Stan’s Soapbox – Marvel Age #132 (January 1994)

Hi, Heroes!

Well, there’s a first time for everything! So, let me tell you about our newest precedent-breaking, never-before attempted, merely magnificent Marvel first!

Starting December 6th (be sure to burnish that date forevermore in your brain), Spidey’s syndicated comicstrip, which appears in more than five hundred newspapers throughout the world, will present the same three-month-long storyline as the SPIDER-MAN: MUTANT AGENDA limited series which goes on sale in January ’94! But, with a difference!

Spidey’s newspaper strip will be told from a different angle and in a different style than our Marvel mag. In other words, both the newspaper strip and the comicbook will depict our wondrous web-slinger’s encounter with the X-Men’s ever-popular Beast and villaindom’s ever-loathsome Hobgoblin! That’s right; the Beast, Hobgoblin and ol’ Web-head together in his newspaper strip!

As you can imagine, it’s one of the most difficult projects ever attempted in the history of comicdom. I mean, how do you tell the same story in a newspaper strip, with only two or three panels a day, as you can in three long comicbook issues which can run six or more panels per page? But you know us; the greater the challenge, the faster we tackle it.

Since the whole industry is talking about our sensational little stunt, many of our own bull penner have asked why it’s never been done before. There are two answers. One, nobody’s ever thought of it; and two, who else would be batty enough to do it?

Those of you whose local newspaper doesn’t offer the Spider-Man strip probably feel culturally deprived. But take heart; there still may be time to get you back into the media mainstream. Just dash off a letter addressed to the “Comics Editor” of your local newspaper, saying that you refuse to dwell in a cultural wasteland any longer; you need your daily dose of Spider-Man. You’d be surprised what a lot of letters from irate readers can accomplish!

By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been bringing in Spidey’s newspaper strip closer and closer to his own comicbook world. His past strips have guest-starred such Marvel immortals as Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, the Hulk, Doc Ock, etc. About the only Marvel superstar who hasn’t yet appeared in the newspapers is Howard the Duck – but don’t despair, you may not have heard the last quack from Howie!

Oh, I mustn’t forget to tell you – our strip/comicbook team-up is such a spectacular event that big-hearted Marvel is producing an actual comic strip album [SPIDER-MAN: MUTANT AGENDA #0] which will allow you to collect and save the newspaper strips by pasting them onto album pages, the same way as stamp collectors save their perforated little treasures in stamp albums. Since the Spidey album will be another world-beating “first,” you are strongly advised to take good care of yours when you get it. After all, you owe it to posterity!

If you’ve got any questions that my scintillatin’ little soapbox hasn’t answered for you, feel free to contact Jay Kennedy, Comics Editor, at King Features Syndicate, 216 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017 (Phone 800/526-5464). Considering how busy he is, he’ll kill me for mentioning this, but hey, if you can’t stand the heat stay out of comics! Anyway, Jay’s a great guy and much of this sensational new project was his idea since Spidey’s one of his favorite strips and, big-hearted dude that he is, he wants to be sure that none of you miss it!

So, remember the date. Starting December sixth in newspapers, and January in Spidey’s comicbook! Everyone’ll be talking about the comicbook/newspaper innovation in years and we want you to be there at the beginning!

Or, as the Hobgoblin himself might put it, “Experto Credite!”