1000 Things We Hate #159: Spider-Man’s Excessive Webbing

11 05 2011

That's how pimps roll...

You know, in theory I should like Spider-Man.  I mean, I read a lot of my Grandpa’s Spider-Man comics (I know, right!) from the 90s (he was riding the speculator boom) and I liked what I read (I know, right x 2!).  So, I really should care about Spider-Man a bit more than I do.  I don’t know… to me, he just has too many imperfections.  I suppose that’s part of his appeal: he’s just like us and his life is far from perfect but he still does what he does.

Anyway, one thing that has always bothered me about Spider-Man is how excessive his webbing can get.  (Yes, I know, at times Batman’s grappling hook line can do it too, but not as frequently).

Is that too much? I can't tell...

I know it’s mostly a stylistic effect.  I’m sure they’re going “you know, his name does begin with ‘spider’ so we should probably play up that angle,” but, in the end, it just sort of serves a distraction.  It stops being cool (seriously, shooting things from your wrists and gliding through the air sounds pretty fucking sweet) and becomes rather pointless.

There have been two types of webbing that he’s used.  The first was with web-shooters:

Origin

This version was infinitely more cool than actually naturally producing web in the second way.  Peter had to use his intelligence and science-skills to craft something to help him fight crime.  Plus, these web-shooters could run out of web.  So, there never really was much excess because he had to conserve his stock.  Running out always loomed over him.

Then we hit the 90s, and the McFarlane era pointedly hits where we get really fucked up positions.  In fact, the script even acknowledges how messed up the 90s were:

What a champ

Here’s the thing: with that much web, wouldn’t you expect to get yourself caught in it… you know… possibly break a neck or two?  It serves absolutely no purpose other than to look cool… and seriously, it doesn’t look that cool – just messy.  I understand that readers want this a bit because you have to have a really neat, witty superhero in Spider-Man, but still… this is ridiculous.

Now, you would think this would end with the excessive shit that was the 90s, but it continues to this day.

Look at those rippling shoulder and arm muscles! Jealous.

So, comic artists of the world: calm the fuck down.  Stop being so excessive – be more prudent.  Keep in mind what is practical rather than cool.  We’re already living in a world of superheroes – don’t make them any more unreal for us.


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