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April 16, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Spider-Man J and Charlie Brown

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Written by: Drew
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Welcome to this week’s From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week we take a peek at the Marvel-manga fun of Spider-Man J and the TV special You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown.

Collection of Awesomeness: Spider-Man J
Marvel Comics
Story and Art: Akira Yamanaka

First there was the Japanese television show Spider-Man, which gave us our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man piloting giant robots and saving the day. Then we got a Spider-Man manga by Ryoichi Ikegami, published in Japan in the 70s (and here stateside in the late 90s), giving us the wall crawler but in a much different setting. Now just when we thought our time with Spider-Man in Japan was over, we get Spider-Man J. Originally published here in issues of Spider-Man Family, and now collected in two volumes, Spider-Man J: Japanese Knights and Spider-Man J: Japanese Daze, Spider-Man J gives us yet another different take on the web-slinger in the land of the rising sun. Originally published in Japanese comic magazine Comic Bom-Bom from 2004-2005, the story is fairly similar to the one we all know, with Peter Parker as a high schooler who is secretly Spider-Man; however, the setting is Tokyo and the villains are an array of Sailor Moon-esque monster-villains.

The story and art by Akira Yamanaka embodies a sense of youth and fun, done in a more kid-friendly chibi-manga style. It almost reminds us of the character designs in Megaman. The art has a nice layout, letting your eyes zoom across the page with the action, and is presented in English in a flipped version (for those unfamiliar with manga, most manga today is un-flipped, reading right to left like the Japanese. However, Marvel has flipped it for Americans and it reads left to right, like any standard American comic). Admittedly, I was uber-entertained and enjoyed page after page of Spider-Man J, but due to its specific style and sense, it’s not for everyone. However, look for fun guest appearances by the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, and more from the Marvel Universe who cross paths with Spider-Man J. A great read for everyone.

Something To Watch: You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown

Written by Charles Schultz himself, You’re Not Elected Charlie Brown graced the air-waves in 1972, as the 10th Peanuts special on TV. A fairly close adaptation right from one of the story lines in the Peanuts comic strip in 1964, our tale with the Peanuts gang this time follows the adventures of  Linus, who decides to run for president (after discovering no one would vote for Charlie Brown, but everyone would vote for Linus…after they are threatened by Lucy), while reluctantly Charlie Brown takes the role of his Assistant Manager, beneath Linus. Linus barely wins the election, only to discover he cannot enact change and like all members of government, has no real power.

The jokes are witty and cute, as mentioned right out of the Peanuts comic strip, with a handful (given the special’s plot) aimed at the United States government, from both a child’s and adult’s point of view. Like any Peanuts special, a ton of jokes are done in pantomime joy by Snoopy, the highlight this time being when he adopts his sweater and shades and becomes his Joe Cool persona (which marks the first time we get to see this in Peanuts history) while hanging out at Charlie Brown’s school. Enjoyable fun for the whole family to pick up this weekend. You can find it on DVD in the Peanuts 1970s Collection Vol. 1.

See you in two weeks!

Drew McCabe



  1. […] here: From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Spider-Man J and Charlie Brown AKPC_IDS += "4557,";Popularity: unranked [?] > Spiderman News — admin @ 8:51 […]

  2. Billy

    I’ve never seen that CB flick but I do really enjoy them. My favorite is “Race for your life Charlie Brown”. 🙂

  3. Drew

    On double glance, I bet if we actually put Charlie Brown in a Spider-costume, he would look exactly like Spider-Man J, huh, the observations I have.

  4. But would he have the self confidence to swing high above the city and save people??

  5. Drew

    Spider-Brown: “I wanna that little red head girl Mary Jane, but I’m afraid she’ll just laugh at me. Guess I better let Mysterio have his way…” (cue music)

  6. Drew

    should have wrote “wanna save” lol

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