Tangled Webs: The Reputation of Shed

shed-lizard

For a Tangled Webs column, I looked at the reputation of Shed, a four part Brand New Day era Amazing Spider-Man arc that has some fans, and detractors. I really liked it. Many did not.

A unified front doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the critics. Some things are very well regarded, and some things are universally despised. If six film critics agree that Raging Bull is pretty good, it doesn’t suggest that there’s a lack of intellectual diversity with the group. It could be that an acclaimed work is well-made, and that critics are able to recognize it. Likewise, if they think that the 2001 film Dungeons & Dragons, or the recent Fantastic Four remake is awful, it could just be that the film is poorly made, and they recognize this as well.

Shed’s an interesting exception, because some people really liked it. Marvel has stuck with the developments, even though it would all be easy to retcon. It has shaped the depiction of the Lizard in subsequent stories including a four parter in an X-Men series, a TPB length storyline in Slott’s Big Time run, as well as appearances in Superior Spider-Man, and the build-up to Clone Conspiracy, where the man in red seemed to bring back Billy (as well as Curt’s wife Martha, who was killed off in the Quality of Life mini-series back in 2002.

The Lizard pops up in several of the images for Marvel’s recent Clone Conspiracy teaser, suggesting a large role in the story.

On the podcast, editor Steve Wacker was mocked for saying he’s prouder of Shed than anything else he’s ever worked on.

David Uzmeni of Comics Alliance called it one of the best comics of 2010.

Yeah, it’s shocking, it’s violent, it’s emotional. But it hits honestly and brutally in a way that isn’t manipulative, other than the heartstring-tugging that any story has to try to pull off to create an emotional connection. In the hands of almost any other team, a story with this mandate — to take the humanity of the Lizard and have him attack his family — would be laughable dross, but here Wells and Bachalo elevate it to a pretty harrowing story that never loses the tone of a Spider-Man book. It’s not a sudden nonstop abattoir, it’s a really dark punctuation mark on a story, represented by the Lizard himself eating the panels and narrative whole.

Chris Sims—also of Comics Alliance—thought it was too acclaimed to be considered one of the most underrated stories, since it was rather well regarded.

Even recent stuff has been getting its props: Our own David Uzumeri called Zeb Wells, Chris Bachalo and Emma Rioss’s “Shed” the best Spider-Man story of the decade, and if you don’t think Marcos Martin’s work on “Amazing” stands up to the best artists that book’s ever seen, well, you’re wrong.

More at the link.

 

 

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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