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Jesse B. writes...

As I've been following the second season on Teletoon for the past few months, "The Spectacular Spider-Man" has been the first thing to come along in my entire life that has actually made me look forward to waking up Sunday mornings. That alone is no small accomplishment. What is an even greater accomplishment is that the first two seasons of this phenomenal show have established a new definitive interpretation for the character. While the series hasn't quite finished here in Canada, I will still highlight the fact that the event that ends the second season has effectively made these twenty-six episodes equivalent of the original Lee-Ditko run of The Amazing Spider-Man. For decades those issues have been the central foundation upon which all interpretations of Spider-Man have drawn from. These first two seasons, however, have shattered that foundation and created a new standard for the character. Even if SSM is not continued (heaven forbid), I sincerely hope that all future incarnations use the first two seasons of your series as their basis. I simply can't accept anything less at this point.

I have a few comments and questions from season two which I had hoped to share with you, but I'm sure that you'd rather keep your column free from major spoilers as the series airs in the States. As such, I'll submit more questions as each arc airs on Disney XD. For now, here are a couple of more general things:

1) I realize that this series has an enormous cast to juggle, but what on earth happened to Robbie Robertson? I don't think any major character has gotten the shaft as badly as he has! He has some interplay with Jonah, but we don't see any scenes of him interacting with Captain Stacy or even his own son! Is this going to be rectified soon?

1)Is it just me, or are Jean DeWolff and Stan Carter the only two cops in the Midtown area? I understand the need to to build familiarity with those characters for future stories, but their overexposure has been a bit silly. I also noticed in one episode that Jean referred to Stan as “Sarge”, which got me thinking: what are the current police rankings for these two characters? Jean would have to be a lieutenant by now if there's any hope of her becoming a captain within the span of this series, but her comment gives me the impression that this isn't the case.

That's all for now! Here's hoping that season 3 has a pick-up by the time you reply to this message!

Greg responds...

Thank you for the kind words. They are very gratifying, truly. But I can't agree that we've SUPPLANTED the original Lee-Ditko run. In fact, that seems patently preposterous. I'd hope any future incarnation of Spidey would return to the source material, as we did on this show. A copy of a copy quickly loses any sense of true definition. No matter how good we may think the original copy was.


1. Uh... look... I don't think Robbie got short shrift if one views the series with any sense of proportion. Granted we have a LARGE and quite wonderful ensemble. But this is NOT an ensemble show. This is a show about Peter Parker. Period. Keep in mind we have less than 20 minutes of new content per episode. With that as a given, the storylines we choose to deal with and depict on screen must effect Peter, either directly or indirectly OR they must be about us laying pipe for things that will eventually effect Peter down the road. I like to think in our limited screen time, we find moments to characterize a TON of characters in small ways that are independent of our lead. But that's gravy. At this point, Robbie's life isn't intersecting much with Peter's life. And I can't spare screen time for a conversation between Rand and Robbie that's ONLY about Rand and Robbie. And of course, this doesn't just apply to Robbie. I'm sure everyone's got his or her favorites, and in some ways there isn't a single character that hasn't gotten short shrift. In fact, there isn't a single character that I wouldn't like to spend more time on. If these were one hour episodes, we'd have a lot more breathing room. But they're not. And, yes, I can already here someone out there saying, "Hey, I could have done with less of [fill in the blank] in order to afford more time with [fill in the blank]." But the obvious problem there is that one man's [fill in the blank] is another man's [fill in the blank]. All I can do as head of story is try to keep my eyes focused on the main goal: THE EDUCATION OF PETER PARKER, and then try to do as much justice to everyone else as I can.

1. (You used the number 1 twice...). Stan is a sergeant. Jean is an officer. And, yes, I'm aware of the repercussions of that statement. As for your objection, I don't know what you expect me to say. Rather than agreeing that how we're executing this is silly, I think your objection is, well, silly. We've seen other cops. Alan O'Neil, Vin Gonzalez to name two that I actually CAN name. But of course, we're always going to start with Captain Stacy, Jean and Stan. Again, with limited screen time, why would I want to split the very, very few moments of characterization that I have for cops among so many that in effect no one gets any real screen time. And frankly how unrealistic is it that when 90% of our adventures are set in the Midtown area of Manhattan, that we have our two cops on the Midtown beat show up? We've tried NOT to use them when the adventure was clearly happening outside of Midtown. Have they been in the background in some of those cases? Maybe. We only have the budget to design so many characters, so if we needed to fill out a scene with cops, they may have been included even if they didn't belong. But they certainly didn't have any lines in that case.

I just reread the above, and it reads harsh - and given your praise of the show, vaguely churlish, even -- which isn't my intention. But the simple fact is the show can't do EVERYTHING. It has to pick its shots. I remember reading that Joss Whedon always felt bad about how little he used Buffy's dad. And he had 22 hour-long episodes per season. If it's any consolation, when we start any new season, we have index cards on the board for EVERY member of our large and growing cast as a reminder to track what is going on each of their lives. When those moments intersect with Peter (again directly or indirectly or with a view toward the future) I promise, we'll find some way to fit it in. That's the best I can offer.

Response recorded on March 27, 2009