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There’s no doubt whatsoever that “One More Day” has been the most controversial Spider-Man story for fans in decades, dwarfing even the reaction to 2006’s unmasking at the end of Civil War #2.

As readers who’ve followed the story behind the story know, that controversy even extends to the story’s creators. On December 4th, “One More Day” writer J. Michael Straczynski posted a response to questions about his involvement with the story to rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe (which was archived at the JMSNews site).

Responding to questions about the quality of the story, and reconciling the story with JMS’ larger body of work, Straczynski wrote:

Speak of the devil and he shall appear....

For whatever it's worth, the situation is not as clear cut as one might hope. The reality of any writer working for any company, DC or Marvel or Image, is that when you're handed a franchise character, you're basically entrusted with something that the company owns, and the company has final say in what happens to that character, because as a writer, you're only there for a certain amount of time and then the next guy has to come in. Spider-Man belongs to Marvel, not to me, and at the end of the day, however much I may disagree with things, and however much I may make it very CLEAR to all parties that I disagree, I have to honor their position.

In the Gwen storyline, yes, I wanted it to be Peter's kids, Joe over-rode that, which is his right as EIC. I got the flack for that decision, but them's the breaks.

In the current storyline, there's a lot that I don't agree with, and I made this very clear to everybody within shouting distance at Marvel, especially Joe. I'll be honest: there was a point where I made the decision, and told Joe, that I was going to take my name off the last two issues of the OMD arc. Eventually Joe talked me out of that decision because at the end of the day, I don't want to sabotage Joe or Marvel, and I have a lot of respect for both of those. As an executive producer as well as a writer, I've sometimes had to insist that my writers make changes that they did not want to make, often loudly so. They were sure I was wrong. Mostly I was right. Sometimes I was wrong. But whoever sits in the editor's chair, or the executive producer's chair, wears the pointy hat of authority, and as Dave Sim once noted, you can't argue with a pointy hat.

So at the end of the day, all one can do is try to do the best one can with the notes one is given, and try to execute them in a professional way...because who knows, the other guy may be right. The only thing I *can* tell you, with absolute certainty, is that what Joe does with Spidey and all the rest of the Marvel characters, he does out of a genuine love of the character. He's not looking to sabotage anything, he's not looking to **** off the fans, he genuinely believes in the rightness of his views not out of a sense of "I'm the boss" but because he loves these characters and the Marvel universe.

And right or wrong, you have to respect that.

Straczynski’s message added gasoline to a smoldering fire of fan expectations and concerns about the ending to and ramifications of the story, and was interpreted in a variety of ways by readers.

In a series of interviews with Quesada about “One More Day,” Comic Book Resource’s Jonah Weiland asked the Marvel Editor-in-Chief about Straczynski’s posted comments, noting that, “In the end, we didn't publish the story he wanted to write.”

Quesada went on to explain that Straczynski’s original conclusion for “One More Day” wasn't what Quesada and Marvel were expecting and would have negatively affected the upcoming “Brand New Day” issues of Amazing Spider-Man, which were already underway.

Quesada also explained that he wasn’t comfortable with Straczynski’s method of retconning the marriage out of existence, saying: “Also, the science that Joe was going to apply to the retcon of the marriage would have made over 30 years of Spider-Man books worthless, because they never would have had happened. We would have also had a "Crisis" in the Marvel Universe because it would have reset way too many things outside of the Spider-Man titles. We just couldn't go there and in the end we weren't expecting that kind of story.

“I also think fans are misreading what Joe meant by disagreeing with the story. When we came up with the idea and methodology behind "One More Day," Joe was a part of the group that came up with the story. When we were done and felt we had it nailed, Joe told me that he was going to cycle off of Amazing Spider-Man and that he wanted to move on to other stuff. I told Joe that it was his call: He could close out his Amazing Spider-Man run however he wanted, or he could end it with the story we all created for "One More Day." He said he really wanted to write "One More Day." So Joe never said anything that indicated he disagreed with Peter and MJ's marriage being dissolved. If he had disagreed with the idea, he certainly would have told us and he certainly would not have asked to write the story. So like I said, I think people were reading into his on-line comments as opposed what I believe he was saying.”

Earlier in the week, Newsarama had contacted Straczynski to see if he would be willing to talk about “One More Day,” now that the storyline had concluded. He declined.

Yesterday, in part three of CBR’s interview with Quesada, the E-i-C further discussed the changes that were made to Straczynski’s original storyline, saying that when he, Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort received the script for part four: “the script we had just received was not the one we were expecting, and the events that were being set forth in that issue were going to conflict with the work that was already being done on “Brand New Day.” I thought that perhaps Joe had forgotten some of the stuff discussed at the summit meetings and the subsequent e-mails and discussions that followed, but that didn’t seem to be the case; this was the story he wanted to tell. In his story, Mephisto was going to change continuity from as far back as issues #96-98 from 1971. In Joe’s story, Peter drops the dime on Harry, and that helps get him into rehab right away. Consequently, MJ stays with Harry, and Gwen never dies and never has her affair with Norman, etc., etc. And in the end, Peter and MJ are never married.”

To Quesada, that solution discounted every issue of Amazing Spider-Man since that 1971 story arc, and by doing that, would have caused far-reaching and unmanageable changes throughout the larger Marvel Universe. “In other words, there was just no way to tell Joe’s story without blowing up the entire Marvel U and every Spider-Man’s fan’s collection,” Quesada said.

“What we originally discussed with Joe and the group was much simpler and cleaner: The wedding? Something happened on the wedding day that prevented it from happening. The unsmasking? Mephisto makes people forget it; much like the Sentry, it happened -- it’s just no longer remembered. And Harry? Well, there’s always a price to pay when you make a deal with the devil. Is it a perfect solution? Absolutely not. Does it get us to where we want to be? Yes.”

Quesada ended his explanation of the changes made by publicly apologizing to Straczynski for having to change his original story.

Thursday morning, Newsarama received an unsolicited e-mail from Straczynski, in which, he wrote:

Having seen Joe's third interview on OMD, I think he raised a lot of fair issues. I think most of it represents accurately our conversations. It does, however, omit some of the main concerns I had with the resolution...concerns not mentioned therein, most probably as an oversight. As you know from my prior email, I was content not to respond to the prior interviews because I don't need to have the last word. (Newsarama Note: this last was in reference to Straczynski’s earlier e-mail mentioned earlier in which he declined a “One More Day” post mortem conversation.)

But there are some vital omissions in the interview, including the primary reason I finally threw up my hands on the book, which had mainly to do with how the resolution was handled.

To explain, here's the conversation I had with Marvel, in sum:

"So what does Mephisto do?" I ask.

"He makes everybody forget Peter's Spider-Man."

"Uh, huh. So Aunt May's still in the hospital --"

"No, he saves Aunt May."

"But if all he does is save her life and make everybody forget he's Spidey, she still has a scar on her midsection."

"No, he makes that go away too."


"Then he wakes up in her house."

"The house that was burned down?"


"But how --"

"Mephisto undoes that as well."

"Okay. And the guys who shot at Peter and May and were killed, they're alive too? Mephisto can bring guys back from the dead?"

"It's all part of the spell."

"And Doc Strange can't tell?"


"And the newspaper articles? News footage?"

"Joe, it's been forgotten."

"I'm just asking is that stuff there or not there?"

"Not there. And Peter's web shooters are back."

"Is this the same spell or a different spell?"

"Same spell."

"How does making people forget he's Spidey bring back his web shooters?"

"It's magic, okay?"

"I see. And Harry's back."


"And Mephisto does this too."


"So is Harry back from the dead, or has he been alive? If they ask him, hey Harry, what did you do last summer, will he remember? And the year before? And the year before? If he says they all went on a picnic two years ago, will they remember it?"

"It's --"

"Because if he now has a life he remembers, if he's not back from the dead, then you've changed the continuity you said you didn't want to change. Those are your only options: he was brought back from the dead, and there's a grave, and people remember him dying --"

"Mephisto changes THEIR memories too."

"-- or he's effectively been alive as far as our characters know, so he's been alive all along, so either way as far as our characters are concerned, continuity's been violated going back to 1971.

How do you explain that?"

"It's magic, we don't have to explain it."

And that's the part I had a real problem with, maybe the single biggest problem. There's this notion that magic fixes everything. It doesn't. "It's magic, we don't have to explain it." Well, actually, yes, you do. Magic has to have rules. And this is clearly not just a case of one spell making everybody forget he's Spidey...suddenly you're bringing back the dead, undoing wounds, erasing records, reinstating web shooters, on and on and on.

What I wanted to do was to make one small change to history, a tiny thing, whose ripples we could control to only touch what editorial wanted to touch, making changes we could explain logically. I worked for weeks to come up with a timeline that would leave every other bit of continuity in place. It was rigorous, and as logical as I could make it. In the end of OMD as published, Harry is alive and he's always been alive as far as the characters how is that different than he was alive the whole time?

It made no sense to me.

Still doesn't. It's sloppy. It violates every rule of writing fiction of the fantastic that I and every other SF/Fantasy writer knows you can't violate. It's fantasy 101.

It troubled me that it's MJ and not Peter who is the one to actively make the decision.

I'd originally written the first issue of OMD to take place directly after May gets shot, and in fact turned in the first script directly after she gets nailed. Editorial decided to build in a block of issues for One More Day...meaning May would be in that bed for almost a *year* which I thought was just too long to make work.

And yes, I wanted to retcon the Gwen twins out of continuity, which was something I always assumed I could do at the end of my run. I wasn't allowed to do this, and yes, it pissed me off. I felt I was left holding the bag for something I wanted to get rid of, and taking the rap for a writing lapse that I had never committed. Why this aspect was not brought up in the other interview, you'd have to ask Joe.

Mainly, the book was rewritten in the editorial offices to a degree that the words weren't mine any longer, to a certain degree in three, and massively in four. If the work represents me, I leave the name there and take the rap; if it doesn't, then that's a different situation. There's just not much of my work there, especially once you get to the last dong of midnight...everything after that was written by editorial.

Whether my work is good or it sucks, it's mine. What came out of the end of OMD wasn't, hence my desire to omit the writing credit. Joe graciously offered to share it on the last issue. I think that helped. Credit where credit is due.

What I don't want is for this to turn into a public pissing match. Joe did what he did because he thought it was the right thing to do, and as EIC that's his call, not mine. I respect and admire him. I hope this will be the end of the matter.

I just felt that there were some important bits not addressed, that needed to be.


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