Sequels sure can be tricky! You need to build on an original story that’s beloved enough to merit a second installment and honor what people liked about it while still pushing forward into new territory. We don’t know yet exactly how the fascinating script for Marvella 2 manages to pull this off, but since this Newspaper Spider-Man plot is in fact itself a sequel to a storyline for 2006, we can get a good sense of how you should balance the old and the new. Back then, Marvella’s nemesis was being played by an older actress instead of the director’s young ingenue daughter, and she was angry about having been beat out for the title role by Mary Jane after auditioning for it, rather than actually getting the part and then being angry because she was displaced by Mary Jane when she became available. See, totally different! Similarly, I believe that, at the climax of this story, rather than being knocked unconscious with a lead pipe by a butler, Spider-Man will be bludgeoned by, let’s say, a special effects artist, using something you might find around a movie set.
We already knew that Momma’s dedication to passive-aggression is intense, but she’s really taking things to the next level by having a near life-size photo of Francis in his Boy Scout uniform hanging on the wall just to serve as a prompt for her to belittle him by bringing up his past humiliations.
Slylock Fox, 12/10/14
5) Did your Comics Curmudgeon manage to successfully resist the almost overwhelming urge to Google Image Search “bats with six-foot wingspans” because he knew the results would haunt his nightmares for weeks? Answer: Very true!
Gasoline Alley, 12/9/14
YES YES YES THE BELOVED “MILDLY RUDE SALESMAN WITH A PENCIL MUSTACHE” GUY FROM THE SKEEZIX RETURNS A DVD PLAYER STORYLINE IS BACK, BABY! That’s how you know we’re in for some high-quality verbal jousts over the next three to seven weeks. Today we get some important background on this character’s motivation: his “Marx brothers” reference is a veiled description of his political orientation. He’s not a dick to his customers just for fun, but rather as part of the long political struggle of class against class that Marx described so presciently. I see big things for this guy when the revolution comes.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/9/14
After an absence from the strip that bears his name that lasted literally decades, Barney Google has made a number of trips to Hootin’ Holler over the past few years, bringing news of strange big-city mores to the isolated inhabitants there. For instance, today we learn that the horse modeling industry is, perhaps unsurprisingly, rife with horsefuckers! Look at these two creeps laughing it up at poor Spark Plug’s distress. “You don’t understand! Being a horse-model was my lifelong dream … and in one brief moment it became a nightmare.”
Wow, that’s a pretty rude way to talk to your film’s high-profile leading lady, Rory! You might wonder how he gets away with that kind of sass. Well, it’s simple: he’s got the only combo flattop/mullet/rat-tail in the business. You don’t fire that haircut. You just don’t.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/9/14
Having successfully convinced Rex that Sarah is the one foretold in prophecy, Rene is now talking Rex into allowing Kelly to continue on as her lackey, as long as she submits to the stringent conditions that any acolyte must accept. Rex is clearly intrigued. “Hmm, a teenage girl consecrating her body and mind to purity and swearing to lie down her own worthless life in order to protect my daughter? Tell me more!”
“Boo!” You’re probably saying. “This Spider-Man plot is focused on Mary Jane’s movie career, and will be full of boring insider-y film business stuff and won’t deliver the non-stop action-packed superheroic thrill ride that Newspaper Spider-Man fans crave!” Well, joke’s on you! This isn’t just some boring scene where Mary Jane takes care of a little legal paperwork; it’s a very exciting scene where Mary Jane takes care of some legal paperwork drawn up by “Foggy” Nelson, the law partner of Matt Murdock, aka Marvel Comics’ own Daredevil! Murdock, that is. Murdock is the superhero. He’s not in this strip. But his law partner is! Pretty exciting, eh? Now we can begin the movie magic. (“Move magic” will consist of an hour standing around the set while the director of photography yells conflicting orders at the grips.)
Hagar the Horrible, 12/8/14
Ha, it’s funny because Vikings were actual murderers who terrorized Europe for a century, and by “character” Hagar means “post-traumatic stress disorder.”