Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 8 - Spider-Man vs. the Hulk!

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

Spider-Man vs the Hulk! Presented in Special Edition: Spider-Man vs. The Hulk, 1979. It’s an advertising supplement to the Columbus Dispatch. I can’t find any credits for this issue, but the art is obviously penciled by Sal Buscema. I’m going to guess it was written by Jim Shooter, but it’s just a guess.

I recognize both the character poses as being Marvel “clip art” with a book being awkwardly added to Spider-Man’s hand. I guess it’s there because this is a “Big Special Back-to-School Issue!” By “big” they mean 16 pages, and by “back-to-school” they mean the fight happens on a college campus. I suppose “special” means you get it free in your newspaper. The splash page is designed to get everyone up to speed—

Dr. R.B. “David” Banner is in New York, headed to the Empire State University “looking for salvation”, which is never explained.

Okay, hang on a moment. We all know that the Hulk is really Bruce Banner, right? He was “Bob” in the FF #25 we reviewed last week, and now he’s “David.” For some reason, that’s what he was called in the popular Hulk TV in the late 70’s. But if it comes up, I’m calling him Bruce, okay? Bruce!

Anyway, Paul Parker happens to be going to the college at the same time. Ha ha. Kidding. It’s Peter Parker.

Bruce sees a little girl fall into the water at the docks and freaks out. Bruce! Be cool, man! Nope, he changes to the Hulk, but he still saves the girl.

People yell at him. He jumps off as the police shoot at him. He’s misunderstood, you know.

Meanwhile, across town, we get a one page Spider-Man adventure. Oh no! He’s late for the first day of school! (I guess it is a back-to-school issue!)

Spidey stops the criminals, but a shop owner runs out to yell at him for breaking the front window. He’s under-appreciated, don’t you know.

After class, since it’s the first day of school, Peter decides it’s a great time to hit on the local talent.

Smooooth. Oh no! Peter’s spider-senses suddenly go off! He dumps the girl and throws an internal pity-party. Then, fight time!

Spidey tries to web the Hulk, but that never works.

The Hulk doesn't talk in this issue, he only growls and such. Again, blame it on the TV show. There’s a two panel bit that’s humorous, but in some ways, it's merely ahead of its time.

The Hulk rampages. He’s very good at it.

Spidey does his best to keep all the students out of danger, when--

We get a little break from the fight to see what Spider-Man's made of—

He’s made of determination with a goodness filling!

Oops, that last page is from 1966’s Amazing Spider-Man #33. My mistake.

The fight continues! Spidey’s holding his own (sorta), but is probably not going to win. Then something happens that changes everything!

Didn't we go through this lifting thing already? Anyway, the army suddenly shows up to blast the Hulk! Spidey, however, webs them up so that Hulk can jump away! (Which he could have done anyhow.)

Our story wraps up with a couple more comic book clichés. ‘Cause perhaps newspaper readers have never seen them?

Naw. Hulk breaks things and Spidey get throw around a lot. It might win as the CLICHÉ Battle of the Century! However, it is a good introduction to the world of comics, which is its purpose.

The Battle of the Century title remains with the Superman/Spider-Man fight of ’76. For now.

Come back Friday for Part 9! X-men vs Alpha Flight vs Loki! (More or less.)


Abbie said...

Yeah, I found it weird they kept changing Bob/Bruce/David Banner's name. I also found it weird that in Amazing Spider-Man #2, they called Spider-Man Peter Palmer instead of Parker.

Anonymous said...