Over on his Instagram over the last few days, cartoonist and End of the F***ing World creator Charles Forsman has been running a not so subtle campaign to indicate that he would love to write and draw a Spider-Man story.
Intrigued, we reached out to Forsman for a bit more about his dream project and he obliged with even more art!
He says he’s long loved the character, “ever since I was a kid when I was enthralled with one of the first comics I ever read, Web of Spider-Man 61. And then I would rent the old Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man TV movies from the video store over and over. But more recently I’ve been kicking around a story in my head for the last couple years that would be a period piece taking place in the mid-1960s. It would be a What if… story with the backdrop of some real life New York City events. It would have a Ditko feel but with my sensibilities of anxiety and horror.”
There have actually been several “indie themed” Marvel projects over the years, although none recently. Back in the aughts there was a Strange Tales anthology with work by many indie stalwarts like Jhonen Vasquez, Nick Bertozzi, Jeffrey D. Brown, and Nicholas Gurewitch. It was the culmination of a period that saw some weird but awesome versions of the Marvel universe, such as the Jonathan Lathem/Farel Dalrymple Omega the Unknown and the Eisner-winning Unstable Molecules written by James Sturm.
But such oddball takes are a thing of the past, and Charles Forsman was not around to contribute. “The ones that come to mind were just before my time as a working cartoonist,” he says. “I remember buying Project Superior from Adhouse back when it came out and then I was still completely a total noob when Strange Tales was happening, so I missed out on all that fun.”
Since then Forsman has had one of the more unusual comics careers. One of the first graduates of the Center for Cartoon Studies, he established himself as an indie cartoonist with mini comics and then the angsty tales that Netflix viewers have enjoyed, published by Fantagraphics. The End of the F***ing World was such an early and shocking hit for Netflix that it led to a second season and a subsequent adaptation of I Am Not Okay With This, which was sadly canceled due to COVID. Meanwhile, Forsman was making a parallel series of self-published violent action comics like Revenger.
The guy certainly knows how to craft an action tale — and to tap into teen alienation. If I were an editor at Marvel, I’d be on the phone to him pronto, but alas, he says there has been no response from the House of Ideas…yet.
Luckily, Forsman has a lot of other things to keep him at the drawing table: the last few issues of his comic Automa, which is a sci-fi/manga inspired comic that runs through his Patreon. And even more, he tells us, “I’m writing a story about teenagers raising a demon and I’m executive producing a TV adaptation of one of my previous comics.”
Too busy making TV shows to have time for Marvel! Sorry!
Still, we can’t help but think this is a missed opportunity. Obviously, once Marvel became part of the Great Disney conglomerate, quirky indie comics takes became a thing of the past, but with Marvel itself turning to weirdo sitcom pastiches inspired by the comics, maybe it’s time to reach out to unexpected creators once again? After all, it’s just more IP for the idea vat, and as the MCU has shown, quirky ideas can lead to all kinds of TV and movie success. Kevin Feige, heed my cries!