For years now we have seen Chris Giarrusso's funny strips aptly named 'Bullpen Bits' as they appeared in the Bullpen Bulletins page of many Marvel Comics. Chris does not limit his style only to Spider-Man, he takes on nearly every character! What makes this strip somewhat different from your average spoof, is that Chris writes the characters as if they are kids, complete with powers and costumes... think Marvel *Peanuts*, only better.
Now we finally get to see a collection of these strips, along with an original story. Remember that in this collection most of the characters are depicted as kids, a select few are portrayed as adults.
We discover Spidey has a paper route, and using his amazing abilities, he makes his deliveries much easier... until he gets to the Green Goblin's house that is. Spidey-Sense tingling as he lands on the lawn, the Green Goblin attacks with pumpkin bombs! Of course, Spidey is merely trying to deliver the paper, but the Goblin doesn't seem to care as we are treated to a comical fight. Spidey webs the Goblin Glider and is taken for a ride until he sticks himself to the side of the Goblin's house. Yanking on his web, Spidey makes Gobby arc and *CRASH* right through his own roof into Harry's room!
Spidey apologizes to Harry for the roof, drops him the paper and heads for home. He walks in fully dressed in costume (Actually Spidey is never OUT of costume) and sits down to eat dinner. Aunt May tells him to be careful and to watch out for that dreadful Spidey. Stunned, Spidey asks if she has been taking her medication. The phone rings and its J.J.J., who seems to be giving our little hero the usual lecture.
In Jameson's office, 'ol J.J.J. really lets Spidey have it for not being able to deliver the paper on time to Mr. Osborn, and decides to give Spidey's route to Eddie Brock (Who is decked out as Venom) unless Spidey can collect all the route money that is due. Being a paperboy isn't all that easy I suppose.
First stop, Gwen Stacy's house, and Spidey runs into Harry at the front door! Sweating bullets, Harry hides a boquet of flowers behind his back. Gwen pays Spidey and he is about to leave when he realizes something... That Harry's dad owes money too! I think we can see why Harry is happy to cough up the $200 bucks to Spidey and send him on his way.
Next stop, Xavier's Group Home For Gifted Orphans, and Xavier attemps to pull a mind trick on Spidey to make him think the account is paid up. Wolverine scolds Xavier and pays up what is owed, he then decides to join Spidey for the rest of the day. Now we are in Mr. Osborn's garage, as he is busy working on his Goblin Glider. Harry and Gwen are there and Harry explains he had to give his $200 to Spidey, to which Norman freaks out and ends up kidnapping Gwen, to get his money back!
Wolverine and Spidey stop off to collect some money from the Fantastic Four, and while they are there, the Thing offers to help out for the rest of the route by using the Fantasticar! Sweeeeeeeet. When the trio arrive at Avenger's Mansion, Captain America thinks there is a serious emergency and assembles the Avengers, only to find out Spidey is just there to collect paper route money. Jarvis cuts him a check, and then its off to see the Thunderbolts, with Cap going along for the ride.
To make it brief, Hawkeye pays up and Spidey returns to the Bugle with all the money only to find out J.J.J. already handed over Spidey's route to Eddie! In a comprimise, Spidey gets to keep half the route (The half without Mr. Osborn's house) and collects his pay from Jameson, a whopping $200. Jameson actually owed Spidey $250, but you know J.J., he shafted Spidey $50 bucks.
On his way home, Spidey runs into the Green Goblin, and trades his $200 for her. Gobby drops Gwen, and who saves her? Harry Osborn on his glider in a little Green Goblin costume! Daddy Goblin goes after Spidey, but makes a big splash after Spidey rips his side bag open spilling out his entire cache of pumpkin bombs. *BOOM!* Spidey then gets a lecture from Harry, who takes off on his glider. Thinking he can get his money back, Spidey picks up the Green Goblin who regains consciousness and tosses Spidey on the dock. Gobby takes off, and Spidey is glad that day is over, but then remembers he still has to deliver the paper tomorrow!
That's the end of that story, what follows is a collection of strips, most of which were previously printed in Bullpen Bulletins. A couple What If strips, along with a big helping of Bullpen Bits, the majority featuring Spidey.
I only gave the basics of the storyline, and left out a lot of the jokes which are prevelant in this issue. The reason being is that I believe you need to read this issue for yourself to appreciate the full effect. I always enjoyed Bullpen Bits, and an issue such as this one is very welcome in the Marvel Universe. While there have been other attempts at spoofs (What The?, Fred Hembeck) I feel that this type tops them all, for it is actually funny!
The art is very appropriate for the book, just like in Bullpen Bits, very cartoony but very well done. As a bonus, you can check out Mini Marvel Movies animated by Chris Giarrusso at www.marvel.com/comics/bullpenbits.
I rated this book for what it IS, a humor issue, and it does just that. If your a Spidey fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.