Partners For Life - Spider-Man vs The Prodigy
Feel free to print these interviews out and place them in your book. Otherwise enjoy these little pieces and then run out and buy a copy of the book so you can read the rest.
Nope, this isn't a case of Spidey smacking anyone's bitch up. This is actually the contents and details of one of the rarest of all the Andru & Esposito Spider-Man tales. You won't find this one in any Essential or Masterworks volume, it's highly unlikely that Marvel will ever reprint it at all.
The comic is a one shot and was given away by Planned Parenthood. These kinds of books are great to find. They generally contain stories by some impressive creators and were distributed to schools, doctors surgeries and the like. This one is small, digest sized really and has the barest of credits, but what we do know is that it's a 'missing' Andru & Esposito Spider-Man!
The cover art looks very much like Andru & Esposito to me. Certainly the pencils are pure Ross Andru - they're scratchy and loose, which is an Andru trademark, plus the pose looks the part. The contents, well there's no doubt about that. Written by Ann Robinson and titled "Pull Of The Prodigy" (quite funny when you think of it, considering the subject matter - teenage sex) the book details Spidey's search and eventual take-down of a villain named The Prodigy (not to be confused with the Marvel character of the same name) who is trying his hardest to convince a bunch of randy teenagers to have wild, unprotected sex. He tells them such things that sex helps prove that you're a man, everyone else is doing it, it's fun - all the things we used as excuses when we were kids. Great stuff! Now Spider-Man happens to swing by this lecture and works out that the bad guy wants these young people to be 'baby machines'. Best line in the book? "Galloping Guacamole!" Pure Shakespeare. When I first wrote this I didn't know who the editor was, but thought it might be Marv Wolfman, as Marv was working on the main Spider-Man title at the time. Tony Isabella has since said, "I have a vague memory of Marv Wolfman wringing his hands over it, so I'm thinking it might have been done on his watch." That's good enough for me.
The art, by Andru & Esposito (with colours by Jan Cohen and letters by Joe Rosen is...interesting. It's not as finished as the art in the (then) Marvel Spider-Man books and as the book appeared in 1976, I can't help but wonder if the pair drew it in a rush sometime in late 1975. As they were then drawing the Marvel Amazing Spider-Man title, it'd make perfect sense for them, or John Romita, to draw this. Mike's inks are very loose, unusual for Mike, and they offer another example of what Ross's pencils looked like at the time - scratchy yet detailed. All in all it's pretty damn good. You can also see a decent summary/review of this book over at the Spiderfan.org site.
But, for now, sit back and have a read of the 'lost' Andru & Esposito Spider-Man!