June 10, 2012

Along Came THE SPIDER....

Much of my recent reading has been consisting primarily of pulp literature - both Victorian detective (for a comics project I'm developing) and good, old fashioned 1930s-style adventure. One of the characters I'm growing particularly fond of is The Spider, the gun-toting vigilante who's been fascinating me in audiobook, compilation, and e-book form.

(Truth be told - I'm a volunteer proofreader for Radio Archives, and they reward my efforts with gift certificates. This, plus an Android Tab purchased on eBay, has kept me swimming in Spider and Operator 5 reprints).

So it's taken me awhile to get around to David Liss' more modern take on The Spider for Dynamite Entertainment. After reading both issues, I can honestly say....this is one of the best "revamps" I've read in awhile.

Part of it is that it manages to capture the apocalyptic, hallucinogenic tone of Norvell Page's writing, placing that edge-of-oblivion-feeling-at-the-end-of-the-world strictly within a 21st century context. There's also a slight shuffling of characters and traits - not really a reinvention per se, but a slight adding of detail that gives the book a little bit more emotional resonance. It's also refreshing to read a work that uses the nerd cliche of zombies....with a strong, very central motivation.

Colton Worley's painted art is similarly evocative, slightly noir with an otherworldliness that gives the story a dreamlike quality. At times, it did seem a little overly done, but it has a great unnerving effect. Much like Page's prose, it is simultaneously lurid, driving, atmospheric....and instantaneously readable.

Pick up Dynamite's The Spider. You won't be disappointed.

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