Bob Harras and Marvel's Clone Saga

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I saw that Bob Harras was hired to edit DC and I kept thinking, "Why do I know that name?" And so I Googled around to jog my memory:


Harras's tenure as editor-in-chief occurred during the time which Marvel teetered on bankruptcy around 1996 and 1997 (although the company was already in serious financial trouble when he became editor-in-chief). During his tenure, Harras oversaw critically acclaimed runs on titles such as Captain America, Daredevil, Ka-Zar and Deadpool. 

However, one particular storyline which Harras collaborated on received enough negative reception that it overshadowed his critical successes. This was the Spider-Man Clone Saga, in which Norman Osborn was brought back as the Green Goblin despite the opposition of many of the writers.

Ahh yes, the Clone Saga. For the most part, I was gone during this period, but reading back over it reminded why I'd stopped reading comics. To engage in comics--at least the big ones--you have to accept the concept of resurrection, and I simply could never do that. Characters like, say, Thunderbird, were heavier as ghosts than they were as actual characters. That may be because of Thunderbird's rather brief history before he died. 

But I felt the same way about Gwen Stacy and, especially, Norman Osborne. I wasn't around for Gwen Stacy's death, but her end, along with Osborne's end, left so much imaginative room, and weaved such a rich backstory, that it really bummed me out to have them back in the world.

Like I said, I get that this is a conceit, but it really isn't one I could truck with.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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