5 PANELS FROM A GREAT SERIES: Spider-Man’s Tangled Web

Paul Pope-Tangled Web #15

Paul Pope-Tangled Web #15

Spider-Man’s Tangled Web was an anthology that ran for 22 issues beginning in 2001. Marvel was able to secure super-talented people for the book–folks who for the most part hadn’t ever written Spider-Man before (and in many cases hadn’t even written for Marvel).

Unlike most anthologies, Web was not uneven: Every single issue had something innovative, charming, or even flat-out brilliant. It was inspired by books like Gotham Central, in which a superhero is behind the book but isn’t the main character.

Kaare Andrews' photo-collage issue

Kaare Andrews’ photo-collage issue

Instead, Marvel let the creators experiment with new techniques, and with stuff that was generally too “hard” for an actual Spider-Man book….

Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso explore life as a Kingpin henchman

Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso explore life as a Kingpin henchman

The above sequence, from issue #4, got an Eisner nomination for “Best Single Issue of a Comic Book” in 2002.

The book also made great use of Paul Jenkins’ creation Typeface, who later ended up being moderately important in Civil War: Frontline, also written by Paul Jenkins.

Ted McKeever's story featured Typeface

Ted McKeever’s story featured Typeface

It’s only in a book like this that an indie comic artist like McKeever can really stretch out and play with Marvel’s toys.

There were many great stories in this series, by the likes of Garth Ennis, John McCrea, Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo (whose two-part “Featuring the Rhino” story was pure genius), Bruce Jones, Lee Weeks, Darwyn Cooke, Sean Phillips, Brian Azzarello, and many others.

But perhaps the best of them all was this little gem by Zeb Wells and Dean Haspiel, in which J. Jonah Jameson goes to a psychiatrist…

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