Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Less-Than-Spectacular Spider-Man Foes

Hey, Pennsylvania readers! Did'ja know Spider-Man once made a visit to your friendly neighborhood? Too bad he only had time to visit a prison and the Appalachian backwoods. This was during a story that had Robbie Robertson imprisoned for covering up some past crimes of Tombstone, his lifelong tormentor. Since, as far as big-city comic book writers know, Pennsylvania is crawling with inbred hill-folk, it only stands to reason that Spider-man's one recorded visit to the state would lead him head first into the buck-toothed, in-bred-ed-est hillbilly clan possible. "BANJO" was actually a ten year old kid mutated by radiation from Three-Mile Island into a hulking disfigured brute, seen above. Don't you love that custom logo, like this guy was ever going to be used again?

DISCLAIMER: At no point in this story is Spider-Man ordered to "Git them panties off! Git 'em right on off now, y'hear?" a la Deliverance. More's the pity.

SKINHEAD was a (lower-case) skin head racist who ran afoul of Spidey and his one black friend, the Rocket Racer. Later, while escaping the authorities, he ran into the Empire State University lab and found some bad web-fluid Peter had been working on. He got drenched with the stuff while fighting Rocket Racer, and it turned him into a protoplasmic horror in short order. Yes, apparently bad web fluid can make mooks into monsters. It's entirely possible Jameson was right!

Daredevil #300, in which Daredevil finally, decisively, defeated the Kingpin was barely off the presses before Web of Spider-Man was trying to cram a half-assed NEW KINGPIN down our throat. Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk rapidly gained 300 pounds and shed his hair to take over his father's empire in the much reviled "Name of the Rose" storyline before quickly disappearing. Not to worry though: the Web of Spider-Man guys couldn't backpedal fast enough, and the new Kingpin's next appearance revealed him to be Richard's friend, who had undergone plastic surgery as part of some convoluted scheme. Then of course, the real Kingpin returned soon enough, and the whole thing was ignored. That's commitment to your story, guys!

P.S Pretty much every version of the Rose sucked, too. Especially the "Blood" one.



Nik said...

Hah, I remember Banjo, one of the worst!

Must adds:
The Answer, foppish dork from the 80s Spectacular Spider-Man run
Grizzly from the 1970s, who wore a grizzly bear suit
"Demogoblin," who was as 1990s as they come

Mego Thor said...

Ah, Pennsylvania. Thanks for taking the heat off of Kentucky; where stories like this usually take place!

Phillyradiogeek said...

It's become cliche to bash the 90s era of comics, but it really was a bad time for the Spider-Man titles, wasn't it?

Brian Hughes said...

MT-I'm sure if Spidey ever went to Kentucky he'd have fought "BLUEGRASS" or "MOONSHINE" (the distillin' villain!)

Brian Hughes said...

The Grizzly was most recently spotted in "Agents of Atlas" of all places, as an arms dealer working for Norman Osborn.

Stephen said...

My wife and I live in Atlanta, Georgia and my wife's parents live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. We drive up every year to visit them around Christmas time, and on one of those trips I drove from Mechanicsburg to a comic store in Hanover. Just to make this clear, I drove through rural Northern Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, the whole length of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and finally Pennsylvania to get to my wife's parent's house. The drive takes just under 12 hours. You actually cross the Mason-Dixon line before you get to Pennsylvania. I saw more Confederate flags in the trip from Mechanicsburg to Hanover then I saw in my drive up.

I'm just sayin' there may be a reason it's called Pennsyl-tucky.

Verbatim said...

Skinhead turned out to be the son of a rabbi or somesuch, didn't he?

Joe - said...

How about Fusion - the Twin Terror?

Stegron? Will o' the Wisp?

Cardiac? Was he a villain?

Brian Hughes said...

Skinhead DID end up being a self-loathing Jew, now that you mention it.

Menshevik said...

Actually this was not the first time Spidey travelled to Pennsylvania. He took a flight to Pittsburgh after Mary Jane in ASM #292 (1987) to help her get her sister Gayle out of prison (and put her deadbeat dad into it). And after the two also beat the nefarious Alistair Smythe and his latest Spider-Slayer, MJ finally accepted Peter's proposal of marriage at Pittsburgh airport.
Hmm, I wonder if the bad image Pennsylvania got in that SSM story had anything to do with bad blood against Marvel's Pennsylvanian former editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter? (The destruction of his home town of Pittsburgh in the New Universe titles was also blamed on this, IIRC).

Mego Thor said...

Don't forget about Barefoot, the 11-toed Terror, and his sister/girlfriend, Pregnant!

Young Stalin said...

Oh, Blood Rose, no matter how many Liefieldian pouches you have, the kids will never love you.

cease ill said...

Is it fair to say, when I stopped collecting Spider-Man for years after 1988, I missed nothing?

"Moonshine, the Distillin' villain" LOL

You would have to dig into maybe Marvel Team-Up to find lamer villains!
'The Spot' bears mentioning---and just maybe, Red 9! And DON'T forget Big Wheel!!