When We First Met – Notable Comic Book Hangouts!
Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!
Today we look at the first appearances of three comic book hangouts – Pop Tate’s Soda Shoppe, the Coffee Bean (where Peter Parker hung out with Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson) and Harry’s Hideaway (where the X-Men go to get away from the school).
Honestly, I can’t tell you when Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe got its name. However, specific name of the shop aside, we met Pop Tate and his Soda Shoppe in Pep Comics #46, as Archie finds a $50 check from his grandmother that he was going to use to buy expensive presents for his friends is dwindling rapidly. A local girl, known for being a gab, found Archie’s list of presents he was going to buy for his friends and he wants to keep her quiet (especially since he no longer can afford the items he wrote on the list). So he bribes her with a trip to Pop Tate’s…
Pop Tate looked a whole lot different back then. Anyone know when the store was re-named the Chocklit Shoppe?
Next, we see the coffee bar where Peter Parker and his friends hung out when Peter was in college.
In Amazing Spider-Man #44, we see the gang at the Silver Spoon.
They continue hanging out at the Silver Spoon, even throwing a farewell party for Flash when he went into the army for the Vietnam War.
In Amazing Spider-Man #53, though, they are all hanging out at the Coffee Bean…
While the behind-the-scenes answer is almost certainly that Stan Lee did not recall what the name of the coffee bar the kids went to was named (and likely when John Romita came up with a neat sign for the Coffee Bean, that name stuck), I wonder what the in-story answer is? Did the place change its name? Or did all of the kids just decide to start hanging out at another place? Why haven’t we seen the Untold Story of why the gang moved from the Silver Spoon to the Coffee Bean?!!? Dan Slott, how have you not told this story yet?!?!
Harry’s Hideaway is a surprisingly recent invention, showing up in late 1984 in the pages of New Mutants #23…
Chris Claremont rightly noted that there was not an established hangout for the X-Men and New Mutant kids. In the early days. they’d just go into New York City, but that does not really make sense. It makes more sense that they’d find a local hangout. Enter Harry’s Hideaway!
Jason Aaron recently did a great bit in an issue of Wolverine where Harry’s Hideaway is almost going out of business until Wolverine brings the X-Men back to Salem Center.
Feel free to send in ideas for other debuts that you’re curious about! Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org!