Slow Down Man!

Slow Down Man!

I have nothing at all against Rik Offenberger, but, really, what’s the point of interviews like this? (link via Neilalien)

I mean, this is Roger Stern! He’s a smart guy and he knows superhero comics. If you’ve got a limited amount of space (although I don’t know why this would be true in the post-print age), just zero in on one subject and explore it in depth. Am I the only one that wants to know where this would have gone, with a little more coaxing on Offenberger’s part?:

CBR: You had been exclusively at Marvel from 1975 until 1988 when you left Marvel for DC. Why did you leave?

Stern: I was fired from the Avengers, and with the exception of Jim Salicrup, no Marvel editor would return my calls. Jim very kindly offered me a Spider-Man assignment, but Peter Parker had just gotten married to Mary Jane Watson, which was — I thought then, and still do – just a terrible move that ignored every good thing that had been developed for both characters.

And since Marvel wasn’t about to let me write a story where they both woke up and discovered that it was all a bad dream, I accepted an offer of work from DC.

Offenberger’s follow-up?

CBR: You worked on some of the most important Superman stories of the day. How did the “Death of Superman” come about?

Come on! The man just declared Parker/Watson a mistake! Obviously, I disagree. (The marriage, after all, can be seen as the logical sequel to my ol’ favourite–Conway’s Gwen Stacy Clone Saga.) But the most fascinating thing about all of this is that–logical or not–the rapprochement between these two characters had been successfully blocked by Conway’s successors (primarily Wein and Wolfman–who each did their damnedest to strip MJ of the complexities she had acquired in the post-ASM #122 era), and would not have been possible at all without the timely intervention of (oh yes!) Roger Stern himself! (who brought MJ back after she had been “away” for FIVE YEARS)

Of course, it is true that the reestablishment of a Conwayesque take on the relationship occurred mainly on Tom DeFalco’s watch–but I had always assumed that this was done with Stern’s blessing. How interesting to learn that this was not the case! What did Stern have in mind, I wonder? (perhaps he would have taken a 
Power of the Atomish approach? keeping MJ thoughtful, interesting, and very much involved in the series–but refusing to do it the easy way? That could have been fascinating too! Oh, and by the way: POTA is another subject that could have provided enough material for the entire interview!) I guess we’ll never know, because, from what I can see, Offenberger just yelled “next!”, or, more likely, emailed the author a set of questions designed to elicit one response per major item on his resume… You can’t even call this an interview, really. It’s a checklist masquerading as a conversation.

Could we at least  have a follow-up interview, CBR?  I’ll do it myself if you want! (In fact, I’d love to!)

Good Night Friends!


  1. good call, Ian–it certainly is better (at least the information has been processed!)

    I really appreciated the special kudos they doled out for Stern’s Spectacular Spider-Man… Issues #50-51 feature my favourite Mysterio story and the whole run–chock full of weird alien waiters, noir cosmeticians, and Hollywood hijinks really highlights the influence from outside of comics that Stern mentions

    and it was nice to see someone other than Dave Campbell (not that I don’t appreciate Dave’s efforts in this regard!) trumpeting the glories of mainstream eighties titles… It would have been interesting to read a bit (or a lot!) more about how Stern sees his work in relation to Miller/Simonson et al…

    still–I wanna know about this Peter and MJ thing!


  2. I’m astonished they didn’t ask that follow-up. You rarely hear about the behind-the-scenes crap when it’s negative, and the banality is usual pro formo, so that’s surprising. They must have just had a list of questions and not worried about where the interview could go. Morons.


  3. thanks Marc!

    I was just about to get serious about this again–and then my hard drive died!… I’m working on a solution, but it might be a while before I’m in a position to forge on with motime…

    on the other hand–I’m back on the doctoral hunt, so look for me around the IJOCA submissions office!


  4. thanks dave!

    (my computer is actually working again–although it continues to warn me that the HDD is in danger–so I may celebrate with an entry later!)


  5. I’ve been interviewed for fansite stuff, and generally you get all the questions at once in e-mail, send your responses back, and maybe do a little polishing. There’s sometimes follow-up questioning, but usually not. Why they do it this way, not following up on really interesting surprises, I couldn’t tell you, but that is the usual practice.

    — Bruce Baugh

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