“The Amazing Archno”
Satire is very difficult to critique properly. If a joke falls flat, if a line of dialogue doesn’t ring true, you can hide behind authorial intent. I can already hear the response: “oh, that? That’s totally a parody of the Silver-Age Marvel aesthetic. Went right over your head, huh?” Satire is not critique proof. I’m really going to try and silence the voices in my head and push forward.
There’s a lot in here that made me laugh. Ben’s great responsibility line/the Brian Banner as Hulk fake-out/the ‘to be continued’ ending all landed just fine. It made me think of Marvel’s long-lost comedy/parody books like Howard the duck, and What the...?. Maybe Chip Zdarsky taking over Spider-Man will bring back that feeling again. You show us it’s possible anyway. That being said…
Page four/panel 4 is the moment you lost me. Those gratuitous breast/ass shots really took me out of the story. Those panels are followed by Gwen winking? I THINK it’s just Gwen flirting with Peter in his imagination? I’m not sure, because you also say she’s “hovering over” the reader, which makes me think she’s winking AT US. IF this is the case, I don’t get it. I absolutely do not get this page. Who’s the target, and what is the punch line? What joke are we in on? Is Peter being afraid of girls the punch line? A third reading shows that Gwen doesn’t say anything, either. So, she’s a silent sex trophy for the super-hero? Is that what we’re going for? The" real"Gwen had a social conscience, a heart, and a brain. This mute sex object doesn’t ring true at all. I tried to understand this page. I really did. Sorry.
While I like the approach, I can’t help but wonder what is being parodied here? The soap opera drama in comics? The aesthetic? There is a LOT of fertile ground in Spider-Man. Stan Lee’s goofy captions, and the non-stop internal monologue. The very idea of square-ass Peter Parker knee-deep in swinging 60’s culture, and yet, he can’t enjoy it…Either because of the comics code or his own hang-ups…all this stuff is ripe for parody. But maybe this is due to space constraints than anything else…You do hit the nail on the head as far as this idea of an expendable supporting cast. I think you just didn’t go far enough. Comedy rule of threes anyone? Maybe just one more death in the bunch? Could the dying kid could be part of the tour? Tim Harrison? No? Too soon?
Mostly, you seem to be parodying comics as a whole, painting with too large a brush. Focus on something specifically unique to Spider-Man. Get something worthwhile in your crosshairs and take your shot.
The nitpicky stuff:
Page three/panel one caption reads: Later that day
Page five/panel one. Caption reads: Later.
ONE of these has to go, and I think it’s the second one. We know it’s later. We know, chronologically, the field trip follows the bus ride. It just seemed like maybe you missed something during a re-write. Very minor, very easy to fix. I feel bad even mentioning it, but it had me stopping cold and going back to see what I missed.
Flash Thompson’s bullying bit doesn’t add anything to the proceedings. I would lose it.
And finally, Page seven/panel four. X-MEN MOVIE REFRENCE. Didn’t someone else do this with The Avengers 2 and Sokovia? It I think you could simply say, “arms raised” and move on. It hurts you more than it helps you.
Overall, I really did enjoy your entry. You’re a funny guy, and you are a clever guy. Thanks for sharing this with us. Thanks, Jason. AKA Hazardpay.