Spider-Man #8

Issue Date: 
March 1991
Story Title: 
Perceptions, Part One

Todd McFarlane (artist, writer, inker), Rick Parker (letters), Gregory Wright (color), Jim Salicrup (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In Canada, reporter Anna Brooks is sent to Hope, British Columbia with the mission to cover a possible conflict between loggers and environmentalists over the fate of the thousand-year trees in the forests all across B.C. While driving to Hope late at night, Anna accidentally hits a creature – a Wendigo – with her car. Wendigo vanishes in the woods but leaves behind what it carried, namely the mutilated body of a young boy that was reported missing lately. Despite the initial shock, Anna instantly calls her editor, thus setting in motion the wheels of mass hysteria. Soon, things in Hope turn chaotic by the presence of loggers, environmentalists, activists, scientists, citizens that go hunting for the “Bigfoot” creature that allegedly slew the boy and, first and foremost, the presence of the media themselves. After another boy is found dead by Inspector Krahn and his men of the Royal Mounted Canadian Police, hysteria and paranoia become the norm and people hide in the houses or arm themselves for war. Peter Parker is sent over to Hope by his Daily Bugle employer, J. Jonah Jameson, partnered with a reporter, in order to take pictures for the paper. While Anna regularly sends articles to her editor, describing the heavy climate in Hope from her own perspective and Peter is about to wear his Spider-Man costume and have a look around, Wolverine also shows up and knocks a team of hunters out, infuriated by their slaying dozens of innocent animals in the forests on the search for Bigfoot. The newspapers consider Wolverine’s attack as yet another attack of the Bigfoot.

Full Summary: 

Reporter Anna Brooks writes an article for her paper. In her article, she recalls how it began: it was supposed to be a routine story. She was sent to cover the possible conflict between loggers and environmentalists as the chain saws got closer to another old growth forest. Support to protect the thousand-year-old trees was strong all across British Columbia; yet, unknown to everybody, including Anna herself, it was not the giant trees’ continued existence or the loggers’ fight to keep their jobs that would become the story. Instead, the forest had unlocked its doors and released a mysterious, evil legend.


Unbeknownst to all, deep inside the forest, a monstrous creature of white fur and glowing red eyes digs out the body of a child. It’s a Wendigo! The Wendigo carries the body in its arms and starts walking.

It’s about 12:15 am. A long day on the road and a late dinner is getting Anna Brooks to Hope, British Columbia, later than she had wanted. As Anna drives through the midnight fog, she spots a figure standing in the middle of the road. She reckons it must be another darn hitchhiker, looking for others to complete his journey. In retrospect, Anna realizes that quick assessment nearly cost her life… and her story.

Anna’s car hits Wendigo doing 80 kilometers an hour. The details become blurred after that. What she hits is unknown for her but she is sure about one thing: it wasn’t human. Experts would later tell Anna that traces of white animal fur were embedded in her radiator.

At first, immediately after the crash, Anna thinks she is dead: the second wrong assessment of the night. Anna recalls with clarity that the creature slowly and calmly disappeared into the fog and smoke… but not before it left behind a message.

What it leaves is the remains of eleven-year-old David Neusel. Seeing the boy naked, decayed, mutilated almost beyond recognition, no better than a road kill, Anna prays for the first time in her life. When the authorities arrive, she can barely give them a complete sentence. They question her well into the morning. The first deliberate thing she does, almost upon instinct, is call her editor. She is unaware she has just set in motion the wheels of hysteria.

Anna’s newspaper, The Vancouver Sun: the headline reads “Bigfoot Kills Boy.”

Anna later finds out David wasn’t the first child missing recently in the valley. Others thought to be runaways started being speculated upon. Unfortunately, David’s parents are the only ones to see the results – David’s mother is soon recovering in a hospital. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police immediately begins a research with Chief Inspector Krahn being the media’s contact. Besides the police, every other male with a gun is determined to find the Bigfoot and complete annihilate it.

For the next few days everything becomes a target. Paranoia replaces logic. Everything that moves is shot. The body count of mistaken animals continues to count. The media exposure grows out of hand. The disappearance of another young boy makes things even more frightening. What started as a local Vancouver story about old trees quickly turns into the news sensation of the year, all across Canada. The presence of activists, trying to prevent the senseless slaughter of wildlife, environmentalists, loggers, police, scientists and media turns everything into chaos. Anna keeps trying to convince herself she is just doing her job. If she hadn’t started it, someone else would have come across the young boy’s body.

More headlines: The Vancouver Sun, “Bigfoot Kills Again?”; Calgary Herald, “Sasquatch on Rampage”; Los Angeles Post, “Bigfoot Victim Still Missing”; The Washington Post, “Creature Still in Hiding.”

(elsewhere, present time)

Spider-Man is using his webs to keep a thug immobilized in mid-air. “Let me get this straight,” Spidey says. The thug claims he had that knife up to that old lady’s throat because she was going to buy it and couldn’t read the brand name! Spidey jokes that this sounds convincing so far and asks the thug what deal he can cut for him. The terrified criminal insists the old lady came to him herself because she’s a regular customer. “Of knives?” Peter asks. “I doubt it.” The thug assures him that’s the truth. The woman is the wife of the local butcher; they were recently robbed and needed to replace some equipment!

Spider-Man angrily retorts that he wasted enough time with the thug’s two-bit excuses. All he wants from him is a simple confession. He gives the thug two options: either he tells him the truth or, when an hour passes, these webs will dissolve and he will find himself face first in garbage. He recommends the thug to decide quickly, because, according to his watch, his time is just about up – or should he say down?!

Indeed, at that very moment, the webs dissolve and the man collapses on the garbage on the ground. “Almost one hour to the second. Filth has just met filth” Spider-Man comments. Viewing the unconscious thug lying on the ground below, Spidey feels compelled to admit that was an awesome belly-flop. After a quick call to the authorities, his business here is done.

A little bit later, as he uses his webs to soar above the city, Peter thinks that it’s unfair to say that the fun has gone out of super-heroing. Just when he thinks he’s been in this business for too long, he’s rejuvenated by a new burst of creativity. His new motto is “if you scare ‘em into honest life, then antagonize ‘em while they’re down.”

Peter realizes he should get home quickly, given he is four hours late: Mary Jane is not going to be impressed. He reminds himself he just finished teaching that honesty is the best policy but as he reaches the house and slowly enters his bedroom, he starts mumbling excuses about meeting a knife salesman! Fortunately for him, Mary Jane is already asleep, so he gets away with it.

In the morning, the phone rings. Peter tells Mary Jane he’ll get it. She is surprised to see him in bed next to her and asks him when he got home. Peter lies that it was just a minute or two after she went to bed.

J. Jonah Jameson is on the phone. Jameson tells him he has exactly twenty-five minutes to park, grab his equipment and get to the Daily Bugle. Jameson is sending him on this “Bigfoot” story. “Why me?” Peter asks. “Because everyone else was busy!” Jameson replies. Peter jokes that, since he asked him so nicely, he’ll be there in twenty-four minutes. Jameson retorts that he is no mood for… His grumpy response is cut short as Peter has already hung up.

As Peter lands on the roof of the Bugle in his Spider-Man costume and carrying a suitcase, he remarks how he hates leaving his wife again and promises to himself to make it up to her when he comes back. Spidey is certain she understands, being the mature super hero wife, and on top of that, she will tape The Simpsons and Twin Peaks for him while he’s away.

Later, Peter is in a plane heading to Canada. Peter thinks that Jonah doesn’t want his paper to be left in the dust with this Sasquatch story. He understands that, just as he understands why Jonah chose him to take the pictures. However, he has also hooked him with Melvin Gooner as the reporter, a fact that could make the trip longer for Peter than he originally thought! Peter thinks that Jonah may be trying to torture him. He hopes, at least, that British Columbia’s nice place. Sitting next to him, Melvin is having the fun of his life reading a comic starring Felix the Cat!

New headline: Miami Chronicle, “Town Gripped with Fear.”

Hope, British Columbia, Canada

Sitting in a hotel room, Anna Brooks is writing her new article. She notes this is the seventh day of this “event.” Her reports will continue to come in on a daily basis until everything is settled. The idea of writing it from her perspective has been suggested by her editor. Since it was she who broke this story, it seems only natural to tap her own emotions. Anna feels like she’s tied to this in some involuntary way. In fact, she feels like she has actually created this hysteria. But it is her duty to report the facts to the people of this province and help guide her paper’s journalistic duties.

Headline: The Vancouver Sun, “Hunter Killed as Search Continues.”

As Anna progresses with her article, deep in the woods, Wendigo devours the flesh of a being – unknown if it is a human or an animal.

Writing her article, Anna confesses that, through all of this, she keeps asking herself the same question: why? What possible meaning can this have on a human level or on a divine level? One boy is dead, with his body so viciously abused that forensics still can’t determine the actual cause of death. Another boy, Billy Rice, is still missing. They can only hope the boy will return home soon, having lost his way in the forest and that it is a matter of time before someone finds him... safe.

On the eighth night, things turn horrific.

The R. C. M. P. receives a sighting and rushes to the woods. After searching around with hounds, the policemen find nothing and assume this sighting the Inspector received is just another scared farmer. One of them suggests they’d better call it a night.

Suddenly, one of the policemen uses his lantern to shed light on what is the gruesome spectacle of a young boy’s seemingly mutilated body. “Sweet mother of mercy” exclaims the policeman. “Mitchell? What is it?!” the others ask him. As they approach, one realizes this must be the Rice boy. The dogs go wild around the corpse, barking incessantly, causing one of the policemen to order the others to keep them back. “Cripes! What’s wrong with them?” asks another policeman, asking the inspector to hurry over here. One of the men also identifies the corpse as belonging to the Rice boy, whereas another one states the obvious: the report was right.

Inspector Krahn immediately notifies through his radio that he needs an emergency crew and all available agents over to the Nicholl’s farm. “I mean now!” he demands. “And for crissakes, keep the reporters away!”

Krahn holds the boy’s body in his arms. He informs the others that he can tell by the remaining clothes that this is little Billy Rice. He orders Mitchell to get over to his parents’ house and move them before the media gets wind of this – to make his point clear, Krahn reminds his men that Mrs. Neusel is still in the hospital with her breakdown. He also tells them that they have to get this creature. He doesn’t mean in two weeks, he means fast, as in twenty-four hours fast. Something evil is out there and it is their duty to blow its brains out.

“Two dead,” Anna writes down. In her new article, she remarks that anyone who was a skeptic until now has been instantly converted. People have waited long enough and now want results. Most of the citizens have pulled their kids from school. At night, save for the police and the media, the streets are silent. People hide behind locked doors: they hide their emotions behind steel. Others arm themselves for war. The situation has got out of control and the media are not helping matters in the least. Quite the contrary: what seems to be more newsworthy for the media is the fact that part of the boy’s limbs were missing.

Headlines: Calgary Herald, “Mutilated Boy Found”; Daily News, “Killing Continues”; Daily Bugle, “Bigfoot Eats Child”; The Globe and Mail, “Victim Consumed”; Dallas Observer, “Flesh-Eater Still Free.”

In his hotel room, Peter - wearing his Spider-Man costume minus the mask – calls Mary Jane and asks her how everything is. Mary Jane admits she was wondering when he’d call. She assures him she’s doing fine. “The question is how are you?” she asks him. “Are things as bad as the papers say?”

Peter has to admit that things are not good. He and Melvin are staying in Chilliwack since everything was booked up in Hope. Given that things are getting pretty “hairy,” Peter doesn’t know how much longer he’ll have to stay. “I know, darling,” Mary Jane says. She tells him to do what he has to do. She just can’t stop thinking about those poor boy’s parents. Life isn’t supposed to happen like this: no parents should have to see their child die before them.

“I know,” Peter says. When he saw a few medical photos of Billy Rice, he just couldn’t take it and left the room and cried, he, big tough guy, Spider-Man. “You’d think I’d seen everything. But all I could do was cry” he explains. “It’s okay, Peter,” Mary Jane says. “We shouldn’t ever get so used to the horrors in this world.” She asks him if he’s going to be okay. Not daring to tell her that he’ll go in his Spider-Man colors, Peter replies “sure, I think I’m going to step out for some fresh air. I love you, sweetie”. Mary Jane says he loves him, too, and they hung up.

Headline: The Globe and Mail, “Berserk Sasquatch: No End in Sight”, dated Thursday, December 6, 1990. Deep in the woods, Wendigo sleeps.

Day nine. Anna writes yet another article for her paper. In her article, she notes how it seems like the creature is everywhere again. The town’s imagination has torn apart any sense of logic: the beast can’t possibly be in eight spots at once. Rumors have begun to fly: maybe there is a whole race of them; maybe they’re biding time, waiting to wipe out the entire town. These are the thoughts people are whispering. It is no longer a circus: Biblical prophesy has taken its place.

Anna feels her mind is becoming numb. Her energy just isn’t there and more importantly, neither is her heart. She feels like she needs to divorce herself from the brutal slayings of innocent animals just to atone for the actions of one. She tries to focus only on the boys: they were human. The animals are just animals: things that can’t reason. Things that act irrationally.

In the woods, just as a man with a shotgun is about to shoot an animal – unknown if he mistook it for the beast or not – he is suddenly attacked by a mysterious assailant and is knocked out. The rest of the hunters are also rendered unconscious. Someone has carved a single word on a tree: “Stop.”

The assailant steps out of the shadows. It’s Wolverine. “This madness must stop” he declares, his face a mask of burning fury.

Headline: Daily Bugle, “Bigfoot Attack – Hunters Left Alive.”

Characters Involved: 




Anna Brooks (Daily Vancouver reporter)

Mary Jane Watson-Parker

J. Jonah Jameson (Daily Bugle publisher)

Melvin Gooner (Daily Bugle reporter)

Chief Inspector Krahn, Mitchell and other unnamed policemen (R. C. M. P.)


Unnamed thug

Dead body of Billy Rice

In flashback:

Anna Brooks


Mr. and Mrs. Neusel

Dead body of David Neusel

Story Notes: 

No inker is actually credited in this issue although it is well-known McFarlane was also the inker in his Spider-Man stories.

On the front page of The Washington Post, next to the article entitled “Creature Still Hiding” one can also read part of another article entitled “Grateful Germans Vote to Keep Kohl” written by Marc Fisher. This article was indeed on the front page of The Washington Post, dated 3 December 1990 and concerns Helmut Kohl’s victory in the national elections of Germany held on 2 December 1990. Kohl won by a landslide and was again elected Chancellor of Germany – this time, of a unified Germany. In his article, Fisher argues that Kohl was “awarded” by the German people for making the dream of the reunification of Germany true. Germany was previously divided into two separate states, the German Democratic Republic (commonly known as East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (commonly known as West Germany) from 1949 to 1990.

The Wendigo that appears in this issue is not referred to by name here, actually misconstrued by the media as a Bigfoot. The curse of Wendigo is regional and only takes place in the forests of north Canada, when a person engages in acts of cannibalism. Under the right conditions, the person is afflicted by the curse and is transformed into a white-furred monster, roaming the woods and eating humans. This is the fourth Wendigo to have appeared in the proper 616 Universe, although the true name of anything else about this particular human carrying the curse is unknown. The three previous persons that have been shown afflicted by this curse and transformed into Wendigo are Paul Cartier, Georges Baptiste and Francois Lartigue.

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a large, hairy creature in North American
folklore and is also thought to dwell on remote forests.

The Simpsons is a hugely successful animated American sitcom that airs since 1989. It is set in the fictional town of Spingfield and is basically a soft satire of the American society. Twin Peaks is an American serial television drama created by David Lynch and Marc Frost, which aired in the USA from April 1990 to June 1991. The show is set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks and quickly became a pop culture cornerstone, eventually inspiring a film prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

Felix the Cat is a cartoon character that originated in the silent film era. Felix became immensely popular in the 1920s and his career was later rejuvenated when his cartoons began airing on TV in the 1950s. Today, he is still used on a wide variety of merchandise, including clothing and toys.

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