Webcomic: True Believers
I'll never let anything come between us, MJ. Not supervillains, not dictators, not mad scientists, or monsters, or hypnotists, or aliens, or dimensional vortexes....not even comics editors.The 2008 Platypus Comix miniseries True Believers takes place while the characters from the website's flagship comics have gone on strike. The Head Executive tries to tide readers over with a Spider-Man comic, hoping he could get away with featuring characters he doesn't own when the characters he does own won't cooperate. The resulting story became Platypus Comix's Take That against Marvel Comics' reviled One More Day comic, which had concluded two weeks earlier. In a 48-page, two-month-long, Roger Rabbit-ish storyline, Spidey and Mary Jane Watson fight to save their marriage from being wiped out by their own editor, Joe Quesadilla — a vicious Quesada caricature.
This comic provides examples of:
- And the Adventure Continues: On the last page, Peter and MJ walk off into the sunset. Green Goblin then swoops in and whisks her away.Spider-Man: Sigh... It never ends, does it?
- Author Powers: Joe Quesadilla can change anything in the Marvel Universe with a flick of the pen.
- Battle Couple: Peter and MJ become one as they protest Joe Quesadilla.
- The Big Damn Kiss: The only kiss that Peter and MJ get to share in this whole story follows MJ defeating Joe Quesadilla once and for all. It is accompanied by what looks like an aura surrounding the couple, and Cherry Blossoms falling, the latter much to the duo's confusion.
- Berserk Button: When Quesadilla declares to Spidey that if necessary, he'll kill MJ in order to break them up, Spidey becomes so enraged, he grabs Quesadilla's clipboard, and tears up the notes.
- Book Ends: The comic begins and ends with Spidey having to save MJ after she gets kidnapped.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Joe Quesadilla takes control of Mary Jane's mind and tries to make her kill herself.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Platypus Comix author Peter Paltridge said that "True Believers" started out as a less dramatic story for the fourth week of the Character Strike. He first published the early chapters under the Self Deprecating title, "Peter Paltridge, The Amazing Spider-Hack."
- Chekhov's Gun: After turning down the offer to become Jackpot, Mary Jane carries a stamp out of Quesadilla's office. During the climax of the comic, she presses the stamp against Quesadilla's forehead and Retcons his existence.
- Continuity Reboot: After getting rid of Mary Jane, Joe Quesadilla also undoes the last 30 years of storylines to make Peter unemployed and living with his aunt.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Joe Quesadilla shows no qualms with putting Spidey's and MJ's happiness or MJ's life in danger for the sake of boosting comic sales.
- Death Is Cheap: Comic book characters "always come back", as Mary Jane explains after a revitalization. Happens to Spider-Man himself too, during his Despair Event Horizon detailed below.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Spidey discovers that Quesadilla erased everything that happened in the last 30 years, he asks Doctor Octopus to Mercy Kill him. He gets better, "five miniseries, three crossovers, and one apocalyptic battle later."
- Disney Villain Death: Quesadilla makes two attempts at causing MJ to fall to her death. However, they both become subverted.
- Divided for Publication: An early treatment for the comic treats it as a trilogy, but the finale ended up getting divided into two parts.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Do they succeed? Yes!
- The Final Temptation: During the climax, Quesadilla offers Peter the revivals of Uncle Ben, Richard and Mary Parker, and/or Gwen Stacy if he lets him erase the marriage. He nearly accepts, but after deciding he wants MJ to be happy, he asks her what to do, then follows her request to decline the temptation.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Doc Ock's justification to the police after decapitating Spider-Man:
- Godwin's LawMary Jane: This is sick! You can't just unmarry two people in love! They didn't even do that in Nazi Germany!Joe Quesadilla: Well, maybe they should have.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- After the Head Executive's intro, the comic begins by revealing that Doctor Octopus has once again kidnapped Mary Jane. He boasts to her that when Spider-Man comes to the rescue, he will fall into the Death Trap he planted underneath the floor. To Doc Ock's dismay, MJ then reveals that Spidey was waiting in the hypothetical wings for him to reveal what he had up his sleeve. Spidey proceeds to pull Doc Ock into the trap, then take back MJ.
- See also Chekhov's Gun above.
- Homage Shot:
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: As the story progresses, Joe goes from an editor doing a questionable (putting it mildly) job to an outright supervillain, going so far as to hypnotize Mary Jane into committing suicide and present Peter with a Sadistic Choice (see The Final Temptation).
- Never My Fault:
- Joe Quesadilla is quite adamant about this.Spider-Man: If your main concern is sympathizing me with the average schmuck, then why don't you just cancel all my titles and start making a comic continuation of My So-Called Life?
Joe Quesadilla: No. I'm still right. People are losing interest in you, and it's her fault.
Spider-Man: Maybe the problem isn't MJ! Maybe the problem is your writing sucks!!
Joe Quesadilla: (thinks for a while) No. No, it could never be that.
- Even as he sends MJ plummetting to her (apparent) death:Joe Quesadilla: (to Peter) Whoo! Tough break. But you know, you can't blame anyone but yourself.
- Joe Quesadilla is quite adamant about this.
- Not Quite Dead: Mary Jane after Joe Quesadilla tries to kill her, following Peter's refusal of The Final Temptation, since again Death Is Cheap for Marvel characters.
- One True Love: Stan Lee tells Spider-Man that he and Mary Jane were literally made for each other.
- Precision F-Strike: After Peter tears up the paper Joe Quesadilla used to brainwash MJ, she tells Peter, "Kick his ass."
- There's another from MJ even before at the start, when she finds out that Quesadilla was the one who ordered their marriage to be undone: she calls him a "f***ing snake".
- Rage Against the Author
- Reality Warper: Joe Quesadilla
- Ret Gone: Joe Quesadilla and (unintentionally) Ben Reilly, after Mary Jane performs a retcon with the stolen stamp.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The story portrays comic-book characters as real people, and editors as their gods.
- Shout-Out/Reference Overdosed:
- After Spider-Man rescues MJ from Doc Ock, he threatens, "I'll get you next time, Spider-Man...Next tiiiime!" A Right-Hand Cat meows afterward to complete the homage.
- MJ asks Peter to kiss her upside-down.
- Peter says that the last time he felt anxious about the writers' decisions, he lost Gwen Stacy.
- In lieu of a wedding photo, MJ framed one of the covers◊ of the wedding issue of Spider-Man.
- Joe Quesadilla drops MJ into an interdimensional portal.
- Joe Quesadilla's right-hand woman, Miss Teschmacher, shares a last name with one of Lex Luthor's accomplices from the Superman movies.
- DC decides to kill Batman.
- An African-American version of Lois Lane appears a few times, in reference to a story in which she disguised herself as a black woman.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Daredevil wears glasses despite being completely blind. This is the exact reason he gives for this.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: As Peter dances with MJ the Friday evening after Quesadilla announces plans to erase their marriage, the song being played is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Mary Jane's Last Dance". Peter points out the irony of the song's lyricsnote , but MJ informs him the song's actually about smoking pot.
- Take That: In addition to all the potshots taken at Joe Quesada's ego and questionable business decisions...
- DC gets criticized for relying too heavily on generic and lengthy Crisis Crossovers.
- Joe Quesadilla admits he felt surprised that Kirsten Dunst's treatment of Mary Jane in the Spider-Man Trilogy didn't cause MJ to lose any fans.
- Some time after Peter and MJ secede from Marvel, MJ grows desperate for another acting gig, and tells Peter that she might go into fanfiction. Peter warns her that she'll "throw away [her] decency" if she does so.
- Toon Town: Storagetown, where comic book characters go when their publishers don't want to make books about them anymore.
- Troll: Joe Quesadilla shows shades of this when he creates Homoerotic Subtext between Spidey and Venom through the aforementioned Homage Shot to Dallas. Spidey doesn't enjoy experiencing it so soon after having a Continuity Reboot and a forcefully undone Mercy Kill, and quits Marvel afterward.
- True Art Is Angsty: In-universe, Joe Quesadilla claims this as his reason Spider-Man would sell better if Spidey weren't Happily Married.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Platypus Comix Character Strike doesn't get brought up again after the first page. The return of the flagship series' characters a week after this storyline's resolution made up for that, but this still became the only comic released during the Strike in which the Head Executive does not appear on more than one page.
- A Wizard Did It: After the Ret Gone of Joe Quesadilla drastically improves "the real world's continuity" and the comic book industry, Peter remarks that he can't believe the aforementioned Chekhov's Gun could cause such a great effect. MJ reminds him, "It's magic, Tiger," so Peter exclaims, "Yeah, it's magic! We don't have to explain it!"