Previously on Spider-Man's Tangled Web: On Christmas Eve, Peter Parker (secretly the Amazing Spid...oh, you know that part)...has rescued a passel of Japanese schoolkids, but then, having to rush out into the night, as he does (whatever a spider can), he leaves the kids behind with Betty Brant in the Daily Bugle office. Meanwhile, a big-ass Christmas snowstorm is a-blowin' into New York City. S'alright? S'alright. And now...
Panels from Spider-Man's Tangled Web #21 (February 2003), script and inks by Darwyn Cooke, pencils by Jay Bone, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, letters by Paul Tutrone
Jonah + Kids = trouble, right here in New York City, which begins with "N" and that rhymes with "bullpen" and that stands for...well, it rhymes with "newspapermen," but I'm not certain how to finish the song from there. Needless to say, there's both trouble and cuteness ahoy! Crouble? No, tuteness.
The Bumper Book of Humor Writing that I got today under the Christmas tree (thanks Santa!) tells me that one of the first rules of laughs is opposites are funny! So, pair a rusty, grizzly, grumpy old Jonah with cute adorable tiny tots and what do you get? That's comedy, my friends! Also: Pissed-Off Betty Brant™, which is one of the all-time greatest action figure variants.
Jonah tells the kids a story. Guess who's the hero in this one?! It's our old pal and star of many Marvel Comic books, the Amazing Spider-Slayer!. Except I imagine even JJJ censored the name of that particular character in his tale. I'm guessing we're looking at the Adventures of J. Jonah Jameson, The Sensational Spider-Hugger!
Meanwhile, Spider-Man and the Inhuman named Medusa (the hero who could never be an important part of a sensible Marvel Universe) are battling it out in the Toy Department at Macy's, no doubt wrecking Santaland and frightening Crumpet the Elf into a much more sedate essay-writing career. JJJ gets the kids into their cute li'l coats 'n' mittens to take 'em to Macy's to watch Spidey getting his butt beat (by a girl with sentient hair, at that!). It's events like that which drove the crowds to Macy's and ran Gimbel's out of business. You're a business menace, Peter Parker!
Tonight's very pecial Christmas Eve Guest Stars, singing "All I Want For Christmas Is Groo...t": the Fantastic
Turns out Macy's Santa is really the Puppet Master and making Medusa and Spidey yadda yadda yadda, and it's a Christmas Fulla Crying Tots, just like the ones we used to know!
Then, in an action-packed summary-stuffed double-page spread, they all head over to Jonah and Marla's apartment for a Christmas party, and Jonah gives Peter the very finest Christmas bonus of all the ones we've seen so far: he's bused in Aunt May and Mary Jane all the way from Queens. It wasn't an express bus and they had to wait for twenty minutes to catch a transfer in Roosevelt Island, but they're here.
And a very happy holiday was had by all at the Christmas party by everyone except Betty Brant, who was rescued by...let's say...Willie Lumpkin.
Happy holidays to all! (And we miss you, Darwyn!)