Warning: this is a Journal entry… one of those things that nobody should care about except me. But I’m stealing a page from Pat’s book. I want to read this stuff when I’m a decrepit old man and have some idea of what was going on all those weeks ago when I wrote this down.

Anyway, what did I do today?

  • I got caught up on some comics reading, not least of which was a stack of “Ultimate Spider-Man” issues that’s been building up for a while. The issues were USM #22-26 and the Marvel Team-Up Super Special. I was dreading reading this run because I knew something bad was going to happen in #25, and I didn’t want to face up to it. I made an effort to avoid spoilers and finally just started reading the story one page at a time without peeking ahead. I always enjoy things more when I can force myself to do this. They don’t call ‘em “spoilers” for nothing, but usually I can’t resist. However, if you like spoilers, I’ll elaborate on what I’m talking about in the “More…” section.
  • I drove to Golden Gate park and wandered around for a bit. Then I went and had a burrito at Gordo’s, a place on 9th & Lincoln that my roommate showed me a while ago. I also wandered into a small market in search of some fruit… the place was so tiny and packed that I think I incovenienced every other patron there at least once with my clumsy, lanky bumbling. But at least I came away with some very tasty peaches and plums.
  • I went to see “Goldmember” at the Parkway Speakeasy theater, a very cool joint in Oakland where second-run and classic films can be viewed over a slice of pizza and pitcher of beer. Other participants were Pat, Kathleen, Beej, and Adam. Adam courageously decided to stay behind after Goldfinger to watch “Attack of the Clones” without us. I hope he made it out intact.

    It’s always good to see my friends, and I feel I have to appreciate it as much as I can now, because these fun times are getting more and more sparse as time goes on.

    I intend to go again, especially now that I know how to find the place. I’m finding my navigational skills are easily crushed by the streets of San Francisco and Oakland, and only the worst can be anticipated when I’m driving from one to the other. I can’t believe that a place I can see from the hill behind my house in SF would take an hour to reach on the road, but there you have it.

  • I’ve had the song, “The Book I Read” from Talking Heads: 77 stuck in my head all weekend. I’m swimming in a sea of sap! Make it stop!
  • Jeez, I guess that’s it!


Okay, the “shocking” event I was dreading was the death of Mary Jane Watson, which had been hinted at for a while. She was getting set up to play the role “Gwen Stacey” played in the original series. Only this time, it would have been a character everybody cared about rather than the annoyance that the original Gwen Stacey was. While reading the whole storyline, my thoughts were “You bastard Bendis, I see where you’re going with this! You wouldn’t dare!”

But he dared! The final page of #25 has Spidey holding a limp MJ in his arms after he thought he had succeeded in rescuing her from a deadly fall from atop the Queensboro Bridge, just like in the earlier story. My thought: “Bendis you are a bastard!”

The real surprise, however, came in the first few pages of #26 where MJ just kind of woke up, shook the whole thing off, and got into a cab to escape while Spidey continued with his rage-fueled tirade against the Green Goblin (continuing to echo the original Gwen Stacey story).

Wow… what a cop-out. But in almost a good way. I like this version of MJ, and I was in no hurry to see her get killed off. Reversing her death is kind of cheap, but it’s also a bit of an “up yours” to the long-time readers like me who went in with preconceptions about how this storyline was going to turn out.

And that, I think, was the point of all this. Bendis is playing off of our expectations and enjoying himself while we all squirm. If any other book had ended with a character “not waking up” in the hero’s arms, we would not automatically assume the worst. It’s only the Gwen Stacey parallel that made everybody assume that it was for real. The lame thing is that this makes it an instance where the “Ultimate Marvel” concept fails, because the dramatic impact relies on a familiarity with the old storyline.

Oh well. I’m relieved that she’s still going to be around. It’s a testament to Bendis’ writing that I even care this much about whether a fictional character dies or not.

One Response to “MISC. DEBRIS”

  1. Patrick Berry Says:
    September 18th, 2002 at 12:07 am

    “What, you think that just because a guy reads comics he can’t start some shit!”