The Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Spider-Man comic.

§ March 14th, 2022 § Filed under television § 8 Comments

Okay, I have a brief break from those early morning appointments for the week (though they’ll be back in action next week…ugh) so I’ll try to do a little catching up!

In my post about the “variant” for Amazing Spider-Man #194 (the first Black Cat), Joe replied

“Thank goodness it apparently wasn’t a yellow variant [Saturday Night Live] destroyed this weekend.”

And then Joe links to this video of the sketch in question, where the premise is an ’80s kids TV show is working out the kinks on how to “slime” the performers. [NOTE: uses a derogatory term as part of the running bit about how the ’80s were more…lax about such things.]

Yup, as far as I can tell, that’s a gen-you-whine Amazing Spider-Man #194. I’m going to post a couple of screen shots in case that video goes away:

And here’s as good a close-up as I can manage. COMPUTER, ENHANCE

As Joe asserts, it doesn’t appear to be a yellow-stripe edition, so the SNL crew only destroyed a $600 comic, not an $800 one.

Now I tried to catch the show in an anachronism, so I checked some dates. The comic was released in April of 1979, according to the Grand Comic Database. The Wikipedia page for the television show being parodied here, You Can’t Do That on Television, says the show started in February of 1979, and that “slime” was a thing there from the get-go. As such, I guess the timeline works out.

I wonder if the SNL crew knew exactly what comic they were getting…I’m presuming they were seeking out a period comic to fit the setting for the sketch. It surprises me that they singled out this particular issues, instead of some other easier-to-obtain comic from the same time. Especially since right now Spider-Man comics are red hot in the back issue market, in particular notable issues like the first appearance of the Black Cat.

I don’t think there were any “facsimile” editions for this issue, which is Marvel’ s direct reprints of some of their older, occasionally classic, comics. If there were, the cover would look the same, save for a different cover price and…the UPC code, sometimes? Anyway, there was one of those $1 “True Believers” reprints of this issue, but that had a big, bright yellow banner across the top of the front cover, which is definitely not present in the original.

Or it could be a mock-up of a #194, with the cover for that issue printed out somewhere and then glued over the face of a more recent, and much less expensive, issue. A long time ago, at the previous place of employment, we helped out a local theater production that wanted a spinner rack of period comics as a stage prop. We took a number of 1950s comics we had in stock, made color copies of the front covers, pasted them on bargain box comics (probably cheap stuff like Incredible Hulk #271) and there we had it. It doesn’t appear that’s what they did on SNL, but thought I’d made note of the possibility.

For what it’s worth, that does appear to be the actual back cover of the comic:

…so they would have copied the back cover, too, if this was a paste-up, or found another comic with the same back.

Or they just happened across a really beat-up copy of that #194 and got it cheap. Who knows? Well, they do over there on that TV show, I guess. Anyway, ignore all that speculation above because I’m sure no one was going to go through that much trouble to construct a prop comic when it was much easier just to spend TV money and buy one. Frankly, I’m surprised they bothered, but I guess someone over there didn’t want to hear about it from dorks like me if they used a 2022 Spidey in a sketch set decades ago. On the other hand, SNL has historically been on top of things when it comes to comics, so I guess I can’t be too shocked.

[EDIT: Joe returns to inform me that he found a TikTok video where someone with a better resolution video than what I’ve got determined it was a paste-up job…apparently over Thor #461. So please ignore most of my post!]

[Also, Googling shows that I’m two weeks late on this particular story. Oh well, What Can You Do?]

What would have been a little funnier, I think, is if the Saturday Night Live sketch had used a copy of this comic instead:

It’s only a little older than the comic they actually used…and much less expensive, I bet!

8 Responses to “The Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Spider-Man comic.”

  • King of the Moon says:

    Is it cheaper to buy a $600 comic than make a facsimile?

    Reminds me of the time Nicholas Cage played an arms dealer and it was cheaper to buy real guns for the warehouse scenes than to buy props

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    I randomly stumbled across a tiktok video that actually managed to solve the mystery. She has good pause game and was able to get an image of one of the interior pages, and it’s Thor #461. So apparently they took a dollar bin book and stuck a repro cover on it.

  • King of the Moon says:

    Nice detective work Joe

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    The sketch bugged me, mainly because YCDToT was pretty progressive for its time, with Black and Native cast members. It was absolutely a misrepresentation of the show. (Well, barring the subtle brownface for the captain of the South American firing squad…)

    I realize that’s me getting picky about a silly sketch, but, well, I’m a fan.

  • Link to that TikTok, Joe? I’m curious to see.

  • Mikester says:

    Cassandra – yeah, sorry about that. I only vaguely remember seeing the original show myself.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Oh, no worries. I’d seen the sketch earlier!

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