Espiderman #1

 Title: Espiderman
 Posted: 30 Jun 2022
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)

Background

Enrique V. Vegas is a bit of an alt-comics star in Spain. Starting in the early 2000's, he released various runs of parody comics, featuring a drawing style he calls "Cabezona" (Big-Head). The early books predominantly spoofed Marvel characters, but he has recently stretched further afield into DC and other pop-culture icons.

The Spider-Man parody "Es-Piderman" (hyphen dropped starting from issue #3) was one of his early products. Episode #1 came out in 2002, and four more issues followed at two or three year intervals until issue #5 in 2011.

The early episodes are hard to find in their original soft-cover Spanish. But there is a hard-cover collection Espiderman (Collected Edition), and the series was published in 2011 in an Italian translation as Speederman.

Story Details

The book format is a slightly undersized comic. The cover is a "Web of Spider-Man"... made of spaghetti. Inside, all illustrations are black and white, story and art by the aforementioned Enrique V. Vegas. There are 28 pages in the story, plus a few self-promotion pages.

The story opens with "Es-piderman! Finally, we reveal the one and only true origin!"

It doesn't take long. Peter (Pedro Nuñez) and his school "friends" visit the laboratory of "Dexter & Co." When it comes time for somebody to volunteer to be bitten by a radioactive Spidey, Peter is pushed to the front, and there we go. Spider-Powers in one page.

He buys a discount costume at the €1 store, and we have our hero. Swinging through the city. Looking for action in a city full of skyscrapers and... other super-heroes and villains.

After a couple of bruising practice runs with ordinary villains, our "hero" quickly attracts the attention of "Don Pimpón" (Ping-Pong) – I presume that's a little joke on "Kingpin". Kingpin puts a price on Es-piderman's newly-costumed head, and the summons is answered by (in order):

  1. Kraven (riding a flying Dumbo elephant).
  2. Doctor Octopus (who is trying to save up money to open a restaurant).
  3. The Green Goblin (who complains that his costume looks terrible in black and white).
  4. The Vulture (quickly fried).
  5. Mysterio, Sandman...

And then... Venom. Actually, Venom then launches into combat with the previous six villains, allowing Es-piderman to break free and scramble to a rooftop where he encounters Don Dan Defensor (Daredevil) and then Punisher. DDD and Punisher squabble about fashion costume design, and the "Ugly Betty" TV show. This leaves Spidey to swing off, ready to fight another day.

General Comments

Let's start with the good stuff. The artwork is just fine. It's the kind of big-head cartoon style that you see done by artists working in Disneyland, or in a piazza in Rome. You know, the ones that will draw you in distorted, exaggerated comedy style for $20 black and white (or $30 in color).

As an artist, Vegas does tidy work, with clean lines. Mind you, I must admit that it started to wear a little on me after 28 pages – like a joke stretched on for too long.

Unfortunately, that's about the end of the positive side.

There's really not much else to rave about. The "plot" is a series of short, strangely un-engaging interactions, generally involving shouting. There is no character development (other than the fact that Peter wasn't Spider-Man at the start, but then he was). Nobody learns anything, we don't develop affection for anybody.

The "jokes" are slapstick yelling and shouting, or absurd-isms such as Kraven riding a flying Disney elephant, or DDD boasting about the haute-couture of his costume. Sure, I'm not reading in my native language. But I honestly don't think there are any deep laughs there that I overlooked.

Overall Rating

Honestly, I'm disappointed.

I had thought that Vegas would bring something new and original into the mix. Instead, it's just a low-rent shits-n-giggles parody with plenty of waving of fists, but nothing other than the purely superficial.

The guy can draw just fine. But there's no story in here. This book would have been better as a set of stickers, not a comic.

Two Webs.

 Title: Espiderman
 Posted: 30 Jun 2022
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)