Amazon has just confirmed that a live-action series of Spider-Man Noir is coming to their service and this is a fantastic idea. The untitled series will follow an older, grizzled hero in 1930s New York City. The Spider-Man Noir comics originally came out in 2009 as part of the Marvel Noir universe. Like well-known versions of Peter Parker and Miles Morales, Spider-Man Noir is bitten by a spider; however, his powers are actually granted by a spider-god.
Though the character is relatively new to Marvel’s Spider-verse, Spider-Man Noir’s story has a lot of potential to move beyond known Spider-lore as it is set in a different universe and in a different time period. Spider-Man Noir also allows Marvel to be bold and experimental with their storytelling. Given the nature of the film noir genre, Spider-Man Noir can be gritty, hard-boiled, and more complex than its other Spider-Man counterparts.
Spider-Man’s Depression Era Can Bring Out All New Stories
Since this is a live-action television series, Spider-Man Noir is less likely to simply follow the common cartoon narrative of the title character taking down a bad guy each episode as shows have moved away from the “Monster of the Week” format. The series being set in the 1930s allows the writers to explore complex and adult stories that derive from the Great Depression era. The Spider-Man Noir comics had Doctor Otto Octavius perform gruesome experiments with the backing of Hilter’s Germany, and there are themes of corruption, deception, and high-level conspiracy throughout. These topics are nothing new for media in general, but bringing real-world problems into the superhero narrative opens the scope for exploring how heroes deal with these sorts of issues that can’t be solved with just punching and kicking.
Spider-Man Noir can look at how the character deals with a world that’s suffering globally; how does being a jaded and hard-boiled detective affect his mindset in a genre that typically showcases the most cynical and vile humans on the planet. The rich narrative space can give villains a great layer of humanity that’s often missing in comic book adaptations. For Spider-Man Noir, the plot isn’t just about them taking over the world, it’s also about their motivations for surviving a huge economic downturn that affected millions of lives. The story also gives the writers a chance to make the title character stand out as something truly different. Like Morales and Parker, Spider-Man Noir has a cynical worldview due to the death of Uncle Ben; however, the series can play with his morality in the way that Captain America: Civil War did with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
Spider-Man Noir Can Go Deeper Into The Marvel Mythos
However, Spider-Man Noir can also dive deeper into the mythology of the Marvel universe itself. There has been a huge move towards greater diversity in culture that wasn’t present in the 1930s, and that will need to be reflected in Spider-Man Noir. Segregation was still a social issue during that time (and for a long while after), and the show will also be against a backdrop of a lack of rights for women and the beginning stages of World War II. The historic war didn’t start until 1939, but it didn’t happen overnight, so showcasing how the world got to such a dire state only heightens how superheroes were able to deal with such problems during this time period.
While the writers for Spider-Man Noir don’t particularly have to go deeply into the social and political issues that plagued the 1930s, they do have to abide by them. They can explore how superheroes would thrive during such a worldwide struggle. By showcasing the past, Spider-Man Noir can help give new insight into the external and internal problems of the period through an accessible lens that can pay homage to the political inspirations behind so many classic comic book superheroes.
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