I found myself saying “Holy shit!” at least four or five times while reading this story. Yours is a delightfully mad, horror movie/ B movie aesthetic that is very engaging. I really do regard it as a mini-masterpiece, but I ultimately could not vote for it. I’ll get to why at the end…
The first page of this is awesome. It really sucks the reader in. I’m very envious of this page. I wish I had written an opening half as good as this.
I love your prose. I really do. BUT, your comic book work crosses over into film script work. EXAMPLE: Page 4, panel 5.
“Exasperated but intrigued, Peter takes a deep breath, exhales sharply, then takes a “leap of faith” and removes the wrapper.”
See how it’s inner emotional life + action + second action + humorous summation of the situation + third action? A good copy editor will cross this out with a red pen, and it’ll be “peter unwraps the candy. Looking down at it, he looks hesitant.” You are jamming a lot into one panel description. I hate to tell you to change it, because I’m enjoying it, but an artist is going to have a hard time drawing it. He or she will have to do a lot of….interpretation to get what you’re driving at.
One more example. Page 7, panel 2
“CJ gives Peter a playful nudge as he turns to skate away flamboyantly, having forgotten Peter’s fragility and lack of balance. Losing his grip on the phone, Peter stumbles towards the curb as he fumbles with it.”
There is so much in here… too much. Mark Waid likens the comic panel to a photograph…and I’m paraphrasing… A moment frozen in time. You have to select the best moment. OK. So. CJ pushes parker, and he’s dropped his phone. Again, you squeeze in intent+ action+ reaction. It’s just going to look like CJ is maliciously pushing peter over. I don’t know how to make it look a) playful b) look like an accident and c) how it doesn’t look 100x worse when Peter is almost hit by a car. We’ve moved from playful shoving to manslaughter in the space of two panels! I don’t have any answers. Your prose writing is so good, but I think brushing up on Will Eisner’s books could improve your comic book writing by leaps and bounds.
Page 6/panel 5. This is our only introduction to BEN PARKER. Peter returns home from the hospital, and we see Ben sitting on the couch, watching TV and scowling. CUT TO: Page 15/panel 1. Ben flips out and tries to physically attack his wife. This is shocking. Utterly shocking. I suspect it’s your intent to shock us, but it’s not a good shock. It’s whiplash- while riding a roller coaster style shock. If you were trying to indicate who this Ben Parker was as early as page six, it went by unnoticed. He’s sitting and scowling? I thought it was just old man gas… There’s Peter’s fear of getting caught as early as page one…but that’s not very reliable either. He’s snuck out of the house to attend this science demonstration. He’s got a normal, healthy fear of punishment. There’s no warning here. What’s more, I think this could have been sussed out in a brief physical description. He wouldn’t necessarily have to dress like a biker or carry a switchblade or something, but throw us a bone so the denouement isn’t quite so…sucker punchy…
Ultimately, I really feel like you’ve strayed too far from the source material for me to vote for this. Spider-Man’s actions... from taking drugs, to brutally attacking his enemies, to making Uncle Ben this Lynchian sadist and wife beater…make it feel like an entirely different character. It’s good. It would make an awesome movie or book, but it just doesn’t jive well with (what seems like) 100+ years of mythology. It’s not Spider-Man. It’s some crazy crime noir with a little bit of THE MATRIX mixed in at the end, but it’s not SPIDER-MAN.
Oh, and the notion that Richard, Ben, and Peter might all have crazy super-powers, or mutant genes, or an unfulfilled heroic destiny? I love it, I really do. You have written, by far, the longest script in the write-off, and I am eager to see more of it. That is a testimony to how good the writing is.
Thanks, Jason AKA Hazardpay.