Letters : Editor : 2000 : To the Editor 01/07/2000

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Date: Jul 1, 2000
Next: To the Editor 01/08/2000
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From David

Regarding you recent rave Spider-Man vs. Plato.

Dear Ed.,

I'd have to disagree with a couple of points here. I think that movies can desecrate the image of 'comic book' heroes. These characters were designed 'for' comic books. This medium is their home and creator - if you will - their 'locus classicus' - their perfect form. And it is where they acheive the best expression of what they are.

I have been a Spidey fan since I was a child, I am now 27 - and he has never left my heart. Yet every incarnation I have seen of him on screen has done absolutely NO justice to his comic book self. The 70's TV series was a joke and the animated series is sluggish and pedantic compared to who Spidey really is. Let's not forget that Spidey could stun the Incredible Hulk with one punch!

I think the thing that makes Spidey such a great comic-book hero, and such a difficult figure to translate to film is his flexibility, manouverability and the sheer scale of movement that he engages in. He is so acrobatic and this dynamism is going to make it hard to incarnate him in film.

I hope that Raimi uses a great deal of CGI in the movie, because this is the only way the film will come close to doing Spidey justice.

David B.

(Please see fit to post all or some of this letter on your site - I would love to see some of the responses from other Spidey fans!!)

PS. Great site!

PSS. Hope you like my punctuation. Nice...isn't it?

Whew. Some great points, permit me to comment in return.

Firstly, of course Spider-Man originated from comics, and the comic book form always holds a special place. The society, culture and attitudes which gave birth to the super-hero comic art form is special - in that same way that the depression-era pulp sci-fi novels, the 50's B&W sci-fi movies, the pinball games, the Space Invaders machine, and all the other 'low-brow' forms of art-utainment which the 20th Century produced are special.

Having said that - Spidey caught the imagination of a generation (or perhaps two) because of something else which was special. He was a guy like you and me, who got dropped into being secretly something more than your or me. He's a regular Joe, who carries an extra power, and an extra responsibility. He's somebody we can dream about being, but be thankful we're not.

The comic book form provided the perfect medium for depicting his abilities - by drawing the frames and sequences, and leaving the reader to imagine the spectacular strength and agility which were clearly implied. A book wouldn't have been graphic enough... and the movies of the time would have failed for the opposite reason - the medium had too much unsatisfied graphic potential.

The question you raise is - are the movies of the day sophisticated enough to do justice to the awesome acrobatic skills attributed to our arachnid adventurer? Well, if you've seen Mystique in the new X-Men film, I think you would have to say they certainly come close. Add that to some CGI, and I think things will be fine.

Let me pose you a question regarding your demand (certainly a common one these days) for increased realism of physical action in movies. Is this truly necessary?

I haven't seen the movie "The Mummy" - but a comment made to me by someone who did gave me food for thought. They claimed that the film wasn't scary - because it was Too Realistic. It didn't leave anything for the imagination... and it's our imagination which truly scares us.

The Hammer Horror films of the last generation probably scared the heck out of a lot of people, with scarcely a special effect, action choreographer or stunt-man in sight. Stephen King puts the frights up people with just black printed characters on a white page. Books inspire me, newspapers depress me, conversations leave me pensive - all with no CGI.

But I agree 100% that dumbing-down, or weakening Spidey just to make the fights easier to represent is completely self-defeating. Hey, let's hope Sam Raimi has seen "The Matrix" a few times - and that sees X-Men as a great film, but reckons he knows how to go one better!

From Nate

Hi. I was looking over a review of the What Price A Life? (Chicago Tribune) Sponsored Comic featuring Spider-Man & The Incredible Hulk, and it sounds exactly like one part of a Marvel Team-Up, Issue #126. The credits are:

Story: Jim Shooter
Art: Tomoyuki Takenaka
Letters: Jim Novak
Colors: Bob Sharen

I hope this helps you guys out at all.

You're absolutely right. We completely missed that. Issue #126 of MTU features two short stories. On the splash page for the Hulk story, it says "SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE. Sometime ago, a version of this story was printed in a special newspaper Sunday supplement! Since it was only distributed in certain cities, we thought you'd get a real kick out of seeing the original story!"

The Spider-Oracle clarifies:

Marvel Team-Up #126 (Story 1)
Feb 1983 : NM ($2.50) : SM Title

Summary: Spider-Man & Hulk, Power Man & Son of Satan
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Bob Hall
Inker:  Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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The Spider-Man/Hulk issue was basically reworked into the first story in MARVEL TEAM-UP #126, but the story was tweaked slightly and had all new artwork.

From George

I have been a long time Spiderman fan. I stopped reading the comic when Peter married May Jane. I just thought it got deluded somehow and unexciting. I have tried to pick the comic back up, but I inevitably buy something that I know I've read before only to find out it is a reprint. Can you guys put up a list of Spiderman titles and a description of what they are? Like the current Spidergirl, is this a real future or some kind of elseworlds thing? The volume II comics, have we rewound back to the beginning or did the marriage and Venom, ect. happen, or is it going to happen? Help!

I think I can handle this one without resorting to calling on the mighty powers of the all-knowing Spider-Oracle.

The current titles are very simple:

  • Amazing Spider-Man Vol.2 (Official Continuity)
  • Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol.2 (Official Continuity)
  • Spider-Woman (Official Continuity, but Irrelevent)
  • Spider-Girl (Alternative MC2 Continuity)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (Alternative Continuity)

Of course, the status of Ultimate Spider-Man depends on its popularity. The 'truth' regarding continuity is nothing more than the sum of what people believe.

From Brad

Hey Jonathan, can you tell me what happened in each identity crisis issue because im missing some and im not sure which ones.


hello spider-fan.org

your homepage is really nice and i was thinking: can you tell me the characters who are on the spider-man cartoon maker? because i'm getting one soon and i want to know you is on there. can you please make a list of the characters who a on the spiderman cartoon maker?

Sure. Soon as I get a copy. Oh, hey, you're getting a copy? Why don't you mail it to me, and I'll tell you who's on it. Great!

From Adrian

Hi. I'm a on and off spidey fan. On during Maximum Clonage. Off when it ended. On when Ben Reilly First arrived. Off when he died. I've been trying to bring Ben back recently. I just sent Marvel a possible story that would leave no unanswered questions about how he came back. Just wanted to send that to you. Anyways, I'm trying to make Ben Reilly's Spider-man costume, but to no success. I just can't seem to be able to make that mask and costume look right. That is, until I saw a Ben Reilly costume in your Fan Costume. Unfortunately, there wasn't an e-mail address, so I couldn't write to them. So my question is do you have his e-mail address? The only reason I would ask this is because I have never seen a Spider-man costume ever made that well. I'd really like to talk to the person who made it. Thank you so much. If you want, I could write back about what I hear from Marvel Comics about my story proposition. Thank You.

Sure. But be warned, English isn't his first language, and so his email is a bit confusing, e.g...

hello that such greetings from mexico are I pleasing to know that people like your that you/they like of the cosplayer exist I would love to be able to intercambier you imagine and opinions as for suits and conventions I also characterize myself in the personal thing I like the American comic of which I have the spiderman disguise of the one Japanese fact it encourages the ultraman disguise well I say goodbye I wait answer your nuevco friend eric ponce mexican spider

Hmmm... then again, you two should get on just fine!