There are some moments in comic books that readers wish they could forget they ever saw.
Hopefully, it is well past the point that comic books are believed to be purely “children’s entertainment”. Comics have the ability to tell nearly any story in any genre and of any age. They can have a level of sophistication and complexity to rival that of any novel that is made from only words. Truly anything is possible.
However, with that complexity of storytelling, the creators have the ability to take characters into situations that they have never been in before. These more adult situations may be more sexually explicit, more violent, gorier, or may deal with subjects that some people feel are taboo. It’s impossible to please everyone and there will be those people who will think that the story “goes too far”. Because of their upbringing, religion, or sensibilities, people have a “line” that a story may have crossed.
Unfortunately, once a line has been crossed, it can’t be uncrossed. Once someone sees something that they wish they hadn’t, they can’t unsee it, even though they wish they could. Once a favorite character is injured, violated, or killed, it breaks the reader’s heart. And even though the character may come back – something that is very likely given the nature of comic books – that initial horror makes it hard to ever forget, try as we might. Still, readers live in hope that they can forget certain things and just enjoy the new journeys of their favorite heroes, without these shadows in their past.
Trouble was a five-part limited series written by Mark Millar with art by Terry and Rachel Dodson and additional art by Frank Cho. It follows two teenage girls, redhead wild child May Reilly and more reserved blond Mary Fitzpatrick, and their relationships with two brothers, Ben and Richard (Richie) Parker.
May, Mary, and the Parker brothers all worked at the same Hampton resort and became friends. After a night of dancing, May and Ben sleep together but Mary is reluctant due to a fortune teller’s prophecy that she would be a mother in her 20s if she had sex in her teens. Frustrated, Richie begins an affair with May as well, who becomes pregnant. Ben is revealed to be sterile and the affair is revealed. Unable to go home due to her fundamentalist parents, May runs away. Mary eventually joins her and has the baby, who they call Peter, and Mary and Richard agree to raise him as their own.
One of the many things that readers found “troublesome” about this retconning of Peter Parker’s origin is that it tarnishes one of the sweetest, most innocent, and almost matronly characters in all of comics: Aunt May. Instead, it attempts to turn her into an “MJ in the 70s” parody, which opens up a whole different level of Oedipal mess for Spider-Man fans to unpack.
John Wilson has been a comic book and pop culture fan his entire life. He has written for a number of websites on the subject over the years and is especially pleased to be at WhatCulture. John has written two comic books for Last Ember Press Studio and has recently self-published a children's book called "Blue." When not spending far too much time on the internet, John spends time with his lovely wife, Kim, their goofy dog, Tesla, and two very spoiled cats.
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