Is JMS a big fat jerk?

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.

Anthony Falcone
Anthony Falcone

Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto and he is the Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. You should definitely follow him on Twitter.

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Chris Howard
12 years ago

Only time I actively bout ASM was that period, but it was for JR JR and perhaps the reveal to Aunt May. The Spider totem stuff was interesting to me as an Anansi fan, but not sure if it should ever be declared fact, better as an open question. I stopped buying pretty much right after Romita left.

12 years ago

JMS’ ego is pretty huge, but not without reason. He has a pretty good sales record…but it is no reason to throw it in other creative team’s faces!!
That being said, I don’t think he ruined Thor at all! I felt he reinvigorated the character, that is my opinion of course. I can’t comment on Wonder Woman or Supes because I rarely read them. I do however agree with your take on his Spider-man run, I didn’t jump back on board until I read my first Slott issue.
Would you care to elaborate on the general reason he ruined these books? I can tell you are not his biggest fan, but just throwing out “he ruined these books” sounds like your ranting….

Anthony Falcone
12 years ago

Yep, I stick by my rant. In each case he did not leave the book better than when he found it. The Thor run could have been pretty interesting but instead fizzled into a complicated mess. He tries to unnecessarily re-invent the wheel and when it doesn’t work he just leaves the book (I know the Spidey-run was long, but the others weren’t). He approaches each take on a character in a “all those who came before me got it wrong” way and feels that he can do better. Loki really went back in time and helped his younger self re: the Bor plot, Superman will just walk around a be normal, Wonder Woman needs pants, Spidey is really a spider-totem, etc.

9 years ago

i didnt care for the asm run either,a spider god?
for god’s sake?
normie /gwen slash fiction
before watchmen
supes hobo-tacular journey where he accomplishes nothing.
as for his attitude
he never seems to back away from a fight
even with fans
especially when they have a genuine axe to grind it just makes him more aggressive.
has had his professional moment but does come off as a giant mech-douche