Thursday, June 30, 2011
Face-Off: To Spice, or Not to Spice?
Doug: As we've recently come through our BAB take on the events of Amazing Spider-Man #'s 121-122, I thought it might be interesting to discuss character-types, and as an extension of that, character evolution. Regular reader/commenter J.A. Morris posted a link to a series of essays on the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson that this writer found simply wonderful. And it got me thinking about the choice Pete faced throughout his young adult life: the down-to-earth, wholesome Gwen Stacy, or the more effervescent, global Mary Jane Watson. And it further got me to thinking about why we as readers gravitate toward one over the other. Personally, I've always been a Gwen guy, because she's the type of "person" that I would be attracted to. If you want to extend this to Gilligan's Island, I'm a Mary Ann guy, too. While MJ and Ginger certainly have their, ahem... merits, personality-wise I find myself more in line with the gals I've cited. Yes, I understand that certain characters take trajectories to make them more interesting and to open up more story possibilities -- but I'm thinking here of the inherent qualities of particular comic book personalities.
Doug: So for some of our female readers, would you be more of a Peter Parker gal, or is Flash Thompson more your type? How about the Summers boys -- Scott, or Alex?
Doug: And as long as we're discussing character personalities, let's open it up a bit to character evolution. Take Mary Jane, again, for example. We all know how she was depicted in the Silver Age, as that happy-go-lucky party girl (see panel sample, above). How did she evolve as she became Peter's steady girl, then fiance', and finally his wife? Did writers in the early 1980's change her, or was she still basically framed as Stan and Jazzy Johnny had depicted her in the '60's?