Just a quick note that Into the Spider-Verse is on Netflix now.
When I was a kid Spider-Man and the X-Men block at Marvel were my go to comics. As I’ve aged I’ve found few of those comics have had run or arcs that interest me anymore – though I did recently note that Ed Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design has been wonderful – and I became resigned to the fact many years ago this was perfectly fine that perhaps I never would feel the same about these characters in a new iteration that I once did.
I often see older people spend copious amounts of times talking about comics they don’t like anymore that they once loved and while I don’t really want to tell other people what merits their time on earth but when confronted with these instances I often feel a surge of happiness that I’m not one of these people. If you follow podcasts or even last decade’s form of community discussions via forums you will start recognizing the same people that have been harping for several years if not decades about not liking something they still read and feeling the need to (repeatedly) tell us.
It’s pretty pathetic and is a form of unnecessary self-torture that feels premade for social media consumption only as some form of dumb-currency from lives devoid of any true meaning.
For myself, I’ve always liked new things.
I like new iterations. I like things that evolve and change. I travel constantly, I like to learn new methods solving old problems, I like new people. I don’t want to be in the same place I was 5 years ago, never mind 10 years ago, and I don’t want to be the same person I was then. I don’t have a hometown. My home is where I am, not what I left behind.
I do continue to enjoy many things I was introduced to as a child but I would not engage in them if I stopped doing so. These are exceptions and we should be gratified by how long they lasted in our favor not for the second they stop doing so.
Nostalgia has a place for sure but one person’s nostalgia is another person’s nightmare and while there are issues in the world that seem heightened in the last few years, I tend to think it’s the dying breath of and not a rebirth of the failure of Baby Boomers and their idiocracy. I think for many of these people and in some cases their all the wrong lesson learning children there is a fundamental issue involving that they simply don’t like the world that has changed around them reflected in art and product. They were more happy in a objectively worse world that artificially elevated them, even if only slightly, and art reflecting the world kills that reality (for the better of us all).
Status quo always came off as particularly insane in a medium like comics where creative budgets are only limited by the talent of the creator and the time they have.
The idea that thousands of base to genius creative minds and talents have worked on the characters and concepts for closing in on a century in some cases and that have changed very little is almost stupifying if you think about it even if just for a second. It’s an incredible amount of creative power, not to mention time, to stay in the same place, or at least get back to the same place by the end of a run or arc. You hear the term “putting the toys back in place” and “don’t break the toys” often in reference to comic creators ending their run. Toys are made to be played with, lost, broken, and either replaced or grown out of. They serve you. Not the other way around.
What does this have to do with Into the Spider-Verse?
It celebrates everything awesome about Spider-Man. Not just the old classic Spidey stories but everything Spider-Man can be going forward. What it has to be if it doesn’t want to die in the hands of current 45-65 year olds for good.
It’s something you can recommend to a child who has never cared about Spider-Man or superheroes and it’s fucking cool.
It’s got style, flavor, and reflects the best parts of our world and ideals. It’s everything any old fan of Spider-Man should love and a jump on point to new fans who were never served fully by it. It effectively showcases why Spider-Man has been and can remain the preeminent superhero since his inception (if you don’t believe me follow the $, from an overall dollar value this century the Spider-Man license is worth more than the next two – you can guess which 2 DC characters -combined). In short, if you personally could own one superhero and wanted to make the most money, it’s Spider-Man and it’s not even really close.
Into the Spider-Verse is as perfect a Spider-Man for the person who has long boxes full of books whose titles begin include words like Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of, as it is for an extraterrestrial that you want to introduce the best of Spider-Man to.
I don’t know how to put this in proper emphasis but Into the Spider-Verse is the perfect mix of reverence and excitement for a future realized. It is pure joy. It’s animation is distinct and incredible. It’s the perfect for the big time pop culture consumption introduction of so many versions of the Spider-Man concept.
When Miles Morales was first introduced in comics the character was well liked but there was always this barrier, a ceiling, that was nobody’s fault, just a product of the massive oeuvre of Spider-Man and the love people had for Peter Parker. It’s not the same a John Stewart being awesome in a cartoon and gaining a piece of the Green Lantern generational landscape from Hal Jordan, because as classic a character as Green Lantern is, he’s not Spider-Man.
Note perfect, what shouldn’t work sings and swings the most beautiful, and what should work, does so flawlessly. It’s a celebration and harbinger of things to come for all things Spider-Man. It is hyper-aware of itself but in a way that realizes the need to allow the watcher room to draw their own conclusion, to find the joy of the film that’s unmistakable and impossible to miss yet no less gratifying and warming.
It’s one of the few times I’ve seen modern theatrical animation that I slot in with the best of Pixar and Japanese anime. It’s a mini-revolution and it’s for everyone.