"We all die alone and afraid, Spider-Man!"

§ September 10th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "We all die alone and afraid, Spider-Man!"

Digging through the back room for more online auction fodder, I turned up a couple more posters I wanted to share with you. That one above is “Spider-Man XII,” copyright-dated 1995 (and drawn the year before, as the artist, Kent Williams, dated it “’94”).

This has always struck me as an odd choice for a poster image. Okay, it’s not as peculiar as the Wonder Woman with Noose poster, but still, a picture of Spidey dangling over a coffin that reads “PARKER” across its lid?

Now, the first interpretation of this image is that it symbolizes Spider-Man’s guilt over the death of his Uncle Ben, and how that guilt is intertwined with Spidey’s motivation toward superheroics. In fact, and I know it’s hard to see in my pic there, but Spider-Man’s arms are bound by his own webbing, perhaps representing how he’s always trapped by his own guilt over his lack of action in preventing Ben’s murder.

Pretty bleak for a Marvel poster, right? “Hey, would you like THAT on the wall, Little Billy?” But then I came up with something even more depressing.

What if that coffin, instead of representing Spider-Man’s beginnings, represents his end? Spider-Man is trapped by his own webbing over a coffin intended for him…one strand of web trailing down beneath him, as if it were leading Spidey in the direction of that pine box. A bit of foreshadowing, that Spider-Man’s superheroic life will be the cause of his death?

My, how cheery.

I was talking about this with pal Dorian on Saturday, and we pondered the possibility of this image perhaps tying into the apparent death of Aunt May from around this time. Now that I’ve had a chance to look into it, the timeline doesn’t exactly work out…the poster was drawn sometime in ’94 for a ’95 release, the comic featuring “May’s” death (not really May, but an imposter…er, SPOILER, I guess) wasn’t out until early ’95. Well, I guess the timeline could work, if they were planning ahead on the merchandise, but I suspect if this poster were tying into May’s death, Marvel wouldn’t be so subtle about it…there would at least be a giant floating ghostly Aunt May head looking over a sad Spidey, gazing beatifically down upon her nephew with pride and love. Besides, what kind of weird-ass tie-in would that be? “Commemorate the death of the old lady with a swell new poster, suitable for framing!”

Of course, the poster could be implying that the ultimate fate of anyone in Spider-Man’s circle named “Parker,” including Spidey himself, is doomed to a death caused by his superheroing. All paths from Spider-Man lead to the grave.

I think the next time a customer asks me about this poster, that’s what I’m going to tell him. “Oh, this poster symbolizes the death and destruction inherent not only in Spider-Man’s origin, not only in his ultimate end, but in the lives of all those around him. Only $4.99! Will that be cash or charge?”

Another poster I found, which I mentioned in Saturday’s Twitter-fest, was this one:

Like I said in my Twittering, I can’t believe we still have this around. It’s a poster (retail or promo…I’m not entirely sure) advertising the Chrome series from Hot Comics, released in the mid-’80s. It was written by Peter Gillis, and illustrated by Kelley Jones, and I haven’t read it myself, but the Slings & Arrows Comic Guide, 2nd Edition (great resource, tons of series reviews, click the ad at right to get a copy, cheap!) gives it a glowing review as an intriguing, if incomplete, story. (Short synopsis of the premise: an American and a Russian astronaut are test subjects of a new, body-covering, and non-removable, metallic suit…when there’s an accident and one dies, the two governments find themselves at odds, unsure of which man actually survived. Hijinks ensue.)

I keep meaning to poke through the store stock and see if we have any of these comics still floating around so I can check them out myself. I mean, we still had the poster, for God’s sake.

Speaking of ’80s indies, that collection we got in the other day contained a few issues of Spaced, Tom Stazer’s sci-fi comedy/adventure comic that was eventually distributed by Eclipse Comics (EDIT: …and no relation to the UK TV show). This is one of those comics I remember reading about at the time in ‘zines, and being intrigued by it, but, for whatever reason, I never got around to purchasing. There were only thirteen issues published, so it’s not like a huge financial investment or anything.

Now, it’s not so much a matter of money as it is of being able to find those issues. The few issues from the collection, combined with what we had in stock already, gives me 8 of the 13 issues, missing the first four and number 6. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had to actively search out missing issues of a comic book series…oh, if only there were some kind of worldwide computerized communication and search system I could use to track them down.

Or I can just use my site. Hey, any of you guys got those issues I’m missing, and are willing to part with them? (So long as they’re in reasonably okay condition, and you don’t charge me $30 to ship ’em.)

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