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The Kid Who Molested Spider-Man: When Spider-Man Appears in Child Abuse Specials

by Doom

Enter: The Fiddler!

So Spider-Man's gonna rape that kid, right?

On occasion before the comics market collapsed and kids found video games to jerk off to, Marvel or DC worked in conjunction with some organization to produce comics about child abuse and how to prevent it, or drug use and how to prevent it or Dr. Demento listening and how to prevent it. Back in the halcyon days of people actually reading comics, the companies felt compelled from time to time to impart important messages beyond violence solving all problems and the utter ineptitude of the criminal justice system's attempt at rehabilitating criminals. Now Marvel only creates uplifting comics for the military (so soldiers can see Thor and Cap would be right next to them in slaughtering the swarthy appendages of the Arab mongoloid hydra), but you can still find some of their old PSA comics in the dollar bins if you search long enough. By far the best/worst/best again one Marvel ever produced was a Spider-Man PSA comic dedicated to highlighting the issue of child abuse. Nothing special, right? Wrong. It's special all right...because Spider-Man gets molested. Yes. THE Spider-Man.

Our story begins with a little boy named Tony who is being molested by his sitter Judy. He's afraid and humiliated and shit. You know, typical molestation shit (which consists of the same emotions one feels when watching a Joe Lieberman speech). But then Tony is graced with the presence of none other than the Amazing Spider-Man himself. It's pretty terrible for a comic about the horrors of child abuse to have a little boy react ecstatically to a masked middle aged man coming through his window and telling him to talk to him. A good public service announcement comic would teach kids not to talk to such obvious fetishist perverts. That's like a comic book scene of "Never fear! Gary Glitter is here!". It doesn't make sense for what it's attempting to teach. Tony the kid explains his sitter would let him watch Star Wars on the condition that he took all his clothes off. As we've seen when boys are "molested" by older woman (in this case a teenager), it's not molestation, it's a notch on the kid's belt, getting some fucking from an older, experienced chick. If women teachers fucking their students taught us anything, and it did, it's that it's okay and not at all traumatic for the kid in question.

This sends a mixed message.

Now where was I? Oh, right, Spider-Man. He sympathizes with Tony and tells him about when HE was molested as a boy, in an effort to explain it wasn't his fault he got molested (though to be honest, the artist draws the kid like he's a loose slut, so maybe he deserved it). The first panel erroneously shows Aunt May making Peter's favorite, doughnuts. Idiot! He likes wheatcakes! If he ate doughnuts all the time he'd be Peter Porker the Spectacular Diabetic. One day while at the library, he meets a white haired man who I guess is supposed to actually be a teenager, though he still looks a lot like Quicksilver or Magneto. His name is Steve Westcott, but he lets Parker call him Skip. Who the fuck uses the nickname Skip? Pedophiles, that's who. Anyway, the two strike up a friendship that's already pretty fucking disturbing, walking Peter home and calling him Einstein and calling their meeting the start of "a beautiful friendship". Sure enough, on the next page they're alone at his house. Skip shows him some porno mags (straight porn, oddly) and then starts molesting him. He's able to do so because his parents are divorced. See! Divorce leads to children becoming sexual assault propagators!

Spider-Man reveals to Tony that that boy was actually him. The pair go swing to the party Tony's parents are attending and tell them everything. In one of the more disturbing last pages I've ever seen in my several years of reading comics, Spider-Man monologues aloud while swinging that Tony was able to get him to accept that what happened was not his fault and now he can move on, no longer feeling guilt and shame. Good lesson, right? Spider-Man's basically saying that he's glad Tony was molested, because elsewise he wouldn't have gotten over Skip buggering him. He turns a horrible, life-altering, psyche-fucking experience into a net plus for your friendly neighborhood wallcrawler. Yet another example of Peter Parker's selfishness. How many more people's lives must be ruined for his guilt complex to subside? What a fucking asshole.

DC ripped off Skip "Fagneto" Westcott for their revamp of the rapist Dr. Light! Those pricks.

There's another story in the comic, starring Power Pack and about a bitch who runs away after her mom doesn't believe dad's been fucking her, but I don't like runaways and I don't like Power Pack. So fuck that shit; back to Spider-Man. This is one of the more hilarious comics ever written, partly because of how earnest it is in tackling the subject matter and partly because of how incompetently it's done. The writer and artist are Jim Salicrup and Jim Mooney, respectively, two workmen professionals I don't expect you to remember. Hell, I barely remember them; Salicrup's most notable job probably was this. The credits list that the story is "based on an idea by Nancy Allen", thereby making me wonder what exact idea Nancy Allen had. To molest Spider-Man? To have a story pointing out how horrible child abuse is? The naked Star Wars? Fuck if I know.

Typo: should say "fuckship".

Point is, the shit is hilarious. The dialogue terrible, the situations absurd, the art comically bad. For example, Tony is supposed to be Hispanic, so he's colored brown. Lighter than comic 'black', but browner than white. At first Tony's parents are colored the same way, but on the second page of their appearance in the story, they become white for no fucking reason whatsoever. The story's like eight pages, how hard is it for there to be consistency of someone's race? Judy is drawn to be an androgynous freak a la Chris Kattan or Rachel Maddow and Skip...again, why does the script describe him as a teenager when he seems to be way older? His house looks like a standard homosexual pedophile bachelor pad, with a room designed for a male child to quickly acclimate to (such as a model rocket and a billiards table). My theory is that Jim Salicrup intended for Peter to be molested by an old guy, but the editor thought that too disturbing so some superficial changes were made to make clear Skip only looked old. Sorta a longshot, though, as EIC Jim Shooter was never reluctant to hate on homosexuals. What would've been even more amazing was establishing Skip Westcott as actually a younger Adrian Toomes, thereby adding a personal stake in the Spider-Man/Vulture rivalry. Hey, it couldn't be worse than the time Marvel made Vulture young.

Samples of hilarity-infused dialogue, for your pleasure/health/wine:

  • "Bet you've never seen pictures like those in a stuffy textbook!"
  • "Which way do you live? I never walked Einstein home before!"
  • "Here's the deal! You want to see the movie--take all of your clothes off!"
  • "Hang on tight, Tony!"
  • "Come on, Einstein! Let's conduct a little experiment of our own! Let's see if we can touch each other like the people in that magazine!"

Obviously with these types of stories they're not to be judged as you would a regular superhero comic. There's no supervillains and no real action. Well, not the kind you'd want. The goal is to teach a lesson to either kids who may get fucked in the future or kids who already were defiled by people like Steve "Skip" Westcott. The story does a bad job of both. There's no defense against getting molested that's shown in the comic, so for kids who could be molested in the future, the situation the comic outlines is you should give in and then tell someone about it after the damage has been done. For the latter group of kids, it's basically the same thing: tell your parents or another figure of authority and it'll all be all right. As for Spider-Man's involvement in the story, he's used to show even superheroes can lose their cherry to an old dude and still handle it to the extent of becoming a superhero later in life.

Before the MAX line, Marvel did make brief forays into publishing softcore pornography.

But it doesn't quite work. If I was a kid who was physically abused, I wouldn't feel any sort of catharsis in reading this comic in the sense that "oh, Spider-Man went through the same things I did! Now I don't feel so alienated!". I'd instead feel worse because Marvel just put me through both a recreation of what occurred to me and showed it happened to my hero Spider-Man. Furthermore, Spider-Man's a horrible example to use as someone who coped with their molestation and made something of themselves. Spider-Man, the guilt-ridden basket case whose personal life varies from "shit" to "really shit" over the course of his creative existence? Molestation at an early age would've sent him over the age. Had this story been in continuity, Peter Parker would've not grown up to be Spider-Man. He'd be the guy petting cats who don't exist and mumbling to himself, wearing a coat that smells like piss.

While molestation does go a long way towards explaining Spider-Man's fucked up personal life and his general inability to survive in the outside world, thereby forcing him to routinely return to living at his Aunt's house, overall The Kid Who Molested Spider-Man is a shitty PSA that serves more as amusement than education. Captain America got me off horse, and Batman showed me why I shouldn't step on landmines, but Spider-Man could not convince me to stop being molested. I got more action that way anyway.