Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

The Spidey/Archie connection


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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The venerable Bill Boichel has done it again. He has possibly unearthed the real secret origin of Spider-Man. Over on his Copacetic Comics site, he has posted a Harry Lucey story from Archie #126 published in March of 1962. He posits that Harry Lucey… err, wait, let me just cut and paste what Bill sez. Or just go to his site – which you gotta do anyways to read the Harry Lucey comic he’s riffing on. Please enjoy.

“Here for your consideration is the six page story, ‘Follow the Bouncing Ball’ from Archie Comics #126, with a publication date of March 1962. Produced by the peerless penciller, Harry Lucey, this story appeared on the stands five or six months before Amazing Fantasy #15 (AF15 had a cover date of August, but states September 1962 in the indicia).

“This story involves the accidental introduction of radioactivity into a high schooler’s life, with supernatural results. Not only that, but the throwaway gag panel that concludes the story introduces the concept of the so-gained supernatural power interfering with the teen’s normal romantic life, which is a central theme to Spider-Man, and critical to the long lasting success of the character. And then there’s the use of the word ‘tingling’ which came to be associated with Spider-Man’s ‘spidey-sense.’ It kinda of makes you wonder…

“Zeitgeist? Coincidence? Or, perhaps, this story was read by Stan and/or Steve during a lunchbreak, leading to the conscious or unconscious sparking of an idea. The timing is just right. We’ll never know, of course, but it’s something to ponder. Now’s your chance to read it for yourself, and see what you think.”

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9-Panel Grids


Saturday, October 23, 2010

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IF 6 WAS 9


Let’s look at 9-panel grids in North American comics. When I think of the 9-panel grid I invariably see Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man page layouts in my mind. Then I see Watchmen. Both stuck to 9-panel grids for the most part. And I think the center panel – the panel that doesn’t exist in a 6-panel grid – is where some of the power comes from in these works.

If I flip randomly to a page of Watchmen and let my eyes scan the page, usually I look straight at the center – and often that center panel is representative of the whole page. It’s like an anchor. Also, the artist (Dave Gibbons) never gives up the center of the page when he uses a different layout. Never! He never has a center tier that has a vertical gutter in the direct center of the page. I really think this is part of Watchmen‘s visual power. When I flip through the book, my eyes just go from center of page to center of page and I feel more enveloped by the story and by the world created. (more…)

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Psych-Rock Spidey


Sunday, May 2, 2010

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I am obsessed with the music from the animated 1967 Spider-Man cartoons. Not the theme music but the background music. Part jazz, part James Brown soul, part psychedelic rock—it’s all a big mash-up of styles that marvels the ears and makes me dance around. Anyways, Bill Boichel and I have been trying to track down the music sans voices and sound effects for years, but to no avail. Today Bill forwarded me this discovery (which had been sent to him by one of his regulars, Phil Dokes): two blog posts from WFMU’s blog on the subject.

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From Ditko to Jaime Hernandez


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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Steve Ditko, from Spider-Man #33.

Jaime Hernandez, from “Bob Richardson”.

The bridge is over. The bridge is over. Yes. But what does that mean in practice? One way to describe our bridge-less world is to say that it is now possible to read Jaime Hernandez and not see the influence of Ditko. Indeed, I suspect that most readers of Love and Rockets might not know who Ditko is.

That’s not much of a loss. There are all sorts of pleasures in Jaime H.’s work that don’t require Ditko-knowledge. Anyone who is literate and has an eye can appreciate Jaime’s excellent sense of character, the purity of his art, the constant inventiveness of his stories, and the sheer scope of storytelling he’s achieved over hundreds of pages.

Still, there is a small loss. Consider the above panel from the Jaime story “Bob Richardson” (page 4 of the story).

The panel is a visual allusion to a famous sequence in Spider-Man #33 where the web-slinger is trapped under a giant machine. Ditko’s scene was one of his great dramatizations of the triumph of the will, with Spider-Man overcoming not just the machine but also own sense of failure and defeat. In the Hernandez story, the significance of the allusion is that on a psychological level Maggie undergoes a many traumas: she’s beaten down by life and is made to feel good-for-nothing by friends and family alike. Yet she finds within herself the resilience to go on. Hernandez’s image of the dog under the machine is meant to say something about how Maggie feels. He’s taking Ditko’s super-heroic imagery and transforming it into a scene of quiet emotional symbolism.

The visual allusion to Ditko is only a tiny nuance, one thin sliver in a multi-layered story. Still it’s a layer that one would like Love and Rockets readers to know about.

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #11


Friday, January 30, 2009

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Two more, by request:


I can’t believe that you’re cutting “Spiderman” — the only comic strip in the Globe, except for “Doonesbury” half the time, worth reading. Do think again in making way for what sounds like one more jejune set of unfunny panels pitched at the nonexistent (or at least nonreading) X-generation.

And what ever happened to “Mac Divot” — the most helpful set of golf tips I ever read?

Beverly Farms

—From a 1994 letter to the editor of the Boston Globe.


The encounter, when all was said and done, had been no stranger than those in ‘Krazy Kat,’ which had given me my first idea of the American desert.

—John Updike, in “A Desert Encounter,”
from the October 20, 2008 issue of The New Yorker.

I remember really enjoying reading the Spider-Man comic strip in the early ’90s, but mostly in a kind of stupefied amazement at the lengths it took to stretch out a single plot point from Monday to Saturday (presumably so Sunday-only readers wouldn’t get lost). I wonder what Updike saw in it, assuming his letter wasn’t a put-on. I was just a stupid kid at the time, so maybe I was missing something…

[Thanks, Jeet.]

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