There are few comic book stories more likely to send fans into a screaming rage than ‘Spider-Man: One More Day’. The basic idea was that Marvel Comics wanted Spider-Man to appeal to a younger audience, and they didn’t think little kids wanted to read about Peter Parker’s long-standing marriage to Mary Jane Watson. Even though that relationship was the backbone of the movie trilogy. But they couldn’t make Spider-Man a divorcee or a widower, because that would also age him in the eyes of young readers.
So Marvel’s answer was for Spider-Man to make a deal with the Devil to magically change history so that Peter and Mary Jane were never actually married, and that they were just boyfriend and girlfriend for a very long time. A deal with the Devil!
Needless to say, the fans were outraged! I was one of those fans.
But one of the simple truths about loving comic books is that, in the end, all of us fans are just clinging to the stories and creative ideas of a handful of writers and editors, who are just real people like us. And they have a business to run. They wanted Peter Parker to be a swinging single, so they just went ahead and wrote it into the comics.
The ‘deal with the devil’ storyline was called ‘One More Day’, and it led directly to a new storyline called ‘Brand New Day’. The idea here was to give Spider-Man a fresh start. He wasn’t being rebooted, per se. Everything that had happened to him had still happened, it’s just that Peter and Mary Jane were only ever boyfriend and girlfriend, and now they were broken up so that Peter could be single again. The writers also decided to freshen up the Spider-Man comics by giving him some new friends, new supporting characters and new super-villains. They wanted to make Spider-Man feel fresh and new, while still maintaining him as the same Spider-Man as always.
Well I’m here to tell you that pretty much every new super-villain and status quo change created for Brand New Day crashed and burned. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the current big summer Spider-Man story “Ends of the Earth” is all about classic villains Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six. Or last summer, the big ‘Spider Island’ storyline had the Jackal and Kaine as lead villains.
May this list be righteous justification to all the fans who hated ‘One More Day/Brand New Day’.