In ‘Veep’ Writer's Spider-Man Story, the News Is Entertainingly Evil

Next time, can J. Jonah Jameson team up with Alan Partridge?
A screenshot from Amazing Fantasy 1000
Image Source: Amazing Fantasy 1000

In Armando Iannucci’s Spider-Man story in Amazing Fantasy #1000—a celebration of 60 years of Spider-Man that you should get at your local comic shop, because for now it looks like the only way to get a digital version is through Amazonthe Daily Bugle becomes a vector of conspiracy, and makes J. Jonah Jameson believe he’ll win a Pulitzer.

Iannucci is most well known for his work on television shows like I’m Alan Partridge and Veep and movies like The Death of Stalin. Superheroics seem like an unlikely fit for the cerebral writer, until you remember that Spider-Man regularly intersects with another object of Iannucci’s fascination: seedy news media. If you’re somehow unfamiliar, Spider-Man works at the tabloid paper the Daily Bugle in his secret identity of Peter Parker. In Iannucci’s story, called “Spider-Man vs. Conspiriton,” the paper starts showing people headlines describing the things they secretly believe, no matter how outlandish.

A screenshot from Amazing Fantasy 1000 that reads "The world's Oil is secretly controlled by descendents of President Garfield, Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, and Andrew Garfield.

The real treat of this story is the sheer amount of one-liners Iannucci manages to stuff into the issue. For Peter, the pages of the Daily Bugle reads “Spider-Man Confirmed Best Hero!” but for other readers, it shows stories about how climate change is a hoax caused by micro-fishes that are nibbling on our brain cells, or how all the elected officials in City Hall are sea lizards from North Korea, or how Hollywood actors impersonating judges are going to take your guns. Most hilariously, it tells JJJ that he’s going to win two Pulitzers for his brave work exposing Spider-Man as a villain.

The story isn’t as off-kilter as The Day Today or Knowing Me, Knowing You, but it does feature Iannucci’s uncanny ability to recreate our own reality, but slightly more bizarre and ever so slightly worse. Unfortunately, tabloids don’t actually need to be laced with hallucinogens for people to believe wildly untrue things about the world, like that there’s a crime wave in New York when in fact, that’s not exactly true. It makes for a great Spider-Man story, though. Next time, can JJJ team up with Alan Partridge?