This week, while working on a blog post about Scottish politics (not kidding—just got back from Scotland and was fascinated by some comments made by an excellent tour guide),
I decided to take a detour into nostalgia. I quaffed down a Slurpee and inhaled a couple cans of Pringles and re-read a favorite comic book. Okay, I read a comic book. The other stuff will stay a pleasant memory, because, while 11-year-old me had the metabolism of a blast furnace, 57-year-old me gains eight ounces just by typing the words “Cheese Waffles.”
I’ve read this issue probably a hundred times—99 of them, sadly, before I was 15, and the last this week. From the depths of a long box in my office, it’s been calling to me, “Please read me again!” Finally, I did. Why that particular comic called out to me, I’ll get into at the end.
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I have a lot of back issues, mostly bought at quarter and dollar sales. I tend to pick up series I didn’t read when I was actively reading in the 70s, series I just missed because I didn’t read many comics in the 80s, and whatever I can find cheap from the Silver Age. And then they sit there in my “Unread Comics” box… boxes… until I find time to read them. It’s getting to be daunting task. I recently sorted them into groups of 60s, 70s, 80s and “later,” to encourage myself. I have a real fondness for the comics of my childhood, so the 60s and 70s issues at the front, with their delightfully yellowed pages, cheer me.
Ironically, I picked this issue up the night its author, Len Wein, died. It’s a nice little piece of Marveliana. Spidey and Daredevil meet, manage to find a reason to fight each other (Marvel heroes almost always fought each other before realizing they had common cause) and then go to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a powerful man from the clutches of The Unholy Trio, later known as Count Nefaria’s Ani-Men. It’s a completely standalone story. MTU, by virtue of being just an excuse to put Spider-Man on another cover and maybe boost sales of other books by introducing a character casual readers didn’t know, didn’t really have a thread that spanned multiple issues. At least, it didn’t until Chris Claremont took over the book. But it was nice to read an average Marvel story, one more by Len, in his honor.