Comics : Trashmasters #1B

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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...

This is one of Marvels Specialty books that are produced for an end-client, rather than for distribution to the comicbook-buying public at large. While sometimes these comics are used to promote product lines, quite often (as in this case, they are utilized to promote pro-social causes. This particular comic was produced in cooperation with the New York City Sanitation Dept. in order to promote recycling. The print version of this comic was distributed in NYC public schools. This particular comic (there are two in this series) is targeted for Fourth through Sixth graders.

Each comic contains two stories and 6 pages of games and activities.

When a group of ordinary New York City kids turned their elementary school, known for its wasteful ways and totally messed up manners into a model champion of reducing, reusing, and recycling (RRR) they are turned into the ultra-cool, awe-inspiring warriors of waste, in other words, the Trashmasters. However, after a brief three months, the West Side Elementary (formerly referred to as Waste Side Elementary) won a Golden Apple Award for becoming the best RRR cool in the city, there have been some changes, and not for the better.

In Detail...

"RRRock n RRRoll"
Trashmasters #1B (Story 1)
Year 2001 : SM Cover
Summary: (Grades 4-6) NYC Sanitation Dept./DOS Comics (Spider-Man Social Message Inside Back Cover)
Writer:  Doug Bernstein, Vivian Trakinski
Pencils:  Alex Saviuk
Inker:  Bob McLeod
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Review

It is time for West Side Elementary School is renown for its Spring Fair, but it looks as if there will be a problem preventing it this year. Apparently, according to Ms. Rush, the schools principal, last years fair was a complete disaster because of the amount of trash left behind. So saying, she up and cancels the fair. This story is confirmed by Rusty, the Schools janitor who related that the schools other janitor, Crusty, actually retired after the fair, because the cleanup was so difficult.

Not to be easily swayed, the kids speak up and declare that they are Trashmasters, and that if could they just develop a plan for cleanup for this years event, perhaps they can get Ms. Rush to change her mind. Some of their ideas include clean-up crews that rotate every hour, color-coded trash receptacles so that people can know where to sort and toss their trash, as well as an information booth on recycling, and how everyone can help. Stuff, one of the kids, chimes in that he can write a very cool song about recycling that will help motivate everyone.

Needless to say, the others arent entirely convinced of his talent in this area, and try to get him to contribute in other ways. Then Nick, Shirley, and Franny map out plans for games revolving around the use of old tires, empty soda cans, and other recycled or recyclable items, plus things that Stuff can do. Bowed, but not beaten, Stuff agrees, but vows to write the song anyway. Over the coming days the Trashmasters all pitch in researching on the Internet, developing plans, and working up their proposal for Ms. Rush.

When she finally sees it, she is so happy that she approves it on the spot, and tells the kids that they have to put a move on to get ready for the event which is scheduled for next week. It is at this point that Stuff tells everyone about his great song, and before anyone can stop him, he jumps up and sings it. Well, as it turns out, he is an awful singer, and Shirley tells him so. To which Stuff responds that he wasnt going to sing the song himself, but he was going to get a famous Rock and Roll star to sing it, which of course draws jeers from everyone else, as they really only have a week to go.

As the Trashmasters prepare for the fair, Stuff agonizes over how he can find some celebrity to sing his song in such a short time, especially as no one seems to be writing back to him. Then he hears that the rock group *STYNC is coming to NYC, and that perhaps he can get them to sing the song. First, he attempts to utilize Rustys magical Trashporter to gain entrance to Madison Square Garden, only he winds up in a trash pile while the circus occupies the garden. Next up, he figures that he can use Rustys equally magical Sizemograph, in conjunction with the Trashporter to reduce himself in size and transport across town to the Garden. This way he will be able to sneak past the security.

Needless to say, his reduced size causes him more problems than it solves, and he almost gets stepped on by patrons as well as Basketball, and Hockey players who are all using the Garden for their games. Meanwhile the rest of the crew are working very hard to prepare for the fair. Discouraged, Stuff, finally reveals that to Rusty that he just cant get in to see *STYNC. Whereupon Rusty indicates that one of the boys in *STYNC is his nephew, and brings Stuff directly into their dressing room.

Once there the group naturally agrees to help out their uncles young friends and they appear at the fair and sing Stuffs song, making the event a huge hit.

In General...

The story is cute and all, and as a comicbook story uded as an educational tool to teach recycling, Im sure taht it isn't bad at all, However as a Marvel comic, supposedly containing the appearance of Spider-man, it is a huge disapointment.

Currently this comic is all over the net (due, primarily to auctions on ebay and other sites), but it is being touted as a Spider-man specialty comic. Nothing could be further from the truth. As stated, Spidey only appears twice in the book (once in a daydream,amnd once on the back cover, and neither time is he an actual character).

Overall Rating...

If you are a Spidey completist (Hi Pete!) then yeah, go out and snag a copy, just dont pay a load of dough for it, especially when you can simply read the entire comic (in Marvel-style dot.comic, pop-up form by going to www.nyc.gov and reading it for yourself. This link gets you to the main menu from which you can read either story.