I’m basically that Barbie with the “Math is hard!” sound clip.

§ December 21st, 2020 § Filed under question time § 8 Comments

Gonna try to get through the rest of your questions before the end of the year! (And don’t forget…I’m looking for your comic industry predictions for 2021!)

Chuck V. vents

“Where was Spider-Man coming from?”

I believe Mr. V. is referring to the classic theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon, in which the lyrics extol the comings and going of Spidery Sam thusly:

“Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man!”


“Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man!”

So in the second line, one can presume he is either returning to wherever he originally came from, or perhaps this is the “coming from” origin point for a following iteration of looking out, here he comes. Now that second line of thought could lead us on an endless chain backwards through time, with Spider-Man always coming from a place he was previously seen going from, over and over again, leading to an eventual “if God created everything, then who created God?” quandary. Thus, let us focus on the first possibility.

One can be facetious and declare “why, Spider-Man AKA Peter Parker came from his parents, Richard and Mary,” but we know that is not the spirit in which the question is posed. I can offer some strong possibilities from where Spider-Man appears, but this will not, and can not, be a comprehensive list, and I appeal to the reader’s understanding why this is so.

In the earlier part of his career, Peter Parker, as Spider-Man, would most likely have come from three distinct places. First, the home he shared with his elderly Aunt May. Second, from Midtown High School, where he was a student. Third (and this is a combination of sources, please indulge me), either from the Daily Bugle offices themselves, where he worked as a photographer, or whilst on the job as a photographer for said institution.

Later in life, things remain mostly the same. Instead of his aunt’s home, he could come from his swinging bachelor pad or his shared domicile with wife Mary Jane Watson (when the marriage was status quo). Instead of Midtown High, Empire State University, either as an undergrad, or pursuing a graduate degree in biochemistry. The Daily Bugle and his responsibilities therein remain a constant. Plus, of course, he wold still return to Aunt May’s home to make sure she’s doing well, because he’s a good nephew.

As I said, this is not comprehensive. The character’s sixty year history provides for a multitude of variations and alterations that can’t be covered here sufficiently. But it’s safe to say he was swinging into action from being called away from home, school, or work. Or a date. Probably plenty of dates. Or he was just webbing his way across New York on patrol. I mean, you’ve seen the cartoon, right? He was clearly swinging on a web attached to a low-flying plane or a blimp or something.

• • •

Dave mysteriously asks

“Did you get the CDs I sent you?”

Why, yes, I did get the (cough) “CDs” you sent me. Definitely compact discs. Containing music. Not any other kind of object. Certainly not something that has to be held at subzero temperatures, in a lead-lined box, which must avoid any sudden shocks or impacts. JUST CDS.

• • •

Andrew evilly asks

“This tomb holds Diophantus. Ah, what a marvel! And the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life. God vouchsafed that he should be a boy for the sixth part of his life; when a twelfth was added, his cheeks acquired a beard; He kindled for him the light of marriage after a seventh, and in the fifth year after his marriage He granted him a son. Alas! late-begotten and miserable child, when he had reached the measure of half his father’s life, the chill grave took him. After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years, he reached the end of his life.

“How long did Diophantus live?”

HOLD ON, NOBODY TOLD ME THERE’D BE MATH. Okay, I got as far as translating this into something resembling algebra (1/6x + 1/12x [and so on] = x). I figured out the common denominator and got the equation down to x = 75x/84 + 9 and I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to do with it at this point. Junior High School/High School Mike probably could’ve breezed right through it, but I’m old and do all my math on machines, and any algebra I do now tends to be very basic. So yes, I looked for a solution and saw at least I was on the right track. Once I saw how it was done, I was all “oh yeah sure, of course” but really all this taught me is that I need to brush up on my algebra.


• • •

Chris G gets me with

“What’s your take on the Mark Millar run of Swamp Thing?”

A while back I was asked to rank the creative teams on Swamp Thing, and in part two of those posts, I basically said Millar’s run was probably fourth in line, behind Wein/Wrightson, Moore/Bissette/Totleben etc., and Rick Veitch. I liked his emphasis on the “monster” part of Swamp Thing, as he became increasingly more powerful and more alienated from humanity. I think it’s one of Millar’s best comic book runs, and hopefully we’ll get a good collection of it someday.

• • •

Will sez

“Hi Mike, I hope the eyes are healing well.”

Hanging in there, more or less! Between my eyes and my teeth, it’s like, as pal Nat told me the other day, “your entire head is falling apart!”

“My question is kinda twofold – being a Swamp Thing completist, what’s the oddest/most obscure/most surprising comic you’ve ended up buying just cos Swampy’s in it, and secondly, what’s the best comic you’ve bought that you wouldn’t otherwise have bought, again just because it had it had your mucky mate in it? Thanks.”

Well, I’m not quite the completist I used to be (the Convergence hoohar put me off, and while Swamp Thing is more involved in this “Endless Winter” event, I’m just picking up the tie-ins associated with titles I’m already reading).

Most obscure or odd comic I bought because of a Swamp Thing association was, in fact, a parody comic, one I had floating around at the previous place of employment without realizing a Swamp Thing spoof lurked within. I wrote about Mighty Mites Vol. 2 #2 at the time, which not only featured a take-off on Mr. Thing, but also contained an appearance by the real Mr. Monster! Yes, I said “real,” what of it. Probably the closest we’ll come to fulfilling the promise of the Amazing Heroes cover at the end of this post.

Now, the best comic I wouldn’t have otherwise bought if it weren’t for ol’ Swampy…? That’s actually harder than you’d think. The easy answer would probably be 1970s Challengers of the Unknown, which picked up the Swamp Thing storyline following the demise of his first series. It was an oddball book, which also featured Deadman, with work by Gerry Conway and Keith Giffen (and Bernie Wrightson himself inking a single flashback panel!). That was a fun run of books…I wasn’t really a Challs fan, so I wouldn’t have picked this up if it weren’t for Swamp Thing.

I don’t know if that counts, since it was basically a book starring Swamp Thing. For a book I just picked up because of a cameo, I think this issue of Super Friends is a contender. It’s not even really Swamp Thing, just a guy at a costume party wearing a Swamp Thing outfit who is magically transformed into Swamp Thing. I mean, it’s E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon on creative chores, how could it not be charming?

• • •

Wayne Allen Sallee sallies forth with

“Mike: what single comic (or related item)do you hold on to for no good reason? […] You must have something that it is easier to just keep in a box than get rid of and right away find out you could have given it to X or Y?”

I do have a lot of comics at home still that I feel like I don’t particularly need to keep, but there’s no point bringing them to the store because they’re not going to sell, and I don’t really want to throw them into the dollar bins either. So they just sit in my boxes at home, awaiting to be entombed with me in my pyramid when I finally pass from this world.

But I I think, if I had to pick one oddball item in the collection, it’s a copy of Defenders #98 autographed by Don Perlin. My old friend Rob gave that to me for some reason, and hey Man-Thing‘s in it, so that’s nice. I don’t really have too many (if any) other Defenders in my personal collection, but I just keep hanging on to it, because 1) it’s a gift, and 2) hey, Don Perlin signature, that’s neat.

But “give away” any of my comics? Give away? BITE YOUR TONGUE, SIR.

8 Responses to “I’m basically that Barbie with the “Math is hard!” sound clip.”

  • Dave says:

    I’m delighted you got the “CDs” I sent and have experienced no ill effects, which means the “experiment” worked.

  • jmurphy says:

    Nitpick: TV Spider-man didn’t become Spider-man during high-school, so the theme song isn’t talking about Midtown.

    C’mon, somebody is going to be that guy, it might as well be me.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    I *think* Chuck V is actually referring to the Spider-Man theme from the Electric Company, which went (from memory, I might be a bit off):

    “Where are you coming from
    “Where are you going to
    Nobody knows who you aaarrrrreeee….”

    Spidey never took his mask off in the skits, and he only “spoke” in speech bubbles, so they were actually kind of valid questions.

  • jmurphy says:


    Fair. I was going by the Mikester who said “I believe Mr. V. is referring to the classic theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon”. I withdraw my nitpick!

  • Jeff says:

    You say “hopefully we’ll get a good collection of it someday.” I have the TPB / Collections from the mid-2010s. Is there something missing or wrong with these collections? It’s been a while since I read them, but I don’t recall them missing issues or sensing that there were printing problems, but maybe I am mis-remembering.

  • Andrew Davison says:


    That was my plan!!!.

    We all know the story of that great mathematician Blaise Pascal who while suffering from a toothache took his mind off it by thinking about cycloids.

    And you did say “Ask me anything”

  • […] apparently I had the wrong Spider-Man TV show theme song in mind when writing my response in the last post. What Chuck V. was referencing was the version of Spider-Man on the educational television program […]