About The Spider-Man Comic Strip


The Amazing Spider-Man daily newspaper comic strip for today, the 9th of July, is first of all a thing that exists. Second, well, you saw it. It really is just what you saw there. No kidding.

Let me explain how things got to this point and please note that I am not fibbing or exaggerating.

In the strip — drawn by Larry Lieber and Alex Saviuk, and written by Stan Lee and a Markov Chain algorithm — Spidey, in San Francisco (never mind why he was there; it was stupid), needs to get to the war-torn republic of Some Latin America-y Country Where They Just Keep Having Revolutions. He needles his boss, J Jonah Jameson, to wiring him the money for a ticket on the grounds there’s pictures to be taken and Spider-Man’s going to be at the Revolution.

At the check-in line Peter Parker realizes that security might make him open his shirt revealing his Spider-Man costume underneath. Inspired by a bratty kid whining about how they don’t have private jets like the Avengers, he sheds his clothes and duffel bag and goes climbing the walls of the airport insisting he has to get on the plane without proving who he is besides doing the web-crawling thing. And that’s where we get to today’s strip, with President Obama saying it’s OK for Spider-Man to fly out of the country. How Peter Parker is supposed to explain his getting to Latin America-y Country when “he” doesn’t board the plane is left for us to guess.

All this may seem a very stupid way of going about things, but do bear in mind that in the -30- Universe of the Marvel Newspaper Comics, Spider-Man gets hit on the head a lot.

I admit that reading Spider-Man is among my ironic pleasures, and I have some thoughts about why reading something that just drizzles incompetence down on the reader is delightful, that I need to organize into a proper essay. For now I just want you to cackle at this.

The insanely colored United States flag in the third panel, by the way, is because like many newspaper strips this one gets badly colored for online publication by, apparently, people who can only do flood-fills on portions of the original artwork that are white. Since darker colors like red or blue get inked in as black, this means that December is visited with a number of Santas Dressed As Johnny Cash, and that early February sees Hi and Lois making Goth Hearts at one another. It’s not helped that there’s very little evidence that the people doing the colorizing even read the strips as they’re coloring them. There was even a Barney Google a couple months back (which I can’t seem to find right now) in which Snuffy Smith complains that a wanted poster of him is only in black-and-white, not in color, and sure enough, the poster got colored in, badly.

(I haven’t linked to the dailyink.com page with a comments thread about today’s installment and you will thank me for it because Internet Comments Thread With Something Vaguely Political Starting It.)

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

6 thoughts on “About The Spider-Man Comic Strip”

    1. It’s not political pandering, though — I mean, the only relevant point that comes into this are “the current President is a Spider-Man fan, probably more of the comic books than the newspaper comic” — and more like a celebrity cameo. It’s still a really weird bit.

      It’s also odd if it is an attempt at getting attention since I don’t believe there was any attempt at publicizing the cameo. It’s just a little pop-in that gets the story through a thoroughly unneeded obstacle (I know Peter Parker, even in the newspaper strip, has flown before, because he’s dealt with this problem in not-quite-as-stupid ways before) in the least credible way on hand.

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      1. What I’ve noticed is comics traditionally use fictional presidents, and for a few good reasons. To avoid being dated would be one and to keep a more neutral position would be another. I ask myself if I would feel the same way if it were any other real president, and am confident the answer would be yes. Popeye receiving marching orders from Woodrow Wilson would feel weird too.

        I’m not trying to change your point of view, Joseph. I wanted to share why I found the strip as equally as absurd.

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        1. If I recall correctly I think the animated special ” Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter” took the typical cartoon method of presenting a fake President as shown just from torso level or from behind a large desk with paper stacks and other items in front of his face.

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        2. That is just exactly what I would have expected. I thought making up Generic White President was simply the thing to do for comics like this, certainly at least since that comic where, I think, Jimmy Olsen was supposed to meet John F Kennedy and the publication date was unfortunately chosen.

          But then I was the guy still reading the New Universe comics the year they got really crazy and turned Ronald Reagan into a thermoplastic mutant and then had the Presidency won by a mind-controlling sociopath who picked Mike Dukakis to balance out the ticket. But even then I knew that was the sort of thing that only happened in the comic books that were being made for some complicated money-laundering scheme instead of to be read.

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