationsship. You meet a girl, you start going out together, you start living together and somewhere down the road you expect to marry and start a family. That´s how it goes and Spider - Man is not the first superhero to get married. Heck, he´s not even the first Marvel superhero to get married.

And it really was about time. I mean, I can´t speak for all Spidey fans of that time. There is a new generation of Spidey fans who know him only as a married man with a strong partner at his side. And to them that seems boring and dull and they want something new.

For me as a longtime Spidey reader it was a relief to finally see him being with one girlfriend - and one girlfriend only. It really became boring to read how Peter was always trying to " juggle " ( there really is no better word for it ) all of his girlfriends at the same time. He was always the hunter trying to catch three or five rabbits and in the end going home alone. Now the soap opera elements were something that gave Spider - Man the special " marvel formula " excitement that differenciated the Marvel comics of that period from all the other books from other puiblishers. But as a kid reading comics I couldn´t care less about all that girltroubles and heartaches. I wanted to see him tearing into the Rhino or going up against Doc Ock.

One of the problems with comics today is that kids don´t read much comics. On the other hand there are not many comics that are written for kids. I mean which kid wants to read about a hero having his midlife crisis or always whining and monologuing ? The parts when Peter had troubles at work or in school or he had to care for Aunt May were something that kids could relate to at some level....but the problems with his girlfriends were really for the more adult Spidey readers.

So when the focus shifted from all the troubles with dates, doubledates and going out in general I breathed a sigh of relief.

And Peter really lucked out on this one. I mean how can you top a successful bikini photomodel ?

Not that she really looked the part for a long period. Reading the comics you would never have known since she looked like your average girl in most of them. But then came Todd McFarlane.

Not only did he create SPAWN, cofound IMAGE comics and start a very successful toy line. He also had a, one of the best runs on spider - Man. But his most influental contribution that has a big part on MJs participation in this countdown ( and you really have to wonder if she would be in it at all without Mr. Falane´s influence ) is that he decided that IF MJ was one of the topmodels of the world she should also LOOK the part.

Sounds easy but he really was the first one who started to emphasize that part.

Yep, all that talk about comic being made for male comic readers is nothing but hype. It´s one of the most used justifications why so few girls read comics but it´s all hogwash. There are two reasons why girls dont read comics :

First reason - you have to go and get them. I once believed that because of the fact that men are hunters and collectors and women are obviously not they don´t have the drive to go hunting for comics. Nowadays scientifics have discovered that women also have the hunting and collecting gen which is evident in the huge collections of shoes or hats women have. The main reason why women don´t read comics is that they have no bonus features like shoes. Women can spend a big part of their life hunting for shoes just to be the envy of the next party because they wear the same shoes like the protagonists of SEX AND THE CITY. And that´s something you don´t get from comics. So it´s part laziness and part lack of social acceptance. The moment comics become hip and cool and whatnot you can bet your firstborn that women will be the first in the trenches to get the most happening comic books.

Second reason - not enough horses. It has been a big mystery but horses and female readers are forever connected. This bond is as unexplainable as it is unbreakable. Let them ride and they will buy it.

But back to Mary Jane. Finally artist began to draw her as the hot firecracker she has become and in the stories she also played a bigger part. She became Peter´s anchor, the port in the storm that was his life and while she had a lot of problems in the beginning with him going out and fighting crime she was always supportive.

Maybe that´s going to change now with ONE MORE DAY but for the moment MJ has the number one spot on this list. Going from supporting cast member without much of a personality to the most important woman in Peter´s life ( for me she has become the number one taking Aunt May´s position ) and from average girl next door to knockout bombshell she really worked hard for her position.

There were some really strange Spideymoments involving MJ but you could say the same about most of the participants in comicbabe battle. One of those moments was in the Marvel Knights series ( which was just full of " Huh, what the heck.....this doesn´t make any sense ! " - moments ) when Peter and Mary Jane attended a class reunion. That was not the strange part but rather when some old classmates of Peter were stunned....absolutely shocked to see that old bookworm Peter Parker was married to a topmodel.

A topmodel that was in their class. It´s simple mathmatics people. If they were in the same class as Peter and Peter was in the same class as MJ then they were also in the same class as MJ. And they never noticed her ? THE ultimate partygirl ? The one who was always the center of attention ? It´s hard to believe that anyone who went to the same school as Peter didn´t know Mary Jane. And it´s not as if Mary Jane was an ugly duckling that later turend into a swan. So it makes absolutely no sense.

The other moment that was really strange was also in the Marvel Knights series ( like I said, it´s just full of those moments because almost everyone acts 100 percent out of character for most of the time ) when Wolverine was putting the moves on Mary Jane. Yes, Logan has a thing for redheads. And yes, Mary Jane is a redhead and also very sexy. But she´s also a married woman and although that doesn´t mean anything in the pages of Marvel Knights Spider - Man it means a lot in the rest of the Marvel universe. There was a love triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey and Logan BUT Logan never tried to put the moves on Jean as long as she was with Cyclops. He never tried to hide his feelings for her and he never did hide them from Cyclops. But he never made the first move and he also always tried to avoid to break up a relationship. As long as a woman was with someone he stayed away from it.

Now some may argue that it is part of some from of chivalry or some kind of samurai code of Logan. I think it part of the second and also some kind of survival instinct. Because it always ends bad when you get caught between fighting fractions. Anyway, it was really strange when Logan was suddenly a womanizing playboy trying to break up Pete´s marriage with MJ. That´s more Gambit´s part.

And that´s all for this part. I know I wanted to reveal the winner of the Spiderbabe Round of comicbabe battle but this part has become longer than i anticipated. And it has also taken me longer than I thought. It´s now one week later than when I began this post and that´s quite long enough. There were some things that took away my time from blogging but we will come to that in the next post.

If you are a spider - Man reader you probably know already who is the only one left to top MJ and she really deserves her own post. There is also the matter of the new solicitations that I want to comment on - which I should have done already. So for today we end our Mary Jane appreciation post.

See you next time - when comicbabe battle continues.

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    Anonymous said...

    Glad to see you back in the swing of things! (pardon the Spidey pun) Great MJ pics, haven't seen a few of those before. Looking forward to Numero Uno!

    As far as your "Girls don't like comics" theory goes: I actually stumbled across this blog via a link from "When Fangirls Attack" - , so hey, I'd say you might want to reconsider that theory. ;)

    SUBZERO said...

    Thanks for the link although I don´t know if there is one specific in mind.

    And I never said that girls don´t like comics. I just said that unlike men women seem to expect that good comics will come to them. Somehow they don´t have the necessary drive and energy to go and hunt for them.

    Also they seem to get discouraged very easily. I know that if I had let some minor facts like the look of a comic book shop or an awful cover stop me from checking out and buying comics I would not be reading comics today.

    Although it seems ridiculous to me that in today´s day and age you should have to tell someone that the look of a shop tells you nothing about the quality of the merchandise. Or not to judge a book by it´s cover. Especially comics with variant covers. Right ?