Posts Tagged ‘ultimate spider-man


Everything But Imaginary #445: Every Age

There are so many comics out there aimed at adults, fewer aimed just at children… but what about those that are suitable for EVERY age? This most important demographic is being ignored, and publishers don’t know what to do with those comics they’ve already got.

Everything But Imaginary #445: Every Age


Classic EBI #111: Days With Mary Jane

The world of digital comics has surprised me lately, growing and expanding in directions I didn’t expect. Today in Everything But Imaginary, I look at how the strange things going on with digital comics remind me of the distributor wars of the 90s, and (to keep you from getting nightmares) explain why I don’t think things will end up the same way.

Everything But Imaginary #423: The Shape of Digital

In today’s classic EBI, we’re going back to April 20, 2005. Spider-Man was still married to Mary Jane, although rumors were already circulating about the sad dissolution of that marriage. More importantly, though, Marvel was actually using MJ in an intelligent way… to reach out to new readers.

Classic Everything But Imaginary #111: Days With Mary Jane

Here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters, part of our mission statement is to find new ways to spread comic books to unconventional audiences. The existing market, let’s face it, can’t sustain itself forever, and it is vital to the continued welfare of the entire industry that we find ways to each out to untapped audiences and draw them in. Plus, this gives us an excuse to read things that otherwise might get us laughed at by our friends and family.

This is the reason that I borrowed Judith O’Brien’s novel Mary Jane from my young cousin Carly Jo. The book came out about two years ago, but as there is a sequel newly on the shelves (bearing the ingenious title Mary Jane 2), it seemed like a good time to take a look at it.

The book, if you don’t know, is yet another retelling of Spider-Man’s origin, this time from the viewpoint of Mary Jane Watson. The book’s cover claims the work is inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man series, but in truth, the novel is a continuity completely of its own, not fitting in with any version of Spider-Man ever seen on the printed page or on the screen, but remaining entertaining nonetheless.

In this version Mary Jane was a childhood classmate of Peter Parker’s who moved away shortly after the death of his parents and the disappearance of her father. She moves around for years before finally meeting up with him again at Midtown High, where he’s now the class geek and protected only by his friendship with Harry Osborn, who’s using him to do his homework. On a class trip to the Norman Osborn’s lab, the class is exposed to a new sports drink called “OZ.” Oh, and Pete gets bitten by a spider somehow.

Peter suddenly begins exhibiting incredible athletic prowess and becomes the new school heartthrob, and MJ concludes that his transformation is probably due to the OZ he’s been guzzling. As it turns out, the OZ does carry around a nasty secret, but as fans of the characters know, Peter has a different secret entirely.

What struck me as most interesting about this book, I think, is that the Spider-Man aspect is almost completely superfluous. The costumed Spider-Man only makes two brief appearances in this book while the rest focuses on MJ adjusting to a new school, new boys, domestic problems, and of course, the mystery of the OZ, which sounds more like an L. Frank Baum story than a Judith O’Brien one, but bear with me here. The point I’m making is that if you lift out the spider-bite and the costume and just attribute Peter’s new prowess to the drink, the book would be largely unchanged, which kind of raises the question of why it was written in the first place, since it bears so little resemblance to any other incarnation of the character.

Not to say that it’s a bad book. Far from it – it’s clearly aimed at pre-teen and young teenage girls, but that in mind, it’s quite an entertaining read. O’Brien does feel the need to bring in the boogeyman of anorexia, which is a major problem, but rather serves to clutter the story here and ultimately doesn’t add anything except another subplot. But it’s the sort of thing I think an average teenage girl with just a passing knowledge of the characters (maybe she saw the movie) could read and get into.

So as a teen novel, it works. Here’s the real question, though: does it work as a gateway to get readers of the book to possibly try a comic book?

That’s a tougher one.

The biggest problem, I think, is that there isn’t particularly anything present to lead a reader from the novel to a comic. Aside from the Ultimate Spider-Man logo on the cover (a tiny one at that), there’s no hint that you could follow this to a comic book. And if they did follow the novel to Ultimate Spider-Man, they would find drastically different circumstances and sets of characters. Perhaps it would be better, for any future sequels, to tie the logo in to Sean McKeever’s Mary Jane comics. I haven’t read those, but I would imagine they’re a bit more in-line with the novel than Ultimate Spider-Man is.

And what about the “mainstream” Spider-Man, the adult who is married to Mary Jane and who’s about to move into Avengers Tower? Well, if rumors of House of M are to be believed, Marvel is contemplating retroactively altering his continuity so that his marriage to MJ never took place. How will this happen? Would she still know his secret? Would she be written out of the books entirely? Is there any possible way to tell such a story without it being a slap in the face to most of the people who have supported Spider-Man comics over the past 20 years? Well, frankly, I doubt it. And in fact, if that very idea bothers you as much as it does me, do what I’m doing – write Marvel a letter (snail mail is more effective than e-mail, believe it or not) and tell them that you don’t like the idea. And in fact, include a list of all the Marvel comics you’re going to stop buying if they go through with this idea. [2011 Note: It didn’t work. Marvel went ahead and slapped us in the face anyway.]

But I digress. If the purpose of books such as this one is to cultivate new readers in unconventional audiences, it seems that taking away Mary Jane Watson-Parker just as she’s getting so much exposure from the movie and her own novels and comic books would, frankly, just be a dumb move. This book has an uphill battle to begin with when it comes to luring in new readers. Eliminating their viewpoint character would make the entire enterprise pointless.

But if it works, well… if it works, it could bring in one of the most-neglected markets in comics, at least by appearances. When I returned the book to my cousin, I had a conversation with her mother, Tammy, about this very subject, using the book as a tool to reach out to new audiences. She said that the big problem these days, for parents, is that there aren’t a lot of comics out there that kids could be allowed to read.

But the problem with that is… it’s just not true. There are dozens of great books that are perfectly acceptable for a young audience. The real problem is that nobody knows about them, outside of a few geeks like me who are ready to stand outside of comic shops with bullhorns and copies of Mike S. Miller’s The Imaginaries if that’s what it takes.

Lullaby, only one issue in, would be a great comic for young teenagers. It draws on classic characters like Pinocchio, Jim Hawkins and Alice (she of Wonderland fame) and tells an engaging fantasy tale.

How about PVP? It’s an office comedy with a big, loveable troll and lots of pop culture and video game references. And while it’s true that, on occasion, Scott Kurtz might dip into slightly bawdy material, there’s never anything in the book that would get it worse than a “PG-13” rating. Heck, it’s tamer than a lot of stuff you see on prime time television.

What about the new Nancy Drew series from Papercutz comics? Or the Hardy Boys? How about Viper’s Oddly Normal or DC’s Powerpuff Girls and Justice League Unlimited comics?

And how about the fact that almost every property I’ve mentioned there is one that’s linked to a lot of prose books, either as its source material or as a spin-off?

So if you’ve got a girl in your life that you’d like to get into comics, start her off with Mary Jane. Then get ready, because the great thing about comics is that you never know where you’ll go next.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: April 13, 2005

This is one of those instances where the first issue of a new comic book came totally out of the blue, grabbed me, and made me smile. Mike Miller’s new comic, The Imaginaries, turned out to be an easy win for Favorite of the Week. The comic is about Superhero G, the imaginary friend of a boy named Tanner, and what happens to him when his child grows up too much to want an imaginary friend anymore. Apparently, abandoned imaginaries are thrown to a strange city and made part of a community of cast-off characters. This book absolutely bleeds imagination, inventiveness and pure fun. If you’ve got a kid or if you used to be a kid, check this comic book out.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginnerand the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC Changes, and Phineas and Ferb

Blake and Kenny hang out this week and touch upon a wealth of new comic book topics, but not before giving their ecstatic review of the TV movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension! After that moment of geeking out, the guys talk about the Ultimate Spider-Man news, images of Henry Cavill as Superman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, the aftermath of War of the Green Lanterns, a more thoughtful reaction to the DC Relaunch, the prospect of a Tuxedo Gin movie, and more! In the picks, Kenny chooses Power Girl #26 and Blake goes with Flashpoint #4. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC News and Phineas and Ferb


Classic EBI #79: Even More of the Best Comics I’ve Never Read

In this week’s Everything But Imaginary, I do a little number crunching, hurt my brain, and discover…

Everything But Imaginary #389: Why Comic Geeks May Fail Math

But in this week’s classic EBI takes us back to September 8, 2004, I go back to take a look at comics that (at that point at least) I’d never read, but wanted to…

Even More of the Best Comics I’ve Never Read

That’s right friends, it’s that time again, time to play everybody’s favorite game “The Best Comics I’ve Never Read.” As longtime readers of this column will recall, once upon a time I asked you guys to give me a list of great comic books (preferably available in graphic novel form) that I haven’t read, so I could periodically come back and let you know what I thought of them. Rules of the game are simple — I pick up a trade paperback you guys recommend from time to time. If I like it, it moves from my reading list for myself to my reading list for you guys. If I don’t like it, it is consigned to the bowels of my comic book collection, next to early 90s issues of X-Force and any Spider-Man issues that reference a clone.

Returning to this list is Grant Morrison, a writer who did fantastic runs on JLA and New X-Men, but whose opus The Invisibles left me pretty cold. This time out it was suggested I give his run on Animal Man a try, something that was pretty easy to do since DC has recently collected the entire run in trade paperback form. Isn’t that thoughtful?

Animal Man was a cheesy character with the power to absorb the abilities of any animals in the viscinity. It was kind of a goofy power, but in the hands of a good writer even goofy powers can make for great stories, so when Morrison took his stab at the character, you at least knew you were in for something different.

Morrison gets major points in my book for inventive uses of the character’s powers and for giving him some solid characterization, something he’d never had before. He loses points, however, for lapsing into the political screeds from time to time. I don’t read comic books to get a political lecture. If that’s your thing, I imagine you’d enjoy it more, but that stuff made the book more distasteful in my eyes.

Still, there was a lot of good stuff, and I’m told that the really innovative things came towards the end of his run. (Of course, I was told how innovative The Invisibles was too…) I’m not ready to give up on Animal Man entirely, but I didn’t like the first trade paperback enough to give it a full recommendation. I’ll try to find volume two. Until then, Mr. Morrison gets an incomplete.

Next up is a book you guys may have heard me talk about frequently, since I finally read it not long after my last “Best Comics I’ve Never Read” column — Mike Kunkel’s brilliant Herobear and the Kid. I got turned onto this comic by our own Craig Reade in his Still on the Shelf column. This is the story of Tyler, a normal 10-year-old kid, who inherits a toy teddy bear and a broken pocketwatch when his beloved grandfather dies. Tyler is forced to cope with the loss of his grandpa and moving to a new town all at the same time, and just when his life couldn’t get any worse, he discovers an incredible secret. His teddy bear comes to life and turns into a 10-foot, certified cape-wearing superhero, Herobear, a character that is “100 Percent Good.”

With such a premise, it would be easy for this comic book to lapse into the sugary or the sappy, or even worse, the patronizing. There is nothing that will turn a child off of a story faster than the sensation that they are being spoken down to. This comic never does that, though. It’s sweet, but has a darker, more realistic side as well. It’s about a child with real problems and fantastic solutions. And most of all, it’s about the power that can be found in a good heart. If you’ve got children, I urge you to get this comic book and read it with them. You won’t regret it. Herobear and the Kid graduates to my recommended reading list, big-time.

Third is something that I’ve been hearing about for a long time here at CX, Sean McKeever’s Sentinel. I didn’t read any of the Tsunami comics when Marvel launched that doomed imprint, but the new Marvel Age digests are a nice (and inexpensive) way to catch up. I’m also not that familiar with McKeever — the only work of his I’m sure I’ve read before is the first Marvel Age Fantastic Four digest, which frankly didn’t wow me.

In Sentinel: Salvage, we meet Juston Seyfert, a teenager with an absent mother, a lousy school life and a couple of bullies who have picked him as their favorite target. One of his best friends is about to snap, the girl he likes is off to meet up with her college-age boyfriend… things just aren’t going well.

Until Juston finds a Sentinel, one of those giant robots built to hunt down mutants like the X-Men, repairing itself in his father’s junkyard. Fortunately, this is the only real link to the larger Marvel Universe in the title, which is fortunate because the story doesn’t need it. It stands on its own extraordinarly well. While some of the characters can border on the edge of caricature, most are full of real emotion and strong characterization. It’s incredibly refreshing to see a comic with a teenage protagonist whose father isn’t stupid, abusive or absent. Juston’s dad, to the contrary, is as loving and supportive a character as any father in comics.

The Sentinel itself, of course, makes for a lot of great plot points, such as when Juston uses it in public to try to make himself a hero — and learns a lesson. Not in the gooey “Afterschool Special” kind of way either but in a way that evolves from the characters.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the second (and sadly, final) TPB of this series. Yeah, comic books are a business, but I find it extremely sad that Marvel is turning to the umpteenth Gambit and Rogue series to try to make money while a gem like this is left sitting on the shelf. Read this one, friends, and let Marvel know you want it back.

Finally, as is the custom, I’m going to wrap this up with a new volume that neither you (the royal you, all of you reading this) nor I have mentioned before in one of these columns: Doug TenNapel’s Tommysaurus Rex, which secured a co-”Favorite of the Week” spot when it came out. I first became aware of TenNapel, best known for his Earthworm Jim video game, a few years ago with the release of his fantastic sci-fi graphic novel Creature Tech.

In Tommysaurus, he tells the tale of a boy sent to spend the summer with his grandfather to help him cope with the death of his beloved dog. He finds something much more incredible, though — a real-live dinosaur. This is a fine graphic novel with a lot of heart to it, and it doesn’t lapse into the pseudo-religious stuff that turned some people off from Creature Tech. It’s a straight fantasy with a good lesson, one that I highly recommend.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now friends. What about you? Here is what’s on the list…


Black Panther: The Client
Cerebus Vol. 1
Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage
The Gypsy Lounge
Hulk: Boiling Point
Goodbye, Chunky Rice
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Boy in the World
Jinx and Goldfish
Knights of the Dinner Table: Bundles of Trouble
Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1
Planetary: All Around the World
Record of Lodoss War: The Lady of Pharis
Red Rocket 7
Rex Mundi: Guardian of the Temple
Safe Area Goradze
Terminal City
Top 10
V For Vendetta


The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius series
Astro City series (Vol 1: Life in the Big City)
Bone series (Vol 1: Out From Boneville)
The Complete Peanuts
Creature Tech
Criminal Macabre
Daredevil: Wake Up
Dork Tower series (Vol 1: Dork Covenant)
Fables series (Vol 1: Legends in Exile)
Fantastic Four: Imaginauts
Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction
Herobear and the Kid
The Liberty Project
Meridian series (Vol 1: Flying Solo)
Preacher series (Vol 1: Gone to Texas)
Punisher: Welcome Back Frank
Road to Perdition
Sentinel: Salvage
Tommysaurus Rex
24 Hour Comics
Understanding Comics/Reinventing Comics
The Wizard’s Tale

Got any comics you want me to add? Want to talk about any of the ones we’ve already covered? Here’s your chance, friends. Give me an assignment. Add some books to that list! I’m always looking for a good read.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: September 1, 2004

Been a while since this title made it into a Favorite of the Week spot, but Ultimate Spider-Man #65 was one of the best single issues of that title ever. I was frustrated, even mad at how Gwen Stacy was killed a few weeks ago, and I thought the end of the Carnage storyline was lackluster, but this issue is all about aftermath. Peter, Mary Jane, Liz Allen. Flash Thompson and Kong in detention. That’s about the whole issue. And it gets so deep into character, so brilliantly revealing, this is one of the best issues of this comic yet. Once this was considered by many the best mainstream comic in America – it’s issues like this that got it that rep.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.


Time Travel Tuesdays: The Marvel Zombies Mini-Mates Present… Themselves!

It’s a new Time Travel Tuesdays, friends, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the end of October to show this one off. We’re traveling back to Oct. 20, 2007, when I decided to do my first-ever toy review column over at the As I started to present the Mini-Mates figures based on the Marvel Zombies, though… well… things got a little out of hand. Even now, three years later, this is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written. I do, however, think my photography skills have gotten at least a tad better since then. I hope you all enjoy it!

The Marvel Zombie Mini-Mates Present… Themeslves!

Hey, friends. I’d promised you all a sort of photo-intensive examination of a new toy line to go along with my frequent and expansive Halloween celebration. The thing with these toys is… well… they sort of have brains of their own… and they want to eat yours, while we’re on the subject. So in the interest of keeping my own cerebellum intact, I agreed to step back behind the camera and let the guys speak for themselves. Oh – and you can click on every picture for a bigger one. Luke Cage made sure I told you that. So, without further ado, allow me to present…


ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Greetings, meatbags! I am Colonel America, one-time leader of the Avengers, and now leader of this dandy little band of flesh-eaters. Y’see, when our Earth started to get overrun by a zombie plague—

ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Thank you very much, Quicksilver!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: –Ahem. Yes. Well, when our world got overrun, at first we fought against infection, but when we got bit ourselves… well…

ZOMBIE POWER MAN: It was awesome.

ZOMBIE HULK: Zombie Hulk hungry! Zombie Hulk eat Fuzzy Man With Camera?

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Not yet, Hulk. So anyway, we decided to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you. To show you just what we’re capable of. And most importantly, to make you realize…

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: There is no escape!

ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Hi! I’m Zombie Giant-Man.
ZOMBIE DAREDEVIL: And I’m Zombie Daredevil. The first MARVEL ZOMBIES MINI-MATES set included five figures… and we weren’t among them. We came in this exclusive two-pack you could only get at the San Diego Comic Con… or, like Blake, from a guy who owns a comic shop and attended the San Diego Comic Con.  

ZOMBIE DAREDEVIL: You will discover, however, that this does nothing to decrease our general level of Awesometude. If you look closely, you’ll see that the chunks that have been taken out of my flesh are represented by clear plastic. At least that’s what they tell me – even as a zombie, I’m blind. I also come with these two handy fighting staffs that I can hold thusly or stuck in the little pouch on my belt, where they will almost immediately fall out. Oh – and I got trained by a Ninja.

ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Hey, gang! I’m Zombie Giant-Man, and with me today is the zombified head of my ex-wife, the Wasp.

ZOMBIE WASP: Hello, snookums!
ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Jan here actually came in the box set with the other guys, but since we don’t have too much quality time together these days, we thought we’d do this together. You can tell we’re zombies, of course, by the cold, dead glare in our eyes and the huge, ravenous teeth painted onto our interchangeable plastic Mini-Mate heads. 
ZOMBIE WASP: Zombies or Rosie O’Donnell. RIMSHOT!


ZOMBIE WASP: You’d think being reduced to a starving, undead, disembodied head would strain a relationship, but aside from not being able to change my costume as much as I used to, things are pretty much the same. 

ZOMBIE POWER-MAN: Well, now that the bit players are out of the way, it’s time for the big boys to step up, and we’re starting with me! SWEET HALLOWEEN!

Get it? Because I used to say “Sweet Christmas” when I was alive and it was the 70s and… ah, never mind.

Anyway, I’m Luke Cage, sometimes called Power Man, and I’m still the baddest chunk of plastic in the toy chest. Daredevil thinks he’s tough ‘cause he has a couple of holes? Check me out! My whole left side is missin’, and I’ll still whip anyone tries to get between me… and lunch. Heh heh heh… 

ZOMBIE WOLVERINE: Hey, bub – Wolverine here, the most popular mutant in all comicdom. When I was alive, I had ultra-heightened senses, nifty retractable claws, unbreakable bones, an awesome healing factor and the ability to appear in 74 comic books a week! Now that I’m dead, the healing factor seems to have gone on the fritz, but the rest of the stuff works just dandy. I may not know how me turning into a zombie jives with what Marc Guggenheim is writing about me fightin’ death over in my own comic, but I have learned one other thing these claws of mine are great for… shish-ke-bob!  


ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Um… thanks, Hulk.

ZOMBIE HULK: Stupid Brain-Head Man tells Hulk he can’t eat Fuzzy Man With Camera… Hulk need meat… Hulk misses Doritos…
ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Hello, gang. I’m your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! Well… I guess I’m not all that friendly anymore. I was one of the first guys to encounter the whole zombie plague. Unfortunately, after I got infected, I didn’t turn right away, but managed to get home first where I… um… well, I ate my wife and my Aunt May.

I know, I’m still kinda torn up about that.

But… but it’s still better than what Joe Quesada is doing to ‘em over in One More Day! Right?

GHOST RIDER: I am the Ghost Rider! Spirit of vengeance! Keeper of the eternal Hellfire and my blazing—

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: For the last time, you are not a zombie! Now get out of our pumpkin patch!

GHOST RIDER: Fine, fine… didn’t want to be in your stupid article anyway…

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: And you better not be Nicolas Cage under there, either!!!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: And that leaves me, folks, Colonel America. Once the Sentinel of Liberty, now I’m the leader of this motley bunch of brain-eaters. Even having my own brain exposed hasn’t gotten me down, though – I’m undead and lovin’ every minute of it! Some people have asked me why I’m a colonel while most of my counterparts throughout the multiverse have achieved the rank of Captain. Well, what can I say? I’d hate for it to be seen as unprofessional when I… have lunch with the enlisted men! Bwaa-haha!!

The zombie virus also gives us all terrible senses of humor.

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: So that’s us, folks, the Marvel Zombie Mini-Mates! We hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into our lives, and if we show up for dinner some night, we hope you’ll have us!
…cause you know we’d be eager to have you! Hahahaha! Hahahaha! HAHAHA—




CAPTAIN AMERICA: Look out, you disgusting ghouls!

POWER MAN: The real Marvel Mini-Mates are here to show you who’s boss!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: Hey, how come you have to take off your hand when you wear your shield?


CAPTAIN AMERICA: Avengers Assemble!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Zombie Avengers… um… Get ‘em!

POWER MAN: “Sweet Halloween?” “SWEET HALLOWEEN?” You know how long it took me to get them to stop writing “Sweet Christmas?”
ZOMBIE POWER MAN: Aw, c’mon, don’t treat a brother this way!

POWER MAN: “Brother?” Well look out, “Brother,” I’m gonna use your plastic guts to decorate my Haunted House!

DAREDEVIL: I may be “Battle-Damaged,” but I can still whip YOUR lousy—OW! OW! Can somebody get the Zombie Wasp off my ankle, please?
ZOMBIE WASP: Nom nom nom…



DAREDEVIL: Whammo! Double Boot To Da Head!


ZOMBIE WASP: Hey, sweetie.



ZOMBIE WOLVERINE: Ow! Hey! You cut me in half!

WOLVERINE: That’s right! Now you can make twice as many guest appearances a month! Heh… heh…

KILOWOG: Bring it on, ya Poozer! I’ll rip ya limb from—

ZOMBIE HULK: Hey, wait. You not not-dead version of Zombie Hulk. You Pink Green Lantern!
KILOWOG: Yyyyeah, about that… Blake doesn’t have a Hulk Mini-Mate toy. I volunteered to fill in.

ZOMBIE HULK: Zombie Hulk been reading Sinestro Corps War! Zombie Hulk think you da MAN!

KILOWOG: Really? Aw, shucks, that’s sweet of you to say…

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: I mean, you ate Mary Jane and Aunt May? How sick are you?
ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: I know, I know! :sob: Oh, kick me again! I deserve it! :sob:

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: And another thing – knock it off with all the variant covers! It was cute at first, but how many times are you gonna reprint the hardcover with different covers before you put out a paperback?

ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Oh, God, it’s all my fault! I’m a terrible – hey, why don’t you have any webs on your costume?


ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Looks like it’s down to me and you, you pansy.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Ready when you are, you psychopath.

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Time to show you how we do things in my America.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: America? America isn’t your country, monster, it’s HELL!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Haven’t you given that speech before?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: That was an issue of What If? , it doesn’t count.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: You know why you’re going to lose, monster?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Because we’re fighting for truth! Because we’re fighting for JUSTICE!


CAPTAIN AMERICA: Because real Americans don’t eat other Americans!*

*Editor’s Note-Captain America considers all known cannibals to be de facto Canadians, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Alferd Packer, and of course, Rosie O’Donnell.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Okay, let’s get these monsters back into their box.

KILOWOG: Bye, ya Poozer! Y’know, he wasn’t so bad…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Close it, Logan!

CHARLIE BROWN: Mr… Um… Captain? Sir? Can we have our Pumpkin Patch back now?
SNOOPY: Ah, the Captain! So good to see him again. Why, I remember that time in occupied France when we met those saucy waitresses…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Why, sure, kids! The zombies are all defeated, and back in the box. It’s perfectly safe here now. Why…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: What else could possibly happen?


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 186: White Lanterns Have it Easy

This week Blake proves that, when it comes to bringing back the dead, White Lanterns have it easy. Blake manages to resurrect a dead podcast recording so that you can hear the guys talk about the last new Lost content ever (on the season 6 DVD), the upcoming TV season including developments for Smallville and The Walking Dead, the cancellation (and resurrection) of Daredevil, the White Lantern variant covers, the movie Green Lanterns and more! In the picks, Kenny goes with Action Comics #892, Mike digs Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1, and Blake pimps Science Dog Special #1! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

IMPORTANT NOTE: is undergoing a few technical difficulties, including a glitch to our e-mail. For now, you can e-mail me at, and if you’ve sent us an e-mail since August 24, you’ll need to re-send it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 186: White Lanterns Have it Easy

Inside This Episode:


Classic EBI: The It Girl-A Saga of Spider-Love

This week in Everything But Imaginary, I’m taking a look at the current hubbub surrounding Christopher Nolan’s film Inception, and the faux controvery that’s arisen because some people kinda sorta think the movie “borrowed” an idea from an old Uncle Scrooge comic. Like that’s the first time that anyone has ever shared a similar idea. Check it out…

Everything But Imaginary #361: In Your Dreams

But in this week’s Classic EBI, it’s time to take a look back to a kinder time, a simpler time… a time when Spider-Man actually had a wife and a bunch of writers were still clinging to a character who had been gone for decades…

April 21, 2004

The It Girl — a Saga of Spider-Love

I do not frequently purchase hardcover graphic novels. This is mainly an economical decision — why spend $25 on something when I can get the same story and art for $15 if I’m willing to wait a few months? There are very few exceptions to this — original hardcovers that I’m so excited about that I can’t wait for the paperback edition (like Sandman: Endless Nights) or things that aren’t going to be reprinted in paperback that I can find for a significant markdown at online stores (like the Legion of Super-Heroes Archives).

A few weeks ago, I broke down and bought something one would think I’d be nuts to buy — the mega, mondo $50 Marvels 10th Anniversary Edition. This was slightly insane on my part — I already had the original four issues to begin with, and there’s a much cheaper paperback already available. But the book included lots of production sketches, proposals, the complete scripts of each issue… this was like a special edition DVD of my favorite comic book miniseries of all time, I couldn’t pass it up.

For those of you who haven’t read Marvels… well, you’re nuts… but the basic idea is a look at the Marvel Universe through the eyes of a bystander, photographer Phil Sheldon. The first issue dealt with the birth of superheroes in World War II, the second the rise of the mutant “menace” of the X-Men, the third on the Fantastic Four’s legendary first battle with Galactus, and the final book took us up to the day that Gwen Stacy died.

I read the hardcover. I enjoyed the stories as much as I ever had. I put the book aside with a smile. And then I thought, “Dear lord, why couldn’t that have been the last Gwen Stacy story?”

For any young’ns out there who may think the comic industry began with the emergence of Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee, allow me to explain this character. Spider-Man always had a rough time with the women. He started out his career being ignored by Liz Allen, went on to be spurned by Betty Brant and consistently avoided attempts by his aunt to fix him up with some pest named Mary Jane Watson. Then he met Gwen Stacy, and she was, to put it simply, perfect. I don’t mean the sort of “love overriding your senses, you just can’t see any faults” kind of perfect, I mean literally perfect, perfect like she didn’t have any faults to begin with, except that she had this habit of blaming Spider-Man for killing her father. She was, for an entire generation of comic book readers, the “It Girl.”

Then writer Gerry Conway did something so outrageous that even Stan Lee thought it was a bad movie: he killed off Gwen Stacy. He did it with no warning, no preamble, none of the six months of hype that seems to happen every time a comic book character gets so much as a hangnail today. Oh sure, the cover had Spider-Man proclaiming, “Someone close to me is about to die!” but comics those days made hyperbolic cover statements like that every other month, and they always turned out to be a cop-out or a switcheroo at the end that left everyone hale and hearty for the next 30 days, or else it was a minor character, frequently one introduced that very issue, that wound up biting the big one. Killing off a character of this stature was unheard of. No, your fan was happily reading Amazing Spider-Man #121, confident that ol’ Webhead would beat the Green Goblin and pull Gwen to safety, and then…


Then she was dead.

It was unheard of, killing off such a prominent character, and the hero’s girlfriend no less. And to kill Saint Gwen was appalling to readers. You think people foam at the mouth when you mention what Hal Jordan did to the Green Lantern Corps? Peanuts, by comparison.

But Peter Parker, like we all do, mourned and eventually moved on, even deciding that Mary Jane wasn’t so bad after all and marrying her. They’ve had ups and downs, like every married couple. For a time she had trouble reconciling the fact that her husband risked his life every day, not unlike a police officer or fireman’s wife would. She was briefly relieved when her husband’s clone showed up and took his place, kind of like a policeman’s wife would feel if he finally retired. She was believed dead in a plane crash that was actually orchestrated by her husband’s arch-enemy and held captive until her child was born and stolen away from her, as happens in just about every marriage from time to time.

Here’s where things get kind of bothersome to me, though. A lot of the guys writing comics now, specifically Spider-Man comics, are products of the 70s. That means disco, lava lamps and a love of Gwen Stacy. So much love for her, in fact, that they keep churning out these long, aching love letters to her disguised as comic books. Showing Peter composing a message to Gwen has taken its place along a graveside visit with Uncle Ben or throwing his costume into a garbage can as a Spider-Man monologue moment. When Jim Kruger wrote the Universe X: Spidey one-shot, I was tremendously insulted by the proclamation — not just an implication, mind you, Krueger outright said — that Peter never really loved MJ and his heart still belonged to Gwen. (Fortunately this book is an “alternate future” and easily ignored.) Several writers have such intense pangs of longing for her that they wind up writing MJ as being crass and shallow. The truth is, when written correctly, that shallow exterior was always a façade she put up because she thought the party girl was who people wanted her to be. Peter doesn’t need her to be that girl, though, and for the first time in her life, she’s being allowed to be herself.

Even Jeph Loeb, who had done brilliant work with Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman For All Seasons, fell into this trap when he put out Spider-Man: Blue, a six-issue miniseries that in the end amounted to little more than a public yearning for Gwen Stacy. A well-done yearning, mind you, but a yearning nonetheless.

I’m an 80s boy. That means Frogger, Fraggle Rock and a new “It Girl”: Mary Jane Watson. I understand and respect Gwen’s place in comic book history, but she died three years before I was born. I never got to know her or feel for her as a character, only as a footnote or that blond girl that occasionally showed up in flashbacks or back issues. By the time I started reading comics, it was only a few issues before Peter and Mary Jane were about to get married. They’ve been a couple for as long as I’ve known them, and when Howard Mackie flirted with splitting them up a few years ago I felt like I did on occasions when couples I knew in real life broke up and I was friends with both of them, trying not to get in the middle or be forced to choose sides.

Peter and MJ have been together much longer than he was with Gwen, but writers still dwell on her. It’s been 30 years guys! If anyone was still brooding over the distant loss of a loved one in the real world as much as they brood over Gwen Stacy, their family would send them into therapy so they could work out their unresolved issues and finally begin to resume a productive lifestyle.

In the meantime, MJ has become symbolic, to me, of the change and growth that has always marked Spider-Man. He gets older, graduates from school, deals with loss, gets married, has a kid (yeah, I know, Norman Osborn kidnapped the baby and we don’t know if she’s alive or dead, don’t get me started)… these are the things that people do in their real lives.

I’ll be honest, I thought Brian Michael Bendis was going to make one of his rare missteps when he introduced a Gwen Stacy into Ultimate Spider-Man, apparently resurrecting the love triangle that defined the characters before she died. To my relief, he’s gone in an entirely different direction, taking this Gwen and having her move in with May Parker after her father died. Rather than an alternative love interest, she has taken on an almost sister-like role in Peter Parker’s life, giving him a relationship and a level of confidant that no version of the character has ever had before. Heck, readers unfamiliar with the original Marvel universe who are just reading Ultimate Spider-Man may never even realize that Gwen was a love interest at one point! Mary Jane is still the “It Girl,” and to me, that’s how it should be.

And this character isn’t “Saint Gwen,” either, she’s more of a real teenager, with real problems who makes real mistakes. She’s an interesting character, and I think I’d be upset to see this Gwen die. That’s something I never had the chance to feel for her namesake, and that’s what will make the story of this new character unique.

Sure, she still blames Spider-Man for killing her father. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: April 14, 2004

You want to know the mark of a great comic book? It’s not just good stories and art. It’s not just characters that are known all over the world. It’s not even a book that makes you immediately read it again. It’s a book that makes you get out the previous 23 issues in a series and read all of them again. And Fables #24 fits all of those criteria.

Writer Bill Willingham continues his ingenious exploration of fairy tale characters exiled to our own world. Their enemy, the mysterious Adversary has sent an envoy to issue them an ultimatium, one that culminates with the sort of revelation that makes you slap your forehead and say, “Of course, how did I not see that coming?” Meanwhile, Prince Charming is running for mayor, Snow White is pregnant with the Big Bad Wolf’s child (litter?), Red Riding Hood is a captive of the enemy and one Fable learns his father may be a slave of the darkness. Fantasy, action, romance and the best mystery comic book I have ever read. Month after month, Fables delivers.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 152: The Decade in Review

All good things must come to an end… Chase comes back one last time as regular co-host of the Showcase to join Blake for the decade in review. The guys talk about the movies, television shows, comic books and creators that shaped the past ten years. The guys answer one last round of Ask Chase Anything, and at long last, the question is answered… Why does Chase hate Firestorm? Chase is leaving, but the Showcase is sticking around. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Episode 152: The Decade in Review
Inside This Episode:


May 2023

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