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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Spider-Man (2002)

This movie opened up the weekend before I started my first summer job at a movie theater. If you bring this movie up to or around me, almost without fail, the first thing I'll say is, "BONESAW'S READY!" It was the rallying cry of the closing shift concession workers and it is so etched into my brain, it might be my last words, terrifying the orderlies at the hospital or old age home. (I did not know, until this viewing and thanks to Ben, that Bonesaw was played by Randy "Macho Man" Savage!)

Despite working at a movie theater the summer this quintessential summer movie came out, I didn't see it in theaters. I had zero interest in superhero movies. It was the season of Lord of the Rings and I would not be swayed. I watched it with a friend or three in the dorms that fall and I loved it. This was approximately the same time I was connecting the pop cultural threads between some of my favorite franchises and learning that Sam Raimi was somehow responsible for all of them. I didn't have a discerning eye for production design like I do now, but looking back twenty years later (!?!?F*&%), it's obvious that Raimi always had an aesthetic that appealed to me. Slightly hokey, a sense of being homemade and hard scrabble, but enthusiastic. Born out of a LOVE for the thing.

It's been many many years since I last watched this branch of the Spider-Man franchise (though to be fair, I've only actually seen Spider-Men that included Tobey Maguire... and Into the Spider-Verse which transcends all superhero flicks), but I was kind of in awe. Not only was the trademark Raimi ingenuity on full display - which is more representative of his work than the Raimi-cam - but his love of movies. I never clocked it before but the man clearly spent a lot of time with Burton's Batmen before directing this. The villain that walks a very narrow line between terrifying madman and drag queen. The campy but grounded take on classic characters (J. Jonah Jameson made me guffaw at trusting his barber and Raimi holding a beat on JK Simmons who I hope loves waking up as JK Simmons every day). The skillful use of a Danny Elfman score. Knowing that the villain's origin story is just as - if not more - intriguing than the hero's. Sam Raimi came to this movie excited to direct a comic book movie and I wish the MCU would take some goddamn notes. It's okay to be joyful. It really is.

Dick York is my Darrin Stephens. David Tennant is my Doctor. And Tobey Maguire is my Peter Parker. Pure and simple. I cried a little during No Way Home when he showed up (mostly, though, because of Elfman's hero's motif that played in that moment) and I love his 30-year-old as high school student drag. He brings a hangdog optimism that feels correct for Pete. His life is so miserable but he has hope that it will be better. That hope is what makes a hero like Spidey. What sets him apart from the likes of Tony Stark. I wish I was more like this Peter Parker. Even with his dopey smiling at MJ.

But this movie belongs to Willem Dafoe. Whom I adore. The more I see him in, the more I love him and the more I want to see him in. He's unhinged and seems joyful (god I'm so HUNGRY for JOY these days!) and like he loves what he does. I both desperately want to create something with him and know that I would be struck dumb in his presence. What a MEAL he makes of his mirror scene.

I love him. And it is so personal to me that he and I are the same height.

"Deliver Us"

Linocut block print on paper.


-It felt So Good to work on this piece. I aimed to push myself with my line work, frankly because I'm so gosh darn envious of the detail that the artists who work in lino on instagram are doing. And, honestly, it turned out really well. Especially not having done a lino in a few months.

-Who knew I'd get so cavalier about doing faces?! Not me! I'm particularly proud of the Gobby second from the right. I lovelovelove when he has the eye guards lifted and you can see Dafoe's teeth through the screen. Was this 100% effective? Probably not, but it turned out better than I thought it would and that's terrific.

-The inks got a little muddied in the ombre but that's okay. It still ultimately has the effect I wanted. I also need to invest in better inks. I'm ready. And the speedball intro ink sucks. I deserve better and, hey, I can afford better these days.

-I went back to traditional lino, putting down my speed-cut whatever in hopes it would make my lines stronger. I think it did.

Next movie: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! The start of so much for me. Submechanophobia. Too-early-in-life Jules Verne fixation. Too-early-in-life James Mason fixation. THURL RAVENSCROFT.

Have a great week! If you're having a tough day, think about WWWDD? What would Willem Dafoe do? He'd go real hard on whatever he was doing, harder than anyone asked for, and at some point he'd go make silly faces in a mirror. You should too.

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