Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #14

Who better to write a comic about Spider-Man’s experiences as a professional wrestler than an actual one? 100 Bullets creator Brian Azzarello teamed up with Scott Levy (better known as wrestling veteran Raven) on Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #14.

Tangled Web was an anthology series that was about Spidey but didn’t necessarily feature the wall crawler. Remember how Spider-Man made his public debut winning money at a professional wrestling show? This issue tells the sad story of Crusher Hogan, the wrestler that lost $10,000 in a challenge against Spider-Man.

Hogan is a really sympathetic, down on his luck character. Against his (and his wife’s) better judgment, he still works for a small-time wrestling promoter out of a sense of loyalty. How loyal? He’s willing to mortgage his small house in an effort to bankroll a big show, highlighted by the main event of him putting up $10,000 in an open challenge to anyone in the audience.

By the end of the book you really empathize with Hogan and his attempt at saving the business. Unfortunately, the book ends with a young masked Peter Parker entering the ring and we know that what happens from that point.

Azzarello and Levy do a great job with making Hogan a sympathetic protagonist. He really wants to do right by everyone, and unfortunately we’re reminded that nice people don’t always finish first.

WWE and Comics: Perfect Together

Let’s face it; professional wrestling and comic books are very thematically similar. Pro wrestling is a lot like comics coming to life, filled with heroes and villains (clad in over the top costumes) battling for supremacy. Even their fanbases overlap; they’re both constantly criticized for liking something many disregard as something you should have given up by the time you turn seven.

Over the years, comics and wrestlers have crossed over many times. Some of today’s best grapplers, guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and Shane Helms, are all devoted comic readers. Wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Nova have worn many comic inspired outfits to the ring. ECW’s Raven and the Sandman spent the majority of the 1990s wearing t-shirts featuring art from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Even Hulk Hogan’s name is a reference to a certain gamma powered monster…

Anyway, it’s no surprise that the professional wrestling world would be represented at Comic Con last week. Both WWE and Impact Wrestling were out in full force. But WWE took it one step further, expanding one of their angles (wrestling speak for “storyline”) during one of their panel presentations.

During the presentation, wrestler HHH (who now runs the WWE in story) gets interrupted by WWE champion CM Punk, who himself is an avid comic book fan.

In the WWE storyline, Punk won their championship on his last night wrestling for the company and is keeping the title high-jacked. The question is when—or will—he return to the WWE, and by having him harass it’s on-screen chairman only keeps this moving. It was a nice little way to make those in attendance feel like they’re part of the story.