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Spider-Man's Christmas Eve with the Human Torch and Sandman

by Matthew Price Published: December 24, 2013
Spider-Man and the Human Torch team up on Christmas Eve in the 1972 cover-dated "Marvel Team-Up" No. 1.
Spider-Man and the Human Torch team up on Christmas Eve in the 1972 cover-dated "Marvel Team-Up" No. 1.

Marvel Comics launched a team-up title for their popular hero Spider-Man in 1972 (cover date) with “Marvel Team-Up.”  The first issue was set at Christmas Eve. 

In 2011, I reviewed the comic as part of my 2,011 comics in 2011 reading challenge.   The review below shows how the two superheroes team up against Sandman in the holiday tale. 

Marvel Team-Up #1 (1972)
Marvel Team-Up #1 (1972)

Peter Parker’s been assigned to take photos of the local Polar Bear club on Christmas Eve, as they plan a quick swim in the frigid temperatures.  But they’re interrupted by a disturbance in the sand — the Sandman is back!  Peter changes to Spidey to track the villain down, but Sandman slips through his grasp.

Spidey still hopes to make his date, so he swings by to warn the Fantastic Four that the Sandman is back.  But the only hero on hand is the somewhat Scroogelike Johnny Storm, who isn’t feeling in the Christmas spirit.

Still, Spidey joins Johnny, dressed in some swingin’ ’70s threads, to search for the Sandman.  The pair stop to help make some citizens’ Christmases more merry along the way, by averting a traffic accident and stopping an attempted robbery.

They eventually catch up with the Sandman, and there’s a Christmas twist of sorts to the tale’s final third. Johnny eventually comes around on the season, as well.

Roy Thomas and Ross Andru are the creative team for a charming first issue.  The series, featuring Spider-Man teaming with various Marvel superheroes, ran through issue No. 150 in 1985.  Trivia note: The woman who Johnny and Spider-Man save from a mugging was later revealed to be Misty Knight, later girlfriend to Iron Fist and a private detective in the Marvel Universe.

More than 40 years later, here are Christmas Eve wishes from Spidey and the Human Torch, as seen in the last panel of the issue!



by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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