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Things to Watch While Waiting for Spider-Man on PS4 – Part 3 September 3, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Things to Watch While Waiting for Spider-Man on PS4.

We are now less than a week away from the release of Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. To celebrate, instead of doing a Gaming History You Should Know this weekend, we are going to highlight some more of the best videos about Spider-Man. In Part 1 and Part 2 we focused on highlighting some of the best independently produced fan videos on the subject, today we will be highlighting the best professionally produced documentaries about the game’s title character. Documentaries that, for one reason or another, no longer have the support of its creators, aren’t available on current video on-demand services, and no longer see air. Then we are going to top it off with a novel-length read on one of the most controversial and interesting stories to ever come out out Marvel, the history of the Clone Saga.

What is the most demanded extra costume for Spider-Man? That would be the Black Suit. It is utterly iconic in every way, with the enormous white spider logo on his chest. But what is the history of the Black Suit? Where did it come from, what could it do, and why was it so dangerous? Back in 2007, Comcast made a deal with Sony to release some preview footage and behind the scenes documentaries through Comcast On Demand. In my opinion it is one of the best documentaries ever made about the wall crawler. Everything I know about Spider-Man’s history with the Black Suit comes from this documentary.

The video quality of this one is very poor but there’s a good reason for that. When it was first published on Comcast On Demand, Comcast kept this video in Standard Definition only even though all the other Spider-Man 3 content they posted was offered in HD. Even in SD, Comcast also botched the video transfer of the video, giving it a horrible interlace problem. I had hoped a better version of the documentary would have been included in the DVD and Blu-Ray Disc release of Spider-Man 3, but this documentary was not included on the film’s home video release. To this day I’ve never heard a reason why. The only good quality version of this video that existed was a SD digital QuickTime version on Comcast’s website, a site which has been defunct for years. Thankfully, somebody kept a copy of this fantastic documentary and put it online for preservation. It is cut into three parts, but it is complete. Enjoy.

Next up we are going to talk a little bit about Spider-Man’s home of New York City. Back in 2005, Discovery Channel used to air High Definition documentaries on a dedicated HD-only channel called HD Theater. The channel would not simulcast the main Discovery Channel programming like today’s HD channels do, but would instead feature its own documentaries and original HD content. One of the exclusive HD documentaries they broadcasted was a travelogue about New York City. However, unlike other travelogues about the city, this documentary focused on the version of NYC as they were featured in the pages of Marvel Comics. Not only do they talk about the real-life inspiration behind many of the greatest cityscapes shown in the comics, it touches on the history of Marvel, Spider-Man, and more. The documentary features interviews with Marvel greats like Stan “The Man” Lee, father and son artists John Romita Jr and Sr, and the late great Joe Simon.

Now that Discovery has started simulcasting all their channels in HD, the HD Theater channel has been replaced by the Velocity Channel, which focuses only on car related stuff. Because of that, this documentary and a few others have become completely forgotten and haven’t seen air in years. Thankfully someone online preserved it and you can watch it below.

Insomniac has promised NYC will be freely accessible in the PS4 game, and player’s will be able to visit many of the city’s famous landmarks, real and fictional.

Enough about the comics, we’re waiting for a game, aren’t we? Well, does anyone remember the G4 channel? Better question, does anybody remember G4 when it was good? We do. Back when G4 launched in 2002, one of the shows on the programming schedule was called Icons. It was a fantastic documentary series written by Tina Wood that focused on the history of games, technology and innovators. Sometimes G4 would even cover the development of a recent or upcoming game like Psychonauts, Jade Empire or Escape from Butcher Bay. Unfortunately, after the network merged with TechTV, G4’s shows were completely gutted. The powers who took over the network tried to ruin Icons by making it cover things that had nothing to do with gaming before it eventually was cancelled. One of the great documentaries they produced in their heyday was a documentary about the development of my favorite Spider-Man game of all time, Ultimate Spider-Man.

Even though G4 is now defunct, even before it shut down G4 refused to rebroadcast any of the great classic shows they worked so hard on. Because of that, this documentary and a few others hadn’t gotten re-broadcasted in years. Thankfully, this documentary and a few other similar ones were included with the Collector’s Edition releases of the games they were coverings and The Making of Ultimate Spider-Man has been preserved online for all to see. Check it out and see for yourselves what it takes to make a Spider-Man game.

Hopefully somebody at Sony or Insomniac is working on something like this for Spider-Man and we’ll eventually be able to see it for ourselves.

I’d like to close this series with some heavy reading. Next to One More Day, there is probably no story more polarizing or controversial in Spider-Man’s history than the Clone Saga. In that three-year story arc, Spider-Man discovers a clone of his from a story in the 70s had actually survived and returned to NYC after years in hiding. However, it’s quickly learned this clone, who goes by the alias Ben Reilly may in fact not be a clone at all, but the original Peter Parker! That meant the Peter Parker Spider-Man that readers had been following for years might have been a clone the whole time! Meanwhile, Mary Jane is pregnant with Peter’s baby and perhaps Peter, if he’s a clone or not, should step aside and pass on the mantle of Spider-Man to Ben in order to accept his upcoming responsibility as a father.

Marvel’s intention with the story was ultimately to create a situation the readers could accept that would split up Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage. That isn’t what happened and we all know how things turned out decades later when Marvel attempted it again. But where did they go wrong? What would the story have originally been if it hadn’t been interfered with? How did it end?

The Life of Reilly Blog has been online for nearly a decade. It was written and contributed to by people with intimate knowledge of the development of the Clone Saga...because they worked on it themselves. Read about the great ideas, the bad ideas, and the studio interference that turned great ideas into bad ideas. You can read all thirty-five parts (yes, thirty-five) of the story here. It’s a long read, as long as some novels, but it’s such a gripping drama you’ll hold on to every word. I know the creators want to publish it as a book but that may be bogged down in a murky legal area right now. Hopefully someday it’ll be made into a documentary or film.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed all the content we’ve been posting over the past few weeks. While this hasn’t help us pass the time any better, maybe it’ll help you!

Spider-Man is coming September 7th, 2018 exclusively on the PlayStation 4.


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