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The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #22

The countdown continues with 2002′s s “T’was the Fight Before Xmas” from 2002′s Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21, an extra-sized one-shot issue by writer/inker Darwyn Cooke and penciler J. Bone.

Like their previous excellent contribution to Tangled Web for Valentine’s Day (a story that I spotlighted here), this issue by Cooke and Bone (reversing their art duties from the previous issue, with Cooke now inking Bone after Bone inked Cooke the first time around) opens with a storybook style narrative…

The basic concept then is that Peter has to go to a crowded mall on Christmas Eve to buy a present for J. Jonah Jameson’s wife while Jameson and Betty Brant watch a group of stranded kids back at the Daily Bugle’s Christmas Party. Meanwhile, at that same point in time, Crystal, Wasp and Invisible Woman are also shopping (while also looking for Crystal’s missing Inhuman cousin, Medusa)…

Flash Thompson is at the same mall dressed up as Spider-Man as part of a toy story advertising Spider-Man action figures.

Well, it turns out that some bad guy has brainwashed Medusa and let her loose on the mall, as well as controlling Flash to help rob the mall…

The heroes in the mall all try to fight Medusa and Spider-Man and the news of the robbery sends the rest of the Fantastic Four to the mall, as well. Plus, of course, when J. Jonah Jameson finds out that Spider-Man is involved in such a negative fashion, he insists on proving to the stranded children that their hero, Spider-Man, is a no good fink…

The whole thing naturally combines into quite an over-the-top romp drawn beautifully by Bone. In the end, the mall’s Santa Claus turns out to be…

And with the day saved (and Spider-Man’s name cleared), we get one final storybook page…

fightxmas6

Such a sweet comic book. It is a fine story, especially the way that Cooke tried to work with then-modern Marvel continuity (this was during that weird “Mary Jane is living in California, but they’re still married!” period) while still trying to make the story seem like it could have happened during the Silver Age. And you can’t get a much better art team than J. Bone and Darwyn Cooke!

13 Comments

JJ runs the Planet as well as the Bugle eh?

[quote]The basic concept then is that Peter has to go to a crowded mall on Christmas Eve to buy a present for J. Jonah Jameson’s wife while Jameson and Betty Brant watch a group of stranded kids back at the Daily Planet’s Christmas Party.[/quote]

This was Anonymous’ 3rd choice, so it probably wouldn’t have made the list if he didn’t vote for it…

This… is…

… I just…

@Greg –

How do you know those were the same anonymous poster? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Wait, is that Fred from Scooby-Doo?!?

Great stuff. I have most of the earlier Tangled Web stories, but I went on a comics hiatus about a year after the title launched. Another exampe of the great stuff Marvel was doing in Joe Q’s early days there. Pity things changed.

Words can’t describe how awesome that issue really is, you have to read it to believe it. I hope that The Punisher didn’t steal 10 days from this calendar (Frank had many holiday adventures).

Is the blonde from the Bugle supposed to be Betty Brant? It looks nothing like her, but I can’t figure out who else it might be.

This was my #1 vote. If I hadn’t voted, it may or may not have been slightly lower on the list.

@Chris N –

Now you’re just making shit up.

@urbanlegend –

I would be shocked if a single Punisher story makes the list.

The blonde looks more like Kate Cushing than Glory Grant.

I kind of saw the defense, how they were playing, and we were at what, the inch line?” Gore explained. “And the (linebackers) were playing like 5 yards back. I knew it was a quick hit, and I know I quick-hitted it. I barreled through.

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