Thursday morning, Newsarama received an unsolicited e-mail from Straczynski, in which, he wrote:
Having seen Joe's third interview on OMD, I think he raised a lot of fair issues. I think most of it represents accurately our conversations. It does, however, omit some of the main concerns I had with the resolution...concerns not mentioned therein, most probably as an oversight. As you know from my prior email, I was content not to respond to the prior interviews because I don't need to have the last word. (Newsarama Note: this last was in reference to Straczynski’s earlier e-mail mentioned earlier in which he declined a “One More Day” post mortem conversation.)
But there are some vital omissions in the interview, including the primary reason I finally threw up my hands on the book, which had mainly to do with how the resolution was handled.
To explain, here's the conversation I had with Marvel, in sum:
"So what does Mephisto do?" I ask.
"He makes everybody forget Peter's Spider-Man."
"Uh, huh. So Aunt May's still in the hospital --"
"No, he saves Aunt May."
"But if all he does is save her life and make everybody forget he's Spidey, she still has a scar on her midsection."
"No, he makes that go away too."
"Then he wakes up in her house."
"The house that was burned down?"
"But how --"
"Mephisto undoes that as well."
"Okay. And the guys who shot at Peter and May and were killed, they're alive too? Mephisto can bring guys back from the dead?"
"It's all part of the spell."
"And Doc Strange can't tell?"
"And the newspaper articles? News footage?"
"Joe, it's been forgotten."
"I'm just asking is that stuff there or not there?"
"Not there. And Peter's web shooters are back."
"Is this the same spell or a different spell?"
"How does making people forget he's Spidey bring back his web shooters?"
"It's magic, okay?"
"I see. And Harry's back."
"And Mephisto does this too."
"So is Harry back from the dead, or has he been alive? If they ask him, hey Harry, what did you do last summer, will he remember? And the year before? And the year before? If he says they all went on a picnic two years ago, will they remember it?"
"Because if he now has a life he remembers, if he's not back from the dead, then you've changed the continuity you said you didn't want to change. Those are your only options: he was brought back from the dead, and there's a grave, and people remember him dying --"
"Mephisto changes THEIR memories too."
"-- or he's effectively been alive as far as our characters know, so he's been alive all along, so either way as far as our characters are concerned, continuity's been violated going back to 1971.
How do you explain that?"
"It's magic, we don't have to explain it."
And that's the part I had a real problem with, maybe the single biggest problem. There's this notion that magic fixes everything. It doesn't. "It's magic, we don't have to explain it." Well, actually, yes, you do. Magic has to have rules. And this is clearly not just a case of one spell making everybody forget he's Spidey...suddenly you're bringing back the dead, undoing wounds, erasing records, reinstating web shooters, on and on and on.
What I wanted to do was to make one small change to history, a tiny thing, whose ripples we could control to only touch what editorial wanted to touch, making changes we could explain logically. I worked for weeks to come up with a timeline that would leave every other bit of continuity in place. It was rigorous, and as logical as I could make it. In the end of OMD as published, Harry is alive and he's always been alive as far as the characters know...so how is that different than he was alive the whole time?
It made no sense to me.
Still doesn't. It's sloppy. It violates every rule of writing fiction of the fantastic that I and every other SF/Fantasy writer knows you can't violate. It's fantasy 101.
It troubled me that it's MJ and not Peter who is the one to actively make the decision.
I'd originally written the first issue of OMD to take place directly after May gets shot, and in fact turned in the first script directly after she gets nailed. Editorial decided to build in a block of issues for One More Day...meaning May would be in that bed for almost a *year* which I thought was just too long to make work.
And yes, I wanted to retcon the Gwen twins out of continuity, which was something I always assumed I could do at the end of my run. I wasn't allowed to do this, and yes, it pissed me off. I felt I was left holding the bag for something I wanted to get rid of, and taking the rap for a writing lapse that I had never committed. Why this aspect was not brought up in the other interview, you'd have to ask Joe.
Mainly, the book was rewritten in the editorial offices to a degree that the words weren't mine any longer, to a certain degree in three, and massively in four. If the work represents me, I leave the name there and take the rap; if it doesn't, then that's a different situation. There's just not much of my work there, especially once you get to the last dong of midnight...everything after that was written by editorial.
Whether my work is good or it sucks, it's mine. What came out of the end of OMD wasn't, hence my desire to omit the writing credit. Joe graciously offered to share it on the last issue. I think that helped. Credit where credit is due.
What I don't want is for this to turn into a public pissing match. Joe did what he did because he thought it was the right thing to do, and as EIC that's his call, not mine. I respect and admire him. I hope this will be the end of the matter.
I just felt that there were some important bits not addressed, that needed to be.