Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man

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Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man

Cover of Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976). Art by Carmine Infantino (layout), Ross Andru (finishes & pencils), and Dick Giordano (inks).
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics/Marvel Comics
Format One-shot
Genre
Publication date 1976
Number of issues 1
Main character(s) Superman
Spider-Man
Lex Luthor
Doctor Octopus
Creative team
Writer(s) Gerry Conway
Penciller(s) Ross Andru
Neal Adams (uncredited, redrawing of major Superman figures)
John Romita, Sr. (uncredited, some Marvel faces)
Inker(s) Dick Giordano
Terry Austin (uncredited, backgrounds)
Bob Wiacek (uncredited, backgrounds of three pages )

Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century is a comic book jointly published by Marvel Comics and DC Comics in 1976. It was the first crossover between characters of both companies.

Publication history[edit]

In the early 1970s author and literary agent David Obst suggested to Marvel publisher Stan Lee and DC editorial director Carmine Infantino that there should be a feature film crossover featuring Marvel's Spider-Man and DC's Superman characters. However, there was already a Superman movie planned by Warner Bros. (the first Superman movie in that franchise), and a series of Spider-Man TV movies, so instead the two companies settled for an oversize comic book entitled Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century. The comic was published in 1976 and featured the two title characters, Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane, J. Jonah Jameson and Morgan Edge and the villainous Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor. It was the second time the two U.S. comic book giants published a joint venture, the first being 1975's MGM's Marvelous Wizard of Oz.[1]

The writing was done by Gerry Conway and the penciling by Ross Andru. Both of these creators had worked on Superman and Spider-Man before in their own titles.[2] The original edition lists no editor, with the splash reading: "Presented by: Carmine Infantino and Stan Lee"; this was changed to "Edited by" in a 1991 reprint. Conway in 2009 said he "did the actual editorial work," i.e. "proofing, supervision of production, supervision of art and lettering and coloring".[3] Neal Adams redrew the major Superman figures.[4] Inker Dick Giordano recalled, "[T]he pages were sent to [Giordano and Adams' studio] Continuity and were mostly left on my desk... and Neal took it upon himself to redraw the Superman figures without telling me that he was going to do it. I didn't complain, but also I also never mentioned it to anyone at the time and I never spoke of it until now... mostly of for respect for Ross and his work [4]

John Romita Sr. drew some Marvel-character faces and did some Spider-Man alterations in chapter two.[3] Giordano's assistant, Terry Austin, inked backgrounds, except for three pages of the five-page "Prologue 3", on which Bob Wiacek inked backgrounds.[3]

Though it is not considered canon, bits of the story have been shown in some of Marvel other titles:

  • What If? #1 (Feb. 1977): Uatu The Watcher shows glimpses of the various universes. Among them show's Spider-Man about to receive a punch from Superman (showing his sleeve and fist only). Uatu even poses the question as to whether the event happened in the mainstream continuum or an alternate reality.
  • Avengers Forever #8 (July 1999): The scene with Doctor Octopus carrying Lex Luthor out of prison.

Plot summary[edit]

Superman rescues Metropolis from a giant-robot attack by his old foe Lex Luthor, who manages to send some sort of stolen device to one of his strongholds for safekeeping. Elsewhere, Spider-Man battles and defeats his longtime foe Doctor Octopus and his henchmen. In prison, Luthor and Doctor Octopus agree to combine forces in order to conquer the world and kill both of the men who put them behind bars. In a matter of minutes, combining their abilities, the two super-villains escape.

Newspaper photographer Peter Parker (Spider-Man's alter ego) and Mary Jane Watson attend a press conference in New York City that features a new satellite, ComSat, capable of disrupting global weather patterns. Journalists Clark Kent (Superman's alter ego) and Lois Lane also attend. Peter saves Lois' life, and then introduces her to Mary Jane. In seconds, Lex Luthor, disguised as Superman, swoops in and shoots a teleportation ray out of his Superman mask, teleporting Lois and Mary Jane to an unknown destination. Luthor flies away, and both Peter and Clark soon follow him and change into their respective costumes.

Superman mistakenly blames Spider-Man for the disappearance of the two women. The two begin to fight, but dodge each others' punch. Superman flies away at super-speed, evading Spider-Man's next attack, while trying to deduce what is happening. Luthor fires a gun at Spider-Man, irradiating the hero's costume with light similar to that emitted by a red sun. When Superman flies close to Spider-Man, the red-sun radiation erases most of Superman's powers, including his invulnerability, unbeknownst to either hero. This allows Spider-Man's punches to hurt Superman until the radiation dissipates, and Superman's powers return. Realizing his opponent's much greater strength, Spider-Man surrenders. Realizing they have both been deceived, they agree amicably join forces to solve the mystery and rescue the women.

Spider-Man and Superman battle Doctor Octopus, Lex Luthor, and a foe endowed by Luthor with super-strength and endurance and a red-sun irradiated sword. Spider-Man and Superman defeat the warrior only combining their powers. Spider-Man steals an Injustice Gang spaceship from Luthor's base in Africa and heads into outer space with Superman to confront Doctor Octopus and Luthor. The supervillains have used the Injustice Gang's Satellite Headquarters' computers in conjunction with the device stolen by Luthor to agitate the Earth's atmosphere with a combination of sonic waves and lasers, causing huge tornadoes and hurricanes worldwide. Superman is felled by the beam's high-pitched sonics and Spider-Man loses consciousness when the spaceship's oxygen is compromised.

The heroes awaken aboard the Injustice Gang Satellite, where Mary Jane and Lois are held captive. Superman defeats Doctor Octopus by tearing off two of his robotic arms and shattering his eyeglasses, while Spider-Man uses psychology to try turning Luthor against Doctor Octopus — who realizes that Luthor will betray their partnership. He uses one of his robotic arms to destroy the weather machine's control console, stopping the potential disaster. An enraged Luthor attacks and defeats Doctor Octopus. While Superman returns to Earth to stop a gigantic tidal wave from destroying most of the East Coast of the United States, Spider-Man defeats Luthor. Superman returns to the satellite, where Spider-Man has bound the two villains with his webs. Congratulating themselves on a job well done, Superman and Spider-Man take the villains into custody. In an epilogue, Clark and Lois go on a double date with Peter and Mary Jane.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rozakis, Bob. "Tabloid Talk," Comics Bulletin (April 7, 2008).
  2. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The tale was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru, both among the few [at that time] to ever have worked on both Superman and Spider-Man...The result was a defining moment in Bronze Age comics." 
  3. ^ a b c {http://www.comics.org/issue/30562/ Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man #[nn] (Marvel / DC, 1976)] at the Grand Comics Database.
  4. ^ a b "When the Legend becomes fact", interviews with artists and editors involved on the comics. From Back Issue Magazine #11 (2005)

External links[edit]