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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending June 28, 2020

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Last but not least!
Vinnie - [thomaspeano at yahoo dot com]
Deplorable and loving it!

The more I look into this I start to wonder if that was really how things were going to go or if it was just one big Mandela Effect. Either way, looking forward to the next Radio segment.
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

MATTHEW> I admit to being skeptical of the validity of those sources. But hey, with three more interview episodes of "Spectacular Radio" to go, maybe I can get him to confirm if he made a statement of any kind... or, long shot, get him to say outright what would have happened.... okay, okay, that last one will never happen. ;)

Either way, I'm sure the remaining episodes in the podcast will be interesting, informative, and entertaining.

Greg Bishansky

The talk about the "Death of Gwen Stacy" just reminded me of a piece of fan art I'd seen some years ago (I wonder if it came out around the time that Disney acquired Marvel; it would certainly have been an appropriate occasion for it) which re-imagined that scene with Mickey Mouse as Spiderman, Goofy as Gwen, and Pegleg Pete as the Green Goblin. It was definitely weird.
Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, and I'm looking forward to the next episode too.

Greg> Well this is a little awkward, I first heard Greg mention this at an Ask Greg Live event (which I can't verify), I also heard it on a podcast which I can't find anymore. The crazy thing is that other sites make mention of Greg not wanting to kill off Gwen like Tv Tropes or What Culture (as seen here: https://whatculture.com/comics/10-mind-blowing-facts-you-didnt-know-about-the-spectacular-spider-man-cartoon?page=6) but none of them have a direct link to that interview.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Thanks for your latest review, Matthew.

Your remark at the beginning about how "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and "Young Justice" used little-known characters as well as the "big names" reminded me of one thing I liked about both series. I'm not much of an expert on DC or Marvel Comics, but I've had no difficulty understanding who the various characters are in "The Spectacular Spider-Man" or "Young Justice"; the scripts establish who they are, what they're like, what they want, etc. to a newcomer like myself. I'd never heard of Molten Man prior to this episode, for example, but I got who he was. I think that's a very good quality in a work based on a pre-existing property, making it accessible to those not familiar with that property.

Looking forward to your review of the next episode - the one with the "Midsummer Night's Dream" production (we got a taste of that to come in Liz and Mary Jane's rehearsal scenes - I ran to my copy of Shakespeare during them to locate the lines they were reading). That was one of my favorites.

Todd Jensen

Matthew, link please? I am going to have to ask you to cite your source.
Greg Bishansky

I spent some time looking through some interviews and such, and actually Greg wasn't planning on killing her off even in the planned college films. Plus there was something about how he a little disturbed when asked by fans and co-workers about when he was going to kill her off.
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

"We know that Greg wasn't going to do the Death of Gwen Stacy story line"

No, we don't know that. We do know he said she doesn't die in High School, but one of the Direct-to-DVD movies they had hoped to make set during college... yeah, definitely possible.

Greg Bishansky

Speaking of which, watched "Subtext" today. One thing I liked about this show and by extension Young Justice is Greg's willingness to use the more obscure characters from famous comic book properties. Spider-Man has one of, if not the most famous rogue's gallery in comics but sometimes it feels like they're not using the majority of what they could use. In film, most of the villains he's fought have been either a) the Goblins or b) individual members of the Sinister Six. Television, it's been members of the Six or villains from other Marvel series, what I like here is that Greg put the work in to prevent stagnancy. Aside from the Lizard, Spidey has fought each adversary more than once, but rather than repeating the same characters or bringing in outside threats he dug deeper into the Spider-Man mythos, which is how Molten Man made his on-screen depute.

Like other villains, Mark Allen took the slow path to becoming a super villain, but instead of showcasing the more negative qualities his introduction is based on how he's supposed to have changed for the better. He's out from juvie, repairing his life, and enjoying his "un-relationship" with Mary Jane. But here's something they don't really talk about when it comes to addiction in the media, they always warn about how easy it is to backslide when things are bad, but they rarely talk about backsliding when things are good. And with all the good things going on in Mark's life, what's one little bet going to hurt?

But that's the nature of the slippery slope, just one bad thing happens (big or small) and it just keeps going down. And every action by the person (whether consciously or unconsciously) has the potential to keep them down that slope. One thing of interest (and one thing that Liz calls him out on) is that Mark constantly falls deeper into dept and dependency, and people will take advantage of that because he's either too stubborn, too proud or too ashamed to get help. Sign up for highly unethical experiment and all your debts will be cleared, kill Spider-Man and you get your life back, where would it lead? Pull this little job and I don't kill your family starting with your sister? Goblin's most likely more than willing to do that. This is topped off at the end that even when he he did his best to rescue Lz and MJ from a burning building, he goes right back to trying to kill Spider-Man. Mark Allen is basically an amalgamation of an addictive personality and more than a few gambling-based fallacies, Gambler's Fallacy, Gambler's Ruin and Hot Hand Fallacy (heh).

It's kind of interesting that Mary Jane and Liz play Hermia and Helena respectively, both women pursuing the same man. It's kinda funny that it this point of the series Mary Jane is pursuing someone else rather than the same man. Still, we get a love triangle nonetheless as Liz confronts MJ on the fact that she wants the two of them to break up and make room for Gwen. It's a good reminder that playing matchmaker in real life isn't as easy as it seems in real life, especially if real couples are involved. Still we see that her relationship with Mark has quite an amount of depth to it, enough that he told her about his past gambling problems. It's rather appropriate that the two of them play rivals who actually have a quite a bit in common as both of them are willing to risk their lives for an intervention.
One thing I thought of, in the comics Mary Jane's personality went through a big change after the death of Gwen Stacy as she grieved alongside Peter and opened up about her own troubled past. We know that Greg wasn't going to do the Death of Gwen Stacy story line, so could this be the event that ultimately triggers the change to her?

Now to talk about the other antagonists of the episode, for starters Osborne/Goblin. It's rather interesting that the moment he takes control of New York's underworld he follows the same habits that he did when Tombstone ran things. He's still making new super villains and using a crook as an intermediary (in this case Gaxton in place of Hammerhead), I guess he applying the principle that the populace (in this case the lowlifes) are less likely to rebel if things stay relatively the same. Then there's Dr. Warren who has pretty much abandoned any notions of being an ethical scientist. It's funny that both times he's had a hand in making super villains he's basically taken the ideas of other scientists and given them his own spin on them, now he's using the subdermal armor idea from way back in Sandman's debut. Between the two of them I can't help but wonder if what they lack in originality they make up for with sheer ruthlessness.

Finally there's the battle between Spidey and Mark, which shows off just how much Peter's changed since "Interactions". It's a nice touch that the moment Spider-Man figures out who Molten Man he stops fighting immediately and tries to get him help, even getting nearly killed for his efforts. He only goes on the offensive when it becomes especially clear Mark's not going to stop and even then he's more concerned about turning off his heat rather taking him down. You know there's something interesting in how energy and heat are depicted in media, you'll see characters get shocked all the time in cartoons and brushing away just how much damage electricity can do. It's a lot harder to do with things like fire, and even if Spider-Man should be well and truly cooked from that bear hug from Mark the fire he spreads at the billiards hall is treated with the utmost seriousness.

Some Final Thoughts: You know this is the second time the Green Goblin was featured in an episode where the action began in media res, I wonder if Greg did that intentionally. Blackie Gaxton trying to put out fires with a seltzer water spritzer is pretty hilarious, I think that's good metaphor for how much he's in over his head. I like the little ways the relationship drama affects Liz and MJ's performance, Liz concerned with her relationship with Peter and with her brother is stumbling over lines and forgetting them. MJ, who hasn't really been subtle towards her dissatisfaction towards Liz and Pete is reading in a dull, monotonous way almost like she's doing it to spite Liz. It's only after they've shared in a tragedy is either one really working and giving a genuine performance.

I rather liked how the flashbacks were framed, with the closeups to character's eyes (usually with the flames reflected, cliched I know), you know they're each thinking "How did it turn out this way?" It makes sense that Harry would confide to Peter privately about his own addiction, Gwen knew about it as did Flash, Spider-Man knew it but not Peter. Blackie Gaxton learns a lesson that Hammerhead never really did in that it's not a good idea to try and lord over people you used to be able to before they got powers, especially when the subject is dangerous and desperate. He's lucky that he survived the battle at the pool hall. Just as Norman got a taste for power while making super villains for Tombstone, I wonder if Dr. Warren would go through the same after this episode and what he might've created in season 3.

Favorite Lines:
Spider-Man: Oh, this is so not going well.
MJ: (meekly) Hi.
Spider-Man: Right. Cuz' things weren't complicated enough.

Spider-Man: Couldn't spring for a sprinkler system could ya?

Harry: Pete, when you're addicted to gambling or Gre... or whatever, it's easy to backslide. Too easy. Trust me on this... no one can help Mark until he's ready to help himself.

Green Goblin: Of course, I can't abide divided loyalties. Show of hands, who's still sweet on Tombstone? Hammerhead? Silvermane? Oh don't tell me like the Master Planner and his "wonderful" personality? *shudders*

Spider-Man: Is that an Oscar with my name on it? I was thinking Emmy but spiders can't be choosers.

Spider-Man: Whoa whoa whoa wait! Now you can throw lava too? I am so due for a power upgrade.

Liz: O-is it all forgot? All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence? And will you rent our ancient love asunder?
Mary Jane: You thief of love! What , have you come by night and stol'n my love’s heart?

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Worlds Elsewhere, an online theater troupe founded by Youtuber Kyle Kallgren, just did an online performance of Midsummer Night's Dream the other day. It was very funny and they really made the format work for them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCBdmJv5kag&t=9931s
Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

Today is Midsummer Day, which calls to mind Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which has featured in both "Gargoyles" and Season Two of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" (and the episode dealing with the performance of that play is just two reviews away).
Todd Jensen

Oh, right, seven.


MATTHEW - I'd been wondering about what would succeed your "Spectacular Spider-Man" reviews, since we're drawing near the end. "Young Justice" had popped into my thoughts as well, but I hadn't considered Greg's books; that'd also make a good potential discussion topic.

Todd Jensen

Johnny FIVE is ALIVE!
We must be brave.


Will soon be covering the last THREE episodes of Spectacular Spider-Man.
After that, who knows? Maybe someone else can cover Young Justice, or perhaps we could cover Greg's books.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________


(#1)Number one with a bullet but always first over all!
Vinnie - [thomaspeano at yahoo dot com]
Deplorable and loving it!