Great Moments In Comic Book History #23: J. Jonah Jameson Is Elected Mayor of New York City


In 2009, the crusading newspaper publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, was elected Mayor of New York City. At least, that’s what happened in Amazing Spider-Man #591.

It didn’t turn out well, of course.  Mayor Jameson spent too much time obsession on Spider-Man and not enough time fixing the subways. He was bombastic, stubborn, and refused to admit when he was wrong.  That shouldn’t have taken anyone by surprise.  New Yorkers knew what they were getting when they voted for him but they elected him anyway. Of course, in 2009, the idea of a buffoon like J. Jonah Jameson ever holding a major political office seemed like a fantasy. Today, Jonah would fit right in with the majority of the people in Washington.

As mayor, Jameson ended up getting manipulated by both Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin.  It’s no wonder that Mayor Jameson failed to even finish his first term before having to resign.

He was still better than De Blasio, though.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler
  15. Spider-Man No More!
  16. Alex Ross Captures Galactus
  17. Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
  18. Goliath Towers Over New York
  19. NFL SuperPro is Here!
  20. Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window
  21. Captain America For President
  22. Alex Ross Captures Spider-Man

Great Moments In Comic Book History #22: Alex Ross Captures Spider-Man


This is from the 4th issue of 1994’s Marvels, in which Kurt Busiek reimagined the early history of the Marvel Universe through the eyes of photographer, Phil Sheldon.  The artwork is by the amazing Alex Ross.

On this page, Spider-Man is climbing up the Daily Bugle.  That’s something that happened frequently in Spider-Man’s own comics but Marvels was the first comic to capture what it would be like for the ordinary people inside the building to suddenly look over and see Spider-Man, complete with a wrinkled suit, climbing up the outside windows.  Long before any of the movies were released or the PS4 game meticulously recreated New York, this page from Marvels made Spider-Man seem real.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler
  15. Spider-Man No More!
  16. Alex Ross Captures Galactus
  17. Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
  18. Goliath Towers Over New York
  19. NFL SuperPro is Here!
  20. Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window
  21. Captain America For President

Great Moments In Comic Book History #17: Spider-Man and The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime


Spider-Man meets the Dallas Cowboys!

In 1983, Marvel comics teamed up with local newspapers to produce inserts that would feature heroes like the X-Men and Spider-Man visiting towns outside of New York, meeting with local celebrities, and, of course, providing ad space for local businesses.  One of the newspapers that they teamed up with the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald, which was also the original home of Texas’s own drive-in movie reviewer, Joe Bob Briggs.

Marvel ended up doing three inserts for the Dallas Times Herald, one with the X-Men at the State Fair and then two featuring Spider-Man.  In “Danger in Dallas,” Peter Parker accompanied J. Jonah Jameson and Dr. Mudge to Dallas so that Dr. Mudge’s wheelchair-bound son could meet his heroes, the Dallas Cowboys.

Dr. Mudge had also developed an anti-gravity device and the Circus of Crime was determined to steal it for themselves.  Spider-Man had to stop them but to fight an entire circus, he would need some help.  Good thing that Cowboys didn’t have anything to do that day!

Once the Cowboys had tackled the Circus of Crime, Peter and even Jonah were able to enjoy opening day.  Peter even proved his courage by eating a Texas Stadium hot dog!

Spider-Man wished the Cowboys a good game, letting us know that even super heroes from New York were rooting for America’s Team in the 80s.

Out of curiosity, I decided to see how the Cowboys did during the 1983 season.  They went 12-4 and were second in the NFC East.  They earned a wildcard spot but lost to the Rams, 17-24.  Despite Spider-Man’s blessings, it was not the Cowboys who went to the Super Bowl but instead the team currently known as Football Team.  (Full disclosure: By default, that was my family’s team until Baltimore finally got the Ravens.)  Fortunately, Washington lost to the Raiders, 9-38.

According to the cover, this was a 60 cent value in 1983.  Currently, it sells for $18.00 online.

The Dallas Cowboys and Spider-Man #1 “Danger in Dallas” (1983)

Writer Marie Severin and David Kraft
Pencilers Marie Severin and Kerry Gammill
Inker Mike Esposito
Colorist Stan Goldberg
Letterer R. G. O’Shaw

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler
  15. Spider-Man No More!
  16. Alex Ross Captures Galactus

Great Moments In Comic Book History #14: Spider-Man No More!


 

One of the things that made Spider-man unique amongst the heroes of the Silver Age was that he often didn’t want to be a hero.  When he first got his powers, he wanted to make money.  It was the death of Uncle Ben that left him feeling obligated to fight crime.  But even then, he would have much rather have been Peter Parker.  Often times, when Spider-Man swinging across New York and fighting folks like Electro and the Sandman, he would have much rather have been at home, taking care of Aunt May or studying for a midterm or out on a date with Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson.   Unlike the similarly angsty Hulk and The Thing, Spider-Man actually could had the option of abandoning his secret identity and trying to live a normal life if he wanted.  That Peter Parker not only felt obligated but often resentful made him a hero to which readers could relate.

He finally did try to walk away in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man #50 and it led to a classic cover from John Romita.  This cover, with both Peter and Spider-Man turning their backs on each other, perfectly captures the inner conflict that Peter dealt with every issue.  When he was Peter, he didn’t want to be Spider-Man and when he was Spider-Man, he didn’t always want to be Peter Parker.  In Amazing Spider-Man #50, exhausted from being continually condemned by J. Jonah Jameson and worried about Aunt May’s health (as always), Peter tried to walk away.

It didn’t last, of course.  At first, Peter enjoyed not being Spider-Man but, as crime increased, Peter realized that he still owed it to the people of New York City and the spirit of Uncle Ben to fulfil his “great responsiblity.”  At the end of the issue, Peter retrieved his costume and once again took to the streets.  It wasn’t a minute too soon because this issue featured not only a classic cover.  It also featured the first appearance of the crime lord known as the Kingpin.  New York needed Spider-Man more than ever.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler

Spider-Man: No Way Home (dir. by Jon Watts)


This is basically where we are.

If you haven’t seen a film on the Thursday preview night, chances are every online publisher is going to share spoilers by Friday Evening. I get it. It’s the Nature of the Beast. It makes for news, and there are people out there who either don’t mind being spoiled or need to know what they’re seeing going into a film. It’s partially why sites like Movie Pooper, and Does The Dog Die are popular. I usually try not to say anything about a movie on Twitter because of this. Everyone deserves to feel that sense of awe and surprise when the lights come down in their cinema.

These are as spoiler free as I can make them. I may write something else to focus on my thoughts with spoilers down the road.

If you managed to stay off the Internet and avoid any spoilers to Spider-Man: No Way Home (outside of the trailers themselves), then you are in for some grand fun that is almost on the level of Avengers: Endgame. I’ve been to the theatres a few times during the pandemic. Perhaps because it was an After-Midnight showing, but the audience was fantastic. The film comes full circle, with an adventure that celebrates Spider-Man’s guest appearance in the MCU for Disney/Marvel, while still building on the character for Sony’s purposes in the future. As a Trilogy, Jon Watts and the team deserve a round of applause for sticking the landing so very well here. The third film in a series is never easy, and even Sam Raimi found that out with Spider-Man 3. By the time the movie was done, I was soaking up the applause like Colin Robinson in What We Do In the Shadows.

The film picks up right at the last end credit from Spider-Man: Far From Home with Quentin Beck’s Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) proclaiming to the world (through J. Jonah Jameson, played by J.K. Simmons as usual) that Spider-Man was in control of the Stark Drones and that he is really Peter Parker. Normally, my first thought here would be to own it – like Stark did. However, with murders tied in, it’s a bad rap for our webbed hero and anyone associated with him. Peter decides to make things right by visiting Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Power of the Dog) to make everyone forget that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. This gets botched and pulls through some villains that our Peter (Tom Holland) isn’t quite ready for.

As you’ve seen in the posters and trailers, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2), and Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man) along with a few others are pulled from their universe into Peter’s. When Peter discovers their fates in their own universes, he makes an attempt to save them, which puts him at odds with Doctor Strange. Can Peter find a way to change their futures, and clear his name in the process?

Of course, the gang’s all here. Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Marisa Tomei, and Jon Favreau are all on hand for this third one. Everyone has something to offer, with Zendaya, Batalon, and Tomei carrying the most weight. The only awkward character in the whole bunch is Favreau’s Happy Hogan, who is regulated into kind of a silly comic relief here. I don’t know. I just remember Happy being a bit more capable than they way they have him this time around.

From a writing standpoint, it’s somewhat innovative. If we didn’t already have the 2019’s Academy Award winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, I’d say No Way Home was walking into uncharted territory. The film makes up for this by allowing our Peter to choose differently, compared to what we historically know about Spider-Man and these villains. I honestly enjoyed that angle and thought it helped to drive home the whole “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” motto that defines Spider-Man.

Musically, Michael Giacchino weaves his own form of magic here. Pulling themes both from Doctor Strange and what he’s done with the previous films, there are a number of great sequences. When all is said and done, the score for this film may very well rival Shirley Walker’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm score for me.

At the time of this writing, it sounds like NYC is headed for another lockdown. I’m hoping that’s not the case. If this is the last movie I get to see in a theatre for a while, I’m thankful for it. Spider-Man: No Way Home completes a great handoff from Disney/Marvel to Sony. The character did what he needed for Disney/Marvel’s MCU, and Sony still holds the movie rights to the character for where they want to take him. I’m hopeful for Spider-Man’s cinematic future.

Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’s going to be okay.

Music Video of the Day: Spider-Man by the Ramones (1995, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris)


In 1995, producer Ralph Sall and MCA released an album called Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits.  The album was made up of covers of the theme songs of various Saturday morning carton shows.  For instance, Matthew Sweet covered Scooby Doo, Where Are You?  Sponge covered Go Speed Racer Go.  Liz Phair did a version of the Banana Splits theme song.  In order to promote the album, MCA released a music video compilation on VHS tape.  It was hosted by a young Drew Barrymore.  You can still order a copy of it off of Amazon.  It’ll only cost you around twenty dollars.

The Ramones were brought in to cover the theme song for the first Spiderman-Man cartoon show.  The video, which was directed by Johnathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, features animated Ramones performing while an animated Spider-Man swings around the city.  (If Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris sound familiar, that’s because they went on to direct feature films.  They’re best-known film is probably still Little Miss Sunshine.)  The Spider-Man theme song proves to be the perfect song to be covered by the Ramones, as they give an energetic performance that feels like it could have been written for any of the current MCU productions.

Interestingly enough, both Spider-Man and the Ramones were from the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens.  There’s no evidence that any of them met Uncle Ben before this unfortunate demise.  If they had met, Ben probably would have told them that with great audio equipment comes great responsibility.  Ben then would have kicked everyone off of his lawn and gone inside to take a boomer nap.

The theme song for Spider-Man was written, in 1967, by Paul Francis Webster and Bob Harris.  Before he wrote the Spider-Man theme, Webster won three Oscars for Best Original Song.  Over the course of his career, he would be nominated a total of 16 times.  Of his Oscar-nominated sons, I guess Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing is the best known but its popularity pales in comparison to the song he wrote for Spider-Man.  Who doesn’t know that Spider-Man can do everything that a spider can?

 

Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge (1979, directed by Ron Satlof)


This, the final of the three Spider-Man “feature films” that were basically edited episodes of the Spider-Man TV series, finds Peter Parker (Nicholas Hammond) in Hong Kong.  Spider-Man having adventures in Hong Kong sounds like it should be fun and the 2nd half of this “movie” was filmed on location but, even with all those elements (and a young Ted Danson in a small role), Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge is just dull.

Min (Benson Fong) is a rich Chinese businessman who stands to be appointed to a position in the Chinese government but only if he can prove that he didn’t sell secrets to the U.S. during World War II.  Min needs to find three Marines who can clear his name.  Because Min is an old friend, J. Jonah Jameson (Robert F. Simon) assigns photographer Peter Parker to help Min track the men down.  Why would Jameson give that responsibility to Pater Parker?  I don’t know.

Min’s granddaughter, Emily (Rosalind Chao), thinks that Peter is a coward because he always disappears whenever Min is attacked.  It’s a good thing that Spider-Man always mysteriously shows up whenever Peter isn’t around because otherwise, Min would be in a lot of trouble.  It turns out that a steel baron named Mr. Zeider (Richard Erdman) wants to stop Min from clearing his name because Min would stop Zeider from getting a big construction contract.

Eventually, Peter, Min, Emily, and a former marine who can clear Min all end up in Hong Kong, where Spider-Man gets to fight kung fu masters and hopefully save the day.

Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge has all the elements to be an enjoyably cheesy 70s adventure film but it fails because it’s not really a movie.  It’s just two episodes of a TV show that have been edited together and, with the exception of a few of the fight scenes in Hong Kong, there’s nothing cinematic about it.  As opposed to the previous two Spider-Man “films,” Nicholas Hammond just seems bored in this outing and the scenes with Rosalind Chao scolding Peter for being a coward are too much like Lois Lane complaining about Clark Kent never being in the same place as Superman.

Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge also misses the opportunity to bring in any members of Spider-Man’s gallery of wonderful villains.  How hard would it have been to replace Mr. Zeider with Wilson Fisk?  The Silver Samurai could have at least made an appearance.  Instead, Spider-Man’s just fighting another corporate villain.  It’s a wasted opportunity.

The two episodes that make up this film were also the final two episodes of the Spider-Man TV show.  Despite the fact that CBS was constantly moving the show around on the schedule and that the second season only featured 7 episodes, the series still got good ratings.  However, CBS apparently feared that, by airing not only Spider-Man but also The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman, it would run the risk of becoming known as a “comic book” network.  Since the Hulk and Wonder Woman both got good ratings and, unlike Spider-Man, had the support of the critics, they were allowed to remain while Spider-Man was given the boot and canceled in 1979.  That’s a strong contrast to today, when most exec would probably sell their first born to get a chance at some of the Marvel action.

After this, it would be another 23 years before Spider-Man again appeared on a movie screen, this time in the form of Tobey Maguire.  While Nicholas Hammond would never again play Spider-Man, one fan of his time on the show was director Quentin Tarantino, who later cast Hammond as director Sam Wanamaker in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978, directed by Ron Satlof)


When three college students decide to prove the folly of the nuclear arms race by stealing enough plutonium to make a nuclear bomb of their own, it’s up to Spider-Man (Nicholas Hammond) to sort them out!  He better do it quickly, too, because the police suspect that the plutonium may have been stolen by a grad student named Peter Parker.

However, Spider-Man is not the only person who wants that bomb.  The evil Mr. White (Robert Alda) also wants the bomb, though he’s not planning on using it to make the case for world peace.  Instead, he plans to blackmail the government into giving him a fortune in gold.  Now, Parker not only has to clear his own name but he has to keep Mr. White from blowing up Los Angles while, at the same time, preventing a nosy reporter (Joanna Cameron) from figuring out that he’s really Spider-Man.

Spider-Man Strikes Back was released as a feature film in Europe and was advertised as being a sequel to Spider-Man.  Gullible audiences who paid money to see it ended up sitting through a two-part episode of the Amazing Spider-Man TV show, albeit one that was edited into a 90-minute movie and which didn’t have stop for commercial interruption.

Spider-Man Strikes Back highlights exactly what went wrong with the first attempt to do a live action version of Spider-Man.  There were several members of Spider-Man’s regular rogues’ gallery who could have stolen that bomb and threatened Los Angeles.  It sounds like a typical Sinister Six plot.  Even the Kingpin, on a bad day, might be tempted to get in on that action.  Instead, the villain is a bland arms dealer named Mr. White.  CBS reportedly refused to use any classic Spider-Man villains because they wanted to keep the show grounded in reality but the minute Spider-Man crawled up a skyscraper for the first time, the network should have forgotten about trying to keep it real.

To repeat what I said in my review of Spider-Man, Nicholas Hammond is miscast as everyone’s favorite webcrawler.  Hammond is likable but he doesn’t come across as being at all insecure and it’s Spider-Man’s insecurities that distinguished him from other comic book heroes.  Spider-Man Strikes Back also suffers because it’s clear that much of the Spider-Man footage was reused from the pilot film.

I still enjoyed watching Spider-Man Strikes Back, though.  When I was a kid, Spider-Man was my favorite and, even in something like this, it’s still fun to watch him climbing up buildings and webbing up crooks.  Though there’s nothing cinematic about Spider-Man Strikes Back and it’s clearly just an extended episode of a TV show, I still liked that the climax took place in an preserved old west ghost town.  That was just strange enough to work.

Though Spider-Man Strikes Back was not as successful at the European box office as Spider-Man, it still did well enough that one more feature film would be crafted from the Spider-Man TV show, Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge.

Spider-Man (1977, directed by E.W. Swackhemer)


When a college student named Peter Parker (Nicholas Hammond) is bitten by a radioactive spider, he’s stunned to discover that he can now do everything that a spider can.  He can climb walls.  He has super strength.  He has super senses.  And, once he invents a sticky web serum, he can shoot webs and swing around the city!  All he has to now is sew himself a red and blue costume and he’ll be ready to fight crime in New York City!

It’s not a minute too soon because New York is dealing with a crime wave that only Spider-Man can deal with.  Seemingly ordinary people are suddenly going into hypnotic trances, stealing money and committing suicide.  An extortionist sends words that, unless he’s paid a lot of money, he’s going to unleash a wave hypnotic chaos on the city.  Could it have anything to do with a sinister New Age guru and hypnotist named Edward Byron (Thayer David)?

Though it was released theatrically in Europe, Spider-Man was produced for television and it served as the pilot for a short-lived CBS television series.  Along with The Incredible Hulk, this was one of the first attempts to build a television series around one of Marvel’s characters.  Unfortunately, the series only last 14 episodes before being canceled.  Though it can be hard to believe nowadays with the nonstop hype around every single comic book movie, there was a time when television and film executives were actually weary about trying to bring super heroes like Spider-Man and Captain America to life.  According to Stan Lee (who served as a consultant on Spider-Man), CBS wanted to distance their version of Spider-Man from its comic book origins.  While both the pilot and the series features Peter Parker crawling up walls and shooting webs, there’s no Uncle Ben.  There’s no talk about how with great power comes great responsibility.  Worst of all, there are no members of Spider-Man’s famed rogue’s gallery.  No Electro, no Sandman, no Green Goblin, and certainly no Dr. Octopus.  CBS wanted the show to feature down-to-Earth villains, which is an interesting strategy for a show about a grad student who can climb walls.

The television version of Peter Parker isn’t as insecure and angsty as either the comic book version or even the movie versions.  Hammond is likable and sincere in the role but he is also almost too self-assured as Parker, proof that CBS didn’t understand that a huge part of Spider-Man’s appeal was that he was never as confident as Superman or Captain America.  Instead, much like many of the people who read his comic, Peter was frequently worried and consumed with self-doubt.  The comic book version of Spider-Man was always wracked with guilt for not stopping the thief who eventually killed Ben.  The television version was more worried about selling enough selfies to The Daily Bugle to be able to go on a date with his professor’s daughter.

At least the pilot film featured a villain who wouldn’t have felt out of place in an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, though he probably would have had a cool villain name, like the Mesmerizer, if he had appeared in the comic.  Thayer David played a lot of smug villains in the 70s, not to mention the fight promoter in Rocky.  In Spider-Man, David goes all in as the villain and he’s got the perfect posh accent for delivering threats and sarcastic put-downs.  Unfortunately, this version of Peter Parker is not the wise-cracking machine that he was in the comic books and he never really gets a chance to verbally put Byron in his place.

If you can overlook its deviations from the comic book, the pilot isn’t a bad made-for-TV adventure.  Though miscast and playing a far different version of Peter Parker than we’re used to, Nicholas Hammond does his best to make Peter and his transformation credible.  Thayer David, as always, is a good villain and the story, with ordinary people suddenly turning into ruthless criminals, isn’t bad.  Though there are a few convincing shots of Spider-Man web-slinging, most of the special effects are lousy but they’re really not any worse than what you would expect to see in a 70s made-for-TV movie.  Though the series ultimately didn’t work, the pilot is still an enjoyable precursor to what, decades later, would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Great Moments In Comic Book History: Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker


With the Marvel Cinematic Universe about to enter it’s fourth phase and having said goodbye the majority of the Avengers, it’s time to really go through the Marvel vaults and give some consideration to some characters who may not be as well-known as Iron Man or Captain America but who still deserve their own shot at cinematic immortality.

Consider, for instance, Baron Ludwig von Shtupf, the Monster Maker!

Baron Ludwig von Shutpf made his first (and, to date, only) appearances in two issues of Marvel Team-Up.  In Marvel Team-Up #36, he kidnapped Spider-Man from New York and Frankenstein’s Monster from the antarctic.  In Marvel Team-Up #37, he summoned Man-Wolf to join them all in his castle.  Baron von Shtupf was the latest in a long line of mad scientists and he had come up with the perfect plan for world domination.  Why not take three great monsters and combine them into one big monster?  It seemed like a good plan but Spider-Man, Man-Wolf, Frankenstein’s Monster, and an Agent of SHIELD named Judith Klemmer stopped him and left him tied up in his study.

The Baron would never appear again in the pages of Marvel Comics, which is amazing when you consider that even a character like the Living Eraser made a handful of appearances over the years before being permanently erased.  Was it because Baron von Shtupf’s name sounded suspiciously like a certain Yiddish vulgarity?  Perhaps.  Not bringing back Baron von Shtupf is a waste of a perfect good character so how about, Disney?  How about a little love for the Monster Maker?  Just imagine what Christoph Waltz could do with the role.

 

 

The main reason that I remember the Monster Maker is because, when I was seven years old, I found a copy of Marvel Team-Up #36 at a garage sale and I got excited because The Frankenstein Monster was on the cover.  My mom bought it for me.  When I got home, I read the comic and I was stunned to discover that it ended with a “to be continued” right after Spider-Man and the Monster discovered the Man-Wolf waiting for them in the Baron’s laboratory.  (This was when I was still too young to understand that all comic books ended with a “to be continued” because that was the easiest way to get kids like me to spend my allowance on them.)

I spent years searching for a copy of Marvel Team-Up #37 so I could find out how the story ended.  It was not until twelve years later, when I came across it on Ebay, that I was finally able to get a copy of the second part of the Monster Maker saga!  For that reason, I have never forgotten Baron von Shtupf and I guess I never will.

 

Marvels Team-Up #36 (August, 1975) and Marvel Team-Up #37 (September 1975)

“Once Upon A Time In A Castle” and “Snow Death”

  • Writer — Gerry Conway
  • Penciler — Sal Buscema
  • Inker — Vince Colletta
  • Colourist — Al Wenzel (#36) and Phil Rache (#37)
  • Letterist — Charlotte Jetter (#36) and Karen Mantio (#37)
  • Editor — Len Wein (#36) and Marv Wolfman (#37)

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man