9.28.2009

My review of Spider-Man Noir by Hine, Sapolsky and Di Giandomenico

I'll be honest, like with many comics over the years for me, it was the cover that drew me in [it is currently my screensaver on my home pc, great job Patrick Zircher]. That, and maybe also because I've been in a noir-ish mood. But this black-trench coat wearing, weapon-wielding Spidy throwback looked interesting enough to pursue.

The creative team was: writers David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky, art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, covers by Patrick Zircher, and edited by Alejandro Arbona. Fantastic job all around creating mood, tension, and dramatic desperation.

I did wait for the trade paperback on this one, and was pleasantly surprised when Marvel released the book in a 5 x 7ish trade, not quite manga sized, and yet not full-sized either. It was perfect for a mass transit ride, and it felt special in it's own mid-sized treatment.

I would have loved to see an introduction of some sort, telling me in detail how this project came together, and just who had the idea to set this exactly at the time period when it takes place [1933 by the way]. It is such a stylized book, a look into the specific creation would have been a nice addition.

Note: There is a cover gallery and development sketchbook in the back. Bonus!

Illustrations such as this splash page opener -- invigorating with movement and tension made for a perfect noir comic book experience.

And is that Spidy with a pistol? Why yes it is. This isn't your grandfather's Spider-Man. Actually it might be your great-grandfather's Spidy - as it takes place in the 1930s after World War I.

Spidy's Uncle Ben was a WW I veteran that tried to teach him about what it meant to be a hero before he passed. But this is a dark era, the Great Depression is here --Peter isn't the innocent kid that we know and love.

He blames the gangster - The Goblin - for the problems that the city and those close to him face. Peter confides in beat reporter, Ben Ulrick, a sorry cause yet an earnest character in this story.

It is the sad story of Ben, coupled with the reckless abandon of Peter, that bring the story to the amazing conclusion. I don't want to give too much away, but yes...Aunt May is a Socialist. Then...


...a jump from the window. The feel of this page fell somewhere between the old crime fighter we've come to know and a page from Sin City.

A daring escape from the cops who were probably on the take anyway. Evidence pointing in his direction, and a crime-fighting outfit comprised of a black trench coat, mask sown together by hand, and a pair of aviator goggles from the great war.

And a revolver of course -

I'm a fan of re-imaginings. Looking at iconic stories and characters, told in a different light, or in a different time. Such as an all-time favorite, Superman Red Son, the DC Elseworlds project supposing Big Blue crash landed in Communist Russia.

Or the 1980s film, Time After Time, in which Jack the Ripper, steals away to the future in a time machine.

Take an institution and re-imagine it in a new creative context. Sometimes it isn't done right, but when it is, it makes for some great reading or viewing.

I recommend Spider-Man Noir, if you're looking for a little something different, something darker from the red and blue crusader that you have always known. Maybe not for the youngster, but definitely for the definitive fan whose grown up with Spidy and wants to be challenged with a new concept.

1 comment:

logankstewart said...

This looks awesome. Thanks for the review.