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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – The Birth of the Thanos-Copter!

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature.

Today, we look at Spidey Super-Stories #39, the comic that gave us one of the greatest Thanos images ever…

Yes, thank the writing team of Spidey Super-Stories, Nick Sullivan; Michael Siporin and Jim Salicrup and the art team of legendary artists Win Mortimer and Mike Esposito for the image of Thanos fighting The Cat (Hellcat without, well, the “hell,” as this issue came out well after Patsy Walker became Hellcat) while flying in a helicopter labeled “Thanos.”

Avengers sequel screenwriters, hello!!!

The rest of the story is more standard Cosmic Cube fare, like a kid finding the Cube and Thanos getting it from him…

Although yes, this does also give us the visual of Thanos fighting a little kid in a Jughead beanie.

But then Thanos has the Cube and the story goes about as you expect…

Still, Thanos rocking the Thanos-copter will forever hold a place of esteem in my heart. Marvel should make that into a poster pronto!!

Our pal, Buttler, mentioned a panel at the end that he liked, so I’ll add that in here now – Thanos in handcuffs on his way to jail…

Hilarious!

That should totally be how Avengers 2 ends! The Avengers eating shawarma and Thanos being led away by cops in handcuffs.

By the way, in case you’re interested in an ACTUAL history of Thanos, CBR just did a good one recently. Check it out here.

129 Comments

Silly Thanos, always beating himself.

Oh, I think we all know what Speedy would wish for.

Sometimes, when I see crazy fun stories like these, I wish that I had grown up in the 70′s instead of the 80′s.

This is one of my all-time favorites, which is saying something because Spidey Super Stories were pure gold, both the ones adapted from The Electric Company (with stories by Joss Whedon’s dad) and the original ones like this one more steeped in the Marvel Universe. I have an icon of Thanos being cuffed by the NYPD at the end of this story that I use elsewhere.

Incidentally, I’m pretty sure it’s actually Patsy Walker/Hellcat in this story, between the red hair and the distinctive “cheese and crackers” catch phrase. It’s just that they didn’t want to use H-E-double-hockeysticks in a children’s story, so they called her the Cat instead, the name Greer used in that costume in her pre-Tigra days.

I think you’re right.

The Ugly American

June 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I’d have no problem with running into The Cat the same way that kid did.

No problem at all.

Did they … just use the name of a movie that probably has no place in a Spidey-Super Stories comic? Oh my!

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, Joe. Maybe, just maybe, they’re using the actual phrase that inspired the movie title? Maybe?

Not enough people say “Can the corn” these days …

I, for one, will be using the curse ‘Cheese and Crackers’ at least once a day from now on.

We can’t see it, but Thanos is yelling “Attica! Attica!” as he’s being led away.

(he means “maybe” as in “DUH”)

Oops I forgot Brian :( That movie is burned into my skull so deeply that the expression got completely pushed out. Plus it only came out a few years before this issue hit the stands.

Now I’m too chicken to bring up the issue of SSS that had a chapter titled “Cruising”

Ha!

No, I don’t mean “maybe” as “duh.” :)

I think it most likely IS a reference to the movie, but couched in a reference to the actual phrase (so kids could get the reference, as well).

Willie Everstop

June 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Awww. The first thing Thanos does with the Cosmic Cube is to wish for a new puppy.

Buttler’s “Attica Attica” joke has inspired me to try to put together a list at http://twitter.com/Brian_Cronin of then-topical references in classic movies that now not as many people “get” as references. Go share some of your own!

Mr Brian sir, in one part you wrote ‘thor wrestling with a kid in a jughead beanie’. Otherwise, nice work!

I’m sure that it was this story that really put a dent in Thanos’ self-esteem and led to all that Infinity Gauntlet mess…

Mr Brian sir, in one part you wrote ‘thor wrestling with a kid in a jughead beanie’. Otherwise, nice work!

I did, at that! Thanks, fixed it.

This has to be Thanos’s one and only utterance of “oops!” in comics history.

The Cosmic Cube itself qualifies as “I Love Ya But…” A person has unlimited god-like power, unless I can wrestle it from his hand.

Wow, Pete’s got a real bug up his ass. How is a woman dressing in a cat suit to fight crime in any way ripping off Spider-Man?

And I know applying human logic to Spidey Super Stories is sheer folly, but *why* is Patsy Walker the protector of the Cosmic Cube again?

Oh geez what hath I wrought :o (also, now adding you to Twitter)

I remember them saying “Attica! Attica!’ on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” once. Makes you wonder what people too young to know think of these things. Probably goes over their head like a reference to the Dionne quintuplets in an old Looney Tunes short.

Well…that settles it, my new catchphrase is “Can the corn!”

Aww! Can the corn! Foiled again, Greg Burgas got to the joke first…as he always does. :)

I’m sure Thanos wiped this story out of continuity when he became godlike…

Don’t forget the (silly) first appearance of Doctor Doom: he invented a time machine to…change history?…build a Kang-esque empire?…know about the future? No!!! Just to get some pirate gold!!! That’s sillier than chasing a cosmic cube in a thanoscopter…

Stan originally was just going to have Doom capture a leprechaun to force him to cough up his pot o’gold, but Jack really wanted to draw those pirates.

Wow. I never thought anything would top the end of Infinity Gauntlet for weird and Thanos, but this has done it hand down (and yes, I know the subtext of what they were going for with Infinity Gauntlet at the time and I get it, but I also remember seeing Thanos, mad farmer of death, and lmao the first time I saw it).

Are we sure this story doesn’t qualify as BAD?

I’m betting Thanos will say “Oops” before he says “Drat” or “Dog gone it” again.

I’d love to see Spider-Man reference this in the next serious Thanos story. “Hey, big buddy, where’s your Thanos-copter? You’ll need it after we ruin your latest ridiculous plan.”

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Not pirate gold…magic gems enchanted by Merlin himself.

Thanos is going to “cream the cat”? Really Thanos?

When Thanos got the cube I was just sure he was going to wish for some Hostess Twinkies!

Man, that looks RAVENOUSLY crazy. And is it just me or does Peter look like he’s holding in a lot of barely-suppressed rage when Mary Jane starts talking about feminism?

The actual Luke Cage quote is, “Where’s my money, honey?”

http://i165.photobucket.com/albums/u51/The_Mutt_pics/greatest_panel_ever_webA.jpg

Thanks, fixed that!

It’s like this Spidey story stars the newspaper strip Spider-Man (known for watching TV, being unemployed, and complaining about his sassy wife) rather than the actual comic book Spider-Man.

Since someone mentioned using the Cosmic Cube to wish for Twinkies, I’m reminded of the time Captain America (I think) gave a Twinkie to the Cube to keep it busy. The Cube loved the Twinkie so much it refused to follow any orders from the Red Skull. The strange thing was, having no mouth, the Cube couldn’t actually eat the Twinkie– it just hovered around it, magically enjoying that golden sponge cake and creme filling, without consuming it. Truely the most surreal demonstration of the Cube’s awesome power, ever.

Oooh OOh OOh! I have this, I have this! AND I read it at the same time as some issues of Infinity Gauntlet – it was my first exposure to Thanos!

At the time, I thought it was in regular continuity. I was so beyond confused.

Stephane Savoie

June 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I may be missing part of the story, but does it seem strange to anyone else that a random kid on the street knows what the Cosmic Cube is and how to work it?

Well, after he first got his hands on the Cube, the kid was probably thinking, ‘Man, I wish I knew what the Hell this is.’

I think the Cat is NEAT!

Steven R. Stahl

June 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

This is the first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at instances in comic book history where somewhat strange occurrences took place.

Isn’t this the second in the series? Great idea for a series, anyway!

SRS

That, and the kid just tossing the cube like that to the “Cat” while Spider-man just sort of looks on…

Ha! Another danger of cutting and pasting! :) Thanks, Steve, I fixed it.

@Rob: This is too much fun to be bad. To be bad something has to be painful to read, and not in a “laughing so hard your ribs hurt” way. For instance, the difference between Loeb’s Hulk and Loeb’s Wolverine arc.

Ah, old-school Marvel. Is there anything else cheesier yet awesome at the same time?

Here’s the difference between Marvel and DC: Grant Morrison will never work to make this part of Thanos’s continuity, nor will Geoff Johns ever do a story that hinges on Thanos faking us out by taking a dive against a small child, as part of a larger master plan decades in the making.

…You know, I meant that to be funny, but now I’m starting to wish Marvel were more like DC.

Come on, Starlin, I know you’ve got an “Infinity Super-Stories” in you!

Uh, Morrison has been bringing back the ridiculousness to the DCU on the reg (see e.g, Batman, Seven Soldiers, and Final Crisis). It is awesome of course.

Just like this Thanos stuff.

Excellent – I remember having this issue. And I think pretty much the entire run of Spidey Super Stories qualifies for “I love ya but you’re strange.” Seriously, find me any issue of that series that doesn’t have some awesome strangeness in it…
Mary Warner – re: Cosmic Cube & Twinkie. Is what you described a demonstration of the Cosmic Cube’s power, or the Twinkie’s?

The Crazed Spruce

June 15, 2010 at 5:28 am

Man, I haven’t read any onf the Spidey Super Stories in years. That was just hilariously ridiculous. It was hilariculous!

My vote for the next one? The issue of Marvel Team-Up where Mary Jane became Red Sonja. :)

@ArrestThisMan: Yes, that was kind of the joke there, that Morrison doesn’t do to Marvel what he does for DC.

Nevermind.

Think of how many cosmic stories — Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade, Annihilation, etc — that oculd have been stopped if someone just thought to call a uniformed police officer to arrest Thanos. Who gets cuffed in the front, a dignity only given to nonviolent types.

Tom from West Chester

June 15, 2010 at 8:26 am

I’ve been buy the SuperHero Squad toys for my kids (and also of course as an excuse to buy Dr. Doom, Scarlet Spider and Nova action figures of course). I would pay cash money and be first in line for a Thanos SuperHero Squad figure that came with the Thanoscopter.

Alvin (locomambo)

June 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

Cheese and Crackers!

Is this story brought to us by the letter “C”? Nearly every panel has someone making an alliterative “C” comment.

Spidey Super Stories was produced in conjunction with the Children’s Television Workshop, so that’s entirely possible.

“Infinity Super-Stories”

Make this happen!
DFTBA

Holy shit.

This was possibly the first Thanos story I ever read. It’s no wonder he’s one of my favorite villains today!

Either this or one of of those hostess fruit pies ads. If I recall, Thanos did not use the cube to make fruit pies as 8-year-old me thought would make sense. He instead gave up the cube in exchange for those delicious treats.

Thanos saying “Oops! I let go of the cube!” is priceless, and pretty much in character.

Torsten Adair

June 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm

This kinda reminds me of the Planned Parenthood Spidey comic… another candidate for this series. (I think Spidey, a sort of everyman superhero, has a disportionate number of weird tales.)

What were the other stories in the comic?

Also, this entire series is cool… it’s endorsed by the Easy Reader, Morgan Freeman himself!

I’ve been buying these for my nephew… I wish Marvel would print an easy to read series for beginning readers!

Here’s another weird tail: The White Rabbit’s first appearance in Marvel Team-Up! And Assistant Editor’s month (didn’t one of those issues feature Galactus and a Twinkie?) and the white-out issue of Alpha Flight… and Goody Rickles… and I am Curious Black…

Travis Pelkie

June 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Not to be a pedant, but the column heading for this and the other one says “I Lova ya” instead of “I Love Ya”.

Unless you want it to be Lova.

But I love how the Cat drops the Cosmic Cube and basically says, “eh” Most powerful object in the Marvel U, just about, and you drop it and don’t worry about it. ay yi yi.

“Did they … just use the name of a movie that probably has no place in a Spidey-Super Stories comic? Oh my!”

ok, i’m dumb – what mpvie title are you guys referring to?

Thanks for posting this – it brought back a lot of memories. My younger brother had this same comic when we were kids and he hadn’t yet learned how to read so I ended up reading it to him so many times I had it memorized. (Our mom thought the story was so stupid that she refused to read it to him again after the first time.) It was my only exposure to Thanos until I saw him in that Marvel fighting game where he was the end boss – imagine my surprise as an adult to find out he was supposed to be a fairly terrifying villain.

You’ll probably never read this, but:
Mr. or Ms. S: That would be “Dog Day Afternoon.” Well worth watching.

Mr. Dunlavey: Oh, I’m so sorry. You can never get the full Thanos effect if this was your first exposure. If you would’ve read practically any of his other appearances as a kid first, he probably would’ve been a favorite. He may be a bit of a Darkseid clone, but he’s still one of the great villains of all time. Starlin, baby.

So, in the Electric Company spin-off comic..Patsy Walker’s hero logo is a hand copping a feel? Cheese and crackers, indeed.

Torsten, there are “easy to read” Marvel books out there. They’re actual books, rather than comics, though. They feature versions of the characters not unlike the Super Hero Squad, but not SHS (though, I’d imagine there’ll be SHS type ones going along).

I sooooo want the original art for one of these pages. Do want.

God, I love all the little Dylan references on this site. :D

That shot of Thanos in the chopper is unforgettable. Zany and beautiful stuff!

I plan to keep this in mind the entire time I read this event:
http://bit.ly/9c07qA

It’s a FLIKR pic, for those who suspect spam:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51272804@N02/4714960706/

Silly is an understatement. :D

this is just horrendous

Its like a 14 year old girl wrote it for 8 year olds.

Its not even good as a story for 8 year olds. Some of the worst, stilted dialogue ever

The guys who wrote this episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends must have read this issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVpFw5bEqjc

There’s got to be a Doombot/Space Phantom-ish way to make this story canon.

It needs to be true!

@Torsten Adair: The Galactus/Twinkie story was in Marvel Team-Up (Aunt May and Franklin Richards) the one where Aunt May became Galactus’ Herald. It was all a dream, though. And yes I think it was during Assistant Editor’s Month. :D

Not that I didn’t enjoy this – in its own childish, silly context- but I thought this column was for odd stuff within supposedly serious comics. Like Luke Cage being dumb enough to *demand* money from Doctor Doom (lucky for him Doom didn’t feel like fighting him and just paid him!) Stuff like SSS , which IS supposed to be zany, doesn’t really stand out.

Btw, maybe I was too smart for my own age, but even as a little kid, I would’ve snorted at many of the happenings in that story. I mean, if I found a wish-granting object and an ugly stranger suddenly threatened me, the first thing I would do is WISH HE WAS GONE. Ah well.

What I wouldn’t give for someone like Dan Slott to write and draw a little ‘Before the scene’ vignette of Thanos buying the helicoptor.

Coptor guy: “Sooo…first helicoptor?”

Thanos: “yeah. I just got my pilot’s license.”

Coptor guy: “Oh yeah, I remember my first one, too. Well, just sign here and she’s all yours.”

Thanos: “Oh hey, can you stencil my name on back of the coptor? Nothing fancy. No block lettering or anything…just..I just don’t want to get it confused with all the other helicoptors…”

Coptor guy: “Sure thing, mac.”

Thanos: “Excellent. Cower in fear, Earthlings!”

“Tis a sad sight indeed whenever an evil cosmic genius can only afford black stenciling on the tail rotor of his helicopter instead of the usual tricked-out attack helicopter.

They can simply retcon this as Speedy the skateboard-superhero kid’s memory of what happened.

Good….Lord….

I agree that the character featured within that story is Patsy Walker (she used that Cheese & Crackers exclamation at least once in an issue of the Defenders), It’s worth noting, however, that Patsy’s costume never had a claw emblem on it as Greer Grant Nelson’s did when she was the Cat (a year or two before becoming Tigra). Also note that the “Cat’s” hair is much darker than usual — as if the artist was expecting the Cat to be a brunette instead of a redhead. Could be the artist thought that this was indeed, the original Cat — whereas the writer intended it to be Hellcat.

I thought Thanos was being self-serving by wanting to use the Cube to destroy the universe, but that kid uses it to get ice cream??
Selfish little brat!

Jim Salicrup needed two more guys to write this stuff? LOL. I hadn’t lived until I read these pages right now! I know SSS was geared toward Electric Company audiences, but seeing Thanos show up in this feels like a really good in-joke. Someone at the Bullpen’s gotta have read Starlin’s stories and thought it would be a riot, maybe either one of the two actually Jims suggested it.

Reminds me of the old Super Powers pack-in comics where Luthor and the Joker were no more menacing than your average comic book mugger. And going by the Hell-less Cat, it looks like the PC police were on the case far earlier than I had anticipated.

Thought you might also appreciate this, assuming nobody’s mentioned it already:http://bullyscomics.blogspot.com/2010/06/mary-jane-watson-master-of-obvious.html

oh wow this is epically bad and yet almost good, i just couldnt not read the whole thing. Thanos in a helicopter has got to be up there with spiderman in his spideymobile -awesome

This is good, but not as much fun as the Star Wars parody done in an earlier Spidey Super Stories with Moondragon, Marvel Boy (the original), and Sam the Robot from Sesame Street vs. Dr. Doom and his Planet Eater.

http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/images/spiderman_super_stories/031.jpg

Simply priceless for a child of the 1970′s

If Thanos’s copter doesn’t show up during the Imperative storyline, I will be very sad.

I would’ve loved to have seen Jim Starlin’s facial expression after he had read this issue of SSS! :-)

SSS were known for their off the wall stories featuring villians doing things they wouldn’t ever normally do in the regular Marvel Universe.

One I remember is issue #55 had the Kingpin taking over the NYC reservoir. When Spidey foils his plan the Kingpin kidnaps then-Mayor Ed Koch (!) and trys to flee in a yellow copter owned by the Daily Bugle. The whole time the Kingpin has a scowl on his face, like someone just called him ‘fatso’! lol

with crap like this predating modern comics, it’s a wonder they ever lasted this long!!! O.O

THIS should be the Thanos Imperative. Hilarious!!!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spidey Super Stories, they were out-of-continuity stories for younger readers. They were produced in conjunction with the Children’s Television Workshop who made the Electric Company TV show (where Spidey appeared).

I, for one, appreciate Thanos putting his name on the side of his helicopter. I certainly would want to avoid accidentally touching Thanos’s helicopter.

Travis Pelkie

June 21, 2010 at 8:11 am

I just got reminded: In FF 250, Franklin Richards calls Spider-Man “Spidey-Man”, and Spider-Man thinks that he should have known this would happen when he let the Electric Company call him Spidey. So my question is: Was the Electric Company where Spider-Man was first (regularly, anyway) called Spidey?

Anyone who believes this story was typical of the era in which it was produced needs to buy a clue. Yeah, stories weren’t as sophisticated then as they are today, but that’s because mostly adults are reading comics today. Not true in the 1970s.

As stated above, the Spidey Super-Stories were out of continuity. They were very simplistic and yes ridiculous at times — but appealed to mostly preschoolers and grade schoolers. So it wouldn’t be strange if one issue showed Dr. Doom ironing his jockey shots before going out to fight Spidey.

HAHAHAHA after reading stories like Annihilation and The Infinity Gauntlet, it just makes this even funnier!

Sadly, this is the best story Thanos has ever been in.

When I read Rollo Tomassi’s script about Thanos’ purchase of his helicopter, I couldn’t help but see it as I imagine Chris Giarusso would draw it….

Saber Tooth Tiger Mike is no Ice Trey

June 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Trey: and how is this different from the stilted dialogue in bad comics written for adults today? At least there’s a credible excuse for the oversimplifed storytelling. On top of that, the artist here has a firmer grasp
on how to tell a story visually than say David Finch. If you think this is bad, you should see what Marvel in particular considers kid-friendly. They hire their worst artists and most untalented writers on their “kid-friendly”
material.

Saber Tooth Tiger Mike is no Ice Trey

June 21, 2010 at 10:39 pm

On the other hand, it’s very silly. So silly that it’s funny.

Nice column dude, please keep it up. I love this hokey stuff!

[...] like, ho HO, did I not hear about something?  But alas, this book looks to have all the charm of Spidey Super Stories #39.  I”ll wait here while you check it out.  Now I’ll wait while you puke.  Now [...]

[...] like, ho HO, did I not hear about something?  But alas, this book looks to have all the charm of Spidey Super Stories #39.  I”ll wait here while you check it out.  Now I’ll wait while you puke.  Now I’ll wait [...]

This is almost as silly, but perhaps the original baddie was Red Skull, and they were forced to switch it to Thanos because kids had not learned what a Nazi was on the Electric Company yet.

Incidentally Super Spidey Stories rocked for me as a kid, and were a big influence on my love of reading.

[...] goodcomics There’s also that time he was defeated by a Hostess Fruit Pie (we’re guessing). [...]

I’ll CREAM you later, Cat

Wow… so much coincidence that the cosmic cube and Spidey are in this…

Man, I needed a laugh this morning. And this delivered.

That kid has a depressing lack of imagination. How does someone with the Cosmic Cube get grabbed by a giant purple guy standing right in front of him?

I liked it alot!

If Thanos doesn’t show up in the Avengers sequel with the Thanos-copter, I’m gonna be REALLY disappointed

ThanosCopter has been writing articles for our website for about a month now.

He has. There are no coincidences…

In fairness, this was “corny” because Spidey Super Stories were specifically aimed at a younger audience

…well, and because Thanos is in a helicopter with his name on it.

LOL! Those pages are astounding…astoundingly bad. Easily a Marvel low point. Or a high point, if you want to classify it as cheesecorn.

Hahaha, this cracked me up on a Monday morning no less. Awesome stuff!

Fantastic. This is classic Silver Age Marvel. Silly plots, overuse of awful puns, powerful otherwordly villains being easily defeated by their own stupidity and then taken in by the police. Ah, the old times…

No, this is a story from a comic specifically created as an entry-point to comics — aimed mosty at the same kids watching the Electric Company on TV.

Right, it was a kids’ comic tied in to the Spidey segments on The Electric Company, so they liked to keep things simple. But man, I loved this comic.

I THINK this article may have been retroactively edited, guise.

suddenly the time thanos got beaten by squirrel girl doesn’t seem so unbelievable

…. Did that girl really say Cheese and Crackers -_- bad form….

[...] What do you guys know about Thanos getting punked like a beotch, then dragged off by the cops? I Love Ya But You’re Strange – The Birth of the Thanos-Copter! | Comics Should Be Good! … [...]

Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things,
thus I am going to let know her.

TV Tropes brought me here

Thank you for posting this!

One great element of this is that him losing the Cosmic Cube like that fits nicely into the revelation during the Infinity Gauntlet saga that Thanos subconsciously sabotages his own positions of Absolute Power once he achieves them.

(The Outhouse sent me)

You know the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy? Specifically the post-credit scene that I won’t spoil?

Um, never mind. This is still more absolutely insane.

Ha! I love how he’s being arrested by the local police, as if he’s a Scooby-Doo villian and not a master of the universe.

If this was written in 2014 that cover story with the headline of “CAT CAPTURES CROOKS” would feature a tabby cat aborably foiling a trio of houseburglars while sitting atop a roomba.

“I’ve got to give the Cosmic Cube to the cat!” Is how I first read it. And laughed stupidly for many minutes, imagining a world filled with lakes of cream, catnip forests, giant balls of yarn, slow-motion mice, and devoid of dogs and squirrels.

Of course, he meant “The Cat!” Sorry, Patsy. Who knows; left alone that might have been her ideal world, too. That and a giant dartboard with Buzz’s face on it.

Next time Thanos appears in a movie, he should be thwarted by Hostess Fruit pies!

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