Cobwebs #16: …To Become an Avenger – part 1


a11coverWith the big fuss over the newest Civil War trailer with Spider-Man, I wanted to go back and look at the first time Spider-Man tried to join the Avengers.  However, in my quest to find more information about Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, I remembered that this was not the first time Spider-Man somewhat tried to join up with the Avengers.  For that, we will need to go over to Avengers #11 in a little story Marvel calls “The Mighty Avengers Meet Spider-Man.”  O.K., not as snazzy as “My Killer, My Car”, but Stan does spice it up a bit with a banner under the title reading:

“And the only blurb we can write is ‘Wowee!’”

 

This is the ‘60s, baby, so get ready for some superhero fights!  You’ve got snotty Cap, jerky Thor, trying-to-hard-to-be-cool Giant Man, and flirtatious Wasp vs. our man in the webby red and blue.  Read on my friend, and soon all sorts of cool ’60s words will be coming out of you from “Wowee!” to “Golly gee!”

 

 

OK.  That was a bad last line – but, jeepers, read on anyway!

 

The creative minds behind this are listed as:

Spectacular Story by Stan Lee
Incomparable Illustrations by Don Heck
Dazzling Delineation* by Chic Stone
Lachrymose** Lettering by Sam Rosen

 

You are going to want to read this for yourselves, guys.  This is a fun read.  The issue date is December 1964 and although the cover price was only $.12, it’s going to cost you over $2,000 if you want a near mint copy.  It is available on Marvel Unlimited, and Marvel Masterworks, and Essential Avengers as well (just in case you spent all your money on that last copy of Amazing Fantasy #15).

A little background – Tony Stark is dead and strangely enough, Iron Man is missing, presumably out searching for the murderer of the philanthropic millionaire.  Hulk has been gone a long time and the only members of the Avengers around are Thor, Captain America, Giant Man, and Wasp.  This is before Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver join up (but don’t worry, I’ll get to them next post).

a11-rickjonesWe meet up with the mighty heroes sitting around the board room talking about what to do about Iron Man.  Captain America shoots down Rick Jones’s request for a leave of absence for Iron Man.  In fact, he does more than just shoot him down, he shuts him up by completely demasculating him in front of the other guys.  Don’t believe that Cap be that much of punk? Just look at those exclamation marks in his word balloons when he is reminding Rick that he is a real Avenger.  Maybe he’s still mad over Rick Jones dressing up as Bucky in an effort to cheer up Cap for being sad that Bucky is dead.  My guess is Rick was taking advice from the same psychiatrist as the one who told Peter to dress up as Spider-Man to cure Deb Whitman by making her think she was crazy.  Instead, they decide to respect Iron Man’s desire to find the murderer himself and choose to do nothing at all to help him, because that’s what being on a team is all about.

But this isn’t about Avengers history, this is Spider-Man history!  Enough of that nonsense!  We’re jumping ahead to the 30th century to find Kang who has a brilliant idea to take out the Avengers – use Spider-Man to do it!  The only problem is that Kang figures Spidey won’t voluntarily do this, so he creates a robot to do it for him.  So Kang makes a proto image of Spider-Man by feeding into his computer all photos and videos of Spider-Man.  “Next my iso-nuclear duplicator analyses every last submicroscopic detail of the proto-image gauging its strength, knowledge, personality, memories, and evaluating its every last ability!”***

Robo-Spidey even talks like the real deal.  In fact, Robo-Spidey is more like Spidey than what we have been reading for the last ten years.

Robo-Spidey lands in modern day 1964 just in time to web up some bad guys that Captain America was facing.  Cap is a little amazed that Spider-Man helped him until Robo-Spidey reveals he did it because he wants to join the Avengers.  Cap is too nice a guy to say no to the nerd that wants to hang out, so he says, well, it’s up to the others and takes the mechanical marvel back to the Avengers mansion.

 Thor, however, is not such a nice guy and says that there are tests that must be passed first.  To be fair, Captain America is the only person to have joined the Avengers at this point and he did pass a test – he dodged when Thor threw his hammer at him.  Yep.  The guy just thawed out from being frozen for decades and the first thing Thor thinks of is throwing a hammer at his head.  We’re not really dealing with the wisdom of Odin here, mind you.  You can see the page of Cap’s test below:

a4-captest

 

But Robo-Spidey changes his mind and says he just came over to tell them that Iron Man’s in trouble and since they are acting like jack asses, he’s not going to tell them where Iron Man is.  Cap wants to talk to Spidey, but Thor just throws his hammer at him instead.  I guess you’ve got to play to your strengths.  Robo-Spidey reacts just like ’60s Spidey would.

a11-wingdoozy

The others restrain Thor enough to allow Spidey to tell them where he saw the troubled metal avenger and take off in one of the lamest superhero battle cry since the Tick.

a11-avengersaway

I love how Robo-Spidey speaks like Spider-Man, but thinks like Overdrive. 

Robo-Spidey led them right into Kang’s trap at the Temple of Tirod in Mexico.  Due to some 30th century science, Robo-Spidey is able to get there first and proceeds to earn the Spidey Kicks Butt title that JR gave his web site.

He uses “elasticized webbing” and a webbed-up fly swatter to take out Giant Man and the Wasp.

a11-elasticized

“Cartridge 2 – Elasticized Webbing!  Cartridge 4 – Micro Coiled Fly Swatter Webbing!”  Oh, you know it’ll be in the current run by issue #15. 

When he runs into Thor, Thor tries a different technique to subdue Spidey – throwing his hammer at him.  Robo-Spidey just uses his webbing to grab Mjolnir and swing it away from Thor before unloading a ton of webbing on him.  Since at this time Thor must have his hammer to remain the thunder deity, he converts back to Donald Blake while inside the webbing.

a11-thorwebbed

That’s got to be pretty embarrassing for a thunder god.  

But not as embarrassing at what he does to Cap.  He drops a rock on him, webs his eyes up, and pushes him off a wall.

a11-byecap

But what Robo-Spidey wasn’t counting on was the real deal, who has been watching him the whole time (not sure how Spidey followed him to Mexico, maybe he ballooned while hanging from a jet plane or something).  At this point we get a classic ‘60s match up – Spidey vs. Spidey.  They shoot webs at each other.  They swing around throwing punches at each other.  They create web wings and fly over a jungle to fight in the air.  (Now why doesn’t Spidey do that anymore?)  In the end, Robo-Spidey is no match for the superior brain power of the real deal.

a11-howtobeatarobot

Yep.  The old turn-off-the-switch trick always takes care of those pesky robots.  Too bad Spidey wasn’t on the Avengers during their second movie.  He could have taken care of Ultron for them.

The real Captain somehow got rid of the webbing over his eyes and witnesses the defeat of the robot.  That’s going to be important later on.  Spidey skips town and doesn’t go back to check on them and Captain America realizes that there is only one person who could make such a life like robot – Kang! Thor ends the issue just like any fan whose team just got beaten by their biggest rival as he shouts out to Kang, “Just wait ‘til next time!”

Oh, and just to keep fans of the Avengers happy (you know, since it is their own book, after all), we get this picture:

a11-ohthatswhy

The robot is not heard of again until 1996 when Ben Reilly encounters him in Spider-Man Team-Up #4.  I could not find this on Marvel Unlimited (I guess there are a few limitations), but from the review of it I found, it appears to be my gain.  The robot was re-activated and used some temporal webbing to drain people of their temporal energy before finally getting its head knocked off.

We here at the Crawlspace aren’t just concerned with Spider-Man’s past history, but also his future history.  Here are a few future stories we might could see as a result of this issue:

  1. Kang erases the time line of the team-up issue and reactivates the original Robo-Spidey. He defeats global Spidey and carries on thinking he is the one true Spidey. We get great stories and everyone loves reading Spider-Man again.
  2. Kang creates another Robo-Spidey to take on the new global Spidey that exists now. This new robot acts and thinks just like the current version of Spider-Man. Peter realizes what a douche-bag he has become and reverts back to his real self.

Either way, it’s got to be better than the web-diaper Spidey we’ve been reading lately.  So until then, make mine Marvel true believers!

 

credible hulkSources:

Avengers 11.” Comics Chronology. SuperMegaMonkey, N.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/avengers_11.shtml>.

Avengers 11.” Comics Price Guide. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://comicspriceguide.com/collection/marvel/avengers/11/rkuxm>.

“Timespinner.” The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  N.p., 17. Oct. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/spdmrobk.htm>.

 

Images:

All scans from Marvel Unlimited

Credible Hulk

 

* Delineation – (n) a pictorial representation of something

** Lachrymose – (adj) tearful or given to crying

*** OK, it’s not an exact quote.  I added the Oxford comma.  Supervillains!  Right?!

Who says you can’t learn anything from reading comics?  Take that Wertham! 

(14) Comments

  1. Al

    @#13: I was thinking about it in terms of a physical confrontation. Like a bad guy would be physically prepped to take down the Avengers but then Peter would unleash Spider-Fu and own their ass

  2. xonathan

    @6 "If I was writer I’d have a story where some big bad villain prepped Batman style to fight the Avengers" Now that I think about it, didn't Dr Octopus did this in "Ends of the Earth" story and then Spider-man technically defeated Doc Ock (only to have his brain swapped later on)? So therefore his defeat doesn't count? @7 True dat!

  3. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#6- From the sound of it, that comic makes the current point issues into a decent story! @#9- I don't know who Vampire Weekend is, but whoever they are, I bet they sparkle and they're going to fail my class. There are several old Stan Lee Spider-Man comics where Spidey corrects grammar right before he punches a bad guy out. I love those panels.

  4. hornacek

    @10 - I knew it had been recorded in the past but I didn't think it was that long ago. According to Spidey-Dude.com it was recorded in 2011, and the last ASM Classics episode was in Sept. 2011, so they still could have been doing ASM Classics when that was recorded. I don't know though - Josh arrives late in those episodes and he talks to everyone and then says "Oh, hi John." and John say "Hi Josh" back. The way they talk to each other, it just sounded to me like they haven't talked to each other for awhile and aren't sure if they're still mad at each other (again, have no idea why they stopped podcasting together, whether they were mad at each other or not). Almost like when Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were brought together on the Labor Day telethon after they had feuded for years (I never saw this, I'm not that old, only know about it from cultural osmosis).

  5. Al

    @#9: The review of the Ultimate Clone Saga on CSC was not made recently. That was an old podcast recorded in 2010-2011 for Teenage Wasteland guest starring the CSC guys. At that point in time ASM Classics was still around so what you heard was Josh, Don and Jon before whatever happened between them transpired.

  6. hornacek

    @6 - I have no idea why they stopped doing ASM Classics. From what little I heard on the Crawl Space, it sounds like there was a falling out between John and Donovan/Josh, but I have no idea what it was about (or if that's even true). But on recent Clone Saga Chronicles episodes they (including Josh and Donovan) reviewed the Ultimate Clone Saga with members of the Teenage Wasteland podcast, which included John Wilson. I didn't realize until Josh talked directly to John that it was an ASM Classics reunion! And they seemed to get along too. So while they will probably never continue that podcast, I always hope. And I refer everyone to those English scholars, Vampire Weekend: Who gives a f@%k about an Oxford comma?

  7. Al

    @#7: I think the web objects should be restricted to simple constructs. Shields, domes, balls, nets, stuff like that. not bats.

  8. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#1 - Gee Willikers, Jack! You took the words right out of my mouth! @#2 - Dag nab it! Well, that drops my grade down a few points.... That's what I get for pointing out the comma error in the book. :( @#3 - You know, I'm of mixed feelings on the web objects. I've always liked them in the old comics, but I don't know how it would look today. My son looked at and said, "Spider-Man can fly with web wings? Why did he ever stop doing that?" I remember one issue where he had a web bat and was hitting fireballs back at the Torch. I believe he left Sue a web heart when he left. @#4 - We had our best opportunity at an Avengers vs. Spider-Man fight when they were questioning Superior (we got a small fight, but it was very anti-climatic). I was hopeful again when Peter Parker came back and they were just starting to doubt him. That would have been a good time for a fight. Peter's best super hero friends didn't help him when he needed it most? And then they start in on him because they can't trust him? '60s Spidey would have kicked their collective butts from here to kingdom come! @#5 - I love the idea of trolling Kang by leaving him notes where he will find them in the future. That's awesome! I need to go back and listen to the old Amazing Spider-Man Classics. Do you know why they stopped? Oxford commas rock, man!

  9. Al

    “Robo-Spidey even talks like the real deal. In fact, Robo-Spidey is more like Spidey than what we have been reading for the last ten years.” http://i.memecaptain.com/gend_images/WhxbSQ.jpg That Clone Saga era story with the Spider-Man robot was in my personal Top 10 WORST Clone Saga stories. It was a goddam mess. Ben Reilly relives Hawkeye’s memories of being a baby in his mother’s womb, of being Captain America Frozen and Tony Stark is a teenager who hits on Pepper Potts and the Wasp is half human half...wasp? It’s some crazy awful shit. @#4: You say that but Spider-Man soloed Blackheart who’d easily KOd the other Avengers...oh wait...that was a different Spider-Man. If I was writer I’d have a story where some big bad villain prepped Batman style to fight the Avengers but dismissed Spider-Man as a lightweight only to get his ass handed to him. That way you emphasis how amazing Spidey really is without directly undermining the Avengers. Ideally though I’d just have them mind controlled and wanting to fight him and he kicks their asses as he should be able to do. @#5: I heard once that exclamation points were used because it was easier to print than full stops/periods. Hornacek I don’t think ANYONE told Jim what to do. After all he was the bossss!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NisCkxU544c

  10. hornacek

    "Just look at those exclamation marks in his word balloons when he is reminding Rick that he is a real Avenger." It wasn't just this conversation, everyone used exclamation points back then! Look at the panels in the other screenshots - if it's not a question, the sentence ends with an exclamation point! Stan assumed all super-heroes exclaimed everything they said! So the Avengers realize the robo-Spidey was created by Kang. But what can they do? Kang is in the 30th century! Seems like a hollow victory. They didn't have a time machine, right? I guess all they could do is, write a "YOU STINK!" letter and bury it where they knew Kang's headquarters will be built and hope he finds it 1000 years later. That final line by Kang seems like an afterthought when Stan realized that the Avengers' fans (this *is* their book) would be upset that Spider-Man (or a robot version of him) defeated the entire team. I'm surprised that at the time of the first Secret Wars, Chris Claremont didn't convince Jim Shooter to add a caption saying that the Beyonder had filled the X-Men's room with an odorless nerve gas that would dull any mutant's fighting effectiveness, and that's why Spider-Man was able to so easily defeat them (luckily for George, this didn't happen). "The robot is not heard of again until 1996 when Ben Reilly encounters him in Spider-Man Team-Up #4. I could not find this on Marvel Unlimited ..." I bet if you asked Zach he could talk about this issue for an hour. Oxford comma? No!!!!!!! I recommend listening to the episode of Amazing Spider-Man Classics where they discuss this issue. It's very funny, with Josh and Donovan pointing out all of the craziness, of which some examples can be seen here: http://amazingspiderman.libsyn.com/015-asm-classics-amazing-spider-man-20-and-the-avengers-11

  11. xonathan

    Lol. Very funny. Made my morning. If only global Spidey had an off switch... I think that even if Slot is replaced, Marvel would never let anyone write a "Spider-man beats the Avengers" story anymore due to their cinematic success. Shame

  12. herbiepopnecker

    To think I once had that comic....:( Little typo, you mean "an Avenger", not "and Avenger" in that headline.

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