Comics : NCPCA - Spider-Man on Bullying Prevention

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

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Over the years Marvel has produced numerous "specialty" comics that have partnered the publisher with various corporations and pro-social groups to promote specific products or causes utilizing various Marvel characters. One of these social organizations has been Prevent Child Abuse America. The comics have come out of this partnership include preventing Sexual, verbal, and physical abuse.

Sponsored by the National Committee For Prevention of Child Abuse. Spider-Man - stars in a 16-page story dealing with bullying prevention (interestingly enough, this is the first comic of this nature that I can recall that has Marvel House ads inside. The actual story is 11 pages long, with the other five pages consisting of promos for regular Marvel comics). This is the second book on this topic the Committee (now called Prevent Child Abuse America, PCAA) has produced. The first one was the NCPCA - Spider-Man/Jubilee Flip Book.

In Detail...

NCPCA - Spider-Man on Bullying Prevention
Year 2003 : SM Title
Summary: Sponsored by Target
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Brett Lewis
Pencils:  Mark Bright
Inker:  Rodney Ramos, Scott Elmer
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Review

As the story opens up, Spider-Man is swinging through the City and happens upon an armored thug who had just knocked over the Gold Reserve, and is getting away with a suitcase full of Gold Bullion. As Spidey accesses the situation the thug shouts out his name (The Brace) and Spidey suddenly realized that this is a kid named Danny that he (as Peter Parker) went to school with many years ago.

As it turns out, Danny was actually picked on more than Peter was. While fighting off The Brace in the present Day, Spidey recalls how he (as Peter) never came to the defense of Danny, and even though he felt humiliated by the

experience, he was somehow glad that Danny was around, because it meant that the bullies didn't pick on Peter. There was even a time that Peter remembered that when the bullies were picking on him (because Danny wasn't around) that a girl notified a teacher who stopped the abuse (something that Peter never did for Danny).

While Spidey is distracted remembering the past, The Brace manages to get the upper hand and wraps him up in a light post. Then while the Brace is posturing for the crowd, a female cop comes to Spidey's aid. To stop him, Spidey pulls a water tower down on the both of them. When the dust clears, several members of the crowd help un-bury Spidey, who goes back to rescue The Brace. Only when the Brace is uncovered, he clocks Spidey and gets away with the gold. As The Brace gets away, the female cop relates to Spidey how she too was victimized by bullies, and decided that she wanted to help others not go through what happened to her. When The Brace makes it back to his hideout, he is met there by The Rhino, [Sandman]], and a third villain I didn't recognize. Who then whale the tar out of him, forcibly removing his suit, and taking the gold.

The final message of the comic is not just "With great power comes great responsibility" but to get involved, and not be a passive witness to a bully.

In General...

Keeping in minds that the goal of this series of comics is to communicate a point and teach a lesson in living (similar to the old After School Special TV shows), and are given away free to "At-Risk" teens, by not only attempting to reach them on their level, but to couch everyday problems in the form of superhero comics, to show how a superhero would react to every-day, real world issues, these books do an excellent job at achieving their goals. They are short, to the point, and (hopefully) effective at targeting their primary audiences.

The Prevent Child Abuse America series has not only been co-sponsored by corporations (this version of this book was co-sponsored by Target), but have been distributed free in newspapers across the country and as stand-alones across the U.S. This is the seventh book in the series.

Overall Rating...

Given the magnitude of their messages, these books tend to read as fast-paced morality plays with a powerful point and tend to come across quite well. I've always enjoyed them for what they are, sought them out to read and own, and promoted them to the general public whenever I've been able.

To learn more about this comic go to www.channing-bete.com, select "Product Search" and look for "Spider-Man".