7 days of comics and why you should read them, Thursdays choice – Ultimate Spiderman

The weekend is just around the corner, and I can see the light at the end of the work-shaped tunnel. I’m ready for some old-school superhero shit, fun and fisticuffs, wrapped up in one big web. I love all things Spidey, but my run of choice has to be Brian Michael Bendis’ fabulous 100 and something series on Ultimate Spider man.


This feels a tad redundant. Kid gets bitten by radioactive spider, stuff ensues, great power, you know the drill. This particular reboot has just the right balance of action, romance, humour (very important) and cool teenage angst, without overdoing any of it.

Why I love it:

So, you have of those things I mentioned above. The action is exciting; the romance superbly awkward and wonderful, the humour is, at times, pant-wettingly effective and, above all, the characters are great. Likable, human and not above saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time.

However, the strength for me in this series is the unspoken agreement between the author and the audience. Of course, there is a huge amount of history present when you take over a comic book like this, but even without that backstory, the first few issues, or chapters, set up the expectations of the reader. Whatever you promise through those early moments must be paid off if the reader is to remain interested and engaged. Bendis does exactly that. Yes, he creates some fairly out-there story arcs, but the relationships and inner monologue that drive the comic remain true throughout. This faithfulness to the initial premise is an essential part of keeping and entertaining an audience.

Comics are for kids…One students’ perception of Spiderman and why I disagree

I had a fascinating conversation with some of my students this term about Spiderman.



I have a cardboard cut-out of Spiderman hanging in my classroom and am often asked “why?” to which I ask the student rather smugly “why doesn’t every classroom have one?” Normally the class will laugh, slightly pityingly and the lesson will continue. In this instance however, the girl told me in simple terms that Spiderman sucked. Holding back my righteous anger and staying my hand as it reached for the sword I keep hidden beneath my desk, I responded instead with a restrained, “so why’s that then?”

She calmly explained that Spiderman was for little kids. Assailed with that kind of logic, I calmed the class and decided that, in order to maintain my sense of decorum, we should continue learning about African drumming. However, as the lesson ended and the class began again to discuss the merits or lack of comics, I couldn’t restrain myself.

Though the rage was boiling inside me and temptation to launch into a tirade of abuse was almost overwhelming, I took deep breaths and spoke calmly. The comment I made was that I thought it was a dangerously limiting belief to think that the addition of pictures to a story made it any less relevant or enjoyable. I used the obvious comparison of a movie to support my point.

Feeling better now that the natural order of the world was restored, I continued with my day.