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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 20

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we continue our special Tear-Jerker Week of cool comic book moments!

Today’s “tear jerker” moment comes from a neat issue of Paul Jenkins’ Peter Parker: Spider-Man run.

Enjoy!

This issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham, is a bit of a twist on the classic “The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man” story.

In this issue, we meet LaFronce Bennett, a young child living with a terrible, terrible mother in a less-than-ideal situation. His only outlet to keep himself sane is by talking with an imaginary friend – in this instance, Spider-Man.

Spidey keeps LaFronce’s spirits up even as his mother drinks herself stupid each day and gets herself (and through her, LaFronce) involved with some pretty bad people.

Meanwhile, LaFronce’s aunt and her boyfriend are trying to get custody of LaFronce, but the system is none too cooperative.

At the end of the issue, LaFronce is finally going to live with his aunt, so he likely will not be able to see Spider-Man anymore – the two have a tearful goodbye, but Spider-Man says that since LaFronce is a big guy now (he can count all the way to 20!), they can’t hug – they have to shake hands goodbye, like men do.

So that leads us to the last page of the issue, in a brilliant piece of work by Jenkins (and some great artwork by Buckingham) (click to enlarge).

36 Comments

I remember that comic.

Gave me chills at the time. What a great moment.

Any chance “Maybe Next Year” will make it onto the list? It’s from the same title. The issue has flashbacks of Peter and Ben going to Mets games . . . which makes sense, since Peter is a neurotic who is hit with adversity every few months. He’s not going to be rooting for the Yankees. It’s a remarkable issue because it’s from a British writer, and Jenkins does manage to capture the mindset of Mets fans and tell a poignant story to boot.

Great choice, Brian.
I love reading that issue. Along with Jenkins’ issue of Peter going to watch the Mets with Uncle Ben, its one of the few issues of Marvel that actually has some heart.

Jason

That story “Maybe Next Year” is on of my all time favorite Spidey stories!! Jenkin’s run was awsome

Jenkins’ last issue of the series (all of it) should also be in the running here. That issue alone was nothing but Cool Moments that could last a minimum of a week, if not two or three.

Awww man…

Brian, you’d better have some REALLY uplifting moments coming up soon… I’m running out of hankies…

Any chance “Maybe Next Year” will make it onto the list? It’s from the same title. The issue has flashbacks of Peter and Ben going to Mets games . . . which makes sense, since Peter is a neurotic who is hit with adversity every few months. He’s not going to be rooting for the Yankees.

Oh, that’s brilliant! I must find that back issue.

Jenkins and Buckingham get the shaft when it comes to well-remembered Spidey runs. People only remember things like Maximum Security spider-babies and Type-Face, who I always thought was hilarious. Making a character suck that much to start with and then giving him a Punisher origin and trying to play him straight? Of course that’s hilarious. But yeah, it’s a poorly remembered run by like Wizard and most of the fans I know for precisely the reasons I find awesome about it: Spider-Man doesn’t just crack jokes while fighting Doc Ock, while angsting over Aunt May. Instead the book always found ways to be genuinely funny while finding new and DIFFERENT ways to play to pathos. I read it as an adult working in a comic shop but let me tell you, this would have been the greatest comic book ever made if I’d read it as a kid.

I’m not saying the run is Nocenti-level unappreciated (any chance on getting Ann in a month of writing stars?) but in this one run you have the story above, you have Maybe Next Year, you have the Nuff Said silent issue where he fought an army of mimes, you have the one about the detective who discovers Spider-Man’s identity maybe, a really classic Vulture issue in the snow…a lot of great stuff.

This is easily my favorite single issue of a comic ever. And while we use the term “tearjerker” loosely, this comic made me cry outright.

Jenkins managed to be honest, fair, and totally non-patronizing in his treatment of the topic, which impressed me in particular. I really, really appreciated how he portrayed the progressive uncle in contrast to the deadbeat mother, and the way aspects of the uncle showed up in his Spidey.

Using a child’s innocent perspective was such a fantastic, natural way to deal with this subject.

Also, I agree with DCD: This run was classic.

I’ll happily second Ann Nocenti. She followed Frank Miller after Born Again and didn’t fail.

But the Mets suck. The whole National League sucks.

Never read Jenkins’ Spider-Man. Maybe I will, Milhouse. Maybe I will …

Wait. What? I haven’t read the comic, so someone please explain.

Is that Peter Parker in blackface? Or is that the face the boy imagines is under the mask?

Cos that’s either a cool comic moment or the stupidest thing I ever saw.

Cos that’s either a cool comic moment or the stupidest thing I ever saw.

Since the title of the piece is the former, I’d bet on that.

The Jenkins run is my favorite Spider-Man run, Typeface be damned. This is one of my favorite issues ever, as is “Maybe Next Year,” the series’s wrap-up (the title eludes me), and the three-part Webspinners story he did with Sean Phillips and J.G. Jones. Brilliant stuff. I actually didn’t mind Typeface all that much, though I openly despised the “Spider Queen” story that tied in to “Avengers Disassembled,” and it never quite recovered from that or the fill-in creative teams (the “Sins Remembered,” anyone?).

Don’t listen to him, Mutt! Very next issue, Pete rubs off the boot polish and leads Aunt May, Jonah Jameson and Mary Jane in a spirited rendition of Mammy!

You know, on average Jenkins is hit or miss for me, mostly miss, but when he hits, boy does he hit big. This story was great.

That’s pretty much exactly how I describe him to people, since he can both hit AND miss in the same story or even the same scene but his hits are pretty gold. And yeah his run was one of those constantly interrupted with little tie-ins and crossovers and undercards to the main event in Book B or whatever but Grant’s JLA was like that, too.

I didn’t read that issue, but Goddamn it, that’s a brilliant ending.

Any chance of an “uncool comic book moments” anti-list? I reckon Pete coming downstairs and Aunt May making wheatcakes in the last issue of ONE MORE DAY would make it.

DCD – Agreed. If only he could be more consistent. It still boggles my mind that he did this and the Inhumans, yet is the same guy behind the insufferable Sally Floyd in general and the Captain America Myspace moment in particular.

Whenever “Wait Till Next Year” comes up, I’m reminded of that idiotic piece on Newsarama talking about how Spidey was obviously a Red Sox fan. Missing the point? Check.

And I really like Nocenti’s run, since she was stuck in a literally impossible position by Miller and managed to tell really good stories out of a horrible inherited status quo. Didn’t hurt that the art was usually great.

Whenever “Wait Till Next Year” comes up, I’m reminded of that idiotic piece on Newsarama talking about how Spidey was obviously a Red Sox fan.

That’s an utterly disgusting and nauseating notion. Spider-man is as NY as it gets. The thought of him being a Red Sox fan is repulsive. Who wrote that idiotic essay?

Spider-Man grew up in Forest Hills. Of course he’s a freaking Mets fan.

Prior to the Spectacular Spider-Man relaunch, Jenkins’ Spider-Man comics were great. The silent issue was hilarious, and the issue in which Peter and May just talk were among the best. I even liked the Green Goblin story in which the Goblin has Spider-Man captured for an extended period, but can’t break him. Jenkins understood the character better than just about any modern writer.

I still miss Kevin the Cheese.

I’d rank Jenkins run on Peter Parker + Spectacular relaunch as up there with Roger Stern as some of the best nonDitko stuff ever for Spidey. So much strong material for the character: Fusion, the Mimes, the Goblin, and even after getting stuck with that awful awful Avengers Disassembled Tie-In arc, he picks it right up with a cool poker story.

I still miss Kevin the Cheese.

Yeah! And wasn’t there a dog who knew Spidey’s identity?

I hated the Goblin story, tried WAY too hard to be Killing Joke. Not really a fan of the idea of Spider-Man yukking it up with the killer of his first love over “Mr. Coffee” jokes. I filed that in the “miss” category.

I only read the Killing Joke after I read that Goblin story, but now that you mention it, I can see the parallels (e.g. Flash = Barbra, “Mister Coffee” = the Joker’s crazy people joke, etc). I believe the Mr. Coffee bit though because, like in the Killing Joke, it comes after so much screaming and misery and hatred that at that point, I really believe both of them just needed to find something to laugh about.

I may be getting my Goblin stories mixed up- I thought the laugh came at the end of the Ramos-illustrated story. I was referring to Peter Parker: Spider-Man 25, which (IIRC) ended with a big fight. Yeah, I thought the joking at the end of the Ramos story ripped off the Killing Joke a little too much.

So…wait…he never actually met Spider-man? He just had an imaginary friend Spider-man?

Yes. It’s not hidden from the reader that Spider-Man is imaginary. The twist is that his version of Spider-Man is black.

i remember that, ’twas pretty cool

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

January 21, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I really like the Peter as Mets fan idea.

I loved that Jurgens made Cap a Mets fan during his run. Of course, Steve Rogers is a Mets fan. No one who routed for the Brooklyn Dodgers could EVER support the Yankees.

Odds and Ends:

Re: the dog. The bombshell-blonde neighbor had a bulldog who knew Peter was Spidey… or acted suspicious enough of him that it appeared that way.

The whole villain-laughing thing was use dby Jenkins twice: The “Mr. Coffee” moment with Norman and, earlier, on that Webspinners story with The Chameleon (after Chameleon tells Peter he, um, loves him).

“Maybe Next Year” is so ingrained at this point that Peter recently wore a Yankees jacket and angry letters were received by Spidertorial. No-Prizes were involved, bloodshed was minimal.

I like imaginary black Spider-Man. I’d love to see a whole comic about him, with great art by Romita Jr.

I’m one of those fans who basically considers Spider-man dead. I mean, dead as a character. It’s obvious after magical retcons and false big events that the current regime doesn’t care about the quality they put out they just put out Earth-shattering promises that are basically untrue. I never read this one but Jenkins had some cool stuff going. I think even at that moment SPider-man could of been Spider-man again and gotten his mojo back judging by the reactions here.

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