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Spider-Creators Spin A Web of Praise
We asked some Spider-Man writers and artists, past and present, what they thought of the new Spider-Man movie
By Arnold T. Blumberg
July 03, 2002
Brian Michael Bendis
© 2001 Rob Allstetter
OK, so we all know the wall-crawler's big screen debut was a monster smash, yadda yadda yadda. Thanks to the efforts of director Sam Raimi, stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe and the many men and women behind the scenes of this summer's first and biggest runaway movie success, box office records have been shattered and set, and best of all, the mainstream public - that most fickle of folk - have now learned just a bit about the amazing appeal of the arachnid adventurer and his tragic but exciting crime-fighting career. (By the way, a special shout-out to former DOCTOR WHO
designer turned Hollywood powerhouse, SPIDER-MAN
costume designer James Acheson!)
Stan Lee at the SPIDER-MAN premiere. (Copyright 2002 Sue Schneider)
© 2002 Sue Schneider
So it's all been a humongous history-making hit and we're all very pleased, particularly those of us in the comic book world who have known about the wall-crawler's brand of wonder for many years. But what of the people who actually shaped Spider-Man's comic book stardom for the last 40 years. How did the writers and artists who made the radioactive raconteur what he is today react when they first saw those familiar red-and-blues soaring through the cavernous city streets of New York? Did they think it was a faithful adaptation? Did they enjoy seeing Spidey come alive on the big screen? And were they surprised by the sheer size and scope of his success?
John Romita Sr. & Jr. united for the cover of the new Amazing Spider-Man #1
© Marvel Characters Inc.
Well, think no more, oh True Believers, because we have the answers! As it turns out, Spider-Man's creators past and present were thrilled to see the SPIDER-MAN
movie and they all happen to agree that it's pretty spectacular - in fact, you might even say they thought it was amazing!
So without further ado, here's a quick - quick? - rundown of what these talented individuals think about Spidey's first feature film:
Former AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
editor and current SPIDER-GIRL
editor Tom DeFalco: "I wasn't the least bit surprised by the success of the feature film because it perfectly captured the essence of the character - a character that I knew the rest of the world would love as much as I do!"AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
artist John Romita Jr.: "I was surprised by the size of the success, not the success itself. Yes, the movie did capture the essence of the character."
Former Spider-Man writer Roger Stern: "Any movie that came even halfway close to capturing what Spider-Man was all about - and I think this one did much better than that - had a decent shot. Luckily, the technology finally came along that could produce the kinds of effects we've been tossing off in comics for decades."
Living legend and former AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
artist John Romita Sr.: "Once I saw the respect the director and actors showed for the premise and the characters, I knew it would succeed. How
successful would have been harder to predict."
Spider-Man Group Editor Axel Alonso: "I was somewhat surprised by the fact that the movie broke all those box office records, but in light of September 11, with people looking for heroes, Spidey fits the bill and then some. I think the movie is extremely true to the source material - particularly in the first reel of the film, where it relates his origin. It definitely conveys the sense of dread and wonder that would accompany the radioactive spider-bite. And Tobey Maguire is perfectly cast as Peter Parker. Just try to imagine Leo DiCaprio in that role. Better yet, don't."
The 2nd SPIDER-MAN movie one-sheet.
© 2001 Sony Pictures
writer Brian Michael Bendis: "It does capture the essence, which thrilled me to no end. It's such a delicate balance, and Hollywood isn't known for its delicate balances. My hat's off to everyone. And I am very happy that the movie has done so well. The kids in my neighborhood are living and breathing Spider-Man now - it's fantastic."
And for the last word, let's go the "The Man" what started it all, Spider-Man co-creator and monolithic Marvel maker Stan Lee: "I was pleased [but] not surprised. I had previously read the great script, I knew the great director and was thrilled by the great cast. Spider-Man had
to be a hit."