I know I seem to keep hitting sour notes when I talk about Spider-Man in this blog. But hey, Marvel's given me a lot to talk negative about. That being said, I made this blog entry just so I can talk about some of my favorite things involving Spidey.
The Spectacular Spider-Man
This has become one of my favorite cartoons to watch since the series premiered on March 8th. The creators of the show really seem to get what Spider-Man is all about without making things seem forced (like Brand New Day). There is a lot to like about this series. You know those instances in the comics where there's a half mask on Peter's face? That's been shown twice within the series thus far. Simplistic character designs allow for smooth animation. When Spidey is web-slinging through the city it looks fantastic. Sandman's transformation sequence in this past Saturday's episode was jaw dropping stuff, the kind you wouldn't expect from a Saturday morning cartoon.
The plot and the pacing in this series is excellent. You ever hear a guy by the name of Greg Weisman? He worked on a little cartoon called Gargyoles. Not much of a surprise that Spectacular Spider-Man borrows pacing and plot development techniques from that series. Within the first episode we already see the Doc Ock, Sandman, Norman Osborn, and the Rhino before they become super criminals. Hobbie Brown and Glory Grant are even students at Peter's high school. OK so those two didn't go to school with Peter in the comics but they aren't shooting for direct adaptations. Anyone that's a fan of the comics and has read stories from the Lee/Ditko, Lee/Romita era will geek out at the stuff they've done here. It really is awesome.
Many seem to think this show is geared towards kids. Those that think this don't know Greg Weisman. This guy's writing has always been on the level for any age group. Kids will love Spidey swinging around and fighting bad guys as will adults but some of the writing is goes beyond your average cartoon show, much like Batman: The Animated Series. One of my favorite conversations in the show comes from Peter and Betty Brant when he's getting his first pay check. Peter asks Betty how she can work with a guy like J. Jonah Jameson.
Betty: Mr. Jameson's a decent man, down deep.
Peter: We talking Marina Trench deep or Dante's 9th Circle deep?
Really, if you aren't watching Spectacular Spider-Man, you are missing out on quiet a show. I don't care if you're 9 or 59. If you love Spidey than this show is for you. 10 years from now i think this will be the definitive Spidey cartoon.
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
These standalone Spidey stories make for really good reading. I picked up the trades of MASM vol. 6 and 8 but my fav issues by far are #36-37. Issue 36 has Harry Osborn (dressed up as the Green Goblin) breaking his dear old dad out of prison. Harry has always wanted his father's respect but by the end of this tale he realizes that is just isn't worth it. It was an interesting take on the father-son Goblin scenario.
Issue 37 has Peter taking martial arts class to prepare for a fight with Flash Thompson. Why would Peter even need to practice martial arts when he could easily clean his clock? To keep from giving away his secret identity, but even when you don't take that into a count, it really is cool to see Peter learning how to fight outside of his usual style. The art in this issue is among the best I've seen in this series. If you're looking for old-school Spidey done right in comic book form, MASM has you covered.