Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Six moments in my life with Spider-man

I present to you, six of my memories of Spider-man.

1. The Formative Years and TV Weirdness

Like a lot of people in my generation, my first exposure to Spider-man had to have come from seeing him on TV. There was the Electric Company's live action shorts, (Funky!) and of course the animated cartoons. But the Spider-man moment I want to tell you about happened in a movie that I saw on TV. When I was about six years old I saw this movie that (I'm sure to adults) was a heart-warming story about a deaf kid. Again, I was very young when I saw this, but from what I remember, the story revolved around how this kid's parents didn't realize the boy was def so they were flummoxed by his "odd" behavior. At one point in the  film the boy and his older brother are watching Spider-man on TV.  Because he can hear, the brother understands that Spider-man is a hero, but to the deaf boy Spider-man is just some weird looking bug-man. The deaf boy sneaks off, takes his brother's Spider-man action figure (back then they were basically a 12" Ken doll wearing a polyester super-suit), and sticks Spider-man in the oven. When mom finds him and pulls him out, Spider-man is all charred and melted.

This freaked me the EFF OUT!

Melted Spiderman

...I'm pretty sure things ended up fine for the deaf boy. 

Anyway, Spider-man went on to be huge for me regardless. I had Spider-man clothes, Spider-man Halloween costumes (sometimes weird knock-offs) complete with trick-or-treat buckets in the shape of his head, birthday cakes, you know, the webby works. And then I started reading comics.

2. Comics and McFarlane

Once I hit the 7th grade, I loved nothing more than reading and copying drawings out of comics. At this point in my life I didn't do much else. One time in school I was pulled into the counselors office for a surprise study interventions. I knew it had to be a big deal because my parents were there. In the same room. Together! The counselor talked to me about how I was doing with classes and studying and, wanting to learn about my study habits, asked to see the contents of my backpack. I only carried one binder for all my classwork. When they opened it they found one lonely comic book and not much else. Hey, at least I was interested in reading something.

I bought a lot of comics but mostly I was obsessed with X-men and Spider-man. Todd McFarlane started on Spider-man about this time and that clinched it for me. Spider-man was rad! I especially obsessed with black costume Spider-man. 

3. First Publication
Technically, the first of my artwork to ever be "published" was a drawing of Spider-man I had done which ended up in my 8th grade yearbook. 

4. I Razzed Stan Lee

In 1987 I went to my first comic book convention. It was the year Spider-man got married so this became the theme for all the festivities. If you are not familiar....somehow...with Stan Lee, he was a writer, then editor, now Comic-culture God who collaborated with artists to create most of the super hero characters you've ever heard of: X-men, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man and so on. At this time, Stan Lee would actually hang out and look at drawings by gangly preteens and offer them encouragement. So that happened! Stan would also take part in panel discussions and field a question from said preteen. I loved Spider-man and could have asked anything in the world! I stood up and said,

"How is it that in the cartoons, Spider-man can shoot a web and make it into a baseball bat or shield? And how does he travel over the ocean?! What are his webs attaching to, passing planes?"

 I felt stupid as I was saying it and even worse as the Spider-man who was MCing the panel repeated the question word-for-word to Stan Lee. Stan answered, "Well, it's just a cartoon and it's supposed to be fantasy and fun." Everybody cheered and as I sat down I nodded to my friend in agreement and approval of his answer.

5. Spider Skates

When I was in high school I worked at a roller skating rink. I bought skates and painted Spider-man on them...I guess there isn't much to that story.

6. The Future!

OK I don't really have something specific to recall here. I reserved this spot for the climactic moment when I might do cool Spider-man artwork professionally in some way. I'll leave room at the bottom of this page and just see where life takes me. Excelsior!

Thanks for reading,

Ben Walker

1 comment:

  1. It didn't take much nosing around the internet to find the movie with the melted Spiderman. it was And Your Name is Jonah starring Sally Struthers and you can see it on Netflix Instant viewing!