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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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07/21/2004 Archived Entry: "Marvel Age Spider-Man #5"

Marvel Age Spider-Man #5
Plot by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Script by Daniel Quantz
Penciled by Jonboy Meyers & Mark Brooks
Covers by Mark Brooks
“Who is Dr. Curt Connors, and what has he done to lure Peter Parker and J. Jonah Jameson to the darkest corners of the Florida Everglades? What secrets lurk in this alien landscape? MARVEL AGE continues to thrill as Spider-Man battles the Lizard in their unforgettable first encounter! Plus: One of Spider-Man's original nemeses returns! The Vulture is back, and he's looking for revenge!”
32 pages, $2.25
Issue #5 UPC: 5960605505-00511

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

NB: The image you see here is the interior first page of the comic. Marvel doesn’t have the cover up at their website, despite the fact that the thing came out on June 2, 2004, and they didn’t include the cover in the pdf I got to review. So I saved this image for you, dear reader, as it is crucial to my revessay.

Review: Steve Ditko never drew Spider-Man with a basket like this. I mean, look at this thing! He’s got an armadillo in his trousers! Let me assure you that the art continues in this vein, so to speak. Peter Parker is hung like a horse.

I mention this because 1) how can you not notice it??!? and 2) it exemplifies the ridiculous updating of these scripts, which were written nigh on forty years ago. I understand the concept behind the “Marvel Age” comics and, like communism, it sounds good on paper – let new artists loose on classic plots, give the kids a chance to see what it was like in the Silver Age, retell milestones in the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately the executions do not live up to the spirit of the endeavor. I’m not familiar with the artists in this issue, but I can tell you that I don’t like what they’ve done here. Besides his over-obvious endowment, Spidey in costume is too ripped and bony; out of costume, PP and the rest of the humans look like crosses between anime and CGI – very, very cartoony. Not comic-book cartoony, but television cartoony. And maybe that’s the goal – to make it look like a TV show or video game. The Lizard is suitably monstrous, but Curt Connors resembles a mean scarecrow.

And – OK, I know who the target audience is, but please – could Marvel stop artists from drawing all the women like models? Even Betty Brant looks like she just stepped off the runway.

This got me thinking about the legal and artistic ramifications of the “Marvel Age” gigs. Do Lee and Ditko get money for this? What do they think about their work being reinterpreted? Lee probably doesn’t care (hell, it was probably his idea), but Ditko is one of those Ayn Rand adherents and I think he would be offended by attempts to “improve” on the original. Or maybe he’s washed his hands of the whole thing. It’s Hollywood, right? No original movies, just remakes of movies that aren’t even ten years old, in some cases. Eventually, there will be no new content. Some people are saying we’re already there, but I buy independent comics and I disagree.

Also, I didn’t see no Vulture in this issue. Maybe next time, eh?

PS. Just for comparison, I found a scan of the original first page art for this story, from Spider-Man #6, published in 1963. I recommend you buy The Essential Spider-Man, Vol 1, and lose yourself in the glory of Lee and Ditko.

PPS. Spidey wins and turns Mr. Lizard back into a guy. Are you surprised?

Replies: 1 Comment

BUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wheeeeeeze. Man alive, LS, you're the queen of the revessay!

By the way, this months Harpers has a huge-ish (though not as big as that basket) review of three (or four) books on silver age comics. Worth reading and, being Harpers, worth buying a copy.

Yours in total awe.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07/22/2004 12:14 PM PST

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