Great Pages: SUPERMAN VS. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

From Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (1976)

In 1976, Marvel and DC did something that they haven’t been able to replicate for nearly a decade: They collaborated on a comic. Subtitled “The Battle of the Century,” Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man¬†featured two of the most iconic superheroes in the world meeting for the very first time.

As tends to happen in comics, the first interaction between these heroes was a fight. This misunderstanding began when Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor broke out of prison and decided to work together. One of the first things they did, naturally, was kidnap Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane. Convinced that Superman had been behind Mary Jane’s kidnapping, Spider-Man proceeded to beat Superman into the ground. It helped that Lex Luthor had secretly powered up Spider-Man before the fight. When Spider-Man’s upgrade faded, he found that his proportional strength of a spider paled in comparison to Superman’s Kryptonian hide.

Though the backgrounds of the eight panels on this page are mostly nonexistent, the character work is spot on. The way that Spider-Man ramps up his aggression over the middle section of the page and his subdued “Oboy” reaction afterwards is hilarious. Gerry Conway and Ross Andru had fun here and it shows.

Comments

  1. Read Spidey’s dialogue aloud for a laugh.

  2. Oh man, that book is so great. If I was a less mature gentleman, I’d surely point out that there’s an easy joke there with the “how’d you get so hard so suddenly” line. Luckily, I am oozing class.

  3. Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    I’ve always wanted a knuckle-cracking session as satisfying as Spidey enjoyed on the next page. “Yee-ouch!”

  4. I like that Clark just let Spidey break his hands on him rather than just stop him classic Superdickery

  5. The “WHAMWHAMWHAM-THAPTHAPTHAP” panel is the best. I’m still grinning over it. Silly Spider-Man.

    @Jeff: I knew this story existed, but I’ve never known how they got these two together. So did they even bother giving a multiple realities type explanation? Or did they just have them meet as if they were always in the same universe and just never ran into each other before?

    • No multiple realities in this story. It was written as though the characters had just happened to have never met before. They were vaguely aware of each other before the story started, but that’s it. Honestly, it was a refreshing change from the portals that people are constantly jumping through during most inter-company crossovers.

    • I can imagine that would be refreshing. It’s really kind of a shame that we’re not gonna see anything like this again anytime soon.

    • Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

      There’s a collection of early days crossovers worth getting. Superman/Spider-Man 1 & 2, Batman/Hulk, Teen Titans/X-Men.

      In all of the stories, the heroes admit awareness of the other company’s heroes near the beginning. Then, they bump into each other like it’s not weird at all that they never met before.

      This works for DC, because continuity wasn’t really a thing for them until Crisis of 85. GL could be busy on a months-long space adventure in his own magazine and somehow be available to the JLA on earth and visiting with Superman in DC Comics Presents, all in the same month. Whereas with Marvel, it was obviously a non-canon thing, given their comparatively sophisticated continuity.

    • I read the Teen Titans/X-Men back in the day. That was fun.

      It’s just kinda sad that we’re past the point of collaboration nowadays. Can you imagine if DC and Marvel did a massive crossover last year, and then pulled their respective relaunch and non-relaunch simultaneously as a result of that story? How’s that for friendly competition? It makes no sense from a business standpoint of course, but it would’ve been pretty legendary.

  6. Great page! Ross Andru (with a “U”) and Gerry Conway were the Spider-Man team of my childhood.

    Here is another classic Andru page, featuring Peter and MJ’s first (I think) kiss:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/20z74zm.jpg

  7. Oddly enough, I have a copy of this oversized book in my office! It’s in rough shape but it was too cool not to have.

  8. Ross Andru is the nuts.

  9. That is a great page.

    Great drawings, fantastic sound effects, and a hilarious conclusion.

    I’ve never read this and I need to soon cause it’s embarrassing I haven’t yet.