GRAYHAVEN COMICS APPRENTICE- Challenge 5- Judge’s Feedback

This was one of our closest votes yet. It was interesting that you both picked Spider-man stories from another era. The tricky thing was, we both felt one team excellent where the other faltered – and vice versa. One judge actually wound up scoring you as a tie, but the other judges did have favorites, and one team will be going to the boardroom.

Let’s see what the judges thought-

RAY:  Okay, I’m going to be judging this on a 35 point scale. Ten for rationale, ten for outline, ten for script, and five for brief future plotlines.


Rationale – A bit short by comparison, but they get the point across well. Peter Parker was a wildly popular character, and by making a hard cutoff from one character to another, I think Marvel may have lost some fans. I could have done without the opening e-mail, but it didn’t detract too much. This rationale reads more like it’s written by fans for fans than anything.


Script – The script is plotted well, if a bit low on details. Unfortunately, I feel like we can see the puppet strings a bit. It’s very much a deus ex machina, doesn’t flow as smoothly as I’d like. The big problem here – the core of their magical solution – is Dr. Strange. This takes place a good two years after Ultimatum – where Dr. Strange died rather conclusively. This is the kind of mistake that happens, well, when you have to rewrite something on a quick deadline, so I guess it fits. I do think the second page is much stronger, once it gets down to the meeting between Peter and Fury.


First year of stories – Hive Mind goes the safe route by having Peter continue as Spider-man after recovering. This will definitely keep the Peter fans happy, and I think they sidestep the issues with Peter overshadowing Miles by making them co-stars. I do question why Peter surviving somehow changed the outcome of a school lottery, and I’m not a fan of making Miles a criminal at first. That would get the title some bad press, even though it does make sense in context. However, once Peter and Miles meet, the plot gets much stronger. I really like most of this.


Long-term plans – Very strong, with the renaming making sense and helping to cement Miles in readers’ minds. I like the return of Osborn – nothing keeps that guy down – and the twitter contest is a very clever touch that I was surprised to see. Nice thinking outside the box there. This is my favorite segment of Hive Mind’s.


Total – 27/35


Rationale – Clearly, a ton of work went into this one. Incredibly well-thought out. But that’s a double-edged sword, and it does start to feel like a thesis at points. A compelling indictment of the original story, to be sure, but I could have done without some of the editorializing – particularly about why Spider-man is better than Batman. I feel like they made a bit of extra work for themselves here, but the overall argument is solid.



First year of stories – CCC gets off to a big start, with Peter immediately whipping his mask off and proposing right after the rescue. It’s a way to keep the impact of the story, but it does feel like an odd moment – Green Goblin is probably right there, and they’re in public. Still, it sets up an intriguing new status quo right out of the gate. Norman’s off-hand death at the hands of a drug-addicted Harry also takes out one of comics’ most iconic villains without anywhere near the impact of the original. Once we get past those few issues, the plotting gets stronger. I like the issue-by-issue breakdowns, and the way some of the classic Spider-man stories are twisted around in this version. The direction the story takes MJ and Harry later is especially promising. However, Gwen being in league with the Jackal? That’s where this starts to feel like a What If where everything goes crazy. I’m not sure what the end-game is when it comes to Gwen being in a coma. We’ll see if it’s explained in the next section. Overall, some well-plotted issues, but I had issues with a lot of the story directions here.


Script – You can tell that this is written by some experienced script-writers. The detail put into this is very, very impressive. While they didn’t deliberately try to evoke the original style, it does come across, with the use of sound effects being done very well. This is a kinetic script, with fairly minimal dialogue, and it was easy to visualize. However, the ending with the reveal and proposal did feel as abrupt and clunky in the script as it did in the synopsis.


Long-term plans – CCC has a very solid take on Peter himself here, giving us some really intriguing options as to where Peter can go after this. As a psychological study of Spider-man, this is a great pitch. Unfortunately, the big question here – Gwen’s fate after she almost betrays Peter and winds up in a coma – is unanswered, with some vague references to her being a blank slate. We don’t know what the serum does to her, and that’s a big hole in this section. The other sections are good here. It’s unfortunate, because I feel the big problem with this pitch is what should have been the core of it – Gwen herself.


Total – 27/35

Well, holy crap. I have a tie. I feel one team mostly nailed the script but had a weaker overall direction, while the other created a compelling title I’d love to read but made a near-fatal mistake in their script.



Rationale – The lead-in email is reminiscent of a first-week pitch that we received and the judges criticized. I appreciate the creativity, but it’s unneccessary. Learn from the mistakes of others on this. The reasoning behind keeping Peter alive (while sound) is very sparse here. I don’t think that “because we all like Peter” is a good enough reason. We like a lot of characters who die. Beloved characters die all of the time. I was hoping to see a bit more reasoning behind this.


Script – A script doesn’t need a script summary preceding the script. A script needs those details in the script itself. Keep that in mind. Some of the panel descriptions and layouts are so vague or so repetitive that it nears a level of being boring. The dialogue works well, but the panel descriptions take it down a notch. Additionally, while I was unaware of Dr. Strange being dead in that Universe I think this is a big mistake that was made by the team. It’s one thing to have a deus ex machina help keep the character alive (especially with a last-minute editorial change), but to use a character who isn’t alive at that point is a pretty big mistake. Ray’s nice in not penalizing you more for that.


First year of stories – I think you have a nice road-map laid out here. And the stories sound fun…completely in the heart of the Miles Morales Ultimate Spidey that I read. Unlike Ray, I attribute Miles not making it into his school lottery as sort of a butterfly effect. What I’m not very keen on is having Miles operate as a thief early on. I also don’t like how easily Mary Jane seems to have figured out his identity. There are other, more natural ways that the characters could have learned his identity. Additionally, nowhere do I see that you’ve named Miles’ version of Spider-Man after Peter returns to his role. Are there going to be two characters named Spider-Man? Is it Spider-Man and Spider-Boy (I sure hope not)? Is it Spider-Man White and Spider-Man Black? Spider-Man & Kid Spider? I feel that this should have been mentioned somewhere in the pitch, and this would have been a good place for it.


Long-term plans – I really like what you’ve done here and built them into almost a Batman & Robin type of relationship. My favorite part of this is, unfortunately, the Twitter contest. It’s a great, creative idea but doesn’t provide anything that was required for this part of the task. I’m not penalizing you for this at all, but I’m not giving added credit either.


Total – 23/35


Rationale – I definitely feel that you’ve put much more thought into this than the other team. But somewhere along the line it went from rationalizing your decision to a college paper on the benefits of a character like Spider-Man over darker characters like Batman, and the socio-political implication of women in refridgerators blah blah blah blah. Floral language is wonderful, but brevity will get you much farther in the eyes of an editor. Use the great language for your dialogue. Prime example: “While Uncle Ben’s death was the spark that ignited Peter’s true understanding of the responsibilities that lay with his extraordinary powers.” I know what you’re saying here is that the lesson Peter learned from his Uncle Ben is that “with great power comes great responsibility.” So just say that. Don’t fluff something in ways that make it look like a thesaurus is nearby. Despite the wordiness of this section, I’m convinced that your reasoning in keeping Gwen alive is pulled off successfully.


Script – I think it’s a pretty solid script in the style of the era, but nothing spectacular. I agree with Ray that the dialogue got a little clunky in the final page, but again, that’s how dialogue was back when this was originally written. It’s funny to me that this seems more like a scene that could have been in an Archie comic more than one from a Spider-Man comic but that’s probably the fact that you’ve found the voice of the era more than finding your own voice here.


First year of stories – Retitling the issue “At last…Peter Proposed to Gwen” (or “The Day Peter Proposed to Gwen” — come on here…be consistent!!!) takes away the impact much like it did when the issue was originally titled “The Night Gwen Stacy Died.” Typical of the era, but I’d like to have seen something a bit more creative here. I think your summary also makes the mistake of assuming people who are reading this know certain things they may not — such as Dr. Warren being The Jackal. The issue by issue breakdown works, though, so I’m pleased with the level of thought you’ve put into this in terms of story pacing. Putting Gwen into a coma, though….just brings us back to where we were with her death in a sense, almost negating what you’ve done in keeping her alive.


Long-term plans – .Vague, vague, vague. You’re making the mistake here of not so much telling us what your long-term plans are but only hinting at them. What is the effect of the serum on Gwen? A different kind of patient zero? What does that mean? Blank slate and intangible memories? Tell us what you mean. Who is the mysterious guy who is cruel and abusive to her at sunset? Is this some odd reference to him being Werewofl By Night? We wouldn’t know because you’re not telling us anything. A darker Peter with Gwen and Mary Jane both still in his life? I don’t see it. This portion is by far your weakest part of the pitch and like an anchor weighs you down. Thankfully it’s the smallest part of what is being judged.


Total – 22/35

Hive Mind pulls off a slight 1 point win for me. Their rationale and script were weaker, but their short-term and long-term plans for the character was pulled off better.



Okay both team went with the Spider-Man related challenges which makes this interesting for me. I’m the biggest Spider-Man I know and hold both these stories in high regard. I’m very interested to see how both teams do and I’ll be marking them much the same way as Ray.


Rationale: It seems that in some ways the Ultimate Universe died along with Peter Parker. The titles involved have struggled to remain relevant since the event and although Miles certainly has his fans one thing is clear, he’s no Peter Parker. Instead of pointing this out you merely say you want to save Peter because you like him and he’s important. It’s a solid rationale but I would have liked to have seen maybe a bit more elaboration beyond ‘liking the character’.

Score: 7/10

Script: Solid enough if not a bit sparse. It does actually read very similar to how Bendis actually writes his scripts so if that was done on purpose kudos. A bit puzzling to include Doc Strange given his death in Ultimatum and Layla Miller who beyond a brief cameo in Ultimate Enemy hasn’t made much of a major impact in the Ultimate U. Although her 616 counterpart has the juice to perform the healing task you give her here that’s a bit of a question mark for Ultimate Layla. It’s a solid enough effort but maybe could have used more research. I do like the little nudge with the MEPHISTO program, made me laugh.

Score: 5/10

First Year Of Stories: Seems interesting enough with some changes to Miles story to accommodate his future run in with Peter. Keeping Peter as Spider-Man and also keeping Miles for the ride is an interesting way of having your cake and eating it too. It’s a solid move and makes for a lot of opportunities that isn’t possible in the main title. I do think that Ultimate Peter is a little young and inexperienced to take on a protege but I like your outline overall.

Score: 9/10

The Future: Seems very solid. You’re getting the best of both worlds in essence. One of my major issues with Miles was that he was basically a copy and paste of Peter (my view, other views may very) but this partnership you propose would very much force him to be his own character. It sounds like both characters lives would be hard to juggle but Ultimate Spider-Man always shined more with the personal touch over the super hero stuff in my view.

Score: 9/10

Overall: You have some typo’s in your pitch. They’re few and far between so I won’t penalize you but be careful of that in future please.




Didn’t get to say last week really but I think the team name’s awful but better than nothing 🙂

Rationale: This part of your pitch is quite detailed and I read it a few times. I read it a few times because my first impression was while it said quite a bit it didn’t say much relating to the task. You talk a lot about how Gwen’s death impacted the Spider-Man titles and how it was a major turning point etc, etc in comics. I know all that, most people do so a large portion of your intro seems unnecessary to me. Only when we get to ‘long term benefits’ do you begin to address what keeping Gwen alive could do for Spider-Man in general and even there you spend more time talking about Superior. I just feel there’s a lot of waffle here. Gwen’s death in comics is one of the most important in Spider-Man history and was a major turning point in comics in general. Not killing her could have a major impact and I feel that you keep trying to get to that but you end up wasting a lot of space telling me what I already know.


Script: Very well written with a good layout of panels and a clear outline of what you want in each one. I do struggle a bit with the last few panels it just seems…odd. After saving the love of his life instead of pursuing the Goblin it seems Peter takes time to reveal his identity to her and propose. It’s a bit much. Then quickly getting over what would be a traumatic experience with astonishing speed Gwen walks away crying. It’s a well written script but those last two scenes I think could have been executed a lot better. You could have even had Spider-Man save her, she’s unconscious so out of anger he vows to kill the Green Goblin for attempting the murder and have a mirror scene to what actually happened. Instead you try to cram in a dramatic scene between the two that should have come later. Well written layout but the end could have been delivered better.


First Year stories: Some great ideas here. You have Harry murdering Norman making his decent into the identity of the Goblin a much darker path, have some good drama between Gwen and Peter and I really like the idea of MJ taking the place of the roommate which adds a new element to the titles popular love triangle at the time. You have the whole Doc Ock/Aunt May/Hammerhead story and add in the Goblin for good measure and manage to pull it off well. All this stuff is solid gold.

The part I have an issue with is how you try to involve the Punisher. Now I can see Gwen wanting to be with Peter but not Spider-Man perfectly. I can see her wanting to develop a serum that ‘cures’ Peter and enlisting Warren’s help to do this (although she is more than capable of doing this herself) especially when it was something Peter attempted himself in issue 99/100. What I feel is a very hard pill to swallow is Gwen’s actions to make Peter take the serum. Instead of having a rational conversation with him she hires the Punisher to capture him and straps him to a table like a makeshift super villain. It’s an odd move that makes Gwen look a little bit crazy. Once again it’s a strong start but a head scratching decision at the end that kind of spoils it.



Long Term plans: You purpose a darker direction for the world of Spider-Man following the survival of Gwen which is not what I would expect to happen if she had lived but it’s an interesting idea. I also like the different route you take Harry in as he essentially becomes who his father would become some 20 odd years later and you also manage to keep Miles Warren in the loop as his own version of Mendel Stromm.

You further elaborate a little on the ‘Gentleman’ character you hinted at in your pitch and suggest him having a relationship with Mary Jane. It sounds like you suggest to have a lot of potential but then it just…ends. With picking a story from so long ago you did give yourself a harder job than the other team but with high risk comes high reward but I feel you missed an opportunity here.

You could have taken this chance to come up with a whole new continuity for Spider-Man. Just brief points covering some of the major changes could really an extra punch to your pitch. Instead your telling me there’s unlimited potential and leaving me with countless questions: Is Norman really dead? Considering he could take a hit to the chest with a Goblin Glider and keep on trucking a bullet should be no problem. Story wise the reason he stayed away so long was due to Harry but here I’d say his return would be a lot swifter, what consequences does this mean? Does Peter end of with Gwen or MJ? With a suitable Goblin replacement in Harry and/or Norman returning what does this mean for the Hobgoblin’s existence? The fact he may not exist impacts an even more larger spectrum of characters and raises even more questions. Without Warren fully becoming the Jackal (at least here) does this mean the Clone Saga didn’t happen? If it didn’t then more questions

You introduce this Gentleman character but don’t elaborate on him very much.  It’s just too much of a blank slate when you make a choice to save a character like Gwen. I wanted the team to really take advantage of the opportunity the choice gave to them but it seems like a wasted opportunity. It might be because I’m a big Spider-Man fan but I just feel that like the rest of the elements of the pitch, there’s potential but it falls at the last hurdle


Overall: Let’s climb a mountain but only do it halfway

Score: 25

Winning team for me is Hive Mind



I get the desire to be a bit creative with the presentation but the judges didn’t care for how Shane structured his pretend email so I wasn’t sure why you decided to tempt fate with the interoffice memo.

CHOICE/RATIONALE– I like it. Peter Parker serves as an everyman type character in these series. Readers are able to witness these events through his eyes and by losing him, you lose a valuable connection to the universe. Not to mention with Parker being dead in the 616 you have no Peter Parker in the Marvel Universe for the past year. BUT I don’t think you went far enough in explaining why YOU chose it other than just because you were fans of the character. You touched on it a bit in mentioning the dynamics between a younger and older Spider-Man but I think you could have done a bit more here.

7 of 10

SCRIPT- I think you did well here from a technical standpoint. The script felt ‘Bendisy’. You didn’t need to make it feel like that but it did. I liked the homage to One More Day with the MEPHISTO program. I really liked the inclusion of Layla Miller even though readers may think it’s kind of a cheat to bring in a rarely used character for such a turning point moment. Then again, Marvel and DC do it all the time so I’m not deducting anything here and I thought it was clever. I also like the out you used with Dr. Strange. Problem is, Dr. Strange is also dead. Even if you would have put a throwaway line about it being a new or resurrected Dr. Strange I could have let it slide but this is a relatively big error as a huge plot point revolves around the character. Big points off for having a crucial component of the story someone who isn’t around but with a small fix it could have worked and the other elements of the script are strong.

6 of 10

FIRST YEAR OF STORIES– You capture the feel for the Ultimate Universe, set the stage for your first year of stories and introduce the main players. I like the direction of the story and Peter taking on a mentoring role is a very good idea and the part about the web-shooters being such a big moment for Miles is a nice sort of goal for the two Spider-Men to bond over as well as being reminiscent of how important that moment was for Miles in the current books. The whole thing, including Nick Fury wanting to maintain control, felt very much like the Ultimate Universe. I think you all did a great job of capturing the voices here. I think the biggest misstep in this part was starting Miles off as a criminal. As a means for dramatic effect and quick character growth I see it but it doesn’t feel right. I think it’d cause more long term harm than good.

8 of 10

LONG TERM PLANS– This was the strongest part of your project. You kept it brief but also provided all the information that was required for the section. Of course Osborn has to return and he does so in a huge way. I like how the dynamic of the two Spider-Men will play out and I thought the idea of creating jokes to use while inviting real fan participation is pretty damn creative and entertaining.

4 of 5

OVERALL: 25 of 35




CHOICE/RATIONALE– Of all the needless deaths in comics this is the one that always bugged me the most and one I’d undo in a heartbeat if I ever had the chance. As for YOUR rationale…where the other team didn’t go into enough detail on why they made the choice of rewrite I think this one suffers a bit with too much detail. I understand the desire to want to look at Gwen Stacy’s death from a sociological standpoint but it almost risks overwhelming the rest of the piece. Too much of this section is spent telling us why Gwen’s death was important to Spider-Man/Peter Parker but more should have been directed towards why you chose to keep her alive for this project. We don’t get to the point for quite some time. You get there, and the reasons are great, but there is a lot to wade through before we do.

6 of 10

SCRIPT– I thought the script was fine. Like Hive Mind your team captured the flair and the voice of the story you were attempting to rewrite. It wasn’t a necessary component but I think it added to this part and appreciated it. I don’t particularly like the proposal moment. I have wavered back and forth on this for a bit. Peter revealing his secret is a big moment. Gwen walking away is an equally big moment and you could get to your next year of stories from there without the proposal. It feels like it’s cramming a bit too much into a short amount of space and comes off clunky and impulsive on Peter’s part. He just fought the Goblin. He just saved her life. And revealed his identity. This is one too many ‘moments’. BUT Peter is impulsive, especially in this era. In the ‘real’ timeline he’d propose to Mary Jane in the not too distant future out of the blue. Hell he did it again a decade later when they really did get married. So clunky as it may be, Conway very well may have had him do it back then.

9 of 10

FIRST YEAR OF STORIES– I thought this was handled very well from how you brought in some of the villains of the week (month) to what is going on in the life of Peter (and Harry, Gwen, MJ etc) at the time. You even included the Aunt May/Doc Ock romance haha. I’m more of a fan of Norman being alive than dead but in terms of serving the story, Harry doing the deed certainly makes him a more demented and formidable threat than he was as the Gobin originally in those early stories. The clone situation would have turned out a lot different with Gwen being alive as Warren would have no reason to clone her so I like how there is an effort made for Peter to destroy the cloning research and a new scientific foil is introduced in the gene cleaner. There are two things I did not like, however. While I thought Gwen using her brain and helping Warren create the gene cleanser was a great character defining moment I thought you went too far by making her complicit in the capturing of Peter by the Punisher. I also thought putting Gwen into a coma robs the reader of her return which was the point of the rewrite because she’s right back off the table again.

6 of 10

LONG TERM PLANS– I think this one was a big misstep. There were a lot of tantalizing possibilities: what is Gwen’s new role given the effects of the gene cleaner? Who is MJ’s new beau? What is Warren’s new creation? Well, what are they? It’s fine to tease a reader at a comic con or press release but for the purposes of a pitch or laying out the seeds of a story to an editor we want the details. The darker world of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is mentioned a few times throughout the project but it’s never really explained in detail on why or how you’d arrive there. Mind you I’m not a proponent of Peter Parker going down a darker path but as it was mentioned multiple times I was curious about it. I also think a major dynamic that wasn’t touched upon here was the relationship between Peter Gwen and Mary Jane.

1 of 5

OVERALL: 22 of 35

Truth be told when I tallied the votes the first two times it ended up in a tie so I went back and tweaked my own assessment…and it ended up in a tie. Third time out and we have my choice by a small margin: Hive Mind.

The inclusion of Dr. Strange was a very big misstep that could have sunk the entire project. BUT I think Hive Mind performed to the spirit of the challenge a bit better than CCC so while there were problems in both projects HIVE MIND came closer to the mark .


So there we have it. By a vote of 3-0 with one tied score, the winner is…Hive Mind! Congratulations on your second team challenge win – and Steve, on your second win as project manager!

Mary, unfortunately, you and two teammates will be coming to the boardroom. As Nathan is immune, it’ll be Sam and Jeremy.






Challenge #5 Task  (The Rewrite)-

Challenge #5 Complete Projects-


Challenge #4 Task (Marketing) –

Challenge #4- Completed Projects-

Challenge #4- Judge’s Thoughts Boardroom-


Challenge #3 Task (Milking the Franchise)-

Challenge #3- Completed Projects-

Challenge #3- Judges-

Challenge #3- Boardroom-

WEEK TWO Challenge #2-Completed Projects-

Challenge #2 Judges-

Challenge #2- Boardroom-


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