Torment (comics)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date August – December 1990
Title(s) Spider-Man #1-5
Main character(s) Spider-Man
Creative team
Writer(s) Todd McFarlane
Artist(s) Todd McFarlane
Letterer(s) Rick Parker
Colorist(s) Bob Sharen (#1-3)
Todd McFarlane (#4)
Gregory Wright (#5)
Editor(s) Jim Salicrup
Collected editions
Hardcover ISBN 0-7851-3791-2

"Torment" is a story arc written by Todd McFarlane, which encompassed the first five issues of the new ongoing Spider-Man comic book. It was published in 1990 by Marvel Comics. The comic was a record-breaking sales success and helped start the next stage of development in the Modern Age of Comic Books, which would lead to the formation of Image Comics and the rise of the speculator market. [1]

Plot synopsis[edit]

The Lizard is going on a murdering spree before Spider-Man tries to stop him.[2] The Lizard poisons Spider-Man and throws him off of a building. It is later revealed that Calypso is hypnotizing The Lizard to do her bidding. Spider-Man defeats both Calypso and The Lizard, but Spider-Man believes The Lizard dies from Calypso's effect on his brain.[3]

Publication history[edit]

McFarlane had been the artist for The Amazing Spider-Man for a long time, and it was for Spider-Man #1 that McFarlane moved to be the artist and the writer:

Editor Jim Salicrup has said it came about organically, leading on from McFarlane's dissatisfaction with the inkers, which led to him taking over the writing too:

Part of the thinking was to make more trade paperback-friendly stories:

They were also inspired by Epic to try better paper quality. Marvel would not introduce it into a current series because of the increase in price, but if they started a new title they could go ahead with their plans.[6]


The first issue would sell 2.65 million copies, setting a record at the time. The following year, Rob Liefeld's X-Force #1 (August 1991) went on to sell 3.9 million, then a couple of months later Jim Lee's X-Men #1 (October 1991) sold 7.5 million copies, these sales being driven by heavy use of collector cards and variant covers. Within a year these superstar artists would leave Marvel to form Image Comics off the back of the success on these titles and developments started in these comics would lead to the speculator boom of the mid-1990s.[1]

However, according to Dave Wallace at Comics Bulletin, "commercial success didn't equate to critical acclaim for McFarlane's new venture, and many found the artist's attempts at writing to be clumsy, unsophisticated and pretentious" and that "[t]here was a frequent sense - as with many writer-artists - that McFarlane's scripts were being written in such a way as to give himself something "cool" to draw, rather than to provide a particularly compelling or satisfying story."[7] The writing was also picked up by Alex Rodrik at Comics Bulletin who highlights the lack of consistency in the narration (switching from first person to third-person), concluding that "Torment is nothing more than a showcase of Spider-Man's fluid movement, and while the art is wonderful, it should be noted that pages (at times) are congested and indulgent."[8] Even for fans of the series at the time the series has not stood the test of time. Augie De Blieck Jr. confesses that "[w]hen they first came out, I was a mind-numbed McFarlane fan" but reading the trade paperback he found that "the money shots of Spidey over the city and fighting for his life still look as energetic and lively as ever, the rest of the pages feel claustrophobic" and that Parker's lettering was "awful."[9]

Even McFarlane admits his first run at writing a series has problems:

Collected editions[edit]

The series was first collected as a trade paperback in 1992 and has been reprinted a number of times since:


  1. ^ a b Voger (2006) page 55
  2. ^ Spider-Man #1
  3. ^ Spider-Man #5
  4. ^ Voger (2006) page 57
  5. ^ Voger (2006) page 61-62
  6. ^ a b Voger (2006) page 61
  7. ^ Wallace, David (February 10, 2007). "The Complete Todd McFarlane Spider-Man". Silver Soapbox. Comics Bulletin. Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  8. ^ Rodrik, Alex (March 31, 2010). "Tormented by Spider-Man: Torment". Working Title. Comics Bulletin. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ De Blieck Jr., Augie (June 8, 2001). "Pipeline2, Issue #102". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ Fingeroth, Danny (July 31, 2007). "From Write Now #16: The Writin' Side of Me: The Todd McFarlane Interview". Newsarama. Retrieved June 15, 2010. 


  • Voger, Mark (2006). The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics. TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 1-893905-53-5. 
  • "Torment" at the Comic Book DB

External links[edit]