Spidey Super Stories #3 (Story 2)

Background

You remember The Fly, that 80s horror flick with Jeff Goldblum get stuck in his teleporter-thingy with a fly, and turning into a man with really long back hair, and then eventually a big drooly fly? Well, ok, it scared me as a kid, but then again so did poodles and soy products. How many of you remember the original version of The Fly from the fifties? The one where they had a guy with a big rubber fly head and hand who looked about as scary as a rodeo clown? That also had the little human head superimposed on a fly body, buzzing around chanting "HELP ME! HELP ME!" until it got eaten by an enormous hairy spider. Heh. Well, this story is kind of like that, except rather than eat him, Spider-Man just humiliates the Evil Dr. Fly and his big rubber-looking fly head and ruins his evil plans. And instead of developing something useful like transporter technology to menace the world, our Evil Dr. Fly uses magical dead insects and hot dogs in his bid for global domination.

Story Details

The random splash page shows Spidey locked in mortal hand-to-hand combat with the Evil Dr. Fly. This is funny, since apparently where Spidey got super-strength, super-agility, and super-senses from a spider, Dr. Fly got big bug eyes, useless vestigial wings, and the toughness of a fly from his insect mutation. That's right, he's about as tough to beat as a normal fly, only he moves a hundred times more slowly, and can't fly away when you hit him. Luckily for Evil Dr. Fly, this scene doesn't actually appear in the story, and he's spared the tremendous squishy fly-gut kind of beat-down that would otherwise be forthcoming.

We then open proper with the Evil Dr. Fly in his secret laboratory. And when I say laboratory, I mean his Mom's basement dressed up like a lame haunted house. There's a big black pot, an oil lamp and a scary electric light, lots of beakers and test tubes things lining the wall. I'm just guessing that it's his Mom's basement, since it can be difficult to get your own place with an enormous fly head.

The Ill-Mannered Mr. Caption: The Evil Dr. Fly is half-man, half-fly -- and all evil!
The Evil Dr. Fly: My magic potion will turn people into insects! I'm filling my potion with fleas, flies, and every known insect!

It's at this point that the Evil Dr. Fly starts tossing insects into his magic potion cauldron. He has big burlap sacks tied with string, labeled 'FLIES', 'FLEAS', etc. and dumps them in the pot one at a time. What I want to know is where the heck do you get a big burlap sack with every known species of fly in the 1970s? Earl's Bulk Insect World? "On Tuesdays, it's fill a garbage-bag with as many insects as you can grab night! All for only $19.99!" These days, with that in-ter-net thing and all, I'm sure by tomorrow I could have a burlap sack filled with every known species of fly, each one lactose intolerant, hand delivered to me by an Elvis impersonator. Yup, pretty much anyone with a valid credit card can be a lame super-person these days. I mean, back in the 70s Razorback somehow got a hand-crafted giant pig's head that shoots lightning and let's him talk on the CB to passing truckers while he fights crime. Just imagine what's possible these days...

Oh yeah, back to the plan.
The Evil Dr. Fly: The whole world will be crawling with insects, and I shall be their king!
*tastes magic human-into-insect potion, which being half-fly, apparently he's immune to, or something*
The Evil Dr. Fly: Perhaps I added too much salt.

Ha. Yeah, well, the Iron Chef you are not. You're a half-fly super-villain in striped bellbottoms and a denim vest. Just so we're clear on that point.

We then flash to Spidey for two panels, he's crawling along, blah blah, oblivious to evil, blah blah, spider-sense says something is lousy! blah blah blah blah.

The Distemperate Mr. Caption: Later on, a hot dog man opens his stand!

What villainy is this? Serving processed throwaway cow parts to the youth of America, how dare you! No, this is actually more Evil than your standard kind of fair-to-middling Evil hot dog man. This is the Evil Dr. Fly dressed up as a hot dog man. Except, the Evil Dr. Fly has never ever seen an actual hot dog man. He has no idea what they look like, and so wears a huge orange clown wig, a white scientific lab coat, his striped bellbottoms, and enormous green plastic sunglasses. Of course, the sunglasses don't cover his foot diameter bug-eyes, so he just stuffs them under the wig, and apparently sells hot dogs blind, which must be quite a trick. Also a trick is getting anyone to buy hot dogs from a guy who looks like Ronald McDonald working as a mad-scientist lab assistant. If Ronald McDonald were half-fly and all evil, I guess.

Oh, yeah, in case you hadn't figured his plan out by now, he's injected the hot dogs with his magical human-to-insect potion. You know, I bet he's barely exceeded the FDA insect-part-limits for hot dogs. I don't know what the FDA magical-insect-part-limit is, but if there's a government approved limit on rat-hair in my breakfast cereal, I'm sure some government peon has 6 binders filled with magical insect part regulations and specifications.

An unsuspecting passerby is lured in by the delicious scent of boiling meat in the afternoon, and decides to purchase a hot dog from the disturbing-evil clown-fly-hot dog vendor. I should mention that this passerby is wearing a brown business suit with a neon green striped shirt and a pink tie. Was this ok in the 70s? Am I missing something here? Was wearing clashing colors like a war protest of some sort? Does every single person in Spidey Super Stories have to look like they were dressed by colorblind kindergarteners?

So just as the fashion-impaired passerby is about to chomp into his hot dog, Spidey swoops down and kicks it away from him. I would kick Spidey's ass. Maybe I'd lose, sure, but no one, I mean NO ONE kicks food right out of my mouth. Not even Spider-freakin'-Man. Last guy to kick food out of my mouth is now a bowling announcer. From his casket. Because I killed him before I forced him to comment on fat people throwing balls and jiggling excitedly for ALL ETERNITY. That's how serious I am about this not taking food out of my mouth thing. I don't care if it has a magical potion in it that will turn me into a magical unicorn, a magical kung-fu panda bear, or a damn magical insect.

The Rainbow-Dressed Passerby (to Spider-Man): Hey!
Well, ok, he's a little more reserved than me. We can't all be as obnoxious and prone to violence as I am, now can we?

Now comes a remarkable panel. Dr. Fly says, "Oh No! Spider-Man!" Spider-Man says, "Oh Yes! Dr. Fly!" as he shoots a web at him. How, tell me how does he know this guy's name? Does Spidey spend his time memorizing the Who's Who in Loser Villains Who Haven't Menaced Anybody Yet? Or does his Spider-Sense come with a friendly 411 voice named Maurice that tells him the names of lame villains and which women will sleep with him at keg-parties? Actually that'd be quite useful, I bet it could also help him remember their names in the morning...

Oh, and I almost forgot. The other remarkable thing in this panel is how the Evil Dr. Fly's useless little wings suddenly appear on his back. While he's still got the lab coat on. They clearly weren't there earlier, he didn't take off his coat and cut holes in the back in-between panels, just suddenly *poof* his useless saran-wrap-like wings are there. I have no idea how that happened. I'm tired of trying to make any sense out of all this. Make up your own explanation. Here's the challenge: you must use the words tabasco, oration, and shear-viscosity in your explanation for why the Evil Dr. Fly's wings suddenly appeared on his lab coat. And no, you out there, yeah you at the Macintosh, you cannot be a smart-ass and start your explanation with, "And as he looked up oration and shear-viscosity in the dictionary, he accidentally spilled tabasco sauce on his crotch."

Back to the story. If you recall the Standard Operating Procedure, Spider-Man is now at the "shoot non-violent webbing at villain" phase of your typical Spidey Super Story.
Spider-Man: *trapping the Evil Dr. Fly in his webbing* Don't flee so fast, Fly! You won't make a pest of yourself any more!
Note that "any more" is spelled just like that in the story, as 2 words. Way to im prove the kids' read ing abili ties, Spidey Super Stories. *sigh*

Spider-Man then proceeds to drag the Evil Dr. Fly across the asphalt in his web-net, while the local neighborhood kids come out to jeer at the Evil Dr. Fly. Spider-Man then decides, "Hey, why should I turn this guy over to the police? These 11 year old kids here are perfectly willing to beat the crap out of this guy right now!" as he leaves the superish-criminal in charge of the neighborhood brats. I figure as soon as they get off panel, the kids all run to the vacant lot, pick up big frickin' rocks and get ready for the big stoning, Shirley Jackson style. No one pushes a hot dog cart in that neighborhood and escapes with both hands. Or both feet. Or both vestigial wings, for that matter. As far as I know, Dr. Fly is never heard from again, but a week later the police found the mangled and barely recognizable corpse of a half-fly super-person with his wings pulled out, so things don't look so good for his return. But then again it's the Marvel Universe(tm), and no one's heard from the Human Fly (bad guy), that other Human Fly (good guy), or several other Fly-based super-people in quite a few years. So you never know...

Ah...     Did you think we were done? Did you think that was all the good lovin' this story had for you? Not even close, the best is still to come, becomes here comes the NYPD! Now after the big fumble in last issue with Doc Ock, you'd think the City would have fired all the police officers who were medically brain-dead or actually turned out to be criminals. No such luck. Here's the scene:

*Policeman runs up right after Spider-Man beats Dr. Fly*
The Much-More-Evil-Than-Dr.-Fly Policeman: Nice work, Spider-Man.
The Effervescent Spider-Man: Thanks, Officer.
*Spider-Man pushes the hot dog cart filled with tainted hot dogs down the sidewalk away from the kids, a distance of five feet*
Police-Satan: Do you have a permit to push a hot dog cart?
The Mintily Refreshing Spider-Man: No! I'm a superhero -- not a salesman.
Police-Eat-Your-Children-Man: Sorry, Spider-Man. You must have a permit to push that cart.
*Gives Spider-Man a ticket*
Officer-Unfriendly-and-Vengeful: See you in court. Oh - but thanks again for the good work!
The Utterly Stunned Spider-Man: Why me?

Clearly, the officer saw Spider-Man had just defeated a dangerous super-villain, who was using magical-insect filled hot dogs in a plot to turn people into magical insects. The first thing the officer says is, "Nice work, Spider-Man." So then he waited, and stood there and watched as Spider-Man pushed the dangerous magical hot cart, and didn't say anything. Then he gave him a ticket. That's like pushing a kid into traffic and then giving him a jay-walking ticket. No, it's worse than that because Spider-Man not only saved the entire world, but even his pushing of the cart was for the purpose of not turning children into insects. What this officer did is more like shooting the courier who's carrying the only cure for a deadly disease about to be unleashed on the world and then issue him a ticket for bleeding profusely on the sidewalk.

I don't get it. Does he have a hot dog ticket quota? Does the City of New York require you to have a permit to touch a hot dog cart? What if I leaned on it and it shifted, would the hot dog vendor be forced to make a citizen's arrest? And what is Spidey Super Stories trying to teach the kids with this, anyway? How stupid policemen are? How doing good things for others just isn't worth it, because you'll be screwed in the end anyway? Well, I could go on and on, but I think I just used up my *ahem* NYC police-mandated question mark quota in this paragraph, so I'll stop.

General Comments

Let's examine the Evil Dr. Fly's plan for a moment. He's created a magical potion that will make all people turn into insects, once everyone in the world eats one of his hot dogs. And then once the world is crawling with insects, he will be their "king". That might be a little lonely, don't ya think? Perhaps he doesn't realize he wouldn't have anyone to explain his evil plans to, or that he would destroy human civilization for all time. Who would make new bellbottoms for him? And don't even try to tell me that it'd be okay because he can talk to insects. Because if he could, he would have had to listen to the death cries of one of every species of insect as he threw them in his magic pot. That's over 1.2 million horrible shrieks of pain. (Never mind how he fit them all in a dozen burlap sacks) Just imagine: "HELP ME! MY THORAX IS BURSTING OUT OF MY EXOSKELETON! OH GOD! THE PAIN! MOMMMEEE!!" Don't even tell me he listened to that a million times. So what's the point of turning everyone into insects? Sure you'll be king, I guess, but only because there's no one left to tell you you're an idiot.

Speaking of which, why would the insect kingdom want him as their king anyway? He just brutally boiled alive one of every species. He's got every member of the whole damn phylum pissed at him. "You killed my 176nd cousin Earl the Boll Weevil. Prepare to die!" Plus, the Evil Dr. Fly only brewed one iron pot of his magical insect potion. So when he wants to conquer the next block with his evil hot dogs, he needs to kill another 1.2 million insects. So I very much doubt that any insects would be inclined to let him be king, anyway.

And what about monkeys, huh? Is going to feed magical insect hot dogs to all the monkeys in the world? He wouldn't be king of the world if there were still monkeys around, now would he?

Overall Rating

I think I've said all that needs to be said.