Spectacular Spider-Man #14

Comic book, 2004

I went through this thing a while back where I was buying, or at least looking at, everything drawn by Paulo Rivera. He’s got a great retro style, almost like Steve Rude but with more of an edge (which is not necessarily a good thing, but it works for me). His line art is great- he did a short story where Spider-Man and Wolverine go out drinking together and another full issue where Spider-Man and Punisher team up- but I wasn’t as in love with his painted work. He did a series of fully painted one-shots starring the major Marvel characters, and they were muddy and dark. I don’t know if it was a problem with the reproduction or what, but this issue is the same way. It seems like the paintings are good, just printed poorly. Which makes no sense- I’ve seen Marvel reproduce paintings beautifully, so it makes no sense that this one guy’s stuff would look crappy across the board. But take a look at the muddy, Marvel released image above and the same image on Rivera’s own site. Pretty big difference, huh? Anyway, the story is one of those ones where you don’t have to squint too hard to see the writer attempting to put his stamp on a seventy year old character that’s already completely covered in stamps. It’s one of those things where they show you the character by showing you how someone else sees him. And the punchline, a disabled person saying they feel sorry for Spider-Man because he seems so sad, comes off as weird, transparent and forced. 3

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