Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Long time no post

Well... title says it all. Whoops! I've been quietly busy with other things lately.

Here's a few randomish thoughts. I like Spiderman. In fact, I like superheroes in general, and I always have. I never really grew out of liking them. In fact, now that I have small boys who are discovering them all over again, it's that much easier to like them. Of course, it's also easier to like them because the marketing guys at Marvel and other places have discovered that their audience does not consist entirely of children anymore. And even when it does, children increasingly demand more sophistication in their entertainment. More sophisticated plots, characterizations and dialogue.

Also: I never really read comic books as a kid. I liked superheroes from the cartoons. Spiderman was a very early favorite, but he used to have that cartoon show. You know, the one with the famous themesong. Have you watched that recently? I've seen an episode or two, with the kids, and frankly, it's painfully unwatchable. Friggin' terrible. When I was a little older, I used to watch Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, an all-new show that was better, yet watching it again now, is still painfully unwatchable as well.

Those two shows didn't really do anything interesting with the Spiderman story. The characters and plots were pretty much exactly the same as they used to be in the original comic book, or they were new plots but the existing main plotlines were implicitly the same. That changed in the 90s with the newer animated Spiderman show. This is still obviously focused on children and has laughably bad dialogue and action, but plotwise, it's kinda interesting, and it actually struck out in its own way, creating its own vision of the Spiderman mythos.

There are, today, three good avenues for such revisionist Spiderman, aimed at a broad audience (i.e., adults can enjoy it, not just kids). The first are the Sam Raimi movies with Tobey MacGuire and Kirsten Dunst. Chances are you've already seen these. Next, are the trade paperbacks of the Ultimate Spiderman; an all new comic book that "reboots" the entire franchise. Plus, it's got Peter Parker back in High School again (and keeps him there for the time being) which was always half the fun of the character. The third one is the new animated show Spectacular Spiderman; the first season of which just got released on DVD recently. My youngest son stumbled across the first DVD at the library and brought it home. I'd already been DVRing the episodes to watch with the kids, so I was certainly familiar with it, but frankly, this is surprisingly good. Good dialogue, good re-imagining of the Spiderman mythos, good characterization, and fun presentation.

No comments: