Web-Spinning Heroics

Critical Essays on the History and Meaning of Spider-Man

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About the Book

This volume collects a wide-ranging sample of fresh analyses of Spider-Man. It traverses boundaries of medium, genre, epistemology and discipline in essays both insightful and passionate that move forward the study of one of the world’s most beloved characters. The editors have crafted the book for fans, creators and academics alike. Foreword by Tom DeFalco, with poetry and an afterword by Gary Jackson (winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize).

About the Author(s)

Robert Moses Peaslee is an associate professor and chair of Journalism and Electronic Media at the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. His work has been published in several journals and he is coeditor of two previous essay collections on comics.
Robert G. Weiner is associate humanities librarian at Texas Tech University. His work has been published in the Journal of Popular Culture, Public Library Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, International Journal of Comic Art and Popular Music and Society.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4627-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9167-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Foreword: My Pal Pete

TOM DEFALCO      1

Elegy for Gwen Stacy

GARY JACKSON      3

Introduction

ROBERT G. WEINER and ROBERT MOSES PEASLEE      4

I. Historical, Cultural and Pedagogical Angles

Donald Glover for Spider-Man

PHILLIP LAMARR CUNNINGHAM      22

Have Great Power, Greatly Irresponsible: Intergenerational Conflict in 1960s Amazing Spider-Man

PETER LEE      29

“Continually in the Making”: Spider-Man’s New York

MARTIN FLANAGAN      40

Hegemonic Implications of Science in Popular Media: Science Narratives and Representations of Physics in the Spider-Man Film Trilogy

LISA HOLDERMAN      53

Teaching Peter Parker’s Ghosts of Milton: Anxiety of Influence, the Trace, and Platonic Knowing in Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1

JAMES BUCKY CARTER      63

II. Considering Specific Graphic Novels

Weaving Webs and True Lies: Revisiting Kraven’s Last Hunt Through the Lens of Brooklyn Dreams

DAVID WALTON      70

The Hermeneutics of Spider-Man: What Is Peter Parker Doing in Elizabethan England?

CHRISTINA C. ANGEL      74

Strategies of Narration in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Spider-Man: Blue

DEREK PARKER ROYAL      81

III. The J. Jonah Jameson Problem

Spider-Man: MENACE!!! Stan Lee, Censorship and the 100-Issue Revolution

AARON DRUCKER      90

J. Jonah Jameson—Hero or Villain? Spider-Man’s Nemesis Hard to Pigeonhole

ANDREW A. SMITH      101

Spider-Management: A Critical Examination of the Business World of Spider-Man

MATTHEW MCGOWAN and JEREMY SHORT      113

IV. Spider-Man and Other Sequential Art Characters

Anti-Heroes: Spider-Man and the Punisher

CORD A. SCOTT      120

The Sinister Six: Anti-Villains in an Anti-Heroic Narrative

RICK HUDSON      128

Spider-Man and Batman, Disordered Minds: Friendship Through Difference

PHILLIP BEVIN      134

V. Trauma Textual and Extra-Textual

The Loss of the Father: Trauma Theory and the Birth of Spider-Man

FORREST C. HELVIE      146

Artificial Mourning: The Spider-Man Trilogy and September 11th

TAMA LEAVER      154

VI. Issues of Gender in the Spider-verse

Three Stories, Three Movies and the Romances of Mary Jane and Spider-Man

ROBERT G. WEINER      166

Women’s Pleasures Watching Spider-Man’s Journeys

EMILY D. EDWARDS      177

The Incorrigible Aunt May

ORA C. MCWILLIAMS      187

Spidey Meets Freud: Central Psychoanalytic Motifs in Spider-Man and Spider-Man      2

ROBERT MOSES PEASLEE      195

VII. Under-Examined Spider-Texts

Reinterpreting Myths in Spider-Man: The Animated Series

DAVID RAY CARTER      210

Finding the Milieu of the Spider-Man Music LPs

MARK MCDERMOTT      222

Games Are Not Convergence: Spider-Man 3, Game Design and the Lost Promise of Digital Production and Convergence

CASEY O’DONNELL      234

Afterword

GARY JACKSON      249

About the Contributors      251

Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

“Intriguing…a must…highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review; “remarkable”—startribune.com; “this collection examines a wide variety of philosophical, psychological, and cultural perspectives on this enduring comic book icon”—Reference & Research Book News.