March 3, 2012
Originally published February 24, 2011
Remember that old commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? A guy is walking down the street eating a bar of chocolate, caught up in such gastronomical pleasure that he totally fails to see the guy coming the other way, who is dipping his fingers in a jar of peanut butter and licking the peanuty goodness off his paws and not looking at anything but his own sticky hands. The two guys collide and the chocolate ends up covered with peanut butter, leading to those immortal words: “You sank my battle ship!”
No, no, sorry, These immortal words: “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” They then proceed to share their commingled goodies, and as the scene fades out they discover new depths of love and candy.
Well, the subject of this blog is a lot like that, just without the chocolate, peanut butter, or blindsiding. As the title implies, (actually it explicitly states it) this blog is about gorillas, robots, and Spider-Man.
Spider-Man needs no introduction. If you absolutely feel that you must have one take a look at the top of the page. Recognize him? (If you don’t, then where have you been- under a rock all your life?) He’s the guy dressed in a suit that absolutely does not make him look like a spider.
If Spider-Man needs no introduction, then surely gorillas don’t either. Why bother with introductions anyway? It’s not like you are you going to meet a gorilla at a dinner party. “Here you are, Lord Snottington. You’ll be seated between Koko and Kogar.” Who are you, Tarzan?
Behind curtain number three we find a robot. Not just any robot but a Robot Monster-style robot. Guys in gorilla suits are already funny, especially when they do kung-fu in 1970’s flicks, but a robot gorilla? Priceless. You may just remember a little film called King Kong Escapes. What did King Kong fight? A giant robot ape. ‘Nuff said.
By now, or likely much earlier, you may be starting to wonder what the point is of all this. Slow down, sailor. I’m getting to it.
The other day I was cleaning out a closet and in a folder filled with otherwise normal stuff I found three Spider-Man newspaper strips I cut out back in 1998.
Ah, 1998. Remember that long ago year? Before we had Justin Bieber we had The Backstreet Boys, before Lady Gaga we had The Spice Girls, and before Britney Spears we still had Britney Spears, whom I was shocked to discover has been assaulting our ears far longer than I thought.
In movies, 1998 boasted both Armageddon and Deep Impact, proving that two giant asteroid films still can’t be as bad as one Sony’s Godzilla, also released in that year.
In comics, Wikipedia reports that something called Gay Comix published its final issue, Batman creator Bob Kane died, and Marvel cancelled The Spectacular Spider-Man after a 263 issue run.
But have no fear, Spider-Man was still alive in the newspaper (and about a dozen other titles Marvel published) in stories written by Stan Lee. Stan Lee in his time was a genius. He created nearly every iconic Marvel character in the 1960’s, from the Hulk to the Fantastic Four. However, that time has long passed. Later in life he created Stripperella so debate his legacy for yourself.
He also wrote these Spider-Man strips which combine gorillas, robots, and Spider-Man in one small package, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
“That gorilla– so powerful, so fearsome– if it had a human brain nothing could stop it!” Who hasn’t had that thought at one time or another? The problem is that none of us has the ability to do anything about it. Of course, that is no obstacle to New York’s richest man. (I am tempted to wonder if “New York’s richest man” would wear an ugly suit like that, but I am also thinking of Donald Trump’s hair. My theory on Trump’s hair is that it is one big F-you. It says “I am so rich I don’t have to look good.”)
A couple of days (and missing strips) have passed, and that’s a shame. I wonder how it defeated Spider-Man? And what does the richest man in New York have against him? If I were that rich I’d have better things to worry about, like where I am going to get a money vault as big as Scrooge McDuck’s so I can swim around in all of my cash.
That’s all I found. I’m sure that Spidey managed to beat the gorilla-bot and save the day. I imagine that the Spider-Man strip has gotten much better since then. Here’s one from 2009:
Maybe that’s just one bad day. Let’s see one from earlier this month.
Stan Lee used to be a writer, right? What happened? That’s the single worst strip I ever saw. I get that there is a larger story going on, and some days will be more exciting than others, but who thinks that strip is worth wasting your time on?
This strip has got to get back to the robot gorillas and rich guys in bad suits.