With the release of The Omniplex’s first cast. I thought I’d kick off the new run with a continuing column. And since our first cast is an interview with radio drama titan Dirk Maggs, I thought I’d take the opportunity to review one of his works. While his DC works are extremely well known comparably, and rightly so, his Marvel work is not as known. So let’s tackle that!
The Amazing Spider-Man (1995, 50 3-minute episodes)
Plot: A retelling of the origin of Spider-Man complete with the Fantastic Four in key roles and several of his best foes.
Source Material: This is largely a remix of the early comics. It’s very 1995 in the best way. I should point out that comics in the 1990s were actually very great most of the time and this captures why. This has the spirit of all the best works, somewhere between Lee/Ditko and comics to come like Byrne and Bendis.
Anim–Sound Design: There is a magic to audio drama and this is why. You won’t watch this but there isn’t a second you won’t picture perfectly. This is immaculately crafted with clear audio that crafts the boldest images. Every sound effect makes you picture everything. And there is dynamite 3d stereo sound that bounces everything. Blast this in a car if it were possible. I’ll get into why it’s not at the end.
Script: It would be awkward to review something in tandem with an interview and trash the writer. But of course I’m not doing that. I’ve been a frothing fan of Maggs since the first one of his I heard in 1995. And this is everything I love about his work. It’s punchy and brisk. He compared these 3 minute segments to comics pages. That’s exactly what they are. They flow seamlessly in one piece but they’re great pieces.
Voice Acting: Across the board stellar. The late great William Dufris is incredible as Peter Parker, providing a blast of energy. Peter Marinker, Lorelei King, Gary Martin, and Eric Meyers are first rate as the Fantastic Four. William Roberts is a wonderfully sleazy JJJ. Garrick Hagon is a fun Namor. And I have to praise the dual work by Michael Roberts as Doctor Doom and the Sandman.
Final Verdict: 5/5 of course. This is a spectacular example of why I love this work. This is the best Spider-Man movie you won’t watch. It has all the kinetic energy that makes radio a unique format. You’re thrilled to see what happens next. It’s incredible. So of course it is completely legally unavailable. Yeah, my intention with this review is to change that. I want to make a case here. This belongs in circulation and it’s criminal it’s not while the utter garbage fire of The Lizard Sanction audioplay which guts a great book is available. This deserves a rebirth!