He’s been around the world a couple of times. Remember this?
That’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here for the Spider-Man manga, released eight years previously and with a wildly different subject matter. This Spider-Man was Komori Yuu (neither Japanese Spider-Man was Peter Parker, nor even alliterative – the toku version was called Yamashiro Takuya) and he shared all of the old Parker luck. He outdid PP on guilt, and he had none of the moral optimism that Uncle Ben shared so redemptively with his nephew.
This manga is a five-volume heavy trip; Yuu fights Electro and Mysterio, sure, but also learns first-hand about charismatic teenaged drug dealing marks, capitalist racism, capitalist misogyny, assassination and murder, what war does to soldiers, Yakuza beat-downs, ‘unconscious evil’, and an unprecedented amount of unglamourised sexual trauma. Everything is horrifying to him – it’s disaffected youth: the manga (plus spider-man). There is no light at the end of the tunnel and at one point Yuu hears a classmate ask why Spider-Man doesn’t do something useful like end the Vietnam war. It’s not a joke or a lesson! It’s just one more notch on Yuu’s bedpost of despair. If you’re into late-60s what-about-the-kids media (and I am) it’s for you – if not, I’d stay clear.
That said, it’s easy enough – and terribly attractive, amongst all that gloom – to find lolarious page-crops. Here’s my top ten. Read right to left.
10: Spider-Man needs to talk with the President
9: Spider-Man vs Mysterio
8: Somebody brought Spider-Powers to a gunfight
7: Kill! Kill! Lessons from Spider-Man
6: Spider-Man seriously, for real, masturbates.
5: Spider-Man gets driven home
4: WIth great power comes great responsibility
3: Spider-Man vs health insurance
2: Lessons about women
1: The enduring message.