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Another Spidey question. This one is both Spectacular related, and about your Amazing Spider-Man back-up story.
When you wrote and produced "Spectacular Spider-Man," you tried to get to the core truths of who each and every character was. Well, I need to ask you about who Betty Brant was in your series. We've never seen much of her besides Peter trying to ask her to the Fall Formal, and Ned asking her out on a date. She didn't even have a single line of dialogue in the entire second season.
I ask, because in the comics, and this is something that often seems forgotten by most people, Betty Brant is a pretty horrible human being. It's not something I was even really conscious of until my friend, Josh Bertone, started writing a series of articles documenting the history of this character.
She was pretty bipolar when she dated Peter. Constantly flipping out at him if he so much as glanced at Liz Allan, or another human being who lacked a penis. And then, turning around and playing around with both him and Ned Leeds.
She later married Ned and then abandoned him on their honeymoon. Had a one-night stand with Peter, and was later on having an affair with Flash Thompson that lasted for months and months. Which was driving Ned nuts, although, his brainwashing at the hands of the Hobgoblin arguably made things worse. But the affair started well before this Hobgoblin business. Hell, she had the nerve to ask him if their marriage meant anything to him as he was walking out on her, and he replied with "more than it means to you" and he was right.
Of course, Betty now blames the Hobgoblin for all of her marriage's problems and never once really acknowledged any wrongdoing on her part. It's almost Demona-esque how neatly she's able to deflect any feelings of guilt.
And finally, there was Betty's appearance in the back-up story for Flash Thompson that you wrote (loved that story), and when Betty first sees Sha Shan, she is mad. I think I'll quote my friend Bertone, who said it better than I could:
"The icicle speech balloons are a cool callback to the Ditko days but take a look at that scene again. Betty isnât responding to Sha Shanâ¦Betty starts it! Betty doesnât greet Sha Shan with an apology or any remorse. No! Sheâs mad at Sha Shan! Why? What did Sha Shan do to her? Itâs not like they had a Betty/Veronica relationship. Betty stole Sha Shanâs man! Sha Shan has a right to be mad! Betty doesnât!
"Betty Brant is the only woman who will have an affair with your boyfriend and then somehow be mad at you as if she was the victim. What a horrible person."
The above isn't a criticism of the story, or how you used Betty. It's a criticism of Betty as a person.
So, I have to ask. Would your interpretation of Betty, had the series gotten more in depth with her have been this terrible, awful individual? In the comics, she makes Sally Avril look as cool and fun to be with as Mary Jane by comparison! If so, I'd say Peter dodged a major bullet there, when Aunt May put a stop to this in "The Invisible Hand." Come to think of it, May never liked Betty in the Lee/Ditko run either. Betty is definitely not the girl you bring home to meet mom.
I think the thing to keep in mind about ANY character in a shared corporate universe is that multiple writers, editors and artists have had at him or her, with different agendas - often agendas that had little to do with the character him or herself - and more to do with how that character plays with, in this case, Spider-Man/Peter Parker.
Me, I'm fond of Betty. Probably originates with her being THE girl in the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon. I clearly like her more than either you or Bertone, but I haven't tracked each and every appearance. I just try to get to the heart of who I think she is. To me, in the Lee/Ditko era, she was a high school age girl who dropped out to work, because she had to. So she wasn't mature, but she was extremely competent. One of the few human beings who could handle J. Jonah Jameson. That to me is the fundamental TRUTH of her character. Anyone who can hold her own with Jameson and put up with his... crap, has to have something solid in her. The fact that Lee/Ditko occasionally played her as a jealous harridan ... seems more indicative of the tropes of romance comics of the day than with anything inherent in who she was. And what other writers did with her in the post Lee/Romita era (after she had already been reduced to the fourth or fifth most important non-Aunt May girl in Peter's life) carries even less weight with me.
Is that selective on my part? Damn straight! But we were always selective on SpecSpidey. Had to be. Too much inconsistencies in the canon for us to do otherwise.
So, what did we decide?
Well, first of all, we wanted a sixteen year old Peter, as he was in the early days of Lee/Ditko. But no one's going to buy - in a modern context - a sixteen year old Betty working full-time for Jonah. So we made her nineteen or twenty (can't remember, but something like that). So we gave a nod to the original Betty/Pete relationship, but as you saw made it awkward because of an age gap that would be insignificant in ten years (at age 26 and 29) but is just too wide at 16 and 19. We had fun with that. But we also started to build the Betty/Ned relationship too. We did have a couple Betty/Ned scenes written and recorded for Season Two, but they wound up getting cut for time before being animated... mostly because (a) we were long and (b) they were scenes we could sacrifice. Ned and Ned's relationship to Betty would have been important in season three, and we wanted to set it up, lay some pipe, etc. But there were always things we needed for Season TWO that were more important. So we figured we'd worry about Season Three if and when we got there. And of course we never did.
As for that one Betty and Sha Shan scene in the comic, I think you're overthinking it. The two are both cold to each other. They have an unpleasant history. No one's apologizing. No one's asking for an apology at this point. Neither "started it". Looks must have come before words. And looks said it all. The words were simply the "icing" (pun intended) on the cake.
Personally, I can't see Betty with Flash long term... though I guess that's the longest relationship she's ever had - mostly by default. Now, I see them as good friends. Maybe occasionally friends with benefits, but these two are never going to be much more than that in my mind.
Of course, to me the perfect girl for Flash was always Sha Shan. (Someone who could kick his ass - at least figuratively, if not literally.) So what do I know...
Few thing have bugged me since cancelation of Spectacular Spider-Man.
1)Does Marvel hate Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon or not.I ask this because they are making new Ultimate Spider-Man Cartoon and Spectacular Spider-Man was canceled and there was lack of promotion in Marvel.Com(While Avengers or Super Hero Squad have many promotions).Also in one of your answers you said that Marvel are not planning to make comic book based on your show or something like that.So does Marvel hate your show or not?
2)This might be stupid question but worth a shot.Will you ever work for Marvel or Disney again due to cancelation of your show and Disney retooling Gargoyles into Gargoyles Goliath Chronicles.
3)What do you think about Avengers:Earth's Mightiest Heroes Cartoon.Do you think it is as great as Spectacular Spider-Man or bad.Also in your opinion which show is better:Young Justice or Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
4)Will you watch Ultimate Spider-Man Cartoon?And also is there a chance that you will work on Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes or some Marvel Comic Book?
1. I hope not. Ask Marvel.
2. I'm perfectly willing.
3. I haven't seen Avengers, but Frank Paur is producing it, so I take it for granted that it's great. But in any case, I don't see YJ as being in competition with Avengers. There's room for both.
4a. No. There's no upside in me watching Ultimate. If it's great, I'll be jealous. If it sucks, I'll be frustrated.
4b. No. I'm plenty busy on YJ.
4c. I hope so. Ask Marvel.
What comic universe would you say you're more knowledgeable about: DC or Marvel?
I'm pretty equal on both companies.
Fairly knowledgeable (all things considered) on pre-1970s stuff.
More knowledgeable on the 70s.
Extremely knowledgeable on the 80s.
Less knowledgeable on the early and mid 90s.
Almost completely ignorant of the mid 90s through 2006.
Somewhat knowledgeable but with huge gaps on 2006 through the present...
Of course, I worked at DC as a freelancer from 1983-1991, and on staff from 1985-1987, so I have more INSIDE knowledge of that company, but during that period I was reading ALL the Marvel books too, so if we're talking CONTINUITY and CHARACTERS, I know both companies pretty darn well. I certainly grew up reading both. And when I was a little kid, I didn't even get that there were different companies that made comics. I'd see Green Lantern team up with Superman in one book. And Spider-Man team up with the Fantastic Four in another. And I didn't know that next month I might not see Captain America team with Batman. It took me a while to get the whole competing companies idea.
I noticed that almost every single villain gets an episode or two (sometimes more) to be introduced to the audience before taking on Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man. Rhino, Sandman, and the Enforcers were thugs, and Hammerhead has had a few bits of his past revealed as well. So why did you choose the opposite course of action for Tombstone?
Also, excellent issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Flash Thompson seems to be a hard character to really understand, but you truly understand Flash. Thank you.
I didn't. Tombstone appears in episode one.
Thanks. I'm glad you liked the Flash story.
Hi. No questions this time, just had some quick comments:
1) I read your issue of ASM. Fun stuff. I liked the use of the framing device; it was a nice story to go along with the Morbius feature. I hope you write some more issues in the future.
2) I read on Wikipedia that Boomerang will appear in the 4th season of Spidey as a new member of the Enforcers. I'm not asking if it's true, I just thought you might find it funny.
3) If the show's renewed by the time you get this, congrats. If not, i'm pulling for ya.
1. Me too.
2. Well, that was certainly not based on anything I ever said. But it's all moot now.
3. Thanks, but...
Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker was doing a 24-hour live Twitter-cast today on Newsarama.com and he mentioned that you had written a "very emotional" Flash Thompson story for Marvel, though he didn't mention if it was for Amazing or Web. Either way, I was glad to see that they were at least acknowledging how good Spectacular Spidey is, and just wanted to say congrats, can't wait to read it, and I hope it leads to more (especially if the show doesn't come back).
The issue is out (Amazing #622) and I'm pretty proud of the story. I hope you check (checked) it out.
What issues of amazing spider-man have you read? Do you follow the current comics and if not, why do they not interest you?
I've read a lot over the years, but I couldn't give you specific issue numbers. All the early stuff of course, and pretty much everything in the 80s and the early to mid-90s. And, yes, I've read Brand New Day (or most of it).
It caught me off guard, but it seems my issue of The Amazing Spider-Man (i.e. #622) is out. So I've asked Gorebash to open Ask Greg to allow comments and questions about it. Normally, we wouldn't reopen this soon, given that I still am about 200 questions behind -- so don't assume it'll stay open long -- but I figured I should give you all the opportunity.
is there going to be a spider man 4 if so please i beg to know 4 rumors that have been going on #1 is there going to be a spider man four if not dont bother to awnser the rest of the Qs. if so is venom alive and going to be in upcoming movies? is the peters professer going to turn into reptile and is carnage the red sembiote going to be in any upcoming moveis if so this messeage gave you any ideas of a new spider man movie and you tell the world what expired you to make this movie my name is David (Lawhorn) please oh please write back!!!!!
I assume there will be eventually, but I have no inside information. I work on the cartoon series, not the live action movies.
JUST got back from WONDERCON. Made a few announcements there, that I want to repeat here...
GARGOYLES: BAD GUYS
SLG will be releasing a new spin-off of Gargoyles. GARGOYLES: BAD GUYS. This will be a six issue bi-monthly limited series in black and white. I'm writing the title, with art by Karine Charlebois and tones by Stephanie Lostimolo. Covers (as always) by Greg Guler, colored (yes, colored) by Stephanie.
Gargoyles will remain a bi-monthly book (in color). (More on this in a second.) And Bad Guys will come out bi-monthly on the main title's dark months, so for a year you'll have SOME Garg Universe product coming out every month.
Now, I'm sure you have questions... So I'm going to TRY to preempt some of them here:
1. HOW CAN YOU START A SPIN-OFF WHEN YOU'RE BEHIND SCHEDULE ON THE REGULAR BOOK?
Fair question. But I personally am NOT behind schedule on the regular book. In fact, I'm way ahead of schedule. Here's where things stand.
Issue #3 is done and has been for weeks. We're simply waiting on Disney to "approve" the issue. There's no mystery or conspiracy here. There's just, I'm guessing, a guy in an office who is swamped with things to approve and isn't making the SLG properties (Gargoyles, Tron, Wonderland, Haunted Mansion) a priority.
Issue #4 is being colored and lettered and should be done within a couple of weeks. Since it doesn't need to go out for two months, that should give Disney plenty of time to approve it.
Issue #5 is being inked.
Issues #6 and #7 have both been scripted and pencilling has started on each.
Issue #1 of Bad Guys has also been scripted.
I will start on issue #8 of Gargoyles next, then #2 of Bad Guys, #9 of Gargoyles and etc.
I'll stay ahead, and hopefully so will everyone else and what that means generally is that barring something totally unforseen, we should be on schedule from here on out.
And, yes, David Hedgecock had delivery issues Gargoyles #2. But this was due to him having to split his time between a day job to pay the bills and his gig on the book. David has now taken the EXTRAORDINARY step of quitting his day job to dedicate his time to Gargoyles. Since we also have fill-in artists on issues #4-6, David is getting right to work on issue #7 and he will no longer be the cause of any delays.
On top of this, Dan Vado has stated that he has every intention of picking up the Gargoyles' license when it comes up for renewal.
I don't want to get complacent, but really this is all good news. It looks like we should be around for a while.
And I actually think that Bad Guys will help us out. We will in essence become a monthly title (at least sort of), which will get readers in the habit of picking up something Gargesque every month. That HABIT should help. At least that's the theory.
2. WHY BAD GUYS? I WANTED TIMEDANCER*! (*Feel free to substitute NEW OLYMPIANS, DARK AGES, PENDRAGON, 2198.)
The main answer is chronology. I have this timeline. And the Bad Guys story I'll be telling in this six issue mini-series is happening in late '96, early '97. This is the story that NEEDS to be told now. I hope you like it. AND I hope you'll support it. Because if this limited series does well, then GARGOYLES: PENDRAGON is next in line. And after that GARGOYLES: TIMEDANCER. (That's as far out as I've allowed myself to think up to this point.) If the limited series doesn't do well, then it'll be the last one... and I'll eventually incorporate events from Pendragon, etc. into the main Gargoyles book. But I'm hopeful that that won't be necessary. And I hope that those of you who've seen the Gargoyles reel at a Gathering can tell those who have never attended one of our great (www.gatheringofthegargoyles.com) conventions just how cool Bad Guys really is.
3. WHEN WILL GARGOYLES: BAD GUYS PREMIERE?
Karine is inking Gargoyles #5 now -- which shows what a trooper she is, since she JUST gave birth a few days ago! As soon as she's done with G#5, she'll start on BG#1. Our hope is that Bad Guys #1 can come out in the dark month between either Gargoyles #6 & #7 or -- at the latest -- between #7 and #8. We certainly plan to tease and pimp Bad Guys at the 2007 Gathering in Pigeon Forge!
So, if all goes well...
Gargoyles #3 - March
Gargoyles #4 - May
Gargoyles #5 - July
Gargoyles #6 - September
Bad Guys #1 - October
Gargoyles #7 - November
Bad Guys #2 - December
Gargoyles #8 - January, 2008
Bad Guys #3 - February, 2008
Gargoyles #9 - March, 2008
Bad Guys #4 - April, 2008
Gargoyles #10 - May, 2008
Bad Guys #5 - June, 2008
Gargoyles #11 - July, 2008
Bad Guys #6 - August, 2008
Gargoyles #12 - September, 2008
Pendragon #1 - October, 2008
Is there an element of wishful thinking here? Well... duh. But it's not unrealistic either. This is the plan. I mean to do everything in my power to stick to it, and everyone else involved feels the same way. Can't make ABSOLUTE guarantees of course. But I can promise you that I'm passionate about this project, about making it the best it can be both creatively and financially.
4. WHY BLACK AND WHITE?
This is largely an economic decision. Printing in multi-color costs WAY more than printing in B&W, and that reduces greatly SLG's profit margin and ability to put out the titles without over-extending their resources.
Creatively, however, I was completely behind the decision. Though I feel strongly that the main GARGOYLES title should be in color, I think the subject matter of Bad Guys can work terrifically in b&w. Again, if you've seen the Bad Guys reel at the Gathering, you'll have some idea of what this book can be -- even without full color. Plus we will have color covers, so you will get a sense of what our characters look like in color.
5. UH... I CAN'T THINK OF A #5 AT THE MOMENT.
BUT I'M SURE YOU GUYS WILL. The good news is that I'm getting through the ASK GREG back log at a pretty steady pace. I'm hoping to have the site open for questions shortly. And we'll definitely open it up (at least briefly) when issue #3 hits the stores.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
The following press release came out late last week...
KIDS' WB! ON THE CW NETS NEW SPIDER-MAN
ANIMATED SERIES FOR EARLY 2008 PREMIERE
Culver Entertainment Widens Renowned Marvel Hero's Web from Blockbuster Films
to No. 1 Rated Saturday Morning Broadcast Kids Network
BURBANK, CA (MARCH 1, 2007) - Spider-Man swings back into television action in early 2008 as an animated series from Culver Entertainment to air on Kids' WB! on The CW, it was announced today by Kids' WB! Senior Vice President and General Manager Betsy McGowen and Sony Pictures Television Co-President Zack Van Amburg.
Tentatively titled "The Amazing Spider-Man," the new series is being produced by Culver Entertainment. Greg Weisman ("Gargoyles", "The Batman") is supervising producer, Victor Cook ("Hellboy: Blood and Iron" and "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command") is producer/supervising director. The series will premiere on Kids' WB! on The CW, the No.1 rated Saturday morning kids broadcast slate.
"The addition of 'Spider-Man' bolsters a lineup that has proved to be the Saturday morning destination for kids seeking action and adventure in the most amped-up ways," McGowen said. "We're ecstatic to welcome 'Spider-Man' to our popular cavalcade of super heroes."
"Spider-Man is such an important brand for Sony Pictures and we're thrilled to keep the momentum going by taking it back to television with an animated series on Kids' WB!," Van Amburg said. "It's also an excellent way to launch Culver Entertainment, our newest television company."
Riding the crest of Sony's anticipated summer blockbuster "Spider-Man 3," the new animated series picks up the original web-slinger's mythology at the beginning of his hero's journey - as a not-so-typical 16-year-old entering his junior year of high school. Having spent the summer engaging common criminals with his new-found powers, Peter Parker must conceal his secret identity while engaging a new level of terror - the multi-leveled pressures of teenage life at home and school while combating bigger, badder super-villains in the real world.
"Our goal is to reinterpret these great characters and concepts for our millennium," Weisman said. "We'll have plenty of resonant material for the Spider-Man fan, while engaging the Spider-Man novice with the same thrills we experienced when we were first exposed to the character. Our stories will appeal on multiple levels with plenty of eye-candy, action, humor and colorful characters for the youngest demographic balanced with extensive character development for 'tweens, teens and adults."
Culver Entertainment is a Sony Pictures Television company. Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment for network and cable television, as well as first-run and off-network series for syndication. With more than 25 programs on the air, SPT boasts a program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
A leader in children's programming, Kids' WB! continues to be a unique destination for kids. Kids' WB!, now airing on The CW Network, has been the broadcast home for such cornerstone hits as the blockbusters "Pokémon" and "Yu-Gi-Oh!," Emmy® Award-winners "Xiaolin Showdown" and "The Batman," culturally diverse series "Jackie Chan Adventures" and "¡Mucha Lucha! Gigante," and breakout hits "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue!" and "Legion of Super Heroes," among other favorites. Kids and their parents can find more information about Kids' WB! programming online at www.KidsWB.com.
We're still in very early days on Spidey, but I'm tremendously excited about the project. I hope you're looking forward to it, as much as I am.
That's it for now,