I want to talk about one of the moments in Spider-Man: Homecoming that made me cry. (Don’t worry, this is not a spoiler!)
During the end credits, a cartoon version of Spider-Man runs around New York doing cute New York-y things. He goes to MoMA, and sees a Lichtenstein, which then morphs into a Lichtensteined Spider-Man.
This doesn’t sound like a huge deal right? But here’s why it made me tear up. Roy Lichtenstein created a lot of amazing art, but he also took comics images and used them in his painting. I don’t think he was doing this to shine a spotlight on things people considered “low” culture (as Warhol did) and I don’t think he was commenting on comics as a valid medium. He was more interested in what could be done with the images themselves, out of context. There are several warring opinions on his work, but as far as I’ve been able to see he wasn’t creating his paintings to acknowledge comics as art.
And now, in the end credits to Marvel’s best movie in years, their working-class friendly neighborhood every-teen takes that art back.