Spider-Man, Spider-Man, he's got dynamite in his pants...

Long, long ago in a far off land called New York, I worked in the DC Comics production department under the auspices of the remarkable Rick Taylor.

I took the job because I wanted to get work writing for DC and I figured working on staff would help expedite matters. (It didn’t)

The DC production department was composed of a diverse and colorful cast of characters back then. Earlier today I was thinking of one such character, the always-redoubtable Nick Napolitano. The thing that started me thinking of Nick was this stunning piece of art from the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

Pretty cool, eh? Nick and I shared a cubicle for a couple of months and while hunkered over our respective drawing tables we would combat boredom and monotony by often sharing obscure and inane bits of trivia from our pasts. One such nugget of Nick Napolitano trivia that will make me chuckle until the day I die concerned the theme song to the 1960s Spider-Man animated series. Nick confided in me that he had misunderstood the lyrics to the theme song, and for the longest time instead of “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!” he thought the song went, “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, he’s got dynamite in his pants!”

I can’t be too hard on Nick. I guess when you’re a kid the idea that someone with the proportional strength of a spider might need some dynamite from time to time, and hey, the last time I checked Spider-Man didn’t have any pockets in his costume, so why not slip a couple of sticks into your pants. When you’re a kid you find it much easier to justify things like that.


The devil you say...

I haven’t had the chance yet to see Mark Steven Johnson’s Ghost Rider movie, which is currently burning up movie theater screens from coast to coast. It should be hitting the hundred million dollar mark any minute now. Who would have guessed?

If you’ll recall, it was Johnson who wrote and directed 2003’s poorly received Daredevil movie. I’ve always had a soft spot for the film, despite its many flaws, and when I was in Wal-Mart this past weekend and saw a copy of the Director’s Cut for nine dollars I figured I’d give the movie a second chance.

I guess you’ve already figured out that things turned out well—otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this

Mark Steven Johnson’s cut of the movie (as opposed to the studio’s version) clocks in at thirty minutes longer and nearly every minute of it is put to good use. There’s an extended fight scene in Josie’s Bar that we didn’t really need, and a longer version of the end battle with the Kingpin that we really did need.

The biggest addition is a neat subplot that features rapper-turned-actor Coolio. This leads to extended scenes of Matt Murdock in his civies, using his heightened senses to investigate leads and hunt for clues in order to solve mystery. The additional screen time helps round out the characters and gives us more to sink our teeth into than abbreviated bullet points.

Another fun subplot that gets put back in involves Wesley Owen Welch, the Kingpin’s second in command, who recognizes the writing on the walls and makes a deal to land butter side up when the Kingpin’s empire crumbles. This explains why the cops are coming to arrest Kingpin after the end of his slugfest with Daredevil. In fact, it’s not until you see the extended version do you realize exactly how many gaping plot holes were left unaddressed. (I don’t know about you, but when I go to see a superhero or crazy super action adventure film, I try to keep my mind as open as physically possible. You have to be willing to grant huge doses of forgiveness in order to enjoy the movie to any degree. I just bite the bullet and take the good with the bad.)

If you sorta liked the Daredevil movie and have thought to yourself all these years that maybe it wasn’t as horrible as you remember it—the extended cut is for you—it’s exactly for you!