Insert jokes about web shooters here.
Believe it or not, this is real: in 1976, Marvel put out a one-shot “Special Planned Parenthood” comic entitled “The Amazing Spider-Man Vs. The Prodigy,” in which an alien (The Prodigy, a name later used by Marvel during the Identity Crisis arc) attempts to lead impressionably teens astray by feeding them misinformation about sex education, hoping that they’ll all get pregnant and he can steal their babies to use as child labor on his home planet.
It’s odd to see a sex education that’s so focused on teen pregnancy in particular, but it seems pretty apt for the time period, especially considering that AIDS was only a blip on the common comics reader’s radar back then. Also, the issue isn’t a perfect model of how to talk to kids about sex, especially today: it tends dangerously close towards shaming teen mothers and there’s some pretty hilariously outdated copy in the back (under “About Homosexuality,” all it says is that you can’t tell if someone’s gay by looking at them and that being attracted to members of the same gender as you doesn’t automatically make you gay—which actually was pretty bold for the mainstream’70s).
Either way, it’s still wonderfully surreal to see Peter Parker championing the importance of sex education while he punches some jerk who says stuff like “Pregnancy’s good for you—helps your hormones!” in his green-skinned face. Also, a bonus: the issue comes to us from a female writer! Unfortunately this issue appears to be Ann Robinson’s only comic credit, but you know what? I’m all about more women in comics regardless of how much they write.
Another fun thing you learn in this special issue? Peter Parker was apparently a big fan of The Waltons.
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