Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and twenty-eighth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Peter David had a Secret Wars-related crime edited out of a Spider-Man story he wrote for fear it might inspire actual crimes.
As you may or may not know, before he was a full-time comic book writer, Peter David used to work for Marvel in their direct sales department. What this meant was that he dealt with comic book store retailers. So he was very familiar with comic book shops and their habits and stuff like that.
Anyhow, while still doing that job, he began to get assignments on inventory stories for new Spider-Man editor, Jim Owsley. This eventually led to him getting the regular writing gig on Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man and so a comic book writing career was born.
However, one of those inventory stories had a reference in it that David automatically regretted, based on his experiences with comic book retailers.
You see, in 1984-85, Marvel was putting out their first major company-wide event series (they had done Contest of Champions before, but this was MUCH bigger in scale), Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars. It was a massive, massive (MASSIVE) sales success…
It was the sort of comic book that sold so well that critics of the time were running articles like, “Is Secret Wars selling TOO well? Is it hurting the sales of all other comic books because people are only buying Secret Wars?” Stuff like that.
So Peter David writes this comic book story about Spider-Man saving the Toad’s life and then the Toad becomes obsessed with him, thinking that they were now best buds and crime-fighting partners. It’s a cute story. Now, the fight where the Toad first shows up is Spider-Man foiling a hold-up.
Originally, the hold-up was at a comic book store, where these thieves decided to hold up the store because it was the day that the latest issue of Secret Wars came out, and thus they knew that the store would have a lot of money. Peter Parker is right there on the scene, because he was coming into the store…to buy an issue of Secret Wars!
Peter David the writer thought it was a great gag. Jim Owsley the editor thought it was a great gag. But then someone else thought to chime in – Peter David the direct sales manager! David realized that, wait a second, he was sort of telling would-be thieves a great time to go rob their local comic book store! Obviously, it likely wouldn’t actually happen, but he could see comic book store owners being pissed over even SUGGESTING the idea.
So he asked Owsley if they could change it, and he agreed, and thus, it became a “magazine store” and Peter is there to get the latest issue of TV Guide when it was published in Amazing Spider-Man #266 (by David, Sal Buscema and Joe Rubinstein).
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Was Michael Biehn paid more to NOT be in Alien3 than he was to star in Aliens?
OK, that’s it for this week!
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See you all next week!