Were Marvel's Earliest Supervillains Created by Big Business?

In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at odd comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.

In the world of comic books, there are certain ideas that get tried over and over and rarely do they ever actually make it through. One of these ideas is the concept of the inter-connected origin. You know, a sort of "One size fits all" explanation for so many different things. When newer comic book publishers started up in the 1990s and introduced their shared universe, they very often when this route because, well, to be frank, it's just EASIER.

That's why you had the "White Event" in the New Universe, why you had whatever you call that thing that gave people powers in Ultraverse, why there was the Daemonite War in Wildstorm titles. It is all designed to come up with a unifying theory that makes everything connected.

Well, obviously, the Marvel Universe did not have one of those things, as the Marvel Universe is clearly a randomly designed set of screw-ups that led to the creation of the various heroes of the Marvel Universe.

Like some dumb kid getting bitten by a spider (as an aside, I love how the doctors there are total jerks to Peter there. Even if they didn't see him getting bitten, they're still working with radioactivity, right? So if some onlooker suddenly starts acting faint, is the logical course of action really to then mock the kid? And not, you know, check your equipment to make sure you didn't just irradiate the crowd?)...

Or some dumb scientist taking his girlfriend and her teen brother on a joy ride of a rocket ship to make sure the Commies don't think we're chicken...

It is hard to find a unifying theory there. That, of course, has not stopped many writers from trying. I think I'll actually make a point of looking back at a few of these attempts over the years after this one. Just like this one, they almost all ended up being dropped right away (or perhaps, better yet, just never picked up by anyone else. "Dropped" suggests that people ever picked up on it in the first place).

In response to the great success of Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb's year-long Batman storyline, "Hush," Marvel countered with their own version of "Hush" with Mark Millar and the Dodsons doing a year-long story in a new series, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man (some folks have called this story "Shush").

The series opens up with Aunt May being kidnapped and then that's the main overarching plot of the whole storyline - Spider-Man trying to rescue his Aunt May before she dies. Along the way, a new Venom is introduced and Spider-Man seems to finally take Norman Osborn down.

Early on, Spider-Man goes to Mac Gargan for help. Remember, before he was the Scorpion, he was a private detective.

However, in Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #9, Gargan reveals that he actually knows Spider-Man's secret identity and that he is part of Aunt May's kidnapping!

The shocked Spider-Man is then even more shocked when he learns from Gargan that this is all to force Spider-Man to help Norman Osborn, whose life is in danger because of his role in a decades-long supervillain conspiracy...

1 2
Jane Foster Thor
How Can Jane Foster Become the MCU's Mighty Thor Without Mjolnir?

More in CBR Exclusives