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One Day At A Time

Brian Hibbs

First off, as you may have read a few other places, Paul “Zeus” Grant died a few weeks ago. That probably means very little to most of you, but for those of us early adopters of comics-talk on the internet its kind of a big thing. Zeus was a key part of Doug Pratt’s Comics forum on the old CompuServe, back in the days of dial-up, and no-picture intarwubs. That’s where “The Savage Critic” original came from, that old CompuServe forum, and Zeus was one of the biggest boosters of me writing on the net about our beloved funny books.

Zeus was a big man, and a happy man, and he burned with passion for funny books, in a really “old school” kind of way — he read nearly everything, and he was really passionate and enthusiastic about it all, and that’s a really rare thing.

Zeus (and his son Phillip) came to San Francisco on a couple of occasions, and each time I was struck by what a kind and wonderful man he was — he was the kind of a man who really didn’t have a bad word for anyone, and who really embraced his passions deeply, but never took anything too far. In a lot of ways he was a real model of how one should communicate on the internet, and he was genuinely passionate about what he loved. Not in a “things should try to suit me” kind of way so many modern fans are, but in a genuine love for the medium, for the form, and for the people who made them.

When I think about “the old days”, Zeus is up on the top of that list (along with Carl Pietrantonio, Lou Perez, Cheryl Harris, well and so many others really), and it was a real punch in the gut to me when I read that he died.

Rest in Piece, Zeus, and my deepest condolences to Phillip Grant who was loved by his pop like no other.

How about a review?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #545: The final part of “One More Day”. The thing that gets me here is that it really isn’t a “Marvel” comic. Marvel’s remit, or so they’ve claimed over the decades, is that they’re “realistic”, that they (and I think this is a direct quote from Quesada [or maybe Jemas]) “don’t DO ‘Crisis’es” — things flow from story and from character rather than from outside events.

So, yeah, from any kind of a “classical Marvel style” POV this is probably the worst comic idea they’ve had since, dunno, “teen Iron Man” really? I mean, seriously: the Devil offers to change time and rewrite history so that Aunt May is never shot, but MJ and Peter lose their love because of it? Jinkies.

I know there has been a certain amount of “retcon creep” over the years, of course — the Marvel characters never were involved in the Cold War, now it is Desert Storm or something — but, GENERALLY those were about things that probably didn’t matter *that* much. Maybe it doesn’t matter WHICH war was involved, or if it was “the reds” versus “terrorist extremists” or whatever, but I think this is the first time that Marvel has flat out said “yeah, well that stuff never ever happened, deal”

It’s… well it’s such a DC move, y’know?

I mean, this means that pretty much every Spider-Man story since 1987 (or, possibly, before) didn’t actually happen, or at least not in the way you remember. This issue makes it very clear that, at the least, the “unmasking” never occurred, which seems to me knocks CIVIL WAR off its pins a bit (I mean, then why is Spidey even in The Avengers, in the way he is these days?), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, isn’t it?

That’s cheap, and it is lousy, and it is, I think, a betrayal of what Marvel is and what Marvel does, and the fact that it happened from editorial fiat (AND has been telegraphed in much of Q’s public statements over the last 2-3 years, rendering the potential “suspense” of the story as basically nil) makes it that much worse.

This was a CRAP idea, and was handled in a bludgeoney awkward way from a plot perspective. Big big thumbs down from this reader on the meta level.


…and maybe this is just the tiredness of the holidays mixed with the mad rush for the truncated new comics day speaking (plus I’m getting a cold), but I pretty much didn’t hate this individual issue of the comic book, as an individual reading experience.

…in fact, I kind of liked it.

Throwing out all of the meta stuff, all of thinking this was a good or bad idea, all of the plot-hammering, and this, as a single individual entertainment unit was actually pretty decent. There felt like honest emotions on display, genuine moments of pathos. An impossible situation and they make an impossible decision, and they still love each other, maybe more than ever before, and there’s a really clear “way out” dangled in front of them, when 20 years from now under a different editorial regime, they decide to reinstitute the wedding, and they’ll be able to do so. The writing was strong, and I even thought that Q’s art worked in this chapter where it didn’t in the first three), and yeah, I was touched a little bit by some of the moments inside.

So, yeah, TERRIBLE fucking idea, clumsy and anti-Marvel staging for the bludgeon of it, but this single individual issue of it? A (low) GOOD read, in and of itself.

Yes, I’m surprised with my thoughts too.

What did YOU think?


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