Wednesday, April 24, 2002

I'M JAZZED OVER SPIDER-MAN: Which is saying a lot, coming from a former dyed-in-the-wool dedicated DC Comics fan like me. Those web-swinging scenes from the movie trailer even look like they were drawn by John Romita Sr., the quintessential Spidey artist as far as I was ever concerned.

There's a transitional moment in Sam Raimi's earlier comic-booky Darkman which I've often thought of as the quintessential "OH, COME ON" sequence in the history of film. It's the moment when Frances McDormand has just learned that her scientist-boyfriend Liam Neeson has apparently been killed in a fiery explosion -- she has a moment of grief -- but then, as she regains her composure, the background fades and the setting becomes the funeral service -- her ordinary clothes fade and become her mourning dress -- and all the while, McDormand herself stands unchanged, her face and body remaining motionless as time and space morph around her.

And you just had to know that, in his mind -- if not, in fact, in his storyboards -- Sam Raimi was creating the cinematic equivalent of drawing McDormand's character as though it were occupying the foreground of two split comic book panels, representing the progression from one scene to another. Her left side in grief -- her right side in mourning -- and a white knockout panel border splitting her in two.

"OH, COME ON!" I shouted at the screen when I saw that transition for the first time. And ever since, I knew that Raimi was destined to make something both spectacular, and spectacularly fun.

After we're through," Joe Quesada said, "you're going to be Spider-sick! We're going to have people puking Spider-Man." The New York Observer interviews Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Quesada here. (Link good for one week only.)


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