Something Borrowed, Something Blue - Part 1 - Mania.com



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Something Borrowed, Something Blue - Part 1

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale offer an affectionate look back at Spider-Man's first true love - Gwen Stacy

By Arnold T. Blumberg     June 19, 2002


The love story of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy is revisited in-depth by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale in SPIDER-MAN: BLUE.
© 2002 Marvel Characters Inc.
While the notion of putting out yet another Spider-Man comic book in the summer of 2002 would seem like a no-brainer - the film is, after all, making box office history across the country - that certainly wasn't the impetus for SPIDER-MAN: BLUE, the new miniseries from the creative team that brought us BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN and DAREDEVIL: YELLOW, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. For them, it was quite literally a labor of love.

"We chose to go to Spider-Man because 'A,' we knew the movie would give a very nice platform (we had no idea how high!) and 'B,' Tim has an affection for Spidey that dates back to his earliest readings of comics," says Loeb. "And as I have said elsewhere, if Tim wanted to do SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS: YEAR ONE, that's what we'd be doing. That's not to say I don't love Spidey as well, but my first comic loves were the FF and Superman."

"Marvel had no expectations of what we were going to do," adds Loeb. "Specifically, no, Marvel didn't ask for anything. It just doesn't work like that. We talked with [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Joe Quesada and his only request was that we try and hit the May 2002 deadline [for the debut issue]. Other than that, it was our ball. We wanted to do this period. Now, we didn't know what the movie was about when we began, so it was a bit of whimsy that we told a story that had all the principle characters from the film within a self-contained story. It is our hope that readers and fans will come to the story wanting to see how comics addressed that period in the movie (Peter's transition from high school to college). It's very accessible and it's over in six issues. All that, and Tim Sale artwork - how can you go wrong?"

SPIDER-MAN: BLUE issue #1

Following on the heels of their success with DAREDEVIL: YELLOW, which offered a look back at the early days of the blind hero and the events that shaped his career, Loeb and Sale's SPIDER-MAN: BLUE focuses on a cherished period in Spider-history, when Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy met and fell in love - unaware that fate, and a certain fellow named Norman Osborn (AKA the Green Goblin), would doom their love to a tragic end. While not a sequel per se, the new series does pick up some philosophical threads that Loeb and Sale introduced in their first 'colorful' arc.

"[SPIDER-MAN: BLUE is] not a sequel, but a continuation of the ideas that we started with the 'color' books," says Loeb. "We are trying in the 'color' books to create stories that will leave an impression in the minds of the readers about characters who meant something to us and for one reason or another are being left behind. Marvel has a very strong list of female characters, wonderful characters, who have been killed off by some very talented people. We don't want them forgotten. For DAREDEVIL: YELLOW, while many folks focused on Karen Page, our true intention was to remind people that Matt Murdock was the son of a boxer, Battling Jack Murdock. It was that relationship that forged the story."

"In SPIDER-MAN: BLUE, it is the love story of how Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy fell in love, or more appropriately how they almost didn't. And that brings in Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, and to complete the triangle in Peter's life, Mary Jane Watson. It was a truly remarkable period in comics and in Peter's life, and we wanted to plant a flag there and show folks what it was like...with our own spin, of course."

Loeb and Sale offer more than just a spin. Their hands-on approach encompasses every aspect of a comic book series' production, and they have the support of the publisher every step of the way.

SPIDER-MAN: BLUE issue #2

"Joe Quesada and the Marvel Knights staff - Nanci, Kelly, Bronwyn and Stuart - have created an environment that Tim and I need to thrive," says Loeb. "It's not for everybody. We have opinions about everything, from the color to the paper to the lettering - it simply must be HIP FLASK creator Richard Starkings and Comicraft - to the marketing to the price point. It's a little like having a creator-owned project, except we get to play with some of the greatest pop icons with an extraordinary amount of freedom. In return, we try to make the best product and tell the best stories we can so Marvel can make a profit, and so far the relationship has been worthwhile for both parties. We're very lucky."

Next time, Loeb offers his opinion on why Gwen is still remembered after all these years, and explores the psychological underpinnings of the Norman Osborn/Peter Parker dynamic. Stay tuned, True Believers!.

TO BE CONTINUED

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