This 17" x 22" super-sized coloring book from "Nova" features an all-new Spider-Man vs. Hulk story which is the work (scripted and illustrated) of just one man, the famous Spider-Man writer and artist, your friend and mine, the one and only – Gary Brodsky.
Oh, wait. Gary who? Never heard of him. How did he manage the breakthrough to creating Spider-Man stories?
Oh, right! Gary Brodsky! The son of Sol Brodsky, long-time executive of Atlas and Marvel Comics, VP of operations. I guess that explains things.
The first six pages of our story show the Incredible Hulk looking for a place to stay out of the rain, and choosing a convenient cave. I guess you won't be surprised to see Peter Parker and Mary Jane taking a guided tour of that very same cave the next morning.
As the visitors view the cave, a little boy named Alex slips away from the group and plays on the edge of a giant chasm. Oh no! He's slipping! HELP!
As everybody searches for lost boy, Peter Parker changes into his Spider-Man costume because... errr... because if he doesn't become Spider-Man, that's really going to disappoint a lot of people who bought the coloring book.
Hulk meanwhile has woken up as Bruce Banner. He sees the boy, hanging from a stalactite that is growing sideways. Wait, perhaps it's a stalagmite that is growing sideways? In any case, it's a rock formation with no freaking respect for the laws of gravity. Banner tries to reach the boy, but wait, suddenly the whole cave and the rock bridge collapses. What terrible timing! All those years it didn't collapse. Then a kid stands on it, and BOOM! No more rock formation!
Well, Hulk saves the boy. Spider-Man sees Hulk save the boy. Which of course means that they need to yell and fight with each other. FIGHTING! Spider-Man and Hulk fight inside the cave, then Spidey leads Hulk outside and away from young Alex.
Until... CAVE IN! Everybody will be trapped inside! Mary Jane! Alex! And Spider-Man isn't strong enough to hold up the roof!
But Hulk is. Hulk is strongest one there is. Hulk saves everybody. Hulk and Spider-Man are friends.
I really did expect this to be a terrible story. When the son of a Marvel Vice-President steps from nowhere into a scripting/artist role, the signs are not normally auspicious. But this was a surprise, in the positive direction.
Of course, that little kid Alex is clearly an idiot. Sure, he survived today with some good luck on his side. But I can't imagine he'll spend long in the gene pool. Mary Jane contributes little to the story, other than being a damsel in distress. Other than that, everybody basically suffers really, really bad luck when a cave that has stood for a million years suddenly decides to collapse on top of everybody. Them's the breaks, I guess.
To be clear, this isn't a particularly good story. But for a kids coloring book, it's a perfectly adequate one, and that in itself was far more than I expected. It is a series of ridiculous coincidences, wrapped around some one-dimensional characterisations. But it progresses a sequence of events which connect in a mostly logical fashion, and it comes to a resolution.
Gray Solsky went on to found Solson Publications, publisher of such classic books as "How To Draw Sexy Women", "How To Draw Sexy Career Women", and the all-time definitive work in its domain, the incomparable "How To Draw Sexy Witches, Wenches and Vampires".
Actually that last one sounds like it might be worth investigating. Perhaps I'll buy a copy. Purely, for... umm... research purposes of course!