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Let me hear your freakish, mutated body talk

Spider-Man, 8/26-29/05

It many not come across in the positive, happy-go-lucky demeanor I project here, but I can be a moody and vengeful bastard. For instance, way back in January, I suggested that Kraven was kind of a lame super-villain. Someone out there on the Web, running one of these newfangled “blogs” you’ve no doubt heard about, tore me a new one on this point, saying that it was just proof that I didn’t understand the whole je ne sais quoi of Spider-Man, that I was trashing something that I knew nothing about, blah blah blah. (Alas, I didn’t save the link for later brooding purposes.)

Well, Mr. Internet Blogger Know-It-All, I’m straining my already overtaxed bandwidth allowance to present here proof positive that Spider-Man, the newspaper comic, is lame, and that Spider-Man, the character, is dumber than a sack of hammers.

For those of you not following along at home, Peter Parker has finally, after much wheedling, managed to extract some HEALTH INSURANCE out of his skinflint, Hitler-lookalike boss. Unfortunately, our hero now must submit himself to the indignity of a physical, and he’s afraid his arachnoid physique will be revealed.

In the first two strips above, he’s busy dwelling on all this when, in one of the most blatant instances of strip-padding I’ve seen in all my years of comics-reading, a conflict is introduced (via a Truman-era intercom system) only to be resolved, with no action on the part of any of the on-stage characters, the next day. I can’t even begin to describe how deeply unsatisfying this is from a narrative and dramatic perspective. Imagine if Shakespeare had used this technique:

GHOST
Now, Hamlet, hear:
‘Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
Now wears his crown.

HAMLET
Aw, NO!

FORTINBRAS
O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?
Except for Hamlet, who wasn’t killed
Someone else offed Claudius instead.

HAMLET
Saved by the bell!

Peter Parker, meanwhile, proves that he has the proportionate IQ of a spider: not only did he forget to remove his “spider threads” before the inevitable “customary” medical exam semi-nudity, but he’s chosen to reveal said threads to provide a visual counterpart to his cretinous internal monologue. Sorry, Spidey, but for this desperately retarded move, you deserve a few days locked in a cage in some sort of clean room down at CIA headquarters. Good luck with that.

Anyway, to sum up: Spider-Man is dumb. But does Sunday’s Olivia Newton-John-derived teaser make up for it all? Not quite. But almost.

(Apropos of nothing, a few months ago the future Mrs. C. and I were cooling off in a wading pool at Paramount’s Great America when we saw someone walk by with a giant inflatable chunk of Spider-Man merchandising. She pointed out that it’s pretty hilarious to pronounce “Spider-Man” like it’s a Jewish last name, with the last syllable de-emphasized. As in, “Oy, why do we have to have Passover at the Spidermans every year? There’s always this weird webbing stuff in the haroset.”)

Meanwhile, proving that Peter Parker is not in fact the dumbest character in the comics, let’s take a moment to enjoy Scott Gaines’ little oops-I-proposed-by-accident temper tantrum.

Because if you think she’s going to be turned off by a blurted-out proposal, wait until she gets a load of the post-blurted-out-proposal hissy fit.

90 responses to “Let me hear your freakish, mutated body talk”

  1. Luban
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:40 am [Reply]

    First!

  2. Mumblix Grumph
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:42 am [Reply]

    Watch out, Peter! This “Doctor” has a poster of Doc Ock on his wall!

    I smell a super-villian wannabe.

    Bit by a radioactive snake back in med school, Dr. Smithson became The Caduceus!

  3. Luban
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:52 am [Reply]

    Josh, it’s not a blog post, but this Animation Nation forum post might be what you remember:

    And I thought I was a cynic.

    The comment that identified this guy’s level of sensibility was where he got snarky about Kraven the Hunter talking to Mary Jane Watson/Parker. (Don’t know if she’s married in the strip or not; it doesn’t run here.)

    “A cage of…LONLINESS!” is exactly the kind of soap-opera dialog Stan Lee did back in the 1960′s. He was still doing it with his terrible Flash animated comic book “7th Portal.” Complaining about it indicates that he knows literally nothing about what he critiques.

    Oh, yeah. Of course. He “knows what he likes.”

    So the argument is… Stan Lee did soap-opera crap in the ’60s and therefore no knowledgeable person can complain about soap-opera crap in Stan Lee-derived comics ever again? Makes sense to me.

    And I know I’ve heard that “Spidermans” bit in some stand-up comedian’s act…

  4. Robert
    August 30th, 2005 at 5:13 am [Reply]

    Readers mature and strips don’t, that’s all there is to it. Stan Lee is a thousand years old and writes in the same prepubescent voice that he did when he was five hundred. Spidey was cool when I was twelve; at forty-three, I want to kick his ass, fill him full of Ritalin, and make him ride the “short bus.”

  5. Frank Drackman
    August 30th, 2005 at 5:43 am [Reply]

    Reminds me of the SNL bit where John Belushi and his wife thought the “Coneheads” were the “Cohens”

  6. GotFuzzy
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:12 am [Reply]

    Jon Stewart did the “Spiderman as Jewish name” bit on the Daily Show when the first movie was in the works. He advised Spidey to introduce himself as Irving Spiderman to try to goose the numbers in the deal a bit.

    Glad I was not drinking coffee this morning, because it really would have hurt shooting out of my nose when I read the revised Hamlet. Great, great stuff!

  7. Johan
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:29 am [Reply]

    I’m suprised no one else commented on the suspicious lump on Spidey’s stomach in the first and second panels on the second row of the Sunday strip. I have NO earthly clue what it could be.

    He’s started growing the other 4 limbs a spider is supposed to possess?
    There’s a hamster loose in his stomach, and it’s trying to force it’s way out?
    He has an abnormally long member and is turned on by the nurse?
    He has an abnormally long member and is turned on about stripping for the doctor?

  8. Chris
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:36 am [Reply]

    Josh, you opened up a can of worms, though. Who is the dumbest character in a comic strip. My money’s still on Elizabeth (big surprise), but you might also consider:

    Jon Arbuckle (is he aware he can get rid of the cat?)
    the entire cast of Gasoline Alley
    Mary Worth
    Frank and Ernest (no more puns, please!)
    and, of course, Cathy.

  9. Chris
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:41 am [Reply]

    Oh, and also Luann (either character).

  10. Admiral Halsey
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:44 am [Reply]

    Ten demerits to Stan Lee for his classification of a spider as an insect.

  11. Lee
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:31 am [Reply]

    8/30:

    A3G: Since when does the simple act of proposing marriage age you 20 years?

    Lynn could take a few lessons in humor from Bolle and Trusiani. Luann as Her Own Person, thinking for herself? Luann just plain thinking? Now THAT’S a punchline!

    FBOFW: Fun With Homeland Security. Is it too much to hope that April might end up getting detained? I mean, I’d like to see SOMEBODY in that strip arrested before the end of the year.

    FW: Exactly what is cool and contemporaneous about repeating the “That’s nice, dear” joke? That line is older than comic strips themselves.

  12. taleswapper
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:55 am [Reply]

    Why does Spiderman need health insurance anyway?

  13. Beth
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:56 am [Reply]

    Is today’s (8-30) strip of FBOFW supposed to be satirical or serious? Nail scissors?! Holy crap! April, you’re getting a full cavity search now.

  14. joeyjoejoe
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:56 am [Reply]

    …and what about the nurse’s robotic refusal to use an article when talking to Peter?

    “Doctor will see you now.”
    “Doctor’s ready.”
    “Doctor will see you shortly.”

    Who talks like that? Most humans I know would say either “the doctor” or “Doctor Smithson.”

  15. Anonymous
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:57 am [Reply]

    Anyone else smell a visit to the unisex salon coming up on Sally Forth? Hillary is definately going to have to undergo a de-cindybradization if she’s to avoid having the crap beat out of her on a regular basis in middle school.

  16. joeyjoejoe
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:00 am [Reply]

    Also, can you tell me where you find all these comics online? I have been having difficulty finding, in particular, Spider-Man, Family Circus, and Judge Parker. The King Features site posts only the comics from the first week of the previous month on their site, but I need to stay up to date on these terrible strips!

  17. Chet McCord, Wildlife Defender
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:05 am [Reply]

    Note to Stan Lee:

    All your many sins, even the misclassification of spiders into the Insecta, will be forgiven if you will just have Peter say the following to the doctor:

    “I’m molting! Molting! Oh, what a world!”

  18. Nom du Jour
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:08 am [Reply]

    Hie thee to the Houston Chronicle, Cardinal.

    http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/comics/archive/showComics.mpl

    There be what you are looking for.

    What’s that you say, not registered with the Houston Chronicle? Go to

    http://www.bugmenot.com/

    and get bypass compulsory web registration.

  19. Josh
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:10 am [Reply]

    #3 — Luban, that is exactly the remark that so stuck in my craw. How’d ya find it so fast? Watch out, “Russian Judge” — joshreads.com has a posse!

    jf

  20. marykat
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:19 am [Reply]

    I have to say, I didn’t picture LuAnn as being such a feminazi so to keep her own name! Doesn’t she know that she’s only going to be a trophy wife, which means she completely changes her identitiy to “Mrs. Scott Gaines”? I think perhaps she was switched out for a pod person sometime in the last week, because in the last couple of strips she seems to have almost a normal level of intelligence!

  21. Lee
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:45 am [Reply]

    Luann has an identity?

  22. MotoMike
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:48 am [Reply]

    “Spiderman’s first name”
    Ok, I don’t watch “Friends”, but my daughter does, okay? …. and I remember one line I actually thought was witty was Phoebe’s asking the others “What’s Spiderman’s first name?” and a conversation ensuing about that whole “it’s not a last name – he’s not ‘Mister’ Spiderman” subject. Judging from the other comments here, it’s likely that the subject wasn’t original with this show. Quelle shock.
    On another note … we’re starting to suspect that Wally just maybe, possibly, might be bringin home a kid from Afghanistan. Since it’s been the SUBJECT OF EVERY STRIP SINCE THE MINE EXPLODED?

  23. Dennis Jimenez
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:51 am [Reply]

    Re: Posts 20, 21 – I almost split a gut the first time I read these descriptions of the A3G characters from King Features:
    http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/apt3g/charactMaina.htm

  24. Lee
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:52 am [Reply]

    Again, kudos to Dave for spotting that plot twist – Batiuk has been pretty subtle about it. (Well, subtle if you’re comparing him to Lynn.)

    Dave Runs Bartertown.

  25. Ian
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:02 am [Reply]

    The earliest I’ve seen the “Spiderman” joke was on Friends, that episode pre-dating Jon Stewart’s joke by a couple of years.

    And if this is typical of comic strip Spider-Man, he is a dipshit and a moron. Comic book Spider-Man has never been an overflowing font of common sense, but the sort of crap we see here ended, oddly enough, when Stan Lee stopped writing the book.

  26. Dub Not Dubya
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:46 am [Reply]

    Dennis–thanks for that link. First off, the artwork (?) is really pretty freaky. Second of all, now we know why we rarely see Tommy: she was busy being Secretary of Health and Human Services, and before that, governor of Wisconsin.

  27. Mr Myth
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:52 am [Reply]

    As said by Joeyjoejoe:
    …and what about the nurse’s robotic refusal to use an article when talking to Peter?

    “Doctor will see you now.”
    “Doctor’s ready.”
    “Doctor will see you shortly.”

    —-

    Perhaps it might be an attempt to cope with Mr. Spiderman’s refusal to respond with words, or anything other than wild body motions, or smiles than instantly turn to frowns.

    After all, I can’t figure out any reason why should would even bother saying, essentially, the exact same thing three times, let alone why she would phrase it in such a fashion.

  28. sally
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    Josh, I hope you’ll still marry the future Mrs. C even though it isn’t original. The line about webbing in the haroset made my day.

  29. Dennis Jimenez
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:10 am [Reply]

    8.30.2005

    MT – Here’s a little life guard move I call the gator death roll….

    MW – Is that the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore show in the background….

  30. Leons Petrazickis
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:11 am [Reply]

    Is today’s (8-30) strip of FBOFW supposed to be satirical or serious? Nail scissors?! Holy crap! April, you’re getting a full cavity search now.

    April says she is “embarassed” because her LACY THONGS are being stretched and inspected in FULL VIEW of other passengers and burly security goons. The searcher thinks she is embarassed because she forgot that NAIL SCISSORS are a WEAPON while packing. The humour is in the mutual misunderstanding.

  31. grendell
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:25 am [Reply]

    those thirteen year olds sure wear nice underwear nowadays. or is that just in canada?

  32. Occam
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:35 am [Reply]

    #14 joeyjoejoe: I have a dentist who has staff who talks like that: “Dentist wants to see you in a month,” “Dentist says you need to floss more.” Drives me nuts because it’s a ONE-DENTIST OFFICE. It isn’t like they’re trying to keep two dozen different dentists straight in their little minds.

    How about a touch of reality in “Spiderman”? I’ve never been to a doctor for a physical that the nurse didn’t have me strip off beforehand, don one of those little air-conditioned dignity-stripping gowns, and then leave me in the exam room to freeze my buns off until the doctor got around to me.

  33. Occam
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:38 am [Reply]

    And why does Spiderman’s shirt keep changing colors? Why does the color in the dailies seem to be limited to hair and various furnishings in the room? Money-saving device?

  34. rich
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:23 am [Reply]

    Spidey: Come on, whether or not his name is signed, Stan Lee isn’t still writing it, is he? He’s like 85 years old. (Not that the author, whoever he is, is taxing himself too much.) I do think Stan Lee was a pretty sharp writer back in, say, his 1963-66 prime. Corny and overblown, but that was the point.

    As to the comic strip, I guess this was Petey’s first trip ever to a doctor’s office. (What is he, 30?) He’s shocked – shocked! – that they keep you waiting a lot! And Occam’s right, if this is a complete physical he’ll need to strip completely anyway, not just down to the waist, and what doctor is going to stand there watching while you do it?! (‘Course, he could always say “I’m a little bashful, could you step out of the room or give me a hospital gown to put on?” – which may just be the ingenious solution they use to get out of this latest plot twist.

  35. Zorba the Geek
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:32 am [Reply]

    Very clever, Peter Parker- shooting webbing at the doc’s car to set off the burglar alarm. The doc will never notice the sticky webbing material all over his car door, and wonder what the heck it is.

  36. Action Guy
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:33 am [Reply]

    Rich, I doubt the doctor would understand that Peter might be bashful about disrobing, when he is getting ready to shove his finger up the ol’ Spidey hole, if you know what I mean!

  37. Action Guy
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:37 am [Reply]

    Josh,
    I was wondering if you could help us determine what happened to some pretty major characters in comic strips, that just seemed to fall off the face of the earth. I brought up Diana, aka Mrs Phantom, last week, and someone else mentioned Lyman from Garfield. Are there others out there that mysteriously disappear? Where do they go? What happens to them? Do they get a bigger part in a better written strip? HELP!!

  38. Sheila
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:41 am [Reply]

    Action Guy — what, in particular, about all those strips where the TITLE CHARACTER does a fade and is never seen again? Steve Roper is about Mike Nomad. Judge Parker is about Sam Driver. Buzz Sawyer was about Roscoe Sweeney for years. Whazzup with that???

  39. Calico Mary
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:47 am [Reply]

    Did anyone see Hager the Horrible today – looks like he’s about to get a little nookie…

  40. Lee
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:48 am [Reply]

    AG:

    Maybe they’re in sidekick nirvana with the likes of Torgo and TV’s Frank…

  41. Zorba the Geek
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:50 am [Reply]

    The classic is probably Barney Google, in what used to be “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” Barney used to ride by maybe once a year or do on his mule- I don’t know if he does even that any longer.

  42. Dingo
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:53 am [Reply]

    Perhaps Luann wants to keep her own name after marriage because Scott has already duped her once by being a custodian. Y’see, he’s really the brother of Garth Brooks. Scott Gaines is the ‘brother’ of Chris Gaines. It’s not the Dominican Republic; it’s Oklahoma – still filled with poor, toothless peons but white instead of black.

  43. Zorba the Geek
    August 30th, 2005 at 12:03 pm [Reply]

    Cute, I just noticed the blogad- you can get a Spiderman cycling jersey. As if riding around in plain spandex isn’t enough…..

  44. rich
    August 30th, 2005 at 12:19 pm [Reply]

    Robotman made a couple of weird turns. At first he lived, ALF-style, with a blondehaired family. Then, somewhere along the line, he met the Krameresque “Monty”, and the family slowly disappeared. Then Robotman himself left, and turned the strip and the title over to Monty.

    MW: You can tell Rita’s on the road to recovery – having adopted that spritely “Ciao for now!”interjection.

    Spidey: Yes, that was even lamer than if Pete had asked for a robe. Good thing it wasn’t someone else’s Mercedes. And that the clinic didn’t have an actual parking lot. And that a million other possible diversions (“Mind if I use the bathroom quickly?”) apparently weren’t viable options in his universe.

    Funky: What other possible response is there when your wife wakes you up at 2 in the morning to pass along a bit of less-than-earthshattering news? “Okay, that’s nice – we’ll talk about it in the morning.” (And why would they have called her at such an inconvenient time?)

  45. Cap'n Yo-Yo
    August 30th, 2005 at 12:29 pm [Reply]

    All of this Spider-Man talk has finally gotten me to drop a post of my own. Y’see, I’m a longtime comic book fan, and, while I grew out of that awkward phase in which I read Garfield and said “tubular”, I never left the comic book thing behind. Each Wendsday I can be found at my local comic store (Destry’s Comic Galaxy, holla!) culling through the new comic pile. I haven’t read a Spider-Man title in a couple years now, because they have ranged from mediocre to outright putrid, but this Spider-Man comic strip has them hands-down licked when it come to being unreadable. I suspect that Stan “The Man” Lee is not actually scripting this thing, but you never can tell. Perhaps the comic strip has decided to take a cue from the Spider-Man movies and feature Peter Parker constantly reveal his secret identity to everyone on first-name basis with him because of some perpetual brain-fart disease. It’s nice to see the old Johnny “Ring-A-Ding” Romita “half Peter’s face-half Spider-Man mask” make a comeback, but Lieber may be bordering on overusing it in two consecutive strips.
    In other comic book related news, surely some other people noticed that Mary Worth was sporting classic Justice League villain Starro the Conqueror on her shirt a few strips back. No doubt doodled on for fun by Joe Giella, who once inked Silver-Age legend Gil Kane on much of his 60s DC work. Mary probably wishes she were Starro. Interfering with the lives of everyone in a twelve-block radius would probably be a cinch if you could just slap a psychic starfish on their forehead and order them about.

  46. Windsagio
    August 30th, 2005 at 12:48 pm [Reply]

    wow, no comments on the tones of pedo/bestiality in the 8/30 “prickly city”.

    I feel like a total perv-freak now.

  47. rich
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:14 pm [Reply]

    #46: I really hate Prickly City…it’s scribbly, right-wing, and the kid has freakily unnatural lips. At least now we may learn where neo-cons stand on the cartoon bestiality issue. It may be that it’s okay to make out with these animals since they have the ability to speak and are probably smarter than the humans in the strip. (Does anyone read Big Top? The art is okay, but the strip just isn’t very funny. Anyway, they’re also playing the bestiality card – the poodle just got back from a date with Jen Aniston…okay, then.)

    Back to disappeared comic strip castmembers, once upon a time there was a character in FBofW named Howard…whatever happened to HIM??

  48. Bob
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:21 pm [Reply]

    Reply to # 14 & #27: Maybe they’re English – they always say things like someone is “in hospital”, etc. -or maybe they watch too much BBC America, or maybe they just like to use annoying phrases: I know I do.

    Next – FBOFW is a fun strip sometimes; I enjoy the subtle tension in their relationships and even more so the Canada Day celebrations.

  49. Mibbitmaker
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:28 pm [Reply]

    #14: David Letterman says “baby” the way the nurse says “Doctor”. It always seems odd to hear it said that way.

    Hagar: If he’s trying to find the Bumsteads right there on the comics page, he just might mistakenly dock at today’s “Marvin”. The whole thing is a Blondie strip!

    FW: She’s probably thinking, “How DARE he be sleeping when I answer the phone and want to talk to him in the middle of the night?! Selfish male!!”

    “Barney Google” was turned over to Snuffy Smith when Barney went on to become an internet search engine. Weird, isn’t it.

    And now, Weekend Comics Update with Chevy Chase.

    Chevy: “Our top story tonight: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Elizabeth Patterson still hasn’t called the police.”

  50. Sheila
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:30 pm [Reply]

    I’ve been trying to decide whether Prickly City actually IS more heavy-handed and shrill in its politics than, say, Doonesbury and other “lefty” strips… or whether it just annoys me because I’m an unabashed liberal.

    I think it’s a combination. Prickly City frequently makes remarks about “liberals” in so many words. That is, they don’t make fun of a CHARACTER who exhibits a particular worldview to some absurd extreme — no, they go after half the U.S. population directly. (And there’s more than a touch of “straw man” about it!) It’s literally both crude and rude.

    So, having analyzed it, I can continue to think that strip sucks.

  51. di
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:31 pm [Reply]

    At it seems that there is an earthquake in both of the strips – Spiderman and Scott both seem to have lots of those wavy lines around them.

  52. Jonathan Cohen
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:41 pm [Reply]

    Re: Post 23:

    Yikes, Dennis, doesn’t that picture of Lu Ann Powers remind anyone else of Jocelyn Wildenstein, the ‘cat woman’ of NYC?

    Compare and contrast:

    Lu Ann

    Jocelyn (warning, may be nausea-inducing)

  53. Monkeys Uncle
    August 30th, 2005 at 1:51 pm [Reply]

    So am I the first person to ask this? Why does a mostly invulnerable superhero need health insurance? We have all seen Mr. Spiderman get beat up, thrown around and stomped on many times but he always seems to recover. Doesnt he have the immune system of a super radioactive spider or some such thing. Not to mention the super strength, eyesight, prostate, etc. So the one guy in America who doesnt need to worry about health insurance is still trying to get health insurance. This must prove he is the single dumbest superhero ever.

    (I bet The Rhino doesnt have health insurance, nor does he give a shit.)

  54. Dennis Jimenez
    August 30th, 2005 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    Re: Post 52 – I’m gonna need a lot of Bombay Sapphire to sleep tonight after getting a dose of that….

  55. Cap'n Yo-Yo
    August 30th, 2005 at 2:39 pm [Reply]

    Monkey’s Uncle got me thinking about how a physical exam of Spider-Man would go down, and there’s some crazy potential there that will almost certainly not be realized in the strip. For example, Peter has spider-like reflexes (which are usually considered to be instantaneous or near to it in the comic books) and a “spider-sense” that warns him of danger. How would that work in a reflex test? Doc Smithson tries to tap his knee with a rubber mallet and, before he can even make contact, Peter’s leg jerks up and kicks the good Doctor into the next exam room? For that matter, why couldn’t Peter simply avoid the doctor in the first place? Instead of seeing the doctor barge in on Peter as he frets over his predicament, wouldn’t the ol’ spidey-sense kick in and alert our intrepid arachnid hero to Doc Smithson’s immenent arrival so Pete could leap up to the ceiling and hide out up there. Hell, back when I read Spider-Man comics on a regular basis he was always avoiding swat teams/nosy reporters/rampaging supervillains by crawling around on the ceiling above them.

  56. gershwin
    August 30th, 2005 at 2:44 pm [Reply]

    “Prickly City” isn’t in the same league with “Doonesbury,” as it’s distinctly lacking in subtlety. I’d say it’s more comparable to “Non-Sequiter” (which I’ve seldom found funny, either).

  57. rich
    August 30th, 2005 at 2:54 pm [Reply]

    #52: Kudos, Jonathan…excellent research!

    #53: Maybe he needs health coverage so his wife can get on the plan (what does she do for a living, anyway?)

    A3G: I think that little hissyfit/freakout is what we call a “red flag”…”I can’t BELIEVE I blurted out a proposal! [starts slapping himself on the head:] Bad! Bad! Bad!”…yep, get out while you can, Luann.

    P (Phantom): Ah, how classy, enlisting Guran to take care of his middle-of-the-night brainwashing dirtywork! Guran’s next assignment will probably be to deliver the divorce papers to Diana.

  58. Greggers
    August 30th, 2005 at 3:03 pm [Reply]

    Early on when John Stewert took over the Daily Show he did a bit were he was advising Spider-man to act Jewish to get ahead in Hollywood (this is when the Spider-man movie was is pre-production). He advised Spider-man to call himself Irving Spiderman. The Future Mrs. C is ripping off nearly 10 year old Daily Show bits.

  59. GotFuzzy
    August 30th, 2005 at 3:03 pm [Reply]

    8/30/05

    (Death to) Gil Thorp–random people we don’t know going on a date we don’t care about, and blank-faced (but awfully spotty) girl speaking to a shadowy figure we have never seen before. Ahhhhhh, it’s good to know the classics never change.

  60. krooz
    August 30th, 2005 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    Cap’n Yo-Yo, nice to hear from a fellow comic book geek, but I think you meant to credit Steve Ditko as the Spidey artist who originally came up with the half-mask image that Lieber overuses.

    Sheila’s criticism of ‘Prickly City’ was smartly confirmed by Gershwin: compared to the obnoxious dunderheadedness of crap like ‘Prickly’ and ‘Mallard Fillmore’, that old war horse ‘Doonesbury’ is a paragon of restraint. I wouldn’t mind these neo-con strips if they weren’t so relentlessly one-sided and just plain stupid.

  61. Smitty Smedlap
    August 30th, 2005 at 3:45 pm [Reply]

    “In the absence of weights, I am employing isometrics” is the new “alligator mouth, hummingbird rump.”

  62. Smitty Smedlap
    August 30th, 2005 at 3:47 pm [Reply]

    Monkeys Uncle (#53) — The Rhino does indeed give a shit, and he does it with the relative sphinctoral control of a rhino.

  63. Sassy_Rocks
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:48 pm [Reply]

    Wouldn’t Rhino defecation be difficult to impossible with that permanent skin tight Rhino suit welded to his body?

  64. yellojkt
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    Isometrics are going to make a man out of Ira. Then he can go kick sand in the face of the bullies at the beach.

    And who the hell is Ira? Time to update my DTGT character list again.

  65. Todd A
    August 30th, 2005 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    The Jewish pronunciation of “Spiderman” first appears in the early episodes of the animated series from 1967. The actor playing J. Jonah Jameson occasionally slips and pronounces it that way. It’s bizarre. I’m sure that it’s why he now has a hyphen in his name.

  66. Zorba the Geek
    August 30th, 2005 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    Re: #55 from Cap’n Yo-Yo: I was sort of wondering the same thing about Spidey- does he really NEED health insurance? In a somewhat similar vein (and, how can I put this delicately?) Larry Niven, the science fiction writer, once wrote an essay (“Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”) on Superman’s sex life, that was excruciatingly funny. Imagine super-powered sperm, shooting through Lois Lane’s organs and perforating them, causing peritonitis and probably killing her. Not to mention a teen-age Superman, doing what teen-age boys often do when horny: super sperm, shooting through his ceiling, zinging around, and impregnating surprised women everywhere. ‘Nuff said.

  67. Chris
    August 30th, 2005 at 6:59 pm [Reply]

    #50, #56 – OH, WAAAH, WAAH, WAAH! Admit it, you just don’t like political competition in the comic strips. And before you get on my case about it, I’ll have you know I can’t stand “Mallard Fillmore”, and it has a lot of apparent self-righteousness to it. “Prickly City” is much more subtle than that.

  68. Islamorada Girl
    August 30th, 2005 at 7:46 pm [Reply]

    Oh, it’s about as subtle as a Hummer, all right.
    Not funny. Just not funny.

  69. CoolJerk
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:24 pm [Reply]

    I’d think Mr. Parker’s problem would be that — in the last panel — the doctor can clearly HALF OF PETER’S SPIDER-MAN MASK SUDDENLY GRAFTING ITSELF TO THE SIDE OF HIS HEAD!

  70. Dingo
    August 30th, 2005 at 8:28 pm [Reply]

    Okay, I tread into dangerous territory but… I always wondered if Peter Parker could shoot spider webs from his wrists, what would he shoot from… ?

    I’m imagining the doctor giving him a thorough examination and coming out with more than K-Y jelly on his gloved finger after the rectal exam. And what’s he shooting into Mary Jane?

  71. Chris
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:32 pm [Reply]

    At least “Prickly City” only has two characters, and they have punchlines more understandable than “Donnesbury”. And why is it Trudeau needs a map every few years to show who the characters are? Why not kill them off instead?

  72. The Rhino
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:43 pm [Reply]

    Dingo #70 – I imagine that is why, originally, the web shooters were mechanical contraptions that Peter Parker invented… that avoids the issue of why he would so conveniently be able to shoot webs out his wrists instead of the more, eh, “natural” location. In the movies they made the decision to have the web shooters be biological… I understand this roused some controversy.

    I don’t appreciate those poop jokes at my expense, btw. I’m a sensitive person.

  73. Mibbitmaker
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:16 pm [Reply]

    I think the Prickly City/Non Sequitur comparison is a good one. PC (ironic initials) does suffer from trying to be the “conservative comic strip”, rather than satire that happens to reflect the artist’s views. However, I saw the strip from a couple Sundays ago online, and it seems to (reluctantly) to admit to (some) global warming. Surprised me.

    Mallard: just right-wing Republican talking points.
    PC: Not a bad strip, but too ideological.
    Non Sequitur: Pretty left, but much mocking of political correctness.
    Doonesbury: Great strip back in the day; still good sometimes, but got into this decade’s left-wing-gone-into-paranoid-vitriol (on an almost 1948-1999 right-wing level) a decade early with the Quayle/drug thing. Such a deserving target, and ol’ G.B. gos into THIS stuff? Yeesh! Currently handling the big BD storyline surprisingly without the hate. Great work, there.

    Actually, I’d love to see more independant political satire, stuff that sees the rampant idiocy in *both* ideologies (and some of the worst-of-both-worlds moderate idiocies, too).

    (Gawwwd, I gotta get back to the funny, quick!)

  74. Doug Puthoff
    August 30th, 2005 at 10:26 pm [Reply]

    Spidey, along with most other superheroes, is irrelevant. He should be going after bin Laden instead of a bunch of costumed clowns.

  75. PizzaBagel
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:06 pm [Reply]

    #35 (Very clever, Peter Parker- shooting webbing at the doc’s car to set off the burglar alarm. The doc will never notice the sticky webbing material all over his car door, and wonder what the heck it is.):

    So he forgot to remove ahead-of-time his costume, but also his webmaking doohickey. It’s a tough habit to break, I guess.

    #36 (Rich, I doubt the doctor would understand that Peter might be bashful about disrobing, when he is getting ready to shove his finger up the ol’ Spidey hole, if you know what I mean!):

    Doctor: “Well, I’ll be darned! I minored in entomology, and you’ve got spinnerets up there!”

  76. Lor
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:13 pm [Reply]

    Josh, that “Aw, NO!” was brilliant. Made my day.

  77. PizzaBagel
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:31 pm [Reply]

    #53: Monkeys Uncle sez “I bet The Rhino doesnt have health insurance, nor does he give a shit.”

    Of course he doesn’t, per se. He presumably belongs to Pets Health Group®USA.

  78. PizzaBagel
    August 30th, 2005 at 11:45 pm [Reply]

    Re comment #65 (The Jewish pronunciation of “Spiderman” first appears in the early episodes of the animated series from 1967. The actor playing J. Jonah Jameson occasionally slips and pronounces it that way. It’s bizarre. I’m sure that it’s why he now has a hyphen in his name.):

    I checked my copy of “Origins of Marvel Comics.” On the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, his name is spelled with a hyphen.

  79. Mm
    August 31st, 2005 at 7:09 am [Reply]

    Is it just me that’s dorky enough to be amused that this is number 404?

    …Oh dear.

  80. dimestore lipstick
    August 31st, 2005 at 8:08 am [Reply]

    Oh, poster #15–whoever you are–NICE call on the Cindy Brady haircut being a major issue!

  81. eirc
    September 2nd, 2005 at 3:05 pm [Reply]

    The last one looks like Peter’s being forced to undress in some kind of sex pervert way.

    “Hey Peter! Watch yer cornhole, dude.”

  82. Daniel
    September 10th, 2005 at 7:47 am [Reply]

    This plotline is STILL going on? I’m trying to figure if there’s any way it could end without being as anticlimactic as the individual twists and turns have been. That would require the doctor to actually figure out his identity. “Your blood tests came back–you have radioactive spider bite syndrome, and your cholesterol is a little high too.” Not going to happen, but I can’t figure out what will, either.

  83. MCF
    September 17th, 2005 at 8:28 am [Reply]

    Wow. Stan is really running out of ideas. I don’t think the comic book version of Spidey was ever as stupid as this newspaper comic incarnation. Forgetting his uniform is on lol….that’s classic. :)

  84. Digory
    October 8th, 2006 at 10:38 pm [Reply]

    For God’s sake, don’t you losers have anything better to do than debate the semantics of 1960′s comic book? Get a life.

    And if you’re all so quick to criticize, why don’t you make your own comic book?

  85. lefthanger
    February 6th, 2007 at 12:50 pm [Reply]

    Some people forget what underwear they have on,and some people forget they dont have any underwear on like that Brittny girl, or maybe they just dont give a shit.

  86. Anonymous
    May 7th, 2007 at 9:40 am [Reply]

    i saw spidy 3 this weekend with a few of my friends….it totally sucked. it was not what we expected it to be at all. thanks for wasting my $7.50 and 2 hrs and 20 mins of my life.

  87. nfczjdbq dxsh
    June 23rd, 2007 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

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  88. PedroSteckecilo
    March 13th, 2008 at 2:50 pm [Reply]

    That Spiderman Strip has GOT to be the most BORING “Your secret identity may be discovered” plot I have EVER seen. Holy Inanity Batman!

  89. Jon Cake
    September 12th, 2009 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    Of course, Hamlet WAS the original soap opera/serial strip. The whole basis of the play’s length is that Hamlet never gets around to doing anything. In fact, he’d be a perfect fit in Mary Worth. Just think of her as Polonius, bothering other characters with long-winded advice. Although I’d settle for any character stabbing Mary Worth through a curtain.

  90. gnbman
    June 6th, 2013 at 5:18 pm [Reply]

    You have to understand that Spider-Man as a whole can’t be judged by this mediocre (at best) daily comic strip.

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