Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)


Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Ron Frenz

Tom DeFalco seems to be spinning Spider-Man's life in a different way every month at the moment. (NB. By "at the moment" I really mean about 20 years ago!)

In Amazing Spider-Man #252 he unveiled Spider-Man's new black costume.

In #253 he had Peter Parker falling-out with his Aunt May.

#257 saw Mary Jane admitting that she knew Peter's secret identity.

Now in #259 DeFalco spends the bulk of the issue telling us the origin-story of Mary Jane Watson.

That's a whole 12½ pages of the girl character telling her life-story, entitled All My Pasts Remembered!, complete with lengthy flashbacks to her youth. In a mainstream superhero comic aimed principally at boys, this might well not have been permitted by other less-confident editors, and I can say that with all certainty, because here in the UK, it wasn't.


That's right – over a year later the British reprint mag Spider-Man And Zoids #10-11 incredibly trimmed a whole 50% from the middle of this issue – specifically the 11 pages that readers had been waiting for ever since MJ had told Peter that she knew he was Spider-Man. Well, so much for that cliffhanger.

In fact, so much for the strip's title, which could no longer refer to MJ's backstory. US version on the left, UK one on the right...


Subtle.

What did make it through were Peter's thoughts before and after hearing her tale, which topped and tailed all the occasional cutaways to the current villains' subplots.

The real irony though is that this entire deleted sequence turned-out to be such an arguably pivotal one in Spider-history. The honesty with which Peter and MJ could both now see each other was surely one of the events that turned them towards their marriage a year later. Since the UK editors must have by then known where Peter and MJ's storyline was heading, maybe they should have been working towards that?

Today in 2009, the further irony is that the last 20 years of their marriage have just been retconned out of history at the end of the controversial One More Day plotline. In the circumstances, you have to wonder if it was the evil Mephisto himself who was running Marvel UK in the 80s.

With that in mind, Peter's final line of that cut sequence is a bit ominous.

This never happened.

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2 comment(s):

At 5:18 pm, Blogger Sparky Ryan said...

That was the first spider-man comic i ever read at nine years old, and been hooked on marvel since. Bought birth of venom book to see these strips and your damn right I didn't remember Mary Jane's flashback in Spider-Man and Zoids. Great site for all the marvel uk mid 80's stuff. May god bless you, been searching for this stuff for years as no longer have the originals. what a nostalgic trip!!

 
At 5:32 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Cheers Sparky - as you may have noticed, I loved Marvel in the 80s too!

Steve.
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