Comics : Bubble Funnies: #1 - Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: A Word From Our Sponsor

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

These Bubble Funnies are "trading card" sized mini-comics produced by Marvel Comics Group (a division of Cadence Industries Corporation at that time) and Amurol Products Company, who presumably provided the bubble gum.

Specifically, the six mini-comics in this series were 2 3/8" x 3 5/8". They featured 10 pages of story with two panels per page. The main story pages were spine-stapled. There is also a fold-out back flap which covered the bubble gum which, 28 years on, is a 1 1/4" x 2 7/8" pink rectangle of a slightly perfumed substance which I do not intend to put into my mouth under any circumstances.

The six comics featured: Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Archie and Sabrina. The last two features characters property of Archie Comic Publications, Inc. not Marvel.

In Detail...

"In the Clutches of Doc Ock!"
Bubble Funnies: #1 - Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock
Year 1981 : SM Title
Summary: Miniature Comic
Publisher:  Marvel Comics Group
Sponsor:  Amurol Products Company
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Page 1: Peter Parker is bitten by a radio-active spider. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man.

Page 2: Peter has a test in "Advanced Computer Science" tomorrow, and it's his last chance to do some research. That's why he has permission for a late night visit to World Computer Communications, where he can "learn a lot by studying their instant worldwide information console system."

Pages 3-5: Peter asks the night security guard if he can come in, but the guard tells him to "Beat It", activating Peter's Spider-Sense. Switching to red-and-blues, Spider-Man investigates the back of the building to find a bunch of security guards loading up a truck with high-tech computer gear.

Page 6-9: But who could be behind such a fiendish plot?! None other than Doctor Octopus of course! With such a computer, he can <evil>"RULE THE WORLD."</evil> MUAHAHAHAHAAA!

Spider-Man leaps down, but Ock is faster. Ock encircles Spider-Man with his powerful arms and tells him... "I'm going to put the SQUEEZE on you, Spidey..."!

Our hero is not daunted by such peerless dialog. He fires his web-shooters and hits the computer, threatening to topple and destroy the device. Ock releases Spidey in order to save the computer, allowing Spider-Man to steal Ock's glasses, rendering him helpless, and allowing Spider-Man to take Ock to jail.

Page 10: Next morning, Peter Parker is yawning in class. He "spent all night putting the W.C.C. computer back together."

Ah well, such is life in the world of comics!

In General...

As soon as this story left re-cap mode, it instantly launched itself a million miles from the orbit of common sense. For example, as a computer programmer and one-time science student myself, there is so many things wrong with page 2 that I don't know where to begin. But let's try a few things:

  1. Peter was a biophysics student. They do not study computer science.
  2. Even if he was a computer programmer, "tests" do not incorporate any research aspect. Only a thesis includes any research components.
  3. You do not study computers by visiting them. You study computers by reading their documentation.
  4. Cutting-edge research facilities do not encourage night-time visitors.

Hey, while we're nitpicking, how about that fact that Ock (having been subject to illegal arrest, and not having been read his rights) will be out on bail within hours, and will prosecute Spider-Man and the World Computer Communications company for violating his civil rights.

And Peter stayed all night to fix the computer? Really? The police and the W.C.C. staff didn't turn up and tell Peter Parker to piss off and leave them alone while somebody who actually knew about the system re-assembled it? Or perhaps tell him to get the hell out of there while the insurance assessors did their work?

I don't know which is more unpalatable... the ludicrous story or the inedible gum!

Overall Rating...

Hey, I'm just kidding. Of course the story is totally impossible. What does that have to do with anything? This is a bubble gum promo designed for eight year olds!

Yeah, the story is bad taste and the gum is no taste. But somehow the final result is a tiny parcel of retro delight. Four webs. Just don't ask me to explain it.