Thursday, July 6, 2017


Formally charged.

Back inside the pages of Spidey Super-Stories, while most of the villains were either toned-down Marvel stalwarts or minor menaces from the television show, there were a few original characters. Of course, most of these were also based on existing Marvel properties in one way or another, and that's how we get Stilt-Man.

He sure does love his work.
The familiar Marvel Comics Stilt-Man began his career as a Daredevil opponent, and then moved on to be a general menace to the Marvel Universe on the whole. He did stay within the orbit of the Man Without Fear, but was largely reimagined as a joke character as far back as the Nineties. This is what you get when your gimmick is having extendable legs and you wear what appears to be a suit of medieval armor hammered to a bidet.

But Spidey Super Stories' Stilt-Man is a creature of a whole different aesthetic. Apparently, mile-high crime is formal, since he's going around dressed like Mayor McCheese or Uncle Pennybags or something. The extendable/retractable legs have been replaced with common-or-garden wooden stilts, and he's lost the fakey super-scientific gun he'd always carried around.

On the plus side, however, he's actually much better at committing crimes than his mainstream counterpart. In fact, he's so good at it that he is literally walking away with several small fortunes a day, while J.Jonah Jameson does his bit for the war by blaming Spider-Man for the whole crimewave.

"Uh, you attacked me, lady."
When Stilt-Man decides to double his profits by apprehending Spider-Man for the reward money, shit gets good. Although, as I think about it, it's actually contrary to Stilt-Man's motives to turn Spider-Man in ... after all, as long as Spider-Man remains loose, any future Stilt-Man crimes will be blamed on the wallcrawler. Try harded, Stiltsy.

It all wraps up with the obligatory team-up, this time with a quick-to-judge Spider-Woman who helps Stilt-Man knock the holy tar out of Spidey until a careless aside and changed allegiances alert Spider-Woman to the real deal. I dunno, I can't get past the top hat.

In the same issue, Bill Foster (aka Black Goliath/Giant-Man) shows up to battle a familiar-seeming Avengers foe named The Top. This might actually be a genuine Marvel supervillain or just a kid-friendly update to Whirlwind, whom he resembles somewhat, I dunno, man, I'm not a complete walking encyclopedia of this stuff.

The downside of Foster's appearance here is that he abandons his signature costume and shows up in Hank Pym's original Giant-Man costume, which is a nightmare across the board. I really like the old Ant-Man costume and some of the later Giant-Man ones, but Bill had the collar and the bared abs and all that good Bronze Age superhero design stuff. This is a step back...

"Live to serve..."


Britt Reid said...

The Top (actually "Human Top") was Whirlwind's original name when he first faced Hank Pym's Giant-Man.
The original Giant-Man costume wasn't bad...if it was colored right!
The "suspender-stripes" should be the same blue as the trunks and gloves or solid black.
They just look weird otherwise.
Foster's original dark blue/yellow Black Goliath costume, OTOH, was a hot mess.
He would've been better-off in Clint Barton's bare-chested Goliath suit.
The white and blue Giant-Man suit Bill had during the "Project Pegasus" storyline in Marvel Two-In-One was pretty good...
And, yes, I'm a complete walking encyclopedia of this stuff, particularly costumes!

Calamity Jon said...

Is this one of those things where the first letter of each sentence spells, like, "BENGHAZI" or the lyrics to Never Gonna Give You Up?

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