RICH INTERVIEWS: Mark Ginocchio Author Triumph Books
First Comics News: Why is Spider-Man so loved by fans?
Mark Ginocchio: I guess I can only speak for myself, but my sense is that Spider-Man is such a universally popular character because as both a hero and as a person out of costume (Peter Parker), he is so relatable. From the very beginning, Spider-Man was designed to be the everyman hero who had great powers but struggled to use them responsibly while also dealing with money issues, girl troubles, and a perpetually sick aunt. As a result, regardless of the medium, Spider-Man has always been easy for people to identity with.
1st: Why should people tune into your podcast?
Mark: What my Amazing Spider-Talk co-host, Dan Gvozden and I pride ourselves on is providing thoughtful, fair-minded analysis about Spider-Man comics and media. We’re big fans of the character, and certainly, have our favorite stories and not-so-favorites, but we like to give every creator an opportunity to tell his or her story without rushing to judgment. At the same time, if we believe something just isn’t “working,” we’re not afraid to explain way and be constructive with our criticism (though, with a sense of humor, we hope) even if being critical with a story or movie isn’t the most popular stance to take.
1st: What do you think Peter Parker’s life would be like if he never became Spider-Man?
Mark: When Peter was first introduced he was a loner, and frankly a little arrogant. The only people he cared about were his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. As a result, I happen to think if he never became Spider-Man (and set off the chain reaction that led to Ben’s murder), Peter would have been dramatically different — perhaps alone and bitter at the world for mocking him … almost like, say, this mad scientist doctor you might have had heard of named Otto Octavius.
1st: This book lists a number of Spider-Man’s top villains, do you have a favorite?
Mark: I have three ways to answer this: I recognize that despite all that Norman Osborn has done to Spider-Man over the years, Doctor Octopus is, in my opinion, his true “nemesis” and thus, is the “best.” However, I grew up when Venom was first introduced, which makes me have a lot of nostalgia for the character. Today, after reading/seeing hundreds of stories starring Spider-Man, I think the ones involving Mysterio are my favorites.
1st: What is the difference between “With great power comes great responsibility” and “With great power, there must also come great responsibility”?
Mark: To paraphrase from the great Spider-Man artist Ron Frenz, the “must also come” is essential to the power/responsibility quote because it implies the mantra’s actual cause and effect. On its own, having great power does not give you great responsibility. You can use that great power for nefarious ends. But what makes Spider-Man a hero is his understanding that he has an unyielding obligation to use that great power responsibly. And some of Spider-Man’s greatest battles are with those who have great power and are not being responsible.
1st: What impact has Spider-Man had on your life?
Mark: Beyond the countless hours/days/weeks/months of enjoyment he’s brought me through his stories, tv shows, and movies, he has also functioned as a bit of a moral compass in my life. Peter is not perfect and sometimes makes the wrong choice, but almost always recognizes that and attempts to course correct, which I think is how most people who strive to live a good life but acknowledge that they can sometimes let a person down, would sum up the human condition.
1st: Why collect “Amazing Spider-Man” over other Spider-Man titles?
Mark: Because otherwise, my blog “Chasing Amazing” wouldn’t have a catchy title? In all seriousness, Amazing Spider-Man is the flagship book. It’s the one where most major events occurred and key characters were introduced. Beyond that, for the bulk of its existence, it’s also had the “better” stories in my humble opinion.
1st: As a Spider-Man fan yourself do you know and have you done the 100 things mentioned in the book?
Mark: Through the podcast, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to almost always be learning more about Spider-Man via interviews we conduct with creators, but in terms of what’s in the book, yes I know and have done all of these things.
1st: Besides Spider-Man or Spider-Man related super-heroes which other ones do you like?
Mark: I have a broad spectrum of tastes but I also love Daredevil and totally adore Marvel’s Cosmic-Verse (i.e., Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos, Silver Surfer, Nova and other characters from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere).
1st: What did you think of the “Clone Saga”?
Mark: Despite the fact that it nearly killed my love for comics when it first came out in the 90s, in retrospect, I recognize that it had some good ideas and individual issues. But it went on for way too long and Marvel’s editorial group interfered way too much for it to ever succeed, and the guys who wrote it will be the first to tell you that.
1st: There have been many offshoots of Spider-Man, Steel Spider, Scarlet Spider and many others do you have a favorite offshoot?
Mark: While it’s one of the newer ones, I honestly love the style, attitude, and verve of Spider-Gwen. It’s one of the freshest takes of the Spider-character I’ve seen and that comic just bubbles with energy and enthusiasm.
1st: What would you do with Spider-Man’s powers and abilities?
Mark: I’m honestly not a huge physical risk taker or daredevil, so that excludes me from almost 90 percent of Spider-Man’s abilities. However, I would love to learn the web formula and find a way to patent it.
1st: What would you like to say to those who love Spider-Man like you?
Mark: I honestly think loving Spider-Man says a lot about a person. It means you’re not afraid to root for the underdog, and thus, you’re not afraid to lose sometimes. Marvel Comics in general is great in that many of its main heroes have real problems and issues, but I think loving Spidey evokes a special level of loyalty and dedication from fans, which is a big reason why I’ve loved interacting and engaging with so many of them via the podcast, the website, and now, this book.