The Small Lebowski:
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #12-15
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #12, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #13, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #14, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #15
The story ranges from weird to strange. Sha Shan, it turns out, is in a cult called the Legion of Light with her husband. He's Brother Power, and she's Sister Sun.
And their cult leader turns out to be the Hate-Monger...
...who turns out to actually be the Man-Beast.
Add to that the fact that Spider-Man is helped out by a new super-hero, the CB-loving, pig-suit wearing Razorback.
I am told that if you've ever used an expression like LOL, or used an emoticon, you're not allowed to make fun of Razorback's CB radio jargon. But i've never worn a pig costume, so i'm gonna go ahead and laugh at Razorback anyway. RMFAO!
Among Razorback's many assets are his not-as-strong-as-Spidey super-strength, his electrified mane...
...and the ability to summon Big Pig, his souped-up truck, by pushing a button on his belt.
Actually, my favorite scene in this arc, sincerely, is when it takes Spider-Man multiple tries to push the button on Razorback's belt while they are chained to a wall by the Man-Beast.
The fact that it's a difficult shot really comes across, and the fact that Buscema and Mantlo would devote the space to showing it is illustrative of the decompression that's been happening naturally since the Silver Age.
When Spider-Man first meets Razorback he assumes he's working for Brother Power, so they get into a fight, and Razorback is happy to oblige, since he's heard that all heroes get into Misunderstanding Fights when they first meet.
He's involved because his sister, whose name just had to be Bobby Sue, has also fallen into the cult.
The story ends in a big showdown at a televised event at a sports arena (and no, the Man-Beast isn't getting a perm).
I'm not sure what ethnicity Brother Power - real name Achmed Korba - is supposed to be. You would assume Vietnamese since he's married to Sha Shan and his origin is that he ran a restaurant in Saigon during the Vietnam war that was a front for illegal activities and eventually he ran into the Man-Beast, who gave him his powers.
But Achmed Korba doesn't seen like a Vietnamese name. His appearance and accent has totally changed since his first appearance, as well (compare to the restaurant scene in issue #3). Obviously he didn't have to be native to Vietnam to run a restaurant there, or his parents could have emigrated there, or whatever.
As to how Sha Shan got mixed up in all of this, it has something to do with balance.
It's really Sha Shan's involvement in this story that, for me, makes it go from "Yeah, ok, whatever, standard super-hero fight" to "Huh?!". Well that, and Razorback.
But, like, her obligation to join the cult isn't really compelling (because honor!), and whatever role her father thought she would play doesn't really seem to happen and Mantlo is forced to squeeze in a few lines of dialogue explaining why she was important.
Razorback actually has a significant number of subsequent appearances, although granted they are almost exclusively in the satirical She-Hulk book.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spider-Man hurt his shoulder in Amazing Spider-Man #173 and it heals in ASM #176. This arc starts with Peter testing his shoulder on a tennis court with Flash Thompson, so it needs to take place after ASM #176-180.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
And with this, Mantlo starts tossing in a bunch of 1970s faddish things. First the Moonies, then CB(I'm not even going to attempt to explain the CB fad to anyone who wasn't alive back then, except to say that everyone who jumped into it to any extent wound up looking and feeling foolish very quickly). More would follow, like Disco.
The(A?)Hate-Monger also appeared in a 1969 Nick Fury, but Goodwin's footnote reads like he appeared only once before.
The title to #14 refers to the Roberta Flack song.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 2, 2013 5:00 PM
Well then it has to be asked:
Who would win in a fight: Razorback or US1?
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 2, 2013 7:36 PM
I'm fairly certain that question is answered in She-Hulk, actually.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 2, 2013 9:01 PM
Just remembered: DC had a Brother Power of its own, subtitled The Geek. At this point, he was considered by fandom to be one of the worst characters ever from a major comic company, so I can't believe Mantlo didn't know about him.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 7, 2013 3:44 PM
This storyline is a bit messy and silly, but I like Razorback. He's he kind of goofy ass hero who would be a fun recurring character or sidekick in a "light" comic book, and it's kind of a shame that he didn't get at least another team up with Spidey in Marvel Team Up.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | December 26, 2013 9:07 AM
Books like this (and other in the 70's) make me wonder why Kirby got so much flak after his return.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | October 4, 2014 1:53 AM
I noticed at one point you refer to the Man-Beast as "Man-Wolf". Though they both use the same brand of flea powder, they're still 2 different guys.
Despite his inherent silliness, I kind of like Razorback. The idea of a truck-driving superhero fighting crime along the highways and truck stops of America has a certain rustic charm.
Posted by: Gary Himes | October 29, 2014 7:08 PM
Thanks, Gary. I forgot to check his dog tag that time.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 29, 2014 7:14 PM
The title of #12 is a play on that of a 1972 movie about St Francis, BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | February 12, 2015 9:42 AM
The detail in Ernie Chan's inks makes Razorback's pig-cowl look a lot fleshier and more realistic. Whether or not that's a good thing is a matter of taste...
Posted by: Oliver_C | January 7, 2016 5:37 PM
In a panel set in a stadium in #14, a billboard reads "M.M.M.S.", which is strange considering that the Merry Marvel Marching Society had been defunct for almost a decade.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 27, 2016 6:22 PM
Marvel were always keeping up with the latest trends: CBs FFS! Haha
Posted by: JSfan | March 30, 2017 8:01 AM
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