Marvel’s ‘Clerksification’: Dante Spencer’s and Randal Zdarsky’s effect on comics

Over 20 years have passed since director Kevin Smith made Dante Hicks and Randal Graves famous. Clerks put him on the Hollywood map and endeared him to a generation of young writers, but there is no doubt that many of them learned the wrong lessons from his 90s “slackers.” Two contenders include Nick Spencer and Chip Zdarsky, who are guilty of what I’ve deemed the Clerksification of Marvel Comics.

To give you an idea of what my latest YouTube video is about, consider the tagline for Clerks, which goes as follows:

“Just because they serve you doesn’t mean they like you.”

Indeed, Marvel creators these days make no secret of their disdain of long-term customers, and will even tell fans not to buy the product during political disagreements. To better understand what’s going on, we must examine Mr. Smith’s work and how its sensibilities continue to reverberate in the minds of Marvel’s employees.

If you read through Secret Empire and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, then you should see the creative fingerprints of Mr. Smith, Quentin Tarantino, and a slew of others. Unfortunately, instead of Pulp Fiction-quality work fans received Hydra-Cap and Hipster Spider-Man.

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Spectacular Spider-Man #1: Chip Zdarsky’s joke machine debuts with slew of extras

Peter Parker fans had high hopes for the past few months as Chip Zdarsky’s Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man neared its released date. Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man, even for those who enjoy his work, is like eating a ham sandwich every day for roughly 10 years. Therefore, you can’t blame a guy for grabbing peanut butter and jelly at the first opportunity.

But was it any good? The short answer: It’s complicated.

If you think Peter Parker should be a joke machine, then this book may be for you.

If you think Spider-Man must constantly have an ensemble cast around him in order to truly shine, then this book may be for you.

If you think Peter Parker would have a hard time trouble-shooting his own web-shooters, then this book may be for you.

There is more to say, but for that I invite you to check out my latest YouTube review. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’m interested in hearing your take.