Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Introducing, Captain Britain / Murder World / Tigra Tigra, Burning Bright! / The Measure Of A Man!
Author: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne

Unlucks Buck$ or The Illegal Eagle
Script: Steve Mellor
Art: Joe Albelo

Four slightly psychedelic issues reprinting some of Spidey's classic team-ups, specifically with Captain Britain, Tigra and the Man-Thing.

I say slightly psychedelic because all three stories challenge our heroes' perceptions of reality. The last tale has D'Spayre as the villain in a magical environment that our gibbering webslinger perceives as just swampland. The preceding tale shows us Spidey getting drugged and seeing Kraven as the bony figure of Death. And the first tale? Well, that features Spider-Man and Captain Britain thinking they're encased in transparent spheres on a gigantic life-size pinball machine. No wait, I'm sorry, that's real. Sheesh, it's so easy to get mixed-up in these things.

Captain Britain seems to have brought some of his Marvel UK resourcefulness across the Atlantic with him, as these editions of Marvel Tales represent the only time I've ever seen two US comics apparently merge.

Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham was being discontinued after 17 issues, so Marvel Tales #201 proudly threw him and his friends a lifeline in the form of an ongoing back-up strip. Ironic given how their Spider-parody started life as the one-shot Marvel Tails. What great news for all readers.

Inside this Spider-Ham four-parter I found a lot of silliness and fun. I hadn't really encountered this world before, which is perhaps a shame as it turned out to be an awful lot like my favourite cartoon Danger Mouse. The strip embraces all the usual genre conventions, right down to crazy ideas and lazy plotting.

If there's a downside to this, it's that through the lens of certain modern science-fiction, I found this 22-year-old satire to be still painfully hitting its mark.

Fig. 1: The original Spider-Pig.


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