It’s time once again for another dive into MIGHTY COMICS, Archie’s attempt to reverse-engineer the appeal of the Marvel books of the era without understanding them a whit. As before, we’re going to be focusing on my favorite of the Mighty creations, the Web. The Web wasn’t cast as a Spider-Man knock-off as you might think. Instead, he was a genuine Golden Age character who had married his girlfriend of the time and now lived a quiet life in suburbia until he’s called back to action, much to the dismay of his long-suffering wife Rosie. So the Web was like a gimmick sitcom–it could have aired in prime time alongside OCCASIONAL WIFE or MY LIVING DOLL.
This issue only features a short interstitial effort by the character’s regular creative team of Jerry Siegel and Paul Reinman. It’s a reprise of the Web’s origin, placed into the context of the revived strip, with the hero’s wife and mother-in-law pressing him to give up his life as a costumed crimefighter.
It’s a very silly origin, especially in terms of how well it stacks up against other similar origins of the era. Spider-Man this ain’t. I’m not certain offhand whether the Golden Age version of the character was ever given an origin–I know it wasn’t a part of the first Web strip, but not that it wasn’t revealed later. But if this was Siegel’s innovation, it’s pretty weak stuff.
And it’s difficult to argue with Rosie and her mom that it’s about the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard. But it’s that very ridiculousness that made this strip such a little joy. That bottom panel looks to my eye like it was added on after the fact–the lettering doesn’t match. So this may have been intended to be run elsewhere and to plug the Web’s upcoming appearances in MIGHTY COMICS, but wound up in that book by some quirk of necessity.
This issue of MIGHTY COMICS also included a letters page, which featured a missive from future DC colorist Carl Gafford.
And it also contained that year’s Statement of Ownership, which gives us a real idea as to how well the book was doing. As this issue was released in very early 1967, these sales figures must have been reflective of 1966. And they show that MIGHTY COMICS was selling 156,252 copies on a print run of 259,107, giving the book an efficiency of 60%, which is one of the highest percentage rates that we’ve seen as we’ve looked at these, for all that 150,000 copies doesn’t seem all that impressive.