Comics : NAOSN: Spider-Man Battles The Myth Monster

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

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

This is one of Marvel's specialty comics, that is to say, it is a comicbook produced especially for a specific cause or client. In this case, it was developed for the National Association of School Nurses. (Hey, who even knew that such a group existed?) At any rate, this particular comic deals with common misconceptions surrounding three specific childhood afflictions, Asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes.

In Detail...

NAOSN: Spider-Man Battles The Myth Monster
Year 1991 : SM Title
Editor:  Glenn Herdling, Rob Tokar
Writer:  Danny Fingeroth
Pencils:  Jose Delbo
Inker:  Harry Candelario
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Review

Interestingly enough, this story starts simultaneously in the present with Spider-Man swinging through Manhattan and in the far past with King Arthur defeating the fabled Myth Monster. In the past, Arthur of legend, (with the help of his court mystic, Merlin), first bests the Myth Monster by revealing the Truth, and then traps him in a mystic amulet which Merlin hides away. Unfortunately; several years later; the amulet along with other precious items are stolen by a thief. However, as the thief escapes, the amulet is lost and falls into the ocean.

Over the years, the tides cause the amulet to drift towards the shores of America, where it is discovered on a beach by some school children attending the Shorehaven High School . The children open it up, unwittingly cause the Myth Monster to escape, just as Spider-Man arrives on the school grounds. As it turns out, Peter Parker has been assigned to cover the school's track meet which is happening that afternoon.

As the Monster emerges from his centuries-long tomb, he snatches the amulet away from the children and makes off with it, in an effort to hide it from them so that he will never be trapped inside it again. Frightened, the kids head towards the school to tell someone what they discovered.

Back at the school, a number of the athletes discover that one of their number, Albert is in the locker room injecting himself with something. Naturally they jump to the assumption that it is drugs, but they are relieved to discover that it is Insulin. Albert, you see is a diabetic, and need the insulin to allow his body to properly process food into energy. This is explained to them by both their coach and the school nurse.

When the kids leave the locker room the Myth Monster shows up and knocks out the coach, and takes his place. During the meet, the kids compete and are doing just fine, until the disguised Myth Monster shows up and claims that Albert is on Drugs, and is disqualified. This surprises everyone, including the Nurse as she knows that the Coach knows about Albert's diabetes. The Myth Monster/Coach then states that Brad's Epilepsy could cause him to go into a seizure and swallow his tongue, or hurt someone while Carol's Asthma is all in her mind.

At this point the kids who let lose the Myth Monster show up shouting about a monster, it is then that the Nurse realizes that they are talking about the Myth Monster who has probably taken over the coach and is telling lies to make everyone afraid. Revealed, the Myth Monster takes his true form, when Spidey shows up to battle with him. Brad realizes where the amulet is, and recruits the help of Carol, Albert and the other kids to go and locate it.

As Spidey engages the Myth Monster on a physical level to distract it the kids rush off to find the amulet. They head in the direction of the Town Museum and set about to find it. Realizing that he needs to stop them, The Monster races away from Spidey and heads to the museum to stop the kids. Spidey does his best, but the Monster manages to get to the kids, steal back the amulet and toss it back into the ocean.

Thinking he's won, he rejoices, only to learn that now that the kids know the truth about him, as well as Epilepsy, Asthma, and Diabetes he learns that he is helpless, and he simply disappears. Leaving Spidey, the Coach, and the Nurse to congratulate the kids on being strong enough to know the truth from myth and lies.

In General...

The story is fine enough for delivering its message, although it does seem to be a bit more contrived than some of the other pro-social stories that Marvel has told over the years. However, that should not stop people from either adding this comic to their collection, or from passing it along to those interested in learning more about these afflictions.

Overall Rating...

I always enjoy these stories, and this one is no exception. The inside back cover has additional information about these afflictions, and the back page has a pencil maze and a fill-in-the blanks game about information in the comic.

Footnote...

If you have enjoyed this review, or think that you might want to acquire this comic. This reviewer suggests that instead of trying to find it on one of the auction sites, that you simply copy and paste the following URL into your browser window:

The comicbook itself is distributed by the Epilepsy Foundation and can be found on their Web Site.

That link will bring you directly to the Epilepsy Foundation's storefront page where the Foundation is selling the book for $3.00 (they pay the shipping).