spider-man captain universe
macfarlane hulkThis is actually my favorite arc in Michelinie’s run. Spider-Man starts leveling up in a major way, and can’t figure out why, until the big reveal that he’s become the next Captain Universe. It’s not a long-lasting storyline, although it crossed into both Spectacular and Web (and Quasar). It also bridged MacFarlane and incoming artist Erik Larsen. Larsen drew the panel above and MacFarlane finally delivered some art that I like in a Hulk story.

MacFarlane left Amazing Spider-Man to write and draw “Spider-Man Volume 1.” The first issue would become one of the best-selling, fastest-selling comics in history. Quality-wise, though, Spider-Man was never really any good. I guess if you love Todd MacFarlane you might like the issues he did. But he left after a year, followed by Erik Larsen, Ann Nocenti, and others, and none of it is very good. Marvel was simply overproducing Spider-Man comics. They would force editors of lines to publish multiple titles, leave no cash on the table (because you weren’t gonna use that money anyway, were you?), and leave the audience wanting less, not more. It’s what would ultimately crush Marvel and force them to rise from the ashes reborn, under the expertise of Joe Quesada, with whole new strategies.

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