Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Thief who stole Valentine's Day

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Where is that special Valentine’s Day post that he was talking about?” Unfortunately, this post isn’t going to be as colorful as I had hoped. I found out the hard way that scanning comics onto my blog makes them come out in “teeny-tiny” mode, making them next to impossible to read. So I’ll just have to tell you the story with WORDS! What will they think of next?

Several years ago, “The Electric Company” magazine would publish a short Spider-Man comic called “Spidey Super Stories”. Like the comic book of the same name, these stories would include characters from the Marvel Comics universe along with characters from “The Electric Company.” They would run for five pages in each issue, including a “cover page.” Despite the short length of each story, these stories were actually quite fun! They are excellent examples of short storytelling. They were often more “in-depth” than the actual Spidey segments from “The Electric Company” TV show. On the show, just about every villain could be defeated just by trapping them in a web! It was usually kind of easy to defeat the villains in the "Electric Company" world. But in the magazine, Spidey often had to rely as much on his wits as his webs. (This isn’t to take away from the awesome clips from “Electric Company!” I’m just pointing out that the Electric Company magazine stories were different.)

The story I want to tell is “The Thief who stole Valentine’s Day.” Written by Steven Grant, it can be found in the February 1980 issue of “Electric Company” magazine.

On one recent Valentine’s Day, as Peter Parker was going through his mail, he realized that he didn’t receive any valentines - not even from his beloved Aunt May. A few minutes later, an angry Mary Jane Watson comes to his apartment. “I used to think you were nice, Peter!” she screams. “I don’t mind that I didn’t get a valentine from you, but you should have given one to your Aunt May!” Mary Jane walks out in a huff, as Peter thinks, “But I did send a valentine to Aunt May, and Mary Jane, too!” What could be going on?

As Peter looks out the window to ponder this dilemma, he sees a woman walking into the street right in front of a fast-moving truck! A quick change of clothing, and Spider-Man jumps to the rescue! He stops the speeding truck with his bare hands, and asks the woman why she wasn‘t watching where she was going. “I was upset. My husband promised me candy for Valentine’s Day, and he didn’t send any!” The driver of the truck says that he is upset as well. He was going to deliver several tons of valentines and candies today, but they were all stolen from him!

Then, in an incredible stroke of luck, another large truck goes by with several tons of valentines and candies in the back! Spidey stops the truck by shooting a web over the truck’s windshield, forcing the driver to stop. Spidey runs up to the truck and pulls the mask off of the driver. Incredibly, the Valentine’s Day bandit is none other than TV heartthrob Curt Fellows! But why did he do it? “I’m not the man everyone thinks I am,” he explains. “I’m very shy. My co-star Jeanne Hornet, is really nice. If I give her all of these gifts, maybe she’ll go out with me.”

“You can’t buy friendship, handsome,” Spidey says. “Why don’t you just ask her to go out with you?”

“You mean-TALK to her?” Curt asks. “I can’t! I just can’t!”

“Sure you can,” says Spidey, who picks up Curt with one arm and swings on a web with the other. They arrive at Jeanne Hornet’s apartment. With sweat dripping off his brow, Curt asks Jeanne, “Would you like to go out with me?” Jeanne rushes into Curt’s arms. “Of course I would!” she says. “I never thought you’d ask!” Spidey bids adieu to the two lovebirds, knowing that he’s got a lot of valentines to deliver.

Not a bad story. Nice job, Curt. Hope you’ve learned that you can’t buy me love. Congrats, Jeanne. You’ve found a guy who was willing to rob thousands of people just to go out with you. Hey- you may want to keep that in mind if your relationship starts to get more serious. Psychiatry can be expensive. And hats off to Spider-Man! You’ve saved Valentine’s Day for millions of lovebirds around the city. And dear reader, just in case you don’t receive a valentine this year, don’t think that means nobody cares. It’s just another thief stealing Valentine’s Day. It happens all the time around here. Spidey will be arriving soon. And just in case he can't make it for some reason. . .it means your heart is stronger than usual. Regardless- have a happy Valentine's Day!
If you have some old issues of "Electric Company" magazine with the Spidey stories intact, please contact me. I'd enjoy posting more of Spidey's adventures. You can send a message to "sesameguy" on the Muppet Central forums, or you can leave me a message on my YouTube page. Just be sure to include your return address so I can write you back.