The Controversial Comics Inspiring SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

The trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home pits Peter against a public who hates him. It leaves him with just one—very silly—option: to ask Doctor Strange for help. What does he want? Oh nothing much, just to make everyone on Earth forget he’s Spider-Man. But shockingly it doesn’t quite go to plan. The Multiversal mania teased in the trailer got us theorizing wildly, of course. But this piece actually looks at the comics that inspired the film. This isn’t so much of a “you need to read” list, but more of a look at the controversial comics No Way Home seems to be pulling from.

One More Day
The cover for Amazing Spider-Man #544 shows Peter wrapped in his own webs with text that says What Would You Do With One More Day?

Marvel Comics

This is the comic most fans thought of when they watched the new trailer. The widely panned 2007 story arc came after the events of Civil War. During that comic—much like the end of Far From Home—Peter has been outed as Spider-Man. But in a darker turn, Aunt May has been shot and is in a coma due to the actions of the Kingpin. So, in One More Day, Peter does what any sensible adult does and along with Mary Jane makes a deal with the devil to save Aunt May. But the price he has to pay for that is his loving marriage with Mary Jane.

It’s understandable that, since fans saw Peter asking a magic man for help, they thought of this comic. In actuality, Strange turns down Peter’s request in this comic, setting him on the path to finding Mephisto and rewriting his life forever. But while the story was shocking, the story behind it might be even more unbelievable.

In 2007, Marvel’s current editor in chief Joe Quesada was a vocal opponent of Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage. He was also the artist on One More Day, which it turned out came out of an editorial edict to end the marriage between Marvel’s most famous couple. On his Cup O’ Joe blog at CBR, Quesada stated there were “three genies” he wanted to “put back in the bottle” and one of them was “bring Peter Parker back to single status.” Hence, One More Day. It was this obvious disdain for the couple that was the driving force behind One More Day… and why it didn’t exactly hit with fans, critics, or even his co-writer J. Michael Straczynski

Brand New Day
The cover for the collected Brand New Day cover shows Spider-Man swinging towards the reader on a white background with the text Brand New Day Spider-Man above him

Marvel Comics

The shocking choice made by MJ and Peter had consequences in Brand New Day. Here we see a Peter who never married MJ and is barely on speaking terms with her. He’s not only reverted to the single life but also into his secret identity. Just as we’ll likely see in No Way Home, Peter is once again living a double life as both the friendly neighborhood hero and his unmasked self. Another thing that No Way Home seems to take from this arc is the inclusion of Aunt May working at a homeless shelter. In the comics and the popular Spider-Man game, we saw F.E.A.S.T. as both a place for Aunt May to work but also a front for Negative Man’s criminal business. That arc is also notable as it saw a thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man become the singular Spider-Man title for the first time since 1976.

One Moment in Time
Spider-Man and Mary Jane embrace on the cover of the collection of Brand New Day

Marvel Comics

While One More Day seems like the most obvious influence here, some of the most vital moments from the trailer actually pull directly from the 2010 sequel story One Moment in Time. In this story written by Joe Quesada and illustrated by Paolo Rivera, it’s revealed—and retconned—that Mephisto only stopped Peter and MJ’s marriage by releasing a convict who delayed Peter getting to the wedding. But that is less important than the other big reveal: that Peter went to Strange to ask for magical help to make everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man and Strange agreed. But when Peter wanted MJ to still remember he stepped out of the spell, causing chaos and angering Strange. Sounds familiar, right?

As with any MCU production, there’s going to be a range of influences from Spider-Man’s entire comic book history. This trailer does seem to hint at one of the closest adaptations that we’ve seen yet though. But they won’t all be as surprising as One More Day. For example, some— including our own Nerdist News—have noticed that the non-controversial Happy Birthday may be a source for No Way Home.

It’s not surprising that Spider-Man: No Way Home is pulling from multiple sources. What is slightly unusual is referencing such a controversial book. Whichever comics they’re using for inspiration, it’s definitely going to be a reality-shaking entry into the ever changing Marvel Cinematic Universe. We can’t wait!

Featured Image: Marvel Comics

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