The Live-Action Spider-Man Noir TV Series Should Adapt the Comics, Not Spider-Verse


Although the original series keeps magic to a minimum, save for Peter transforming into Spider-Man via an idol (all part of the “spider-totem” stuff that was popular at the time), the third Spider-Man Noir miniseries from 2020, written by Margaret Stohl and illustrated by Juan Ferreyra, goes deeper into Nazis dabbling with the supernatural. The World War II setting teams Peter with industrialist Tony Stark and the Dora Milaje of Wakanda to prevent an ancient Mesopotamian from delivering the reality-altering M’Kraaan Crystal (usually associated with the Shi’ar Empire in X-Men comics) to Hitler.

Even though these stories wavier between edgy, realistic action, and mind-bending magic, they never devolve into self-parody. In fact, there’s a bleakness to the stories that feels at home within the world of Peter Parker. From the very beginning, Peter has been a loser, a guy whose life never goes right, and only gets worse when he gets his powers. That doesn’t mean Spider-Man should be constantly bleak. As much as dorks on the internet like to share panels of Spidey ripping off a dude’s face or staring down Daredevil, those extreme moments only matter because they’re aberrations to the character, not his norm. Part of Spider-Man’s heroism is found in his quips and one-liners, his cheerful attitude that deliberately pushes back against the sorrow of the world.

Spider-Verse dialed up Spider-Man Noir’s outlook to a ridiculous degree. A line like “wherever I go the wind follows, and the wind smells like rain,” might sound tragic in some contexts, but it’s a joke in Spider-Verse, inviting us to laugh at the melodrama of the character. And we do laugh, because the melodrama is funny. But Spider-Man Noir has just over five minutes of screen time in Into the Spider-Verse, which means that the joke doesn’t get old. But that joke doesn’t have enough legs to sustain the focus of a full season of television without reducing the central pathos of Spider-Man into something risible.

The Spider-Man Noir comics understand the overheated world of the hardboiled detective fiction and film noir that inspired them, where great tragedy is a matter of course in which lines like “wherever I go the wind follows, and the wind smells like rain” have meaning beyond getting a chuckle. More importantly, they exist by accentuating, not mocking, everything great about Spider-Man, his tragedy, and his persistence.

Cage can do a lot of things. But he can’t make a one-note joke work for a full TV season. The Spider-Man Noir comics are the way to go.

Read original source here.

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