Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Announced last week, Marvel Unlimited kicked off a new Spider-Man comic right in time for Halloween that is very spooky. The eight-part series is by Saladin Ahmed and Juan Ferreyra, promises to use a classic villain, and even has its own theme song. Seriously, listen to it right now. You owe it to yourself. Given the creators involved, this should be a surefire hit, but how does it read?
If you’re unfamiliar with the new Marvel Unlimited comics, you might be taken by surprise by the vertical nature of the story. A conscious effort has been made to utilize the vertical space, which you can see be it their X-Men, Shang-Chi, or Venom Infinity Comics.
This series opens with the lyrics from the song linked to above with Peter Parker slowly coming into focus, as if through a fog. Something is haunting him and soon Peter is trying to get away in a starkly white space as if he’s trapped in the comic itself. Ferreyra does well to show Peter climbing, and then have the panels he’s inside slide down the vertical space and fall. Whatever the music was, it made Peter forget himself.
It’s a creepy way to start, though it soon turns to Spidey fighting robots in the streets of New York. That music rears its head in a different way and it’s smart of Ahmed to show how Spidey is thrown off. It’s a short chapter in the story, but the way it ends is very creepy. Ahmed has crafted a mystery of sorts here, not only to figure out what is happening to Spider-Man, but who is doing it to him.
Ferreyra explores the vertical space well, drawing the eye with a city street that leads to Spidey thwipping away before the scene change. Given Ferreyra’s proclivity to explore different layouts with conventional comics, it’s not a surprise there are some clever ideas at work here too. A few panels make you feel even closer to Spider-Man, be it through speed lines or the stretching of perspective as if from a fish-eye lens. Given you’ll likely read this on your phone, it puts the action right in your lap.
Letters by Joe Sabino are clean, and word balloons tend to have tails that run down the page more than across. These add to the vertical nature of reading the book. In one example of it working well, Spider-Man notices a piece of robot, and as he speaks each word balloon leads us to a closer image of the piece eventually revealing a serial code.
Spine-Tingling Spider-Man part 1 is a creepy start to a great Spider-Man story. It’s not so scary that young kids can’t read, but it gets under your skin just enough to creep out anybody. It’s also a great example of Ferreyra’s style of exploring space and stretching your imagination with good art.
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