Man-Man: Chapter 24

A couple years before this, SF writer J Michael Straczynksi, who I never quite got the appeal of, was on a long run on Spider-Man at Marvel. In the classic tradition of “why make up new stories about this hero if I can fiddle with their back-story instead?”, he decided to retcon Spider-Man’s origin to be nothing about Peter Parker being bitten by a spider and instead the spider-bite was just a coincidence, and Spider-Man was actually a… totem? Of an ancient Spider-God, or… something?

I think it’s all been thankfully swept under the rug. Anyway, this is kind of that. At least for the first few strips. It did give us the idea of earlier historical versions of Man-Man, including the 1980s’ Mr. Mister, which I really kind of like.

I kind of want an infinite comic of just Man-Man walking around scatting in the “dump diddle-ump-de-doo” vein.
This is a very inside baseball comics joke; when Peter David (I think) was writing Spider-Man, there’s a scene with a bunch of punks. You know, punks! With the hair and the ripped jeans and baseball bats with nails in them, etc. They’re the hardest of the hard, street-tough punks that DO DRUGS and don’t RESPECT THEIR ELDERS. One of them was for some reason wearing a “Sting” t-shirt in the comic. That always stuck with me. I don’t know if it was Peter David or the artist, but somebody really thought slinging a shirt honouring the Dream of the Blue Turtles guy on a street tough would really amp up his threat level.
James draws way better punks than that Spider-Man guy, just sayin’.
SUBTLE POLITICAL COMMENTARY. Back then, George W. Bush seemed like the horrific depths of ineptitude; the absolute nadir that the U.S. presidency could sink to. How little did we know about the right wing’s total commitment to tribal racist craziness over logic, common sense, human decency, economic policy, science, simple facts… man, it’s been a long 15 years since this first went up.
I actually have an abiding fondness for “The Return of Bruno” but it’s still fun to mock.
Hence the headnote.