Monday, 22 June 2015

The Torment Legacy


You know what book I had not read in ages, for like the longest time, Todd McFarlane's Spider-man. And don't sit there like you don't know what book I am talking about, this is without a shadow of a doubt one the most famous comic books of all time. Is that an exaggeration? Not really, the success of this book, along with Liefeld (X-Force) and Lee (X-Men), they were able to change the comic book industry as we know it today. If you haven't seen the Image Comics documentary, it is an absolute must watch, even if you aren't that into comics, go and watch as soon as you can. That being said, I found this book in my collection and decided to give it a read again, see what it was all about. I remember hearing a lot of negative comments about this story, Torment, a story with Spider-man taking on The Lizard in a very gritty fashion. But I wonder, why can't Spider-man be gritty? I mean his enemies want to kill him, not slap him on the wrist. His first love was killed by a psychopath in a goblin suit, he then sold his marriage to the devil. How is Spider-man free from the gritty? While I see that tons and tons of kids love him and that's great, but kids also love Batman. And Batman is the undisputed king of grit. While I don't suggest every superhero go down the path of the Dark Knight, I do want to say that if you can do it right, all power to you. Spider-man Reign gets slammed so much by critics and fans, but I thought it was an incredible story with some of the greatest Spidey moments I have ever seen. If busting out of a coffin in the classic red and blue tights doesn't get your comic book blood pumping, nothing will. And so, if this is going to be a dark trip into the world of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-man, well so be it. And with that, let's take a look at Todd McFarlane's classic, from Marvel comics Spider-man issue 1. 

Can we at least all agree this is the best looking Spider-man cover of all time though? It is absolutely iconic and eye popping, all those webs and spiders crawling all about and the hero right there in the middle of it all, looking better then ever. And yes back in the 90's there was a crazy trend that everything was going to be a collectors item in time and yes this cover had a couple of different styles, like the gold one or the black and white one. But still, this image is so incredible you can't be mad. How many fans have created fan art based on this cover? This has got to be a requested commission recreation on sketch covers at conventions for sure. Not to mention the amount of times the pose has been used for other books, it was even used later on a Spawn cover as well. But yeah, I love it. When I think Spider-man, I think of this cover.

Okay, so the actual book and all.  

Well while I admit it isn't the deepest piece of literature I have read, after going through it, I don't think it needs to be. Now keep in mind, McFarlane wrote and drew this book. But clearly he is an artist first, writer second. But he does have some good ideas and does a different take on this classic hero, this is a Todd McFarlane Spider-man for sure. And of all the villains he could have picked, he made a really interesting one with The Lizard. For the longest time, Lizard would crawl about and attack people but not really do too much damage, and you felt sympathetic for this character. After all, Doctor Connors isn't able to control his alter ego. But here we get a violent, hungry and gory Lizard, and it's pretty cool. So the while the writing does leave more to be desired, the ideas are really good and thanks to the art, ideas may be enough. The art in this book looks absolutely stunning, this was done well over 20 years ago and still looks as good as anything being done today. Say what you will about the man, you can't deny the absolute talent he has. The details in the webs, the way Spider-man moves through the city sky, even the look of all the people in New York, everything is brought to life in a way only a comic book can do. I highly urge to look through this book and tell me what you think, take in all the lines and all the action going on in each panel and tell me you don't see how an artist was able to change the comic book world. Spider-man will always be a cornerstone to the legacy of McFarlane and comic books as a whole. 

Is this book getting a pass to gold on it's art alone? Yeah I would say so. But also on how it change the game forever. You have to remember, Marvel doesn't just let anyone work on a Spider-man book, let alone write and draw one, unheard of. So this will probably be something we may never see again. But look, this is just what I think, it goes without saying that you can only take it for what it is, nothing is absolute. So what do you think about this issue? Do you see more warts and flaws, things I missed. Leave a comment below and let's talk comics. Well that's all I've got for today, going out to Brampton tomorrow, going to be doing a show for Pride Week over at Stadium Comics! Check out the details, here! And if you get a chance come down and get some art from me and Toby! That's right the worst guys will be there, so don't miss out. I should try to get some sleep now, until then guys keep chasing the storm!