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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

How old was May in the comics? Late 50's? Early 60's?

Marisa Tomei is 54. Not hard to think this franchise carries on for at least another 5-6 years. 

I'm not saying May should be necessarily be "hot", but I don't think she needs to look cadaverous, either. 

Had Spider-Man been available to Marvel Studios in 2008, maybe we would have gotten more of that loner, independent character, who would have been more grown up and experienced...before having him join up with Avengers.  

As it was, to get him into CIVIL WAR, they had to cut out all the fat and go with basics: bitten by a spider, bad thing happened, being raised by his Aunt on her own, genius kid that created his own webbing and web-shooters. Has only been doing this for six months (otherwise, you'd have to explain why we hadn't seen him between IRON MAN and Stark showing up at his apartment). He can crawl up walls and is strong enough to catch a moving car. And away to Germany we go...

Frankly, I'm glad there wasn't a third Spider-Man origin movie in less than a 15-year span. 





Edited by Brian Rhodes on 16 January 2019 at 11:33am
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 11:56am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Brian Rhodes wrote:
How old was May in the comics? Late 50's? Early 60's?
 I don't know if it was ever established, but the way Ditko drew her she was easily past her early 70s.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 12:27pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

May and Ben were typical of parental figures in those days. Call it “Andy Hardy syndrome,” where parents are more like grandparents.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 12:29pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'm not saying May should be necessarily be "hot", but I don't think she needs to look cadaverous, either.

•••

Unless you wanted to portray her as weak and sickly. But that’s only what the creators intended. So not important, right?

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

So not important, right?
+++++++

As with so many beloved properties, these days, obviously not. Slap a familiar name on pretty much anything, and people will shell out cash for it, apparently. 

Things are so dire now that people are settling for utter dreck, as long as it’s “fun”, or, even better “subversive”. 
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David Miller
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Based on Peter's fear of her "freaking out" in CIVIL WAR, I was looking forward to Aunt Tomei having a heart condition or something, but that's looking more like wishful thinking. 
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 7:18pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

A young and healthy Aunt May and a wealthy patron in Tony Stark takes away some of the biggest challenges that define Peter Parker. It's hard to see why this Peter Parker would ever have to toil for JJ Jameson. Also, with SHIELD and Nick Fury working with him, he never has to fear being on the wrong side of the law. 

I never thought of it this way, but Sony actually did a better job with Spider-Man than Marvel Studios is doing. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 16 January 2019 at 9:21pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply


My feeling (shared by another a page back) is that Marvel Studios didn't want to go over the same ground as the Raimi and Webb films, while also trying to do something new and fresh for the 21st century, all the while also trying to fold this new Spider-Man into the MCU in a way that felt organic to the universe already-established.

I think they've succeeded.  It's not the Spidey we know and love from the '60s or '80s, but it's not meant to be, either.  Like it or not, this is the Spider-Man for today's generation of kids, and they seem just fine with it.  If my son loves these films, and I enjoy them as well, there's no real reason for this old school fan to complain.

The Lee/Ditko/Romita/Stern/Romita Jr./et al issues will always be there to revisit, if my son ever feels inclined to learn about the early years of the character, or if I'm ever feeling nostalgic.  Even if they stopped making new movies tomorrow, with over 55+ years of various comics, TV programs, animated series, movies, etc., there's more than enough Spidey that already exists to go around and satisfy anyone for the rest of their lives!





Edited by Shaun Barry on 16 January 2019 at 9:28pm
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 17 January 2019 at 3:35am | IP Logged | 9 post reply


 QUOTE:
Like it or not, this is the Spider-Man for today's generation of kids, and they seem just fine with it.

My 11 year old boy was dying to see this movie. So, my wife prevailed upon me to take him. He's more than fine with it. Thing is, the way the actual Spider-Man was handled for a few minutes... was really excellent, and showed that the real Spider-Man still works... and my boy was more than fine with that too.

Although the film painfully took pains to exhibit a been-there, done-that yawn about Spider-Man, as it ran through the same-old, same-old "origin" variations for each of the Spider-Iterations, nothing about the character necessitates such ennui. So, why did they choose to embrace boredom?

(If ennui is inescapable, then JB should immediately give up his Elsewhen endeavor!)




Edited by Michael Penn on 17 January 2019 at 3:36am
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 17 January 2019 at 6:26pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply


(Michael, are you referring to HOMECOMING, or the animated INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE?)



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Michael Penn
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Posted: 17 January 2019 at 9:59pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

SPIDER-VERSE, Shaun. Sorry for any confusion.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 11:48am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I'm not saying May should be necessarily be "hot", but I don't think she needs to look cadaverous, either.

•••

Unless you wanted to portray her as weak and sickly. But that’s only what the creators intended. So not important, right?


I don't think anyone with a hand in contemporizing the look of the character is necessarily being disrespectful of creator intent. 

I wouldn't describe this lady's appearance as "weak and sickly"...




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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

About people saying Aunt May is too old in the comics to be an aunt to a teenager:

One, in the real world it is uncommon anymore for there to be such a huge gap in age between siblings, yet it is very possible that a  couple of siblings could be 20 years apart in age, especially in a large family. A woman could have given birth to a child in her teens or early twenties,  and still have another child in her 40s. Or the father could have had a child with another woman many years later. So, why couldn't it be possible that Peter Parker's parents  were in their 20s when he was born, but May was in her 40s, or early 50s, making her over 60 when he got his powers?

Let's also be honest, May in the new films is NOTHING like the comics. Outside of one dumb mini-series during Bill Jemas's reign at Marvel,  there was  never any indication in the comics that May was ever a hottie that men fawned over. Hell, when I first saw the new trailer, before I realized it was Marisa Tomei,  I thought that was some model on stage with Spider-Man. 

The change in age AND May being portrayed as vibrant and sexy are complete departures from the established lore. You can love it or hate it, but don't pretend it is simply updating a character. That is a new character by an old name.

I didn't hate HOMECOMING,  and I do like Tom Holland in the role, but there were definitely a lot of changes to the source material.  The diversity thing I get, but the May thing was change for its own sake,  in my view.

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Joseph Greathouse
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 2:50pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

"You can love it or hate it, but don't pretend it is simply updating a character. That is a new character by an old name."

Okay, this is a fair statement, and I will not dispute it by saying it is just an update anymore.  It is a new character with an old name. 

I liked Aunt May in the comics back in the day. But a 55-65 year old woman would not go over well with general audiences played with the level of frailty she had in the comics. Its a different time in which we live. 
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David Miller
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 2:59pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The perpetually moribund Aunt May was one of the elements that kept me away from regularly reading Spider-Man in the Eighties. Ironically, I'm one of the readers who could actually relate to Peter Parker's situation -- my aunt was 21 years older than my father, and in her sixties when I started reading comics at age 12. It still didn't fly with me. 

"My" Peter Parker, as they say, was pushing thirty, and I really enjoyed HOMECOMING's high school setting. Actual young teens (mostly) as opposed to seniors in a fifteen year program was a pleasant change of pace. 
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 4:53pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Brian: I wouldn't describe this lady's appearance as "weak and sickly"...


**

Nor this, am I right?



There Ditko goes, blowing it from the start.

Except you're just being silly because the important part is that her health
was fragile -- which is why Parker couldn't tell ANYONE he was Spider-Man,
because he simply could not stand it if he hurt Aunt May.

Making her young, healthy and in on the joke (along with Peter's other close
friends) throws everything Ditko and Lee created out the window except the
superpowers.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 4:58pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

By the way, my mother is 24 years older than her youngest sibling.

That sibling is now 48 and his youngest is 5 years old.

When that kid turns 18, his aunt (my mom) will be 85.

#HappensInNature.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 11:25am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Agreed. I'm not in the camp that holds that May was somehow mathematically "too old" to be an aunt to someone Peter's age. Wide age spreads can, and frequently do, happen...

Conversely, my wife is the youngest of 9. She has brothers and sisters over 20 years older than her, and consequently, has nephews and nieces that are only 2-3 years younger than her. 

I suggested a current May doesn't need to necessarily look cadaverous. "Weak and sickly" was what JB said that look portrayed, per creator intent. 

But, I still maintain, especially in a modern context, May doesn't need to look like she has one foot in the grave. And make no mistake, this is precisely how Ditko portrayed her. Your example above is from a small panel with her in the back of the room. Below are some panels that are more representative of his work. Not saying he "got it wrong", but I also think that there's room for contemporizing the look of the character decades later (as was done in the Hanna/Byrne Amazing).

I agree that casting Tomei is going too far in that direction, despite what can happen in real life. And May knowing Peter is Spider-Man is just not right, at all. 

Rosemary Harris' May was older, but not "sickly"...she only went to the hospital after being attacked by the Green Goblin, after all. But the dynamic of Peter worrying about her safety and overall health was maintained, as well as the secret identity (though her "Hero" speech in 2 might suggest otherwise).



Edited by Brian Rhodes on 23 January 2019 at 11:32am
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Bill Guerra
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I realize that people can have elderly aunts and uncles when big families are involved, but, neither the Parkers nor the Reilly's were said to come from big families. In fact, Peter and May have been said to be the only relatives they have.

I suspect that Ditko and Lee were using the "elderly grandparents" trope for Ben and May. I wonder, if they realized that Spider-Man would still be around and securely in pop culture six decades later, if Ben and May would have been Peter's grandparents instead?

Even as a little kid reading the Amazing Spider-Man, I thought it was odd that Aunt May was so old. My mother comes from a big family (8 kids) and she and her sister are only a few years apart. None of my friends had an elderly aunt either. I eventually just shrugged my shoulders to the idea of May being so old. As I got older, I realized her advanced age and constant bad health added to the drama.

Just me personally, I don't mind Aunt May being played by someone who is 54-55. Again, just me personally, its interesting to see May be able to walk around and participate in things. Is she the "same" character? No. Does Tomei play a "better" version? I don't know...I just enjoy the different view of May Parker.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 2:23pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Brian: But, I still maintain, especially in a modern context, May doesn't need
to look like she has one foot in the grave. And make no mistake, this is
precisely how Ditko portrayed her.

**
Since May has had periods of good health from the beginning, I'm not sure
how you can argue Ditko didn't want her to vacillate between healthy and
dying.

"Contemporizing" is a delicate business if you want to honor the creator's
intent. But not so much when that's not an interest.

The head-scratcher for me is when people simply do not want the movies to
accurately reflect the original comic books. The obvious approach, it seems
to me, should be: "how can we make the original version work today?"

The modern marvel movie method seems like a page out of Trump's
playbook: "Damn the norms, how can I get this thing talked about while
doing the least amount of research and development possible?"
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 2:29pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

And May knowing Peter is Spider-Man is just not right, at all. 

While I agree with that, I do wonder if Marvel isn't pulling a fast one here and that there isn't some clever "bait and switch" stuff going on with that part of the story.

What have we seen so far? May walking in on Peter in his room wearing a Spider-Man suit, but not doing anything heroic or superhuman.

In this trailer, they're both on a stage raising money for the homeless. Again, Peter's not doing anything heroic or superhuman. Backstage, Happy stumbles in like Ed McMahon with an oversized check. Nothing S.H.I.E.L.D.-esque about him here. Nothing that even hints that May knows he's a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. 

I wouldn't doubt that they had Peter pull some fast-talking (off screen, in between movies) to convince May that this isn't what it looks like and she buys it. 

Who knows? It's thin...and I'm probably wrong...but it's possible.   
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 3:01pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Isn't the way May is portrayed in "Into the Spider-Verse" a kind of indication of
how protective Marvel is (or isn't) over May?

Audiences seem to want all superheroes to be Batman.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 23 January 2019 at 3:01pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 4:38pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Who knows? It's thin...and I'm probably wrong...but it's possible. 

———

We also see May asking if Peter is bringing his suit on his trip and later that she packed it in his suitcase without his knowledge. Unless Peter is claiming to be an international cosplayer, I think she knows. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 5:40pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply


For anyone lamenting the "young" Aunt May:

At 54 years old, Marisa Tomei won't be getting any younger, so what's to stop the filmmakers from one day writing a scenario (within the next 10 years or so) where the character falls ill, stops dying her hair, and then bingo, potential "classic" Aunt May!



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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 23 January 2019 at 5:56pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Sean Barry:
For anyone lamenting the "young" Aunt May:

At 54 years old, Marisa Tomei won't be getting any younger, so what's to
stop the filmmakers from one day writing a scenario (within the next 10
years or so) where the character falls ill, stops dying her hair, and then
bingo, potential "classic" Aunt May!

**

Is this a parody account?

After only ten more years of getting it wrong, they're going to get it right.
Potentially. So anyone who's lamenting the way it is, just keep that in mind.
Because that should have some kind of effect. Soothing or comforting or
something.
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