Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Black Widow

So let’s start with the real life spider experience I always hoped I would skip. We have a bin that sits on the back patio for no real purpose, but it does collect rain and needs to be flipped periodically to prevent problems associated with standing water in either the main tub or the backs of the handles. It was in an effort to dump the water out of the back of the handles that I hooked my toe under the handle and flipped the bin to find a suspicious looking spider chilling mere inches away from where my toe had just been. I stooped down and sure enough there was a bright red hourglass staring up at me from the underside of the spider’s abdomen.

Honestly, my first instinct was not to take a picture, but to trap and kill ASAP. This got delayed because James did not want me to approach “that poisonous spawn of Satan” (an epitaph applied to all spiders) until he called an exterminator for advice, but they were closed. By the time I thought to take a picture, the Widow had flipped herself over and I wasn’t sticking my hands under her. So, we trapped her under a cup that we didn’t mind throwing away and anchored the cup with a rock to prevent accidental release by the wind or neighborhood animal. We borrowed a can of spider spray from our landlords and applied the spray to the water at the bottom of the bin and we waited until we had a dead widow.
She is dead in this picture!

Geeky Crochet

Leaving the world of real life poisonous spiders, let us take a trip into the crafty world of geeky crochet inspired by Spider-man.
Just for size reference, he's about an inch tall.

For my mini crochet Spider-man, I used a scaled down version of a free owlpattern. By scaled down I mean I used size 10 cotton crochet thread and a size 7/1.5 mm hook. I didn’t alter the pattern itself, except to lose the tail shaping. In order to do this I crocheted a row of double-crochet all the way around before decreasing in order to create a more stable base. For the arms I crocheted into the sides of the body and created a mound of stitches in approximately the right shape. I used white and black sewing thread to embroider the eyes and webbing.

I found a lucky penny the same day I made him, so he sits on top of it.

The Amazing Spider-man Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-man starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Watson is loosely based on the Ultimate Spider-man comics; an alternate storyline from the main series, Amazing Spider-man. [To learn more about the history of Spider-man jump to the next section where I geek out and break down some highlights of Spider-man’s publication history.] Really what it means is Sony needed to make another Spider-man movie before the movie rights reverted back to Marvel, but they also saw an excuse for reinventing Spider-man for the movies. Unfortunately it is debatable as to whether or not they truly succeeded with this project.

For starters, the villain looked a bit hokey. I mean, the Lizard looked like a big, scaly green version of Lord Voldemort. He has no snout and his mouth opens so wide he looks as if he constantly has a giant happy grin on his face. I will, however, concede that Rhys Ifans absolutely sold me on his portrayal of Dr. Curt Conners. I believed the human aspect of the character, but the absurd look of the Lizard takes away from the action.

From the Movie

From the Comic

Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, had the opposite problem. He is fantastic as a wise-cracking Spider-man, much like in the comics, but he is rather weak as the teenager, Peter Parker. Garfield got too caught up In portraying a nervous and troubled teen to remember that being Spider-man has a way of building confidence and strength in both personas. Not to mention the complete lack of respect he showed to Aunt Mae (Sally Field), his recently widowed surrogate mother. I didn’t feel that this Peter Parker truly felt impacted by his uncle’s death at all! He kept the hours he wanted to keep and came home with mysterious injuries just to push Aunt Mae further away in his search for the truth about his biological parents. I’m sorry his parents left him in an effort to save his life and then died, but where was the emotion tied to losing the man who raised him?

Emma Watson, though, did an all around great job at Gwen Stacey. She was sweet, stubborn, empathetic, and very capable. Gwen was no damsel in distress who needed the hero to save her from the villain; in fact she was integral in helping Spider-man succeed in his mission. It was just a pity that the character seemed to fade out of the movie so often.

Overall, the movie was okay. The acting was hit or miss and the writing didn’t help. There were a lot of important developments that were completely glossed over. Somehow, Peter Parker moves from thinking of costume ideas and tinkering with malfunctioning web-shooters to having a fully tailored uniform (not that he can seem to keep the mask on) and what appear to be fully digitized web-shooters. Not an Amazing movie by far, it was instead lack luster and Average at best.

Spider-man; A Brief History of the Comics

Spider-man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 in Aug 1962; which introduced his back story and the theme of “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” Spider-man appeared in several comic book series, but the first and longest lasting is The Amazing Spider-man. As a teenage hero having to learn the ropes on his own Peter Parker proved to be a highly relatable character as he balanced the agonies of being a normal teenager with the growing pains of becoming a super hero. But, Peter Parker also grew up with his audience. He experiences love, and loss such as the famous death of Gwen Stacey. He gets married to Mary Jane, and they experience the ups and downs of married life exasperated for better and worse by Peter’s dual personae’s.

From 1984-1988 Spider-man loses his traditional costume and takes on a black costume with a white spider design referred to as Black Suit Spider-man. Fans objected to the costume change, favoring the iconic red and blue costume. The writers eventually “revealed” that the costume was really an alien symbiote which Spider-man was able to reject after a difficult struggle. The symbiote returns later as Venom, after finding a new host.

In 1992 Marvel launched the Marvel 2099 line to explore one possible future for the Marvel Universe. The 2099 Universe was set amidst a dystopian America governed by corrupt mega-corporations and included a large number of steam punk elements. In this future the superheroes we know and love are faded memories and relegated to legends only half believed and worshipped by zealots. Spider-man 2099 was one of the first three titles launched and was written, for the most part, by Peter David (who also wrote Supergirl for years and is one of my favorite comic writers).

Spider-man 2099 featured Miguel O’Hara, a brilliant geneticist, as Spider-man’s secret identity. Miguel was working on a project based on the legends of the original Spider-man with the hopes of a brighter future when a terrible accident happens that causes his own genetic code to be rewritten. Miguel O’Hara has been referred to as the first Latino Spider-man, but I feel that ignores the aspect of this future society where the races have been so melded together that everyone has essentially become the same. The series satirized corporations, with Spider-man constantly clashing with Alchemax, which employs his secret identity and where the events leading up to the accident occur. This is a truly hard hitting series and I love it and recommend it to anyone who thinks that Superhero comics are fluff.

In 2000 Marvel launched their Ultimate Marvel imprint with Ultimate Spider-man. The Ultimate line of Marvel Comics allows writers and readers to explore alternate story lines and ideas, and also let Marvel reset Spider-man back to a teenager. I’m going to gloss over the first 10 years or so and skip ahead to tell you that there were many similarities and differences in those years, Peter Parker dies in the Ultimate Spider-man series, but not before a young African-Latino boy gets bit by a spider, and thus Miles Morales gains the powers to become the next Spider-man.
With the start of Miles Morales as the new Spider-man Marvel also reset the numbering on the comics, something that doesn’t always happen. Miles feels that he must fill the void left by the death of Peter Parker. With his best friend Ganke for support (the only person he has revealed his secret to) and videos of the original Spider-man for training aides, Miles must find where he fits in and battle both his dad’s criminal past and hid dad’s distrust of Superheroes. Miles has some of the same powers that Peter Parker possessed, but he also has some cool new powers such as invisibility. With only twelve issues out so far it is not too late to pick up this comic and I highly recommend it for everyone.

Thanks for sticking with me!
Post at you later,
     Super Hooker

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