I'm Just Sayin'…#57
by Greg Manuel on April 24, 2009

Heydi-hey, comic book heads! We’re here and we’re fashionably late with this week’s edition of…

It’s okay…breathe…

…in…out…keep breathing…hey, y’think I should make this my new column logo?

Okay, too soon…alright, back to breathing…good, good…

…and we’re back. Are you okay? Good. Now, if you don’t already know about this, I’m sure you have questions. What you just saw is the final page from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* #592. Yes, that is our sainted May Reilly Parker, a.k.a. Aunt May, in bed with another man. In case you’re wondering, that man is J. Jonah Jameson Senior. Yes, that would make him You-Know-Who’s daddy. So yes, that is Aunt May in bed with J. Jonah Jameson, Sr., flashing nude shoulder, thus implying…y’know what – I think I’ve said enough.

I apologize for springing this on you, but I had to get the initial shock out of the way. We’ll get back to this in a moment, so for those of you who can still see, we’re back with another edition of…

…I’d tell you I was having another long week full of crap that kept getting in the way of my finishing up this week’s edition up until now, but the truth of the situation is that I sat on this one for a few days on purpose, just so Part Two of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? would arrive ahead of something. That’s me all over, folks – generous to a fault!

But I did wanna do something a little different this week; I’ve got a special guest writer for you this time around, as we are not quite done talking about THE FLASH: REBIRTH yet. But first, I wanna get a few things out there…

…firstly, last weekend’s show at the Eastville Comedy Club went very well; sad to say there wasn’t a camera present, because even though I didn’t get to try out the Hilary Clinton material, I am very happy with how my other jokes were received, and I wanted to have a recording of the performance to share with you. All the same, I want to recommend the club for those of you readers in New York City who enjoy you some stand-up. I had a great time performing there, it’s a nice little club in an awesome section of the East Village, that is loaded with activity on any given night. RANDOM NOTE: I’m at least three inches taller and eighty pounds heavier than Todd Barry. But I’d say it all balances out, because he’s about twenty times funnier. Moving on…

I also wanted to show you the following quote, which is from THE “LET’S REBUILD LEN WEIN’S COMIC BOOK COLLECTION” PROJECT:

You know Len Wein.  Award-winning comic book person.  Co-creator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine and various other X-Men.  Editor of Watchmen.  Writer, at one time or other, of all the major characters: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk, you name it.  That Len Wein.  A great guy.

On April 6, 2009, a fire destroyed most of the home he was sharing with his wife Chris and their son Michael.  As Len tells us, Chris was out when it happened.  The men were home and asleep.  He awoke to find the world in flames around him and he managed to get himself out and to save Michael, as well.  Sadly, their beloved dog Sheba perished that day.

So did Len’s collection of books and toys and games and artwork and those things we accumulate that help define and enrich our lives.  You have stuff.  He had stuff.  Insurance will fix the house but many things, including his comics, were not covered.  Some of us thought it would be grand if his friends and fans pitched in to help him recreate those shelves of the comic books he’s worked on.

Click above to learn more about what you can do, if you’d like to pitch in. Next item of business…

About nine columns ago, I had noted that the solicit to Mark Waid’s “Spider-Man: 24/7″ storyline looked awfully similar to a J.M. DeMatteis storyline from the mid-90s, called “Lifetheft.” Well, credit where it’s due – the only similarities between the two storylines pretty much stop at the solicit text, as you’ll see below from the final page of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* #591…

That’s right, folks – J. Jonah Jameson is now the new Mayor of New York! He wasn’t just running for office – he won! And all I can say to that is FINALLY! We finally get the story that could only be told with a single Peter Park – wait, what…?…Oh – false alarm everybody, never mind!

But this is a new idea, and I guess this is going to be the wrap-up to the Mayoral race that had been running through AMAZING ever since NO GOOD REASON got started. It takes the Spider-Man/Jameson dynamic to a different level, as noted in the next issue…

…so credit where it’s due on this one. I also kinda liked this spin on a classic Spider-villain. Quoting Mark Waid: We get to see a new Vulture. We also get to see the old Vulture for a minute, but as much as I like the old Vulture, it’s really hard for me to envision writing a story where Spider-Man keeps punching a man who is 102 years old. So we came up with an idea for a new Vulture, which doesn’t necessarily preclude the old Vulture’s existence.

It’s just a new vision…the new Vulture is more of a problem for the underworld than he is for the cops, because he’s sort of an urban legend among criminals as a dark and mysterious guy who preys specifically on the weak and injured of the underworld.

If you’re running away from a job and somebody’s wounded, rather than take the risk of getting him to a hospital on time and taking him with you, odds are these days in New York, you will just tie him up to a lamp post and let the Vulture come find him because it will at least take the Vulture away from the rest of your group.

Reimagining the concept of the Vulture so that he’s more of a vulture isn’t all that new – some of you may recall that Peter David’s Vulture remix from SPIDER-MAN 2099 was a bona fide cannibal – but to my recollection, this is the first time that our Spider-Man has ever crossed paths with this type of character. So once again, credit where credit is due.

And that brings us back to…

My doctor says that my eyes will stop bleeding probably around Sunday at the earliest. On the upside, by then I won't even notice the ambient stinging!

Is anybody else catching a wicked KING OF THE HILL flashback right about now?

Again, this isn’t all that new – Aunt May has dated since losing Uncle Ben – Nathan Lubensky comes to mind, as does one Otto Octavius. But I guess since the only other time Aunt May’s dated since the Comics Code Authority became as relevant as NATO, all she did was sit around and have tea with Edwin Jarvis, apparently it’s high time she got her some!

The plotline itself is fairly predictable in its own right…I mean, there’s only one way to go, without it all seeming…pardon the expression…anti-climactic: Peter’s gonna be all like, “How could you?!” And May will be all, “Peter dear, it just happened. And then Peter’ll be all, “But his son is the mayor! And a total jerkwad! And what about Uncle Ben?!” And May will go, “Uncle Ben is dead, and I am a woman. Besides, you’ve seen me date before. Remember Nathan, and Otto?” And then Peter will be like, “At least Nathan was crippled! and then Aunt May will smile a little smile to herself and be like, “Well…” Yyyyyeah, I just creeped myself out there.

Let me get to the point: ultimately, we know that Peter will come to accept it after his brief freak-out, and decide that so long as his Aunt May is happy, he is happy. Aww. Yet another heartwarming tale, brought to you in the only way it could have possibly been done, and that’s with a single, never-been-married Peter Park…yeah, you know where I was going there. All told, I still can’t help but think that somehow this could’ve worked just as fine with the two of them making out fully clothed on their living room couch, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

But isn’t it fascinating that we are now in the midst of a period in the Marvel Universe where Aunt May as a sexual being is more acceptable than Peter Parker as a married man? Go figure, right? Now that I think about it, I’m wondering if this retroactively closes the door on that brief did-he-do-it-with-Betty-Brant debate too…

Okay, now that I’ve warmed up the proverbial stage, I want to introduce via hyperlink to a special edition of I’M JUST SAYIN’… Ryan Brandt is my writing partner and frequent commentator here, and it occurs to me sometimes when we bounce ideas off each other, that as we were going through our respective childhoods and adolescences – myself in New York, he in Oklahoma – Ryan must’ve absorbed just about as much DC (one some days it feels like it’s twice as much!) as I did Marvel in those years. So whenever the discussions come to DC comics, dude is a veritable fountain of knowledge.

And so we were writing back and forth since the release of THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1, and while he didn’t get the chance to post a comment on last week’s column, he did have plenty to say in our correspondence. And while I referred to the much-heralded return of Barry Allen as a metaphorical “slow grounder to first,” I wanted to invite Ryan on over, so he could break it down like an R&B song.

So with that, I abdicate the floor. We’ll be back next week as always, with more comic book-related commentary, reviews and snark – and until then, I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all. Oh wait, before I go, I almost forgot – AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

I guess that’s as good an intro you’re gonna get, so TAKE’ER AWAY, RYAN!



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