The Spider-Man sketch

Spider-Man by Sam, age 3.  This was his first-ever representational drawing.

In honor of
[info]urbaniak‘s appearance today at the NYCC (with jacksonpublick , Doc Hammer and my good friend Mr. Steven Rattazzi) I here present the famous “Spider-Man” sketch, which James and I performed a couple of years ago at a similar event at MoCCA.

UPDATE: as one can see, I have finally figured out the “cut” function.  Thank you ghostgecko.

MARCH 1962

D.  Okay?

L. Ready.

D.  Ready?

L.  Ready.

D.  Okay.  Spider-Man.

L.  Spider-Man.

D.  Spider-Man.

L.  Spider-Man.  (Pause.)  Spider-Man.  (Pause.)  What can he do?

D.  What can he do?

L.  What can he do.

D.  He can do…whatever a spider can do.

L.  Which involves what.

D.  Well –

L.  Can he paralyze live animals with his venom and suck out their fluids with his teeth?

D.  Um…no.

L.  Then what?

D.  Well.  He can.  He can.  He can spin a web.

L.  Ah.  Yes.  And this web, how large would this web be?

D.  What do you mean?

L.  I mean, would the web be proportionate to his size?

D.  Uh –

L.  I mean, a spider is, say, an inch long, end to end, but a spider web is much, much larger than a spider.  I’m asking, would the web, Spider-Man’s web, be proportionate to his size?

D.  I’m not sure that the size of the web is important.

L.  I’m just asking, Spider-Man spins a web, is it a large web or is it a small web?

D.  I think Spider-Man would be capable of spinning a web of any size.

L.  From very small to very very large?

D.  Why is this important?

L.  Let’s move on.

D.  Good.

L.  Spider-Man.  Spider-Man.  Does whatever a spider can.  Spins a web.

D.  Any size.

L.  Yes, exactly.  What does he do with this web?

D.  What does he do.

L.  With the web.

D.  Well, he – he – he catches – he catches – things.

L.  Like what?

D.  Well that would be our job, to figure that out.

L.  Fruit?

D.  Fruit?

L.  Fruit, he catches fruit in his web.  To eat.  You know.  In the manner of a spider.

D.  Uh – I’m not sure where this is going.

L.  Well look.  He has to eat, right?  He has to eat.  So how does he eat?  He catches food in his web.

D.  I – no, no, to eat, he, he, he goes to a diner and orders a cheeseburger.  He doesn’t, the web, the web, it isn’t to catch food.

L.  Well you didn’t say that.

D.  Well I’m saying it now.

L.  I’m not a mind-reader.

D.  No.  No.  I, I –

L.  Well okay.  So he’s not catching food.  Although that would seem to me to be a primary response to finding oneself in the position of being a spider-man.

D.  But – no, no, the spider, the spider thing, he’s a man.  He’s a, he doesn’t have eight legs, he doesn’t have fourteen eyes, he’s a man.  He’s a man, with certain characteristics of a spider.

L.  Like the web.

D.  Like the web.

L.  To catch food.

D.  To –

L.  No, that’s right, not to catch food.  Food is taken care of.  He’s a man.  He’s a man.  He eats like a man.  His nutritional needs are met.  Survival is not his primary interest.

D.  Right.

L.  Then his interests expand outward.  Sex.  Love.  “Can I be loved, I, a man with certain characteristics of a spider?”

D. Perhaps.

L.  Family.  Community.

D.  Yes.

L.  Order.  Reason.  Um, community, community service of some sort.

D.  Yes.

L.  He catches, he catches pollution.

D.  Um…

L.  No, pollution he catches in his web.

D.  It would be hard to, to – I’m not seeing it.

L.  What, and the fish, he’s like a giant ocean-going fisherman with his web, and he catches water pollution in his web, and he has his own spider-boat, and he wears a yellow slicker – no one understands him, they don’t know, HE’S THE SPIDER-MAN, making the ocean’s wildlife safe for, safe for, um –

D.  You see?

L.  Yes.  I’m beginning to.  Um.

D.  He catches, he catches –

L.  Those Who Do Not Follow The Rules.

D.  Hm?

L.  The Community.  To live in a community, you must follow the rules.  Otherwise you are cast out.  Into the wilderness.  Into THE WEB OF SPIDER-MAN.

D.  But, like, who, specifically?

L.  I, well, I, you know, miscreants.  Murderers.  Junkies, dopers, screwheads.

D.  Thieves?

L.  Thieves, maybe, sure, why not?

D.  He catches thieves.

L.  He catches thieves.  All right.

D.  Agreed.

L.  How.

D.  How?

L.  How.

D.  He – with his web.

L.  Of course.  In the manner of a spider.  In the manner of a spider catching a fly.  Yes.  Okay.  I’m on board now.  “Look out!”  To the thieves I’m talking to now – “Look out!  Here comes the Spider-Man!”  Okay.  Is he strong?

D.  What do you mean?

L.  Is he strong?

D.  In what way?

L.  Is he physically strong?

D.  Is he strong?  I should think so.

L.  Why is he strong?

D.  Okay, get this: he’s got radioactive blood.

L.  He does?

D.  Yes.  He does.

L.  Oh.

D.  So.  Yes.

L.  And this enables him to be strong.

D.  I think so.

L.  Rather than the opposite.

D.  I just think –

L.  I mean, correct me if I’m wrong.  Let’s give you radioactive blood and see what happens.

D.  All I’m saying.

L.  My aunt, I ever tell you?

D.  No, listen, please, I’m just saying –

L.  Tumor.  Tumor size of a golfball, on her spine.  They gave her radioactive blood.  Result?  I think I would have to characterize it as “Absence of Strength.”

D.  You asked me.

L.  Yes I did.

D.  Okay.  Is he strong?  Listen.  Stan.  Listen.  He’s got radioactive blood.

L.  So the radioactive blood is important to you.

D.  I would say so.

L.  Then let’s move on.

D.  Good.

L.  I’m wondering – and I’m just talking out loud here – can he swing?

D.  Swing?

L.  You know, from a thread?

D.  Yes.

L.  “Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man.”  (Pause.)  No.  I’m losing it.

D.  No.  Listen.  Listen.  Picture it.  Listen.  In the heat of Night.  At the Scene of the Crime.  Like a Streak of Light, Boom!  He Arrives. (snap) Just in time.

L.  For what.

D.  For catching thieves!

L.  Ah.  Of course.  I’m sorry.

D.  What else?

L.  I just – I got confused.  The Scene of the Crime.

D.  What.

L.  Nothing.  You’re right.  I just – I thought – you said “The Scene of the Crime” and I thought, I just, you know, when you say “The Scene of the Crime” usually you’re referring to The Scene of the Crime After The Crime Has Already Happened.  So, under those circumstances, if he arrives at the Scene of the Crime, then he would be too late to catch anyone.  So I just – I got confused.  But okay.  Crime, criminals, thieves, Spider-Man, Boom!  A web.  I got it now.  Spider-Man.

D.  Spider-Man.

L.  Alone in his multi-million-dollar Spider Tower.

D.  No.

L.  No?

D.  No.  Spider-Man’s different.  He’s just a guy.

L.  Just a guy.

D.  The kind of a guy you’d see on the street.

L.  Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

D.  Exactly.

L.  His immense wealth hidden by his –

D.  No, no – he –

L.  Well, but certainly he has money.  I mean, all that service to the community, do they not reward him?  Isn’t this story really about the outsider’s triumph over the community?  He is a freak, is he not?  He’s an outcast, but by catching thieves in his net –

D.  His web –

L.  His web, thank you, he, he proves his worth, and is rewarded with a large cash settlement.

D.  You haven’t been listening at all.

L.  What did I miss?  That’s the STORY.  Joe Campbell, Chapter One.  Look it up.

D.  No.  Action.

L.  What about it.

D.  He doesn’t want money.  He wants ACTION.

L.  In the manner of a spider.

D.  Okay.  Look.

L.  The Active Spider, the Restless Spider, the eight-legged arachnid, “Who has not beheld a spider and not been impressed by its wildly active nature?  Indeed, the spider seems to crave action as much as it craves the insects it sucks the fluids from.”

D.  Are you done?

L.  Spiders are Not Active.  Spiders Build a Web.  And then they Sit There.

D.  But he’s also a Man.

L.  But he also has certain characteristics of a spider.  Like INACTIVITY.

D.  But he’s young, and agitated, and restless, and antsy –

L.  Ironically.

D.  To him, life is a great big bang-up.

L.  What colorful language.

D.  He’s angry, angry at the world –


D.  What about the web?

L.  The web is STUPID.

D.  What if the suit is red?

L.  I like that.
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25 Responses to “The Spider-Man sketch”
  1. greyaenigma says:

    Did you post that before? It seems awfully familiar. Or maybe it’s just strongly in the style of something else you’d posted.

    Interesting that Ditko came up with all the ideas in the sketch. Now I’m kind of wishing I’d gotten the original animated series on DVD.

    Also, just to go over this again: <lj-cut text=”short version text”>Very long version text</lj-cut>

    And… cut.

    • Todd says:

      I have not posted this before. It is similar to the “Ad Men” sketch, where the men in question try to build the armor hot dog jingle.

      I tried the “lj cut text” thing again, it didn’t work again. Sorry.

      • greyaenigma says:

        Hot dogs. Armor hot dogs. Yes, that’s what I was thinking of. Equally enjoyable.

        It’s “lj-cut”, by the way, not “lj cut”. Which is confusing because they use “lj user” without a dash.

        • Todd says:

          I literally cut and pasted exactly what you put in your comment. It still didn’t work.

          • urbaniak says:

            I just e-mailed you new, improved instructions. I had to learn this because my “Friends” were bugging me too.

            Cut or no cut, that’s still a boffo sketch.

            • Todd says:

              Okay, I give up. I’ve now tried this ten times, using exactly the instructions provided, with absolutley no change. If you like, you can send me receipts and I will cheerfully refund your money.

              • gdh says:

                <lj-cut text=”this is what the cut is called”>

                sketch goes here


                • gdh says:

                  Also, you can’t put another tag inside a tag declaration.

                  It looks like you tried to do
                  <lj-cut text=”in honour of <lj user=”jacksonpublick”>”>
                  which won’t work because of the nested tag. It’s completely obvious to anyone who knows HTML that it won’t work, and completely obvious to anyone who doesn’t know HTML that it should work. This is why technical people are bad at explaining things.

                • ghostgecko says:

                  Re: LJ Cut. It only works if your text entry area, the box where you type stuff, is on HTML. You probably have it on Rich Text. It’s the tab on the upper right of the box.

                  Anyways . . . “L. Tumor. Tumor size of a golfball, on her spine. They gave her radioactive blood. Result? I think I would have to characterize it as “Absence of Strength.” That’s a power Spider-Man never exhibited. Curing cancer every time he donates blood to the Red Cross.

                  Sam’s version of Spider-Man rather looks like Munch’s “The Scream”.

                  • gdh says:

                    Reason #2 why technical people are bad at explaining things – assuming that everyone is using plaintext mode and doing all the text formatting tags by hand.

                    • ghostgecko says:

                      When LJ switched over to giving you the option of rich text or html and the default was set at rich text, it drove me crazy until I saw that stupid tab thing. A little warning would have been nice. You can still do a cut in rt but you have to highlight the stuff you want cut and click on a uninformative icon (broken line over a solid line). It’s obnoxious.

                    • Todd says:

                      The first ten times I tried the cut failed because I was putting the tags in while it was in rich text mode. The eleventh time failed because I placed the tag in the wrong spot. The current time (visible above) failed because the rich text mode is confusing and doesn’t seem to work. And that, I think, is enough about this for me for today.

                    • yetra says:

                      Let the whiners deal with having to scroll 🙂

                    • Todd says:

                      Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but…

      • urbaniak says:

        It is similar to the “Ad Men” sketch, where the men in question try to build the armor hot dog jingle.

        Todd has a whole volume of sketches based on this premise. Well, one other one anyway.

        • Todd says:

          More to the point, I have a whole volume of sketches based on pitch meetings. It’s the only thing I really know any more.

  2. r_sikoryak says:

    If you were in NY, I’d’ve asked you to do the sketch at tonight’s Carousel (at the comic con at 7pm).

    If you want to fly out I’ll put you in.

  3. Todd says:

    Well, as Josh Emery has pointed out many times, James is a fucking plagiarist.