WILLIAM A SLOAN
We watched Spider-man last night. Not the newest one but the last one. It was great. He says Hi.
I love Spider-man. He’s like in my top three Super Heroes. Black Panther, Batman...and Spider-man. So good. The first two are weighted down by demons and negative memories but somehow always manage to find the light, and fight for the good of humanity, all the while wearing black Versace-looking unitards with boots, headgear and the occasional cape. That’s a whole other level of body-positive confidence. Inspiring.
And then you have Junior, the kid. Spider-man, or more correctly Spider-boy in his most recent Tom Holland incarnation, who comes from a decidedly different mental space – one of charming innocence combined with cutting edge brilliance and a let’s-go-for-it energy that sometimes is brave, sometimes reluctant, sometimes romantic but always thoughtful. He’s a good kid – still encased in designer spandex, but a good kid, nonetheless.
So, we watched him in action, which seemed fitting because he becomes this great metaphor for fighting off the strangeness of now – the mysterious fears, the invisible enemy, the atmosphere of mistrust. He inhabits an isolated space in plain view of everyone and everything, where complete security and calm are just out of reach. Happy 2022? Possibly. But if anyone can solve the riddle and bring the Happy, Spider-man can!
Twenty years ago, filming began in New York on the first Tobey McGuire Spider-Man. I always thought Tobey McGuire looked like he just finished a liverwurst sandwich...maybe that’s just me, but that’s one of the reasons he’s not my Spider-man. Be that as it may, I had a nifty office back then, high up in a building one block down from the Stock Exchange in New York. One day people showed up, film people, who show up like it’s already their space and you’re the intruder. They wanted to secure access to my office and a few others on the floor so they could film angles high above the Financial District as backgrounds for Spider-man to fly through. Cool.
They also wanted to let us know that they’d be filming outside for several days and we’d see a camera on a pendulum-like trapeze going back and forth, up and down, all around the Financial District. This footage would create the path of Spiderman’s swooping flight pattern. Extremely cool.
So, twenty years later, we watched the most recent Spidey chronicle to prepare ourselves for the newest and best adventure, knowing that I played a key role in the development of Spider-man’s aero-dynamic gymnastics. And then I got a text from one of my very favorite people in life, with a drawing by her daughter, who we’ll call SMP – a continually surprising, 100% original magic person, and the drawing is of a classic upside-down Spider-man and I’m thinking, “Is my brain leaking...again?” or, “Are SMP and I having a telepathic communication...again?” or, “Cool drawing. Where does she get that?...”
And just like that, my Spider-man references have all come together – past, present and, until we see the new one, future. And I love that because I love a symbol that embodies brains, humor, thoughtfulness and good abs. And I love having the option of turning off half my brain to enjoy the moment.
And I love that, in spite of the continuing grey-ness so many people are feeling these days, there’s always a champion of Happy out there, soaring through the air or drawing in a sketchbook, and we love those people for leading the way to Better.
We all have powers of one kind or another.