Off My Mind: The Spider-Mobile

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Posted by G-Man (30607 posts) - - Show Bio
Spider-Man had some crazy adventures in the 70s. One of the strangest things to come out of that time was the Spider-Mobile. Even though Spider-Man himself was against the idea back then, it's something that he can't seem to escape. The car has even made appearances recently in Old Man Logan and Amazing Spider-Man #648 (although that was more of a cameo).  

When I started reading Spider-Man comics in the 80s, eventually I read the issues dealing with the Spider-Mobile. It was a wacky idea but I didn't give it much thought. Thinking about it today, it's time to get to the bottom of all this and figure out if the creation of the car is justifiable. 
 == TEASER == 
The idea of a Spider-Mobile was presented to Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #126. A couple advertising guys flagged down Spider-Man as he was swinging by (I can't help but wonder if they would have settled for any hero that passed by). These guys represented Corona Motors and wanted Spider-Man to build a car (because that surely must have been one of his super-powers, right?) and use their new non-polluting engine. Spidey brushed off the idea but later changed his mind and got Johnny Storm involved. 
 
The car debuted in issue #130. It had a spider-signal, shot webbing and had an ejector seat because, as Johhny put it, "Every hero's car has to have a seat ejector. It's part of the style." It looked like it'd be a success but when Spidey took it for a test drive, he revealed he didn't really know how to drive. He figured he'd never be able to afford a car and as a New Yorker, he wouldn't have a need for driving in Manhattan. He managed to catch some crooks with it but was attacked by Hammerhead. Later Spider-Man parked the car and used the camouflage option to hide the car for several issues.

The car ended up sinking in the Hudson River in issue #141 when Spider-Man accidentally drove it off a pier (he was tricked into thinking it was an alley courtesy of Mysterio). The car was later seen in issue #159 where it was recovered by the Tinkerer and modified to be used against Spider-Man. With the car attacking him and his powers nullified by a gas the Tinkerer developed, it looked like this was the end for Spidey. Of course he managed to defeat both the Tinkerer and Spider-Mobile. Spider-Man then returned the car to the advertisers. 

After giving it more thought, it still doesn't make sense. What was Marvel thinking? The car didn't really serve much of a purpose. Spider-Man was against the idea from the beginning. Before he could really get into the idea of using it, it got trashed. It was then brought back as part of a villain's plan to get revenge on Spider-Man. I have to wonder if the editors ever felt the Spider-Mobile had promise. Did they have plans for Spider-Man to drive around the city instead of swinging from place to place? Was the non-polluting engine meant to be a message? Maybe fan-reaction was immediately negative and they decided to scrap the idea. I'm sure Spider-Man isn't the only one that would like to forget the Spider-Mobile existed. 
 
The Spider-Mobile is a joke and always will be. It was a really bad idea. Whether it was ever meant to be taken seriously, we may never know. The few appearances before it got sunk almost felt like the writers wanted it to catch on. It was a goofy idea and can bring a laugh when looking back. Let's just hope something like this doesn't happen again.
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#1 Posted by joshmightbe (24598 posts) - - Show Bio

even Spidey thought it was a bad idea

#2 Posted by Sidie (44 posts) - - Show Bio

It was pretty goofy, but i loved how it was used in Old Man Logan,it was used against the kingpin and a Venom T-rex. That got to earn you some credits

#3 Posted by Zereta (77 posts) - - Show Bio

Really, really bad idea.

#4 Posted by Baron_Emo (3570 posts) - - Show Bio

I was just talking to a friend of mine about this last night. As a Christmas present for her nephew, she bought a Green Lantern figure with a Jet. I told her "Green Lantern doesn't need a Jet! He can fly through space on his own! That's like the Spider-Mobile!" 
 
 
Maybe Marvel just wanted to sell Hot Wheels?

#5 Posted by longbowhunter (6719 posts) - - Show Bio

Seems like a gimmick to sell toys. When I was a kid I had a Dr. Doom dragster with him in the driver's seat.

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#6 Posted by Krakoa (550 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Superman's Supermobile is even more useless, but the Spider-Mobile is a pretty amusing fiasco.

#7 Posted by comicbikerscott (152 posts) - - Show Bio

wqhy didn't he give the car to johny storm this gimmack sucked
#8 Posted by Jayso4201 (594 posts) - - Show Bio

Can't lie I own one, and I thought it was cool how they used it in "Old Man Logan", aint nostalgia great!
#9 Posted by Planewalker (325 posts) - - Show Bio

Really bad and stupid!

#10 Posted by Hellos (8898 posts) - - Show Bio

Seemed like a running gag to me.
#11 Edited by FoxxFireArt (3545 posts) - - Show Bio

It makes no sense for Spider-man to have a buggy or a motorcycle. In a city such as New York that in infamous for traffic jams. Swinging is far faster. You go over all traffic.
If Spidey had been a criminal in the eyes of most of New York, why would advertisers want to be linked with him? Might as well call Charlie Sheen up to advertise Highlights magazine.
 
It's amazing how Spidey has trouble with bills, but could afford cloaking technology on his car. That was probably something from Reed, but imagine what that would do to your battery life. Even leaving the lights on is bad enough.
Part of me wonders if the Spider-mobile was always just a big joke they got a laugh out of. I think they knew people would pester them about the fate of the car. So, they just made up a silly story to get rid of it once and for all. It's sort of become a cult classic. It's why it keeps having cameos.
 
Really, really bad idea, and as we all well know. It wasn't their first or even near their last bad idea Marvel would do with the series. BND,OMD,OMIT,and beyond. I used to really like Spider-man before they scrapped the story into the bay and let it rot. I'd watch Jersey Shore before I would buy what it's become. That does mean something. I HATE Jersey Shore and all reality TV shows with an intense passion.
I'll look into it again when Quesada is gone from the book. Till then, I have zero faith in it's ability to be a decent story. It's a sitcom/soap opera to me, now.

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#12 Posted by weapon154 (339 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm pretty sure it was a cool idea, but then the creators found that he didn't need a car.

#13 Posted by I-Force (23 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the big wigs at Marvel probably thought they might be able to develop a toy marketing venue that might equate to the success the Batman franchise had with Batmobiles and Batplanes and Batboats. The trouble is they're two entirely different characters with two entirely different vibes. Spidey already self-transports rather effectively in town so a veritable dune buggy in New York had little sensible resonance with anyone, much less one that would inexplicably stick to walls. How was Spidey gonna jump or swing behind the wheel of a car? Weird, huh?  
#14 Posted by UltanKC (7 posts) - - Show Bio

It was definitely a ridiculous idea from the very start. My personal opinion is that it was never meant to be taken seriously.

#15 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio

AWESOME IDEA lol

#16 Posted by OrionStarlancer (126 posts) - - Show Bio

I think, as longbowhunter pointed out, it was probably overall a way to capitalize on a growing toy market and get kids to race the spider-mobile around the house.  As far as the comics, go, however, I wonder if this was a way to get Spider-Man out of New York every now and then.  Spider-Man has awesome powers, but they are really only relevant in big cities with tall buildings everywhere.  Imagine if he came to the midwest or ended up somewhere slightly outside the city or in the desert, etc.  How would he get around?  He can run, sure, but for how long before that gets really tiring? 
 
Perhaps it was worth a try to make Spidey more than just a New York superhero by accessorizing him, but ultimately it distracts too much from his actual powers and seems to belittle all the cool aspects we've all come to love about him already.

#17 Posted by tigerex78 (147 posts) - - Show Bio

Bad idea.  To quote the Tick cartoon "Egad man what's the point?"

#18 Posted by disposablepal (13 posts) - - Show Bio

such a bad idea, i remember explaining to my young nephews why Spider-Man had a car when we saw one at a toy store. Its funny that they still make multiple Spider vehicles as toys, i've seen various versions of the Spider-Mobile as well as a Spider-Bike, Spider-Glider, and Spider-Copter.

#19 Posted by Hazlenaut (1960 posts) - - Show Bio

It was one of those laughable moments. I felt that every hero or silly villain wanted to say “To the ______ mobile.”    
I was hoping he have a mechanical spider that transform into a car and a helicopter courtesy of Tony Stark. That would be something for Spider-girl to have later on. This would have been a good continuation for unmasked.    
#20 Posted by Catastrophic (312 posts) - - Show Bio

It was in Old Man Logan, so it was justified! Hehehe!

#21 Posted by Thunderscream (1809 posts) - - Show Bio

In the spirit of this, when are we gonna see a Squirrel-Mobile for Squirrel Girl....or maybe the Squirrel-copter and, finally, the Squirrel-marine?

#22 Posted by iAmZero (47 posts) - - Show Bio

So the toy manufacturers could make a little bit more money?

#23 Posted by blaakmawf (187 posts) - - Show Bio

It just doesn't make any sense knowing that spidey can just swing around.

#24 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

What an utterly stupid and pointless idea.

#25 Posted by Astroknot (88 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course it's a bad idea, I'd drive one.

#26 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

It was pimp

#27 Posted by Blackestnight (640 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel was thinking about selling toys.

#28 Posted by Emerald Dragonfly (212 posts) - - Show Bio

It's like a car for Flash. Hah.

#29 Posted by Dark Noldor (547 posts) - - Show Bio

Throw the first stone whoever never liked the bug once in your life?!?!?
I liked a lot Spider´s car, so this wasn´t a bad idea. For the time period
(late 60s early 70ies) this was really cool and fun, no matter how ridiculous
may sound today

#30 Posted by FireFlare153 (107 posts) - - Show Bio

I never heard about the spider mobile except when he mentioned it in ultimate alliance.

#31 Posted by thecheckeredman (398 posts) - - Show Bio
#32 Posted by EdwardWindsor (14400 posts) - - Show Bio

The only reason i can see to use the spider mobile is if he runs our of webbing, but still even then its a nasty car.

#33 Posted by queenfrost_ (2499 posts) - - Show Bio

I use to have a spidey toy that came with the spidey-mobile :O

#34 Posted by G-Man (30607 posts) - - Show Bio

The idea of putting it in the comics to make toys was more of an 80s thing. I don't think there was so much of that in 1973.

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#35 Posted by CaptainGenisVell (291 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sure I saw it awhile back, when two kids stole it and went on a joy ride driving it across buildings etc. 
Marketing for kids, that's the only excuse for it. shame on you MARVEL, just thinking about money tsk tsk

#36 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

Obviously one of those ideas thrown in to sell a toy. But I have to admit, I take pleasure in seeing horrible ideas from days past brought back up, so I approve of the Old Man Logan cameo.

#37 Posted by RonaldBryan (34 posts) - - Show Bio

Neither, it was a great idea. Why wouldn't Spider-Man drive around in a car? It's like Wonder Woman needing an invisible jet to fly around in. Or Superman needing a plane to fly around in. It just proves that sometimes, even superheroes can get lazy and would rather drive/pilot than walk (swing/fly).

#38 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@CaptainGenisVell:  
Marvel acting purely in the pursuit of profits?! Aghast!!! What a shocking, and disillusioning revelation :P 
As far as Marvel's stuff purely to sale toys stuff goes, Brute Force should come back!!! 
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:IxS9q0N2jIxQRM:http://alertnerd.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/bruteforce.jpg&t=1  
As well as Marvel's kool aid man comics, yes...that happened. And now that I think about it I actually had the spider mobile toy  
#39 Posted by OrionStarlancer (126 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man: That makes sense.  I suppose the comic boom didn't really happen until the late 80's and 90's anyway, so this would essentially be an ineffective marketing tool.  Maybe this is really the result of a poor attempt to please a supervisor.  I can see a couple of guys crowding around their boss's desk saying they've got "a great new idea that the kids will really love.  Additionally, they'll feel a sense of connection since neither they nor Spidey will really have any driving skills...." or something like that.   
 
Again, it is just such a Geographical problem.  I really can't imagine a place where a car would be put more poorly to use for crime fighting than in New York. 
 
And as far as the Green initiative message goes, unless Spidey's webbing is destroying the Ozone, I don't get it.   
 
Perhaps it is all an actually well done metaphor to stick it to superficial sales people by suggesting something absurd and then having both fans and Spidey himself detest and eventually destroy the vehicle. 
 
What do you think, Sir?
#40 Posted by leokearon (1759 posts) - - Show Bio

It was a dumb idea especially since Spidey was faster web-slinging and didn't have to worry about the cops chasing him (which nearly always happen when he drove)

#41 Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy (7529 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe when he went to smaller towns that didn't have skyscrapers and other tall building for him to shoot his webs on to swing around. So instead he ride the spider-mobile. lol....

#42 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

This is why Spider-man should never drive!!!!
#43 Posted by Om1kron (1170 posts) - - Show Bio
@Theodore said:
" AWESOME IDEA lol "
#44 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2232 posts) - - Show Bio

I like how they handled it in the recent Spider-Man 500 (I think it was)

Every was laughing at what a sell out Spider-Man was, and Peter was trying to defend him.  Then the mother of one of the guys making fun of Spider-Man scolded him for it because Spider-Man saved his father's life.  I wish I could find more images from that story.  It was dedicated in memory to the Spider-Mobile.
 
 
 
 
 
more images of the Mobile-a-moton:

#45 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

After all is said and done, it was a fun bit that Marvel added at the time.
#46 Posted by the_fallen11 (636 posts) - - Show Bio

Ooooooooo, bad idea all the way..
#47 Posted by DrkImmrtl (9 posts) - - Show Bio

It was the first sign of the Spider-pocalypse.  The second was the clones.  The third was thinking it was a good idea to reveal his identity to the public.  The final sign of the Spider-polcaypse was making a deal with the the devil.

#48 Posted by TheMadMonkey (148 posts) - - Show Bio

The Spider-Mobile certainly ranks up there with some of the worst ideas created in comic books.  But, it was a marketing scheme because Mego had created that very same vehicle for their classic Mego Heroes line of "action figures".  Sure, they could have made a vehicle for Falcon, but that wouldn't have sold as well as a vehicle (not matter how useless) for Spider-Man. 
Incidentally, Superman's Super-Mobile did have a purpose.  It was also a marketing tie-in for a line of DC character vehicles (as memory serves, there was a Penguin car, a Daily Planet van, and 5 or 6 others).  In the comics, however, the Super-Mobile was only used when Superman needed to travel in space and was certain he'd run into some Kryptonite or if he somehow lost his powers.

#49 Posted by Jordanstine (907 posts) - - Show Bio

  
 

 

 

If Wonder Woman needs an Invisible Jet, then Spider-Man should be okay driving a Buggy. 
 

#50 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

It was the late 70s early 80s, just about every hero had a vehicle they called their own.

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