Thursday, January 20, 2005


glisten: THWIPPPP! Edition

Stan Lee - "Narration #1"

Marty Nelson - "Peter Stays and Spider Man Goes"

Marty Nelson and Geni Sackson - "Square Boy"

Reissued five years ago on CD, Lifesong's "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero" represents a STRANGE little bit of comic book ephemera. Old school Marvel zombies like yours truly will no doubt remember seeing ads for this album in the back of many an old issue of Conan or Howard the Duck but those of you who actually had normal childhoods may require a bit of back story.

Way back in the mid-seventies, Spider-Man was something less than the marketing behemoth he is today. In a rather desperate attempt to keep the character fresh for a somewhat older audience, Marvel licensed out Spidey to Lifesong with instructions to create a concept album from the webslinger's origin story. And what better way to attract hipsters than to cast one of the founding members of Manhattan Transfer, Marty Nelson, as the voice of Spider-Man? Other, er, notables on-board include Alan Axelrod (Barry Manilow's keyboardist) and 'smooth jazz legend' David Sanborn. In the end, they produce a salmagundi of an album, filled with tracks of all types: rock opera, pseudo-reggae, pop disco, faux swing, over-the-top cheeseball doo-wop. Plus just to, y'know, TIE IT ALL TOGETHER, they got Stan 'The Man' Lee to provide interstitial narration in his trademarked overblown hyperbole.

I ask you, how could this possibly have aged poorly?

Admittedly, "Rock Reflections" makes for a tough listen but it's good for more than just a few giggles. There's several fun cuts to rummage through, like the power ballad 'High Wire' or the Pink Floyd-esque 'Dr. Octopus'.

And you claim you've never heard Spider-Man get downright emo before? After one listen to 'Peter Stays and Spider-Man Goes', you'll never be able to say that again. Played with the Stan Lee intro, this is a real party-stoppin', mix tape endin' winner.

As for 'Square Boy'... well, what can you say about any song that features the lyric, "wa wa we, ya gotta dig this atomic energy"?

On a personal note, this album was unleashed on an unsuspecting planet in 1975, the very same year your Tofuriffic narrator made the scene.

Could this be a coincidence?

Well, yeah. But still.

Buy "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero" from Amazon.

It is, in the final analysis, an excellent hipster accessory for every comic book geek out there and a gag gift that keeps giving.
Watch the astonishing Spider-Man Lego movie.
Visit the official Spider-Man movie page, video game site, newspaper strip and comic book url.

Jeez, is Peter hooking up with Gwen Stacy's... clone? Daughter? Zombie?

I'm so out of the comic book loop these days.
There was some buzz about a Spidey musical back in '04 (Music by U2! Directed by Julie Taymor! Script by Neil Jordan!), but nothing ever really came of it.

Any industry hacks or webgeeks got any 411?
Read Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of your friendly neighborhood webhead.
Spider-Man will make you gay.
Spider-Man Rocks!
Spider-Man reviews Crayons.
Spider-Man vs. real spiders
Check out "Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book" by Comics Journal alumni Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon.

Considering the way Stan's living these days, his shoddy treatment of Ditko and Kirby (to pick the two most obvious cases) reverberates ever sleazier.
The infamous Spider-Man bodypainting collection.
Click at your own risk.

CAP SEZ: The Nostalgia Is Stifling.


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