That's the tone I get when glancing back at old Mcfarlane issues. No, not in the stock,Frank Miller-esque "My city is a WHORE. She SLEEPS with the FARMERS of the SEEDS of EVIL" way, but more so in the tone, environment, and how the villains are portrayed.
For instance, I read in a forum where a fan was describing how HE perceived some of the bizarre, "spider-like" poses that Mcfarlane would draw Spidey in. His words were basically, "In a dark city at night time, the last thing a criminal wants to see is some creepy dude in a big-eyed mask, striking a strange pose whilst slinking down a gigantic spider web". Think about it. This guy is apparently a human spider. Spiders are scary, and this dude has human intelligence, whilst being in a dark alley stalking criminals in New York. And to make it not seem scary, and yet at the same time make it scarier, is that as he crawls down his web, he taunts you with "yo mama" jokes and makes fun of your weird hairstyle. Playing with his prey, much like a real spider, you don't know if the guy is gonna kill you or randomly fart and laugh about it.
Then there's some of his villains. The goblins, the symbiotes, Kraven, Lizard, Morbius, and Chameleon. These guys could ALL be made scary, quite easily in fact.
So is the creepy tone too dark and Batman-esque for Spidey?