The last decade has seen a major change in the way comic books are produced and consumed. Most recent comics are now quickly reprinted as trade paperbacks, and soon every issue will be available for legal same day digital downloads. You no longer need to hunt down back issues to enjoy a superhero's earlier adventures. Whereas Marvel had to cater to previously cater to both novices and collectors, there's also now a peculiar breed of beginners buying material: readers who will consume a lot of the backlog in a short period of time. They're going to approach things quite differently from other fans, and publishers will have to take this into account.
Ever since Spidey first appeared waaaay back in the dark, barely-Beatled days of 1962 (ask your grandparents about it, no "Halo," no Spike TV, no MySpace, no 11 year olds with tattoos, NOTHIN’), he was a breath of fresh air to a public whose collective creative breath had grown stale from too many old men with capes, girlfriends and permanent smiles.Given the initial title of this once thirty chapter essay, I welcomed the then-incoming Amazing Spider-Man editor's realization that the character should be around indefinitely. There’s a true power to the idea that the adventures of the Spider-Man introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 will continue for a long time, and Wacker suggests a middle-ground between two possible approaches; bringing Spider-Man's story to an end, or doing away with continuity altogether. I hope the creators take steps to ensure the character’s appeal for decades to come, which requires a different approach to the Spider-Man franchise than the one we had before. At the moment, I’m satisfied that they’ve found it.
A kid with powers and real problems was a brand new concept at the time, but over the years it seems almost every super hero became a reflection of the groundbreaking work created by the nigh-legendary trinity of Stan, Steve and Johnny. For the past 45 years, through ups-and-downs, black costumes and iron costumes, bad TV shows and great movies, he has endured.
It’s clear that like love handles on a comic book editor, Spider-Man will be with us forever.
As longtime readers know, Spider-Man has just gone through one of the most dramatic periods in his life. The specifics are unimportant (you can go search them out if you like, but we’ll probably be gone by then). What matters is that THIS is where it all begins. This is the Brand New Day. For four-and-a-half decades we’ve given you the first chapter of Spidey’s life. The second begins now!
The Second Chapter
Wacker’s editorial raised a simple question: If this is the second chapter of Spider-Man's life, what's going to make it distinct from the first? A discussion I started on the subject at CBR quickly led to some fans proclaiming that the marriage represented the second stage of Spider-Man’s life, which led to others arguing that the first episode ended when Peter Parker went to college, or Steve Ditko left the title. I'm sure many editors and writers believed that their approach marked a radical departure from everything that had been done before.
Three key distinctions include an increased commitment to a modified illusion of change approach (more on that later), an awareness that this is a series that should continue for at least another 45 years with Peter Parker as the lead hero, and a focus on utilizing the rich history. The alternative most of the time seemed to be a belief that the Spider-Man books would come to an end some time in the near future or that Peter Parker won’t always be Spider-Man. Though sometimes there have been suggestions of just starting over from scratch.
The contemporary approach increases Spider-Man's long term prospects and maintains the character’s core appeal. As it seems to be successful, you're not going to see Spider-Dad any time soon, at least not until Marvel decides to bring the current Spider-Man’s adventures to an end. While some believe otherwise, it is thus unlikely that OMD will quickly be undone for a status quo in which Peter is allowed to “grow” more.
The best explanation for how the second chapter can be radically different came from Stephanie Garelie of the Comic Book resources forum. She aptly described the first Brand New Day issue as what Amazing Spider-Man would have been like had the writers opted to continue using the “illusion of change” approach in 1985. This is similar to Grant Morrison’s description of All‑Star Superman as what the Superman books could have been like if the Crisis of Infinite Earths reboot never happened. On the Jinxworld forum, Matt Linton noted that the series had the added benefit which ASS lacked of being able to interact with the Marvel Universe.
That may be the most significant reason I was excited about Brand New Day, as I loved All‑Star Superman. Dan Slott, and whoever's next on Amazing Spider-Man effectively have a blank slate to do whatever they want, in the same way anything can happen in Cary Bates's Action Comics. This is very rare in a decades old franchise of any sort. They’re able to use the best developments of the past writers and ignore everything else.