So I am sure that many of you have seen the JMS vs Steve Wacker bit on Bleeding Cool. If not check it out here. Don’t worry I’ll wait. Back? Okay good. So here is the thing, JMS might not have meant to slam the current creative team specifically, he could have been basically saying that he is just super awesome, not that anyone else specifically isn’t so great. But he definitely mentioned the drop in sales since he left as a boost to his ego.
As others have pointed out there are a number of factors as to why his writing the book and high sales are not necessarily a causal relationship, but the one that strikes me is that he isn’t the only one working on the book. John Romita Jr was the artist for most of the JMS run so one could just as easily say that he is the one selling books. But you could also note the high Civil War sales, the fact that the economy was better, or the fact that the iPad didn’t exist yet as your reason.
However, JMS does have a point when he says that he sold books. He did. People loved his ASM run. They ate it up with a spoon. They thought it was the best thing ever. Only it wasn’t. I have read a lot of Spider-Man. Almost everything actually and his stories were just okay. That’s it. I wouldn’t even put him in my top 5 Spidey writers. He just wasn’t very good and I don’t think he understood the character. His big contribution was asking the question “was it the radioactivity that gave you powers, or was the spider actually always going to give you spider-totem powers anyway and just died because of the radioactivity”. This was a question that many thought was great and a fresh take on the character. It wasn’t. It was idiotic.
He also began the shift to having more adult Spider-Man stories like having a Wasp Woman (I can’t even remember her name) go on television and say that he has “strange sexual appetites” or having Norman Osbourne sleep with Gwen Stacy. Ugh right? He is responsible for comic book stores having to tell parents “oh, you are looking for a Spider-Man comic book? Don’t buy Amazing, buy Ultimate Spider-Man instead. It is more age appropriate”. His run was not great. It was fine. It was okay. But to act like you were the greatest Spidey writer of all time and note that all those who come after you can’t live up to your legacy and the sales figures prove that? Harsh dude. Harsh.
You know who is a great Spidey writer? Dan Slott. Spider Island was a fantastic crossover and much better than Fear Itself, Flashpoint, or new #1 issues. Slott doesn’t get enough credit for updating Marvel’s flagship character in a way that eliminates dated elements and preserves the key aspects of the character. Dan Slott gets Spider-Man.
JMS wrecked Thor. He wrecked Wonder Woman. He wrecked Superman. That walking across America thing was awful and basically a rip off of the GL/GA hard travelling heroes, only boring. But his name sells books so he will get another title. And his first issue will sell great. And then after a few issues he will get bored and the story will go nowhere and he will leave. I can honestly say that I would not go out of my way to purchase one of his books. I wouldn’t drop ASM if he came back but I wouldn’t be jumping for joy either.
JMS should just go away. He seems to have little respect for the fans, little respect for the characters, and very little respect for his fellow creators in the business.