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Hey! Spidey! Go long! – The Dallas Cowboys and Spider-Man: Danger in Dallas!

January 30, 2011

What a way to kick off Super Bowl week.

I love these newspaper inserts. They’re so odd, so local and so fun. I took at look at one back at Christmas-time, which was actually the sequel to this affair. A certain inventor, Stanley Mudge, and his levitation device, one that sent the Kingpin careening to the heavens, both had their first appearance in this comic. The cosmic synergy of the Super Bowl coming up and said event taking place in Dallas made it absolutely imperitive that I blog about this now, so here we are.

“Danger in Dallas!” is brought to us by Marie Severin (Plot/Layouts), David Anthony Kraft (Script), Kerry Gammill (Pencils) and Mike Esposito (Inks). We open with J. Jonah Jameson travelling to Dallas with his friend, Dr. Mudge, and Mudge’s wheelchair bound son. Peter Parker’s also along for the plane ride, but he’s stuck back in coach. That guy never gets any breaks, does he? Well, except for the gaining incredible powers bit.

When they land, Mudge gives his kid a “little push” off the plane:

No, Dad did not just hurl his kid into the air like Frank Drebin pushing Nordberg down the stairs in The Naked Gun. He’s using that nifty anti-gravity device of his.

The foursome (Jonah, Peter, Mudge and Mark) head to Texas Stadium, where the Cowboys are holding a Saturday practice before their opening game and where Mark, who was crippled saving a young girl from a runaway car, is going to meet some of the players. If you’re a football fan you may recognize some of these names, if not the faces — and keep in mind that this was published in 1983:

Peter’s Spider-Sense starts going wild, and with good reason — the Circus of Crime is in town, and they want to get their hands on that anti-gravity device. They grab Mark and spirit him away as Peter sneaks off to make a costume change. He barely has a chance to get his pj-ed feet underneath him before he’s accidentally taken out by Randy White:

Let this be a lesson to you — if a defensive lineman collides with a person who has the proportional strength of a spider, the lineman wins.

Soon there’s chaos. The Circus of Crime thinks that the device is in Mark’s wheelchair but it’s not, they go to Plan B, Mark sneaks away, and before you know it everyone is on the field. The Ringmaster learns that Mudge has the device, and then the action gets going, with all the football-themed dialogue you’d expect from an effort such as this:

Jonah manages to get his hands on the device and starts to float away (let him go, I say), and the dumb as bricks jocks manage to mistake Spider-Man for one of the bad guys and hinder his rescue efforts:

Long story short, Spidey, with a little help from the Cowboys, rescues Jonah and subdues the criminals, and the next day everyone’s able to enjoy the season opener in peace:

Let’s play some football!

If you read the Christmas post, you saw a series of local ads that wrangled Spidey into shilling for the most banal and bizarre range of local wares that you could ever conjure up. Some of the identical ads were in this first issue, including the stupid boot ads. I can’t resist posting some new ones, though.

Here’s a full-page ad for Wing Tips, whatever the hell that is/was:

Captain America even makes a cameo appearance in a blinds ad:

Yes. Nothing makes me want to buy a new set of Venetians more than Captain America. And the prospect of Captain America crawling through said Venetians.

Finally, we have Spider-Man vaulting out of a washing machine like a Jack-in-the-box:

I remember liking Gammill’s work on the Superman titles in the early 90s quite a bit, as his straight-forward style was always easy on the eyes and never distracted from the plots he was pencilling. His well-built figures remind me a bit of John Romita’s in their, well, I’ll call it wholesomeness for the lack of a better word (and Romita coincidentally handled this cover). It’s neat to see Gammill’s work on an oddball little thing like this. As far as the story content, I grew up hating the Cowboys and now I live in the DC area where they’re loathed on a level just below al-Qaeda, so seeing Spider-Man team up with them makes me want to throw up in my mouth. But, as with its Christmas sequel, this local giveaway has its moments, and my comics palette tingles to see Marvel superstars pitching VCRs and dishwashers.  Appliances in the Mighty Marvel Manner. Excelsior!

And my early bet on the game? Packers by a touchdown.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave B permalink
    October 12, 2012 10:09 am

    Wow, this as great. As a Cowboys fan, I would love to have this. I don’t know how I didn’t know about this before, especially as I was a big time Marvel Zombie at the time.

    • txpatriot permalink
      October 6, 2016 2:37 pm

      I know I’m four years late replying to this, but these comix (especially the Tom Landry one by Spire Christian Comics) show up on eBay every now and then. The old newspaper inserts like this one and the DCC one are far rarer than the Tom Landry comic, as far as I can tell.

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