1972 was an election year, and as the various campaigns got underway during this tumultuous period in American history, the Sunday magazine of the NEW YORK TIMES reached out to a bevy of top cartoonists to provide single page strips featuring their characters and commenting on the battles being waged in the political arena. For perhaps the first time, Marvel Comics had grown to the point where their inclusion was similarly requested. Jo just a few months after the disastrous “Marvel-ous Evening with Stan Lee” at Carnegie Hall, on April 16, 1972 Marvel’s figurehead wall-crawler made his political affiliations known to the world.
This single-page strip was produced by Stan Lee and John Romita. This was still a good five or six years before AMAZING SPIDER-MAN would launch as a newspaper strip (though Lee and Romita had put together samples to pitch such a strip, said samples apparently laying fallow on the desk of Marvel founder Martin Goodman’s son Chip until the latter’s dismissal from the company.) As one might expect, Lee and Romita through the mouthpiece of the web-slinger take no position in particular, casting aspersions relatively equally among all of the assorted would-be candidates.
That said, the inclusion of this strip among a flight of newspaper strips mainstays speaks to the rising popularity and recognition that Spider-Man was beginning to pick up–a process that would continue to gain steam throughout the 1970s.
2 thoughts on “Spider-Man Takes On The Candidates”
Gotta say, while that strip is signed only by Stan and John, I’d guess that it was at least laid out by Gil Kane.
John’s taken a free hand with it, so none of the Spider-Man figures look like there’s much is any Kane to them, but the storytelling, the panel compositions and angles, the body language and very much the hands on all the non-spider characters look strongly like Gil’s sensibility, to me.
It doesn’t look like Gil penciled it, but like he did a storytelling rough for it, that John could build on. And John made the most changes on the stuff he cared about, but on the stuff he didn’t he stuck closer to the rough.
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I wonder if Marie Severin did some touchups on the faces of the candidates to make them more recognizable, as that was one of her fields of expertise.