Spider-Man’s Most Embarrassing Promotional Comics

Spider-Man is embarrassed

Spider-Man is easily Marvel Comics’ most popular character. That means that when Marvel teams up with a company for some sort of promotional opportunity, Spider-Man is the default character to appear alongside whatever forced-synergy character the partner company tasked their marketing department with inventing. Toothpaste, orange juice, salty snacks, anti-smoking. Spidey meets them all. Following is the list of the most-embarrassing stories Spider-Man has been forced to participate in.


spider-man combo man

The only reason this one’s low on the list is 11 other Marvel characters got roped in along with Spider-Man. A kid is blasted by a ray that gives him the abilities of 12 Marvel characters including Spider-Man. He names himself Combo Man. I guess he also really liked to eat Combos snacks. What a terrible suit.


spider-man peter pan pb

Spider-Man appears in four super-quick comics that appeared on fold-outs under the lids of Peter Pan Peanut Butter. And they all have a theme of Spidey shopping for groceries. Real cool, Spider-Man.


spider-man drugs

Canada made a bunch of PSA comics featuring Spider-Man. The best is “Skating on Thin Ice” which is about the danger of drugs. It’s SO Canadian. It features a cover by Canadian artist Todd McFarlane and features the main kid, Alan, saving the day with hockey. Spidey’s just sort of there.


spider-man acs

This comic features a supervillain named Smokescreen who tricks kids into smoking. It’s not quite racist but it is weird that they inserted two black superheroes along with Spidey and present the problem as an inner-city issue. I mean, EVERYONE smokes.


spider-man mcdonalds

It’s basically just a quick Spider-Man vs. Venom story. But seriously, Spider-Man? Endorsing McDonald’s to kids? That’s low. That negates telling them not to smoke or do drugs.


spider-man aim toothpaste

Won’t lie. I had this comic as a kid and I loved it. But it’s so ridiculous. Basically, a dentist has invented a new laser drill for doing better fillings or something. Green Goblin steals it because it’s ridiculously powerful. Spider-Man stops him. Everything takes place in dentists’ offices and dentist conventions. Everybody is obsessed with clean teeth in this story.


spider-man nfl superpro

I love football. The NFL is a prestigious organization of athletes. So why is this on the list? Because NFL Superpro is a loser superhero. Phil Grayfield was an NFL player who had to retire after he got a knee injury when he rescued a falling child. He was basically a perfect guy. He interviews an NFL fan that’s also a weirdo scientist who has invented a football uniform that’s basically a dumbed-down Iron Man suit worth $5 million. Some thieves break in and steal the scientist’s NFL memorabilia and cause a fire. Some chemicals fall on Phil. Also, and I’m not making this up, the NFL memorabilia which is burning, give him superpowers. So he has both superpowers and a supersuit and he decides to fight crime and I guess the NFL endorsed him because that’s their logo on his suit. Even so, he was so lame that they had to force Spider-Man to team up with him in his first story to lend him any legitimacy. Poor Spider-Man.


spider-man child abuse

Look, it’s a great cause and getting the word out about potential dangers to children is definitely important. But why did they have to make a story about young Spider-Man getting molested? I guess it shows that it can happen to anyone. But it’s still a part of Spidey’s life he’s not going to brag about.


  • Re: Combo Man. The only thing he gets from the Hulk is the top of his head, which is about the least useful section of the Hulk

  • Chris Piers

    I am pretty sure he had everyone’s powers even though he looks like a sandwich version of people.

  • Skewed_View

    Combo Man is sooooooo bad. That partial Magneto cape that stops at the top of the shoulders sure is cool.
    Also, how do you have the “powers” of guys like Iron Man and The Punisher? Is it the brains of Tony Stark, and the almost debilitating grief and awful coping skills of Frank Castle?

  • Big Jim

    I wonder, before going into battle, did he yell “Flame on, knees!”?