If ever a comic was going to be great, this is it. Just look at that cover. Spiderman & Saturday Night Live! John Belushi doing his samurai bit against a real super-villain. And then you read it. And what should have been both action packed and funny is neither. It’s like they took two of my favorite things, apple pie and barbeque, mixed it up in a big bowl, and somehow, it’s no good. Even the layout, something I hardly ever notice is tight and claustrophobic. Yeah it’s supposed to be taking place in the small rooms and hallways of 30 Rock, but there’s little room for the reader, or any of the characters to stretch out in this thing.
Anyway, the idea is that Belushi mistakenly gets a ring in the mail, and he tries it on, and he can’t get off his finger. Here’s some of the hilarious banter surrounding that.
And the bad guy, Silver Samurai has been hired to retrieve it. Not to take over NBC or New York or the world. He’s there to get a ring from Belushi that Belushi would gladly give him if he’d just ask. It turns out that Peter Parker is attending that night’s airing of SNL, hosted by Stan Lee. Kind of a fun idea, right? A world just like ours, where Stan Lee publishes comic books, only in that world, the heroes and villains are real. Not only that, but the two grumpy old men from The Muppet Show also live in that world, not as Muppets, but as real men.
Ok, so Peter’s watching the show with Mary Jane when all this ring business starts to go down, and his spidey senses go off and he leaves to check things out. Silver Samurai has hired some goons to help him track down the ring, not super-goons, just regular thugs who pretty much run every time they see one of the cast members dressed up like a superhero. Bill Murry knocks one of them out with a rubber hammer. Dan Aykroyd and Laraine Newman overcome a couple with fire extinguishers. So, is this action or is it comedy? As I said before, it’s really neither. There is one fun bit where Garret Morris, dressed as a black Thor, distracts a couple of the goons while other cast members electrify the fire escape they’re all standing on, thus knocking them out.
Oh, and then there’s Spiderman. He knocks a few bad guys out with one punch or kick per each. Yawn. To be fair, things briefly get interesting when Belushi as the samurai character attacks the Silver Samurai, then realizes that he’s bitten off more than he can chew, and Spidey comes to the rescue. He kicks Silver Samurai as he’s trying to pull the ring off Belushi, and pop, off it comes. “Thanks for the help,” he says, and disappears into magic smoke and fire swearing revenge. For what, I have no idea. Then everyone says goodnight to the audience.
Look how young they look. Seeing that made me do some math. The publication date of this comic, 1978, is closer to D-Day—the storming of the beaches at Normandy—than it is to today, 2014. That’s a little depressing if you’re old like me. But still not as bad as this comic.