Kate (and Dan) read AMAZING FANTASY 15

Kate: Dan? ::voice high and screechy:: How come…

Dan: ::mutters:: This isn’t going to end well.

K: HOW COME there’s another new Spider-Man movie? What happened to Toby McGuire? I thought he was the jockey from Seabiscuit. Why the hell would a super-hero with webs and spider powers ever need to ride a damn horse?

D: It’s a reboot. Remember when we read The Goon? It’s like that.

K: Seabiscut, seashmiscut. I’d call that horse ShouldaBeenGlue.

D: Be nice!

K: So the guy that was Mark Zuckerburg’s best friend decided to get bit by a radioactive spider and become a web-slinging vigilantly since that Facebook-thing didn’t workout so well for him? And since when is Peter Parker tall, suave, and “emo”?

D: ::rubs head:: You’re getting your movies turned around again.

K: Right, but what about the new black Spider-Man, Miles Morales? People seem to really like him. Why isn’t he in the movie? And then there’s the clone that thought he was the real Peter Parker while Peter Parker thought he was the clone. And it was really confusing and everyone hated it? Then they brought it back 10 years later and now he’s the Scarlet Spider? And he lives in Houston? I wonder if he wears a cowboy hat… Why don’t these guys get their own movies?

D: Ugh.

K: It’s like 57 Varieties of Spider-Man!

D: It always comes back to food with you. Let’s go back to the very beginning. To cash in on the new movie, you know with the emo-looking Facebook guy, Marvel printed up a one-shot printing of Spidey’s first appearances in AMAZING FANTASY 15 and SPIDER-MAN 1. Read this.

K: An origin story in 2 pages? THAT is concise story telling. If Spider-man was launched today, it would take the writers 6 months to set up his back-story and there wouldn’t even be any mention of a radioactive spider. The books would be all Peter being bullied and Aunt May making wheatcakes.

D: True! That’s the modern “decompressed storytelling” and it’s not a bad thing.

This origin story is very straight forward, but it is an excellent example of Marvel’s theme about reluctant heroes. Not many of their main characters embrace their powers right away. But Peter has loads of money troubles, so he turns to television to show off his new powers to help pay the bills. In the truest example of the “Ol’ Parker Luck,” he finds it isn’t so easy cashing checks made out to “Spider-Man”.

K: Amen! The bank tellers look at you sideways when you show up with a check the size of a surfboard.

D: What are you talking about?

K: NEVERMIND! It’s also difficult to fight crime when newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson is constantly trying to discredit you. Spider-man totally saves Jameson’s astronaut son’s life, and the editor calls for the web-slinger’s arrest. Not. Cool. What’s a Spider-Man to do?

D: He turns to the sweethearts of the super-hero set, that’s what. In a last ditch effort to earn some money for Aunt May, Spidey thinks he can just show up at the Baxter Building and join the Fantastic Four. Needless to say, it isn’t as easy as he thinks: the Fantastic Four isn’t looking to add a fifth and they don’t pay salaries.

K: DAMNIT.

D: And right there, you just illustrated the lasting appeal of these stories.

K: I did? I mean, I DID! (How did I do that?)

D: Even though these two stories were written in 1962, and this original version of Peter wears a sweater vest and necktie, Stan (The Man) Lee writes an engaging, emotional story of teen angst and drama. Artist Steve Ditko’s illustrations and panel layouts are completely out of this world.

K: And Aunt May cooks up a mess of wheatcakes! I like wheatcakes!

D: Yes, Kate. Wheatcakes.