Cobwebs #32: Kingpin Santa!


You better watch out!  You better not pout!  You better not cry I’m telling you why.  Wilson Fisk is coming to town!  That’s right readers, leave out the milk and cookies because you don’t want to tick off Kingpin Santa when he comes to your house this Christmas Eve!

In the last Christmas Cobwebs, I promised Horncek that we would address the Kingpin Santa this year.  I looked at every comic shop I could to find it and finally had to break down and buy it online.  For you, Hornacek!  On with the show!

It’s 1983 and it’s Christmas in Dallas, so the Dallas Times Herald gave everyone the gift of Spidey.  I suppose it is possible that our friend George Berryman opened up his dad’s newspaper as an eleven-year-old and found this gem waiting for him.  Being a newspaper supplement, I figured that when I ordered my copy, it would just be a small six-page insert, but instead, we have a full sixteen-page comic book here (plus ads and other goodies).

It is awesome in all its cheesy glory!  Kids got their money’s worth on this one.  With that in mind, I’m not going to bother going into all the background detail of why they were doing this other than to let you know that there are five of these goodies, mostly featuring the Hulk and Spider-Man.  So on with Jim Salicrup and Alan Kupperburg’s literary masterpiece!

We start with splash page of a newspaper (the Dallas Times Herald, natch!) being read by a MYSTERY VILLAIN holding a smoking cigarette on one of those long Pink Panther filters in pudgy hands with a white suit cuffs.  There is even a caption below that mentions this is the MYSTERY VILLIAN.  Even though Kingin is prominently featured on the cover, this is a still more intriguing MYSTERY VILLIAN than what we got in the latest Clone Conspiracy issue. The headline on the newspaper states “Millionaire Inventor Throws Charity Ball” with a picture of Stanley Mudge as the millionaire inventor.

At this point we go right to the ads.  There are a lot of them in this book.  Jim Shooter doesn’t seem too happy to have to have been a part of this.  He claims that the promotions department thought it up to sell ads, but it didn’t make money.  They did sell some ads, though!  All are local and most are just weird.  One for Red Bird Mall has Santa riding a stage coach pulled by eight reindeer and an ad for doors that says if you install their swinging patio door, “Spiderman [sic] can swing in”!  Most of them were just regular ads with a picture of Spidey thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps the oddest is this ad that just appears and advertises nothing.  It might be part of the Chi Chi’s ad below it, but that still doesn’t make sense.  For BD, I present it here:

What the heck? And why is there a colon?

Anyway, Stanley Mudge has a regular appearance in these newspaper freebies.  Dan Slott said he was going to use the entire Spider-Buffalo, but he hasn’t hit on Stanley Mudge yet.  Come on Dan!  Let’s get to it! Surely an inventor of his caliber works for Parker Industries!

Of course, Jonah Jameson, esteemed publisher of a New York newspaper, gets invited to Mudge’s party and he makes Peter go with him to take pictures.  Poor Peter is a bit ticked off by this since he would like to spend Christmas with Aunt May and this party is on Christmas Eve, but he needs the money so that May can take a trip to Florida for her health.  They were always trying to get Aunt May to Florida for health reasons back in the day.  After changing to Spider-Man and webbing up JJJ for jollies, we get a flashback origin story that updates it just a tad by referencing That’s Incredible!, a TV show from the ‘80s.  Plus they totally didn’t understand that Uncle Ben died in a hospital with Peter cursing God.  They actually said he was killed with a burglar shot him.  (Editor’s Note: No, friends, Alford’s not gone too far off the deep end, go and read the instant immortal classic Amazing Grace probably still on your shelves at your local comic book shop!)

They arrive at the airport where JJJ has Peter doing all of his luggage carrying when Peter realizes that he wasn’t brought to work, Mudge actually invited him (they met in a previous issue where Spider-Man hung out with the Dallas Cowboys (and their cheerleaders)).  Apparently Spidey helped out Mudge last time, but Mudge lost an anti-gravity device, because, well it was turned on outside and floated to outer space.  Remember that folks.

We finally get to what we’re reading this comic for!  The MYSTERY VILLAIN is revealed!  It’s the Kingpin!  I know – blew my socks off too!

So the Kingpin’s grand plan is going to be to dress up as Santa Claus, sneak into a charity ball, and rob everyone blind.  Sure it lacks a certain panache that we expect from ol’ tubby, but you can throw that out because we get this panel, one of the greatest panels in all comic book history:

Right before they bring out the orphans (yes, this charity ball is to benefits orphans at Christmas – not too over the top, is it?) and just before a super-rich blond named Annie Eastman starts putting the moves on Peter (she’s no Lisa Skye, but at least she’s not Debbie Whitman)

Then Kingpin Santa goes wild and starts using JJJ as a weapon.

And becomes a giant!

Oh, wait – that was perspective!  Sorry.

Spidey does a classic knock-out-the-bad-guys-one-by-one-so-that-they-don’t-realize-they-are-being-taken-out routine (I love those) and then takes on the fat orphan robber himself.  You can see the highlight reel:

But when Spidey runs out of web fluid, Salicrup pulls a Slott and has Mudge save the day by throwing is anti-gravity device at Kingpin.  Spidey webs it to his hands which also activates the device and, well, we know where the anti-gravity device goes when it is activated outside.

I love how they are just like, “We killed the Kingpin, but it’s all in good fun – Merry Christmas!”

Mudge then concludes that JJJ must be Spider-Man!  He’s always missing when the web head shows up and his mean headlines must be a distraction from the truth.  To get out of this mess, JJJ dresses as Santa Claus (because….????).

Mudge realizes Peter is miserable without his Aunt May and charters his private jet to get him home before Christmas.  Everyone is happy!  Well, except the Kingpin, who is dead in the icy grip of the stratosphere.  Have fun coming up with ways he escaped in the comments section.

Now this would be fine as is and certainly worth the cover price, but we also get other goodies!

A word find!

And pin ups!

And best of all, we didn’t pay $4.99 for it!  Merry Christmas Crawlspacers!

And while I have you in a Christmas mood, head over to the message board and post up a picture of your favorite Spider-Man related Christmas decoration.

Sources:

Shooter, Jim. Comment to “Hijack!” by JayJay Jackson. Jim Shooter. WordPress, 7 Sept. 2011.  Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <http://jimshooter.com/2011/09/hijack.html/>.

 

Images:

All scans are from my own copy of the issue.

Credible Hulk

 

 

‘Nuff Said! 

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(6) Comments

  1. Mark Alford

    I liked even better how my dad shot the Kingpin into the merciless grips of outer space! Don't mess with my family!

  2. Evan

    Wow, Mark -- You made a cameo in this comic! How's it feel to have the Kingpin throw JJJ throw at your dad?

  3. Mark Alford

    @ Jack - I'm totally on board with an Annie Eastman return. What a missed opportunity for the Scarlet Spider series where Kaine went to Houston! @ Brad - inter-newspaper continuity - I love it! I was thinking he did die, and Jackal-Ben brought him back to life all those years ago (we'll get the interdimensional time-traveling story in the next big summer Spider event). @ hornacek - I almost gave up on finding this issue, but it was worth the search. This thing is awesome in it's awfulness. There are so many holes like the ones you mentioned plus, why even dress up as Santa to get in? It's not like the place had security! However, I knew if I put that word search in, somebody would take the time to find all the answers. :) I'm re-reading this every year at Christmas. The next issue has Spidey and his Amazing Friends showing up at the Nutcracker ballet. Maybe for next year...

  4. hornacek

    I completely forgot about the Kingpin Santa issue we were promised last year, so this was a pleasant surprise. This story is crazy - why would the Kingpin do this robbery himself? Shouldn't he have legions of flunkies he could order to do this for him? And Spidey straight up murders the Kingpin by launching him into space (or at the very least, the atmosphere). And even if the device wears off and he doesn't go into space, Kingpin is going to die when he plummets to Earth from hundreds of miles in the air. Enjoy, kids! The word list in the Christmas Tree Word Hunt is crazy. Most are common Spidey characters, but Annie Eastman, Mark, Stanley Mudge, and Rich Starkey are hardly "folks in Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man's life". And "Marla Madison" is not found together in the puzzle - the words are found separately, unlike "Aunt May", which is found together. Be consistent, 30+ year-old puzzle! Merry Spidey, everyone!

  5. Brad Douglas

    Well Kingpin floated an hour before the webbing dissolved. Maybe the Punisher shot the item out of the sky and the story is continued in the New Jersey paper insert. LOL Great article as always!

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