Today's Comic Critics reminded me of something I learned about the Clone Saga a few years back, when I had the chance to chat with one of the people in Spidey editorial at the time: It wasn't supposed to go on for two years, originally. Replacing Peter with Ben certainly wasn't the plan when they started. The idea was to do it for a couple months, and then move on. Unfortunately, right about the time the story started, the bottom dropped out of the direct market. The Spidey titles, however, got a sales boost from the added attention surrounding the clone story, and so the directive came from the higher-ups to keep it going, for God's sake, so we don't get fired.
Well, they all eventually got fired anyway, and a wrong-headed attempt to "fix" the marriage (which, as we all know, never broke anything in the first place) got mixed in, and here we are twenty-five years later, still cursing the name of Bob Harras for some reason. What gets left out, though, is that the reason it all spiraled down into Hell the way it did was because, at least to start, it sold like gangbusters. At least part of the blame lies with the readers who, like me, kept spending their money on it, even as it got worse and worse, week after week.
So, mea culpa. I'll try not to do it again.