Join Date: Mar 2008
Re: Avi Arad vs. Tom Rothman - Who's Worse
Originally Posted by FaT_tONle
Arad does not get a pass. I understand he was instrumental in the 90's in terms of getting the brand out there, but enough with the exposure. He basically puts his name on everything and whores it out like he's entitled because of his past work. If you want to keep his name attached then fine, but ENOUGH with the creative control. Why Sony hasn't booted him off of the Spidey reboot is beyond me, and that's probably the reason why I will give up on the reboot, as much faith as I have in Webb and Vanderbilt's script. The clowns like Ziskin and Arad are still attached and it starts and ends there.
As for Rothman, don't even compare. He could be assassinated tomorrow and I don't think fanboys would give two ****s. We'd share our sentiments and condolences to his family, but the Hype would probably have a non-stop party a week later, lasting at least until Fox/Marvel ****s up the next property. Of course we'd all prefer he just get the axe and be demoted a the lowest possible position based on his former credentials. Hopefully out of the industry all together.
John Semper, the producer and story editor for the 1994 Spider-Man animated series gives some insight of Avi Arad's actions behind the scenes. I'm only including the most direct portions concerning Arad:
How did you get the job as Producer/Story Editor of Spider-Man: The Animated Series?
Marvel Comics was rapidly going downhill (which would culminate with it going bankrupt). Marvel needed something to halt that rapid descent into oblivion. Avi Arad (who’s currently the king of Hollywood) back then was just an unknown toy guy who had been brought in get Marvel characters going in the media – which “coincidentally” would also make his toy company, Toy-Biz, richer because he had the rights to create all the Marvel toys and action figures. So he had created this new company called Marvel Films Animation to bring the properties to life. We were ultimately going to do ALL the Marvel characters and he was going to make toys out of everything and make a lot of money. Those were heady days. This Spider-Man animated series was going to be his first big foray into TV and he desperately wanted to get it right. Toy-Biz had a lot of money riding on the new Marvel toy lines which were coming out, so everybody involved had gambled big on these properties.
How much did the toy line affect the stories you were trying to tell?
The show was intended by Avi Arad from the ground up to be one big toy commercial. At first, I had to battle against that and things between us were very tense. At one point I was almost fired. Eventually he and I found common ground and he realized that a great show would sell toys better than anything, and I really wanted to make a great show. So we had fewer confrontations. But, from his point of view, it was still one big toy commercial.
The toy line definitely affected me. It was common for me to get a phone call from Avi’s people asking me to use a certain character because they were going to make a toy out of him. But they were nice about it, and, I’m actually fairly accommodating, so we always managed to work it out.
And I also affected the toy line. Avi was dead set against using Madame Web, but I insisted because I saw a place for her in my big final story line. So, despite his mumblings and mutterings about how he couldn’t make a boy-friendly toy out of a "lousy old broad", I used her with great success. And, guess what? They made a toy out of her! It’s one of my most prized possessions.
However, if you want to see what would have happened to my series without me there to protect it, check out “Spider-Man Unlimited.” It’s nothing but a toy commercial, devoid of any real creative spark. It’s junk. But Avi had it all his way on that one, so you see what you ended up with.
The series had a vast number of guest stars, were any of them used as a potential pilot to their own spin off? How far did they get going, if at all?
The use of guest stars was mostly me being a kid in a candy store and having the entire Marvel stable of characters at my disposal and wanting to play with them all. I wanted to be the first to animate Dr. Strange (a BIG favorite of mine) and Blade (another favorite). I used X-Men as a stunt for ratings. We didn’t do any deliberate pilots. But Avi and his chief minion, Matt Edelman, were always swiping scripts and outlines off my desk and using them to go pitch series ideas and made-for-TV movie ideas to everybody in town. There might not have been a Blade movie if I hadn’t used him in the series and effectively brought him to the forefront of Avi’s attention.
Were you consulted at all for Spider-Man: Unlimited?
Good lord, no, of course not. No, I was “persona non grata” with Avi by then because I fought too much with him on the previous series. He wanted to work with story editors who would do what he wanted without conflict. Hence you get arguably the worst Spidey series ever.
Why did the show end with Spidey and MJ not being reunited, and Spidey still spiralling through limbo, when Marvel Films' order was always for 65 episodes?
Oh, as I’ve said elsewhere, when Peter Parker faces his creator, Stan, and finally says “I like myself” then his story is complete. He’s gone beyond his creator. He’s now his own creation. A lot of people think I threw Stan in there as a cheap gimmick, but the bigger, more cosmic issue is overlooked. Here’s a guy facing his creator (in essence his deity) and saying, “Guess what? I’m beyond what you created, with all my flaws and problems. I faced the challenge you set out for me and I’ve progressed beyond it. And I really like myself.”
When he can say that, then the hero’s journey has been told and the saga is complete. Who cares if he gets the girl or not?
But I left it open in case the series was continued – which was always a possibility. The initial order was for 65 episodes, but Fox could have renewed us for more if they’d wanted. However, the head of Fox Kids Network at the time, Margaret Loesch, hated Avi and wanted to put him out of business, so there was no chance of the show being continued. The show was canceled and, as she had intended, the studio, Marvel Films Animation, went out of business. In the end, my show, which was a number-one-rated hit, was scuttled because of vindictive internal politics. Welcome to my world.