distant reflection, a little bit of charm
high over the streets of New York, clutching a badly-wounded Spider-Man
by the wrist, the Vulture makes evident his intention to release
his grip and watch Spider-Man plummet to his doom.
"Before I do this, Spider-Man," says the
Vulture, "I want you to know that I admire your courage.
Anyone else would be begging for mercy right now. I'm almost sorry
I have to do this."
Spider-Man responds by shooting webbing on the Vulture's
wings. Unable to stay aloft, the Vulture begins falling to the
ground, with Spider-Man still tagging along.
"Do something! Save me!" the Vulture screams.
"I can't!" Spider-Man responds. "I'm too busy admiring
your tight-lipped courage!"
They don't perish, of course. Spider-Man spins a parachute out
of webbing, and they make a safe descent.
The above scene is taken not from the movie currently
appearing in theaters, but from the comic book as originally
written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko.
For anyone who's familiar with the Lee/Ditko series,
it's hard to imagine any other version of Spider-Man as anything
but a pale imitation. The Lee/Ditko series lasted for the first
38 issues of the original series (1962-1966), and subsequent writers
and artists in the past 36 years haven't done much but retell
the Lee/Ditko stories.
In all the attention that's been focused on Spider-Man lately,
one continually hears that what made Spider-Man original was the
vulnerability of his alter-ego Peter Parker: his job problems,
his girl problems, his school problems, his aunt's medical problems.
All true, but put like that, it makes Spider-Man
sound like a self-pitying whiner. What really made Spider-Man
enjoyable was the irreverent humor that filled every page.
impersonator: Peter Parker embodies a costumed Costello.
Spider-Man himself couldn't have been more atypical
as a costume hero small and wiry, unusual abilities (what
other super-hero's repertoire includes the ability to stick to
things?), a weird-but-not-silly costume (at least relative to
other super-heroes), frighteningly articulate, and (again, relative
to other super-heroes), surprisingly shrewd.
A costumed Elvis Costello.
Returning to the aforementioned battle with the
Vulture, as they descend safely to the ground thanks to Spider-Man's
web parachute, the Vulture gasps, "You had that planned all
To which Spider-Man responds, "Darn straight!
I don't let my wings do my thinking for me, like some people I
The movie currently playing in theaters is a distant
reflection, rather than a realization, of the original Lee/Ditko
Spider-Man. But the movie has a little of the charm of the original,
and that little is gratifying.