Here it is, another year down and time for introspection, resolutions, and hopeful enthusiasm for the year to come. I wanted to do another holiday themed post, but the biggest New Year’s Eve reference to Spider-Man was dealing with a promo for Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I just couldn’t put myself through anything dealing with that movie.
So I decided to look elsewhere. Just like the Roman god Janus who has two faces, one to look forward and one to look backwards, this time of year is not only to look ahead at what is to come, but also to look back at what was. I’m going to merge these two together and give you some new information on something very old – a Jim Shooter film treatment and graphic novel that if either had been made, would have really changed the Spider-Man we know today (barring devil deals, of course).
All that and a Spider-Man New Year’s Eve Kiss to boot!
As you can tell, being the astute reader that you are, I am not a fan of the Amazing Spider-Man 2. If you liked it, all the more power to you and I’m glad you enjoyed it, but for me the negatives outweigh the positives. However, in the ‘80s, Jim Shooter wrote a film treatment titled Operation Z that could make #2 look like a classic. Jim Shooter said he was going to post the full treatment on his blog, but life probably got in the way because he never did. Somebody else put up a story synopsis for a graphic novel that Jim Shooter says was “loosely based” on his treatment.
The story of the graphic novel was released in an article about stories that never were in Marvel Vision #28. I am not familiar with this magazine.
The graphic novel is titled The Manhattan Project. Here is how it goes:
Over a period of three weeks, Spider-Man gets shot. Peter Parker meets a rich girl named Lynn and falls in love with her. They quickly get engaged. In a move that seems much more like Miguel O’Hara, Peter signs on to play basketball with the New York Knicks.
I’m pausing my story synopsis here to inform you that I am not making this up. If you have a copy of Marvel Vision #28 you can see a pencil drawing of Peter Parker shaking hands with one of his Knicks teammates. If any of you readers out there have this issue, I fully expect a scan of the image posted in the comments section.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the Knicks. O.K., Lynn and Aunt May get kidnapped. The Kingpin and Bullseye learn who Spider-Man really is. Spider-Man is unsuccessful in rescuing Aunt May and Lynn and watch helplessly as they get gunned down. Vanessa leaves the Kingpin. He then kills Bullseye. Spider-Man confronts the Kingpin and learns that Lynn and May are both actually alive. This doesn’t stop Spider-Man from killing Kingpin in the fight that follows this revelation. We wrap up the graphic novel with Peter Parker and Lynn planning their wedding.
Now, I know this existed, not only because Shooter references it in response to a comment on his blog, but also because Larry Lieber drew pages for it. The original artwork (67 pages in all) and script went up for sale at an auction and fetched (supposedly) $1207.50. Now that should have been a Christmas present for someone on the last podcast.
Some of the pages were released online for the purpose of the auction:
You can see more of them at: http://comics.ha.com/itm/original-comic-art/complete-story/larry-lieber-original-art-for-the-manhattan-project-graphic-novel-marvel-1985-offered-here-is-a-unique-look-into-the/a/808-5334.s
How much of this story line is similar to Shooter’s treatment remains a mystery. He says he didn’t have anything to do with the graphic novel, but that it seem to have been pulled from his Operation Z idea. Somebody has put this up as the plot for the newest Sony movie on the Marvel Movies Fanon Wikia, but as it appears that he took the plot straight off of Shooter’s blog and it is still so early in the process, it is unlikely that this theory holds any water. Plus, I am not familiar with that site and it doesn’t look like it has any actual value whatsoever. It seems more like a fan fiction news release site, if such a thing exists.
Am I alone in thinking this is, umm, less than a perfect treatment for our wall crawling hero? Anyone out there hoping to see this as MU version of Spidey?
I’ll leave you with this New Year’s Eve Kiss from Spectacular Spider-Man:
Happy New Year!
Kintounkal. Comment. “An Answer to a Comment (25 June 2011).” Jim Shooter. Blogger, 26 June 2011. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.
Shooter. Comment. “An Answer to a Comment (25 June 2011).” Jim Shooter. Blogger, 27 June 2011. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.