Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This (Fourth) Wall Tuesday!

So, I'm checking out Amazing Spider-Man #186.  Peter has, by and large, finished his undergrad studies and we are promised a new chapter in his life.

This apparently includes a really bad costume idea for The Chameleon:

For someone whose claim to fame is the ability to blend in, that's an... interesting choice of outfits there.

Egad, that is awful.  Off to the Costume Hall of Shame! (tm!)

But what makes Amazing #186 an interesting read is this one-page detour where the Marvel Universe bleeds over into reality.  For instance:

The Amazing Spider-Man live-action tv show of the 1970's was actually on the air at the time (and the cover itself referred to Spidey as "Marvel's TV Sensation!"), but it wouldn't last long.  While it did pretty well in the ratings (it was actually a top 20 show!), CBS didn't want to have so many comic book-themed shows on its schedule and ditched it (and the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series) in favor of the Bill Bixby / Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk series.  

Oddly enough, neither series had any foes from the comics due to budget limitations, which is a shame.  Despite many fans (and Stan Lee himself) disliking the show, Nicholas Hammond was a great Peter Parker.  He was also the guy on The Brady Bunch who broke a date with Marsha when Peter broke her nose with a football. 

But there's more:

That is allegedly then DC Editor-in-Chief Jenette Kahn, making a pitch that was very similar to a Superman vs. Muhammad Ali one-shot that DC put out earlier.  Yes, someone actually did that.

Here's what Spidey had to say about it:

And she should have listened because that's exactly what happened in the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali project.  According to those who know better than I, Neal Adams ran long on the deadlines, so Ali had lost the title by the time the special hit the stands, making it about as awesome as a Punisher vs. Buster Douglas special (which actually sounds kind of awesome).

And, of course, Marvel had given the Children's Television Workshop free rights to Spidey for use in The Electric Company, giving the world the first actual live Spider-Man stories.

That's a lot of behind-the-scenes reality for a comic from those times.  Of course, most of it went right over my head at the time, but that's a fun "Easter Egg" to find all these years later.

See you tomorrow!


Bud said...

This is a very interesting post, like usual, but this one takes me back to my childhood. I remember Spidey on the Electric Company. I remember all the old TV shows. It's funny to hear Spidey's commentary on it.

Mythell said...

I used to love to watch Spiderman on the Electric Company. Then they did the one where he catch's the abominable snowman by laying icecream cones on the ground. The yeti would sit on each cone as he came across it. I remember thinking this was extremely idiotic and being disgusted with such a poor story. *sigh* Childhood innocence lost.

Adam Barnett said...

Believe it or not, Mythell, those Electric Company Spidey Super Stories are on DVD. Check out Amazon!

Mythell said...

I did check it out and then stumbled across this gem...


I wonder if my kids will look back on the Superhero Squad with the same fond memories that I look back on the Justice League (or will they just hate me for "mandatory" viewing of every comic book themed cartoon/movie out there?).

La Belle Esplanade said...

You are turning into a real journalist. This was an interesting and informative article. Thanks.

See you tomorrow!

Comixbear said...

Leave us not forget the Japanese Spider-man live action series in 1978. This had Spider-man with a giant robot!

Lazarus Lupin said...

Why would a master of disguise want a costume anyway. I mean he'd wear it only in the chamleon lair or something.

Lazarus Lupin
art and review