SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN, DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN!
Seeing how I was a little late in my update, here’s a second short but sweet entry.
I can remember some time ago the introduction of Spidey’s organic web shooters in the comics, adopting the idea originally introduced in the movies. Fans were divided about the idea, traditionalists advocating the following:
While non-tradionalists advocate this:
Besides the snazzy light-blue background, I don’t see much of a difference. Besides, nowadays Spidey sports a completely different set of rags (costume) and an extra 4 Spider-arms, so the whole organic web-shooter thing seems like a mute point.
Then you consider Tales to Astonish #57, a titanic tale of terrific Marvel tomfoolery!
In a battle of the heavyweights, Spider-Man, tricked by the nefarious Egghead (who reminds me an awful lot of Vincent Price’s character on Batman) is prompted to attack the Wasp, thereby drawing out Giant-Man into battle. Okay, typical Marvel fare of the time when two superheroes meet, they fight, then gang up on the hapless villain once they realize they are on the same side. Sure, I just spoiled the story, but come on, like you didn’t see it coming! My only regret is that Spidey fought Giant-Man, not Ant-Man. Spider vs. ant and wasp, who would win? Better check out my old Sectaurs video…
Anyway, why bring up TTA #57? Well, drawn by Dick Ayers, an awesome western theme artist (his 1950s Ghost Rider is great), you could tell he was unfamiliar with Spidey’s means of spraying sticky goo:
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Gone is Spidey’s patented, near satanic salute as he taps on the web shooters attached to his wrist. Instead we find Spidey spraying webbing right out of his palm in one panel, and through his fingertips in another. Through his freaking FINGERTIPS!!! Dick Ayers may have been the first person to put the idea on paper – if he’s a SPIDER-man, shouldn’t he make his own webbing like a spider can, instead of doing so artificially? He has a SPIDER-sense, so why not webbing? Sure, it’s an artist’s interpretation, and likely not considered “canon”, but then again, maybe, just maybe, it stuck in some young collector’s mind and led to this Spider change. Or maybe it was used as a precedent when discussing the change?
Heck, toy companies used such an excuse to produce a billion different versions of Batman’s costume. Why? Original contracts negotiated with DC way back in the 80s allowed for them to only produce toys that upheld the character’s likeness as seen in the comics. Well, in the 1950s to mid-1960s there were dozens of different costumes displayed in the comics (snow Batman, Zebra Batman, Mummy Batman, Batbaby, Mer-Batman, the list goes on). So now, instead of a few variants, companies can produce a billion variants and get Batman fans to shell out major $$$.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
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