Thursday, October 13, 2016
Choosy Scouts Choose Spidey
My son, who is at the Bear level in Cub Scouts this year, came running to me over the weekend with his latest issue of Boys' Life. Since we'd been watching Spiderman 3 on the tube and likewise since I had my nose deep in the Return of the Black Cat trade, Nolan plopped next to me at my reading spot and excitedly shook his magazine at me.
Now, I'd been a Scout once, making it at least through the junior ranks and into my first year of Boy Scouts until I dropped out. Boys' Life had been a part of my mandatory reading itinerary back then, so it's not even nostalgia that made me smile a bit harder seeing the modern edition drop into the crease of my book, breaking up a heated kiss between the webhead and Felicia Hardy for all of New York City to witness including, gasp, Mary Jane...
After he made a curious comment about why Peter Parker would hurt Mary Jane like that, I gave him the quick rehash that the comic book power couple had long split up, Renew Your Vows notwithstanding. It became a mere footnote to the kid, who quickly thumbed to the page that had prompted his amusing interruption and chimed to the tune of, "Dad! Dad! Look at this! The readers picked Spiderman as their favorite superhero! He even beat Batman and Captain America!"
Indeed, page 60 of the October, 2016 edition of Boys' Life presented its reader poll for "Favorite Superhero" and it was only by a three percent margin, but the wall crawler took top honors over Cap, grabbing 24% of the vote. Just as he was when I was Nolan's age, Spiderman is king of comics. Of course, there were three quarters less the number of titles to choose from back in 1978, and we had the zip-pop education show The Electric Company to reinforce Spidey, who was a silent mainstay on the program. Spiderman forced us to learn how to read through his sqwawky word balloons and effectively turn to his comics back in the day. Always the shrewd marketers lurking in the Marvel bullpen.
Out of eight finalists, the breakdown in popularity according to Boys' Life ended up thus:
21% Captain America
15% Iron Man
Perhaps the funniest moment of this memorable sit-down with Nolan came when he said, "Gee, Dad, I feel bad for Thor. I know how much you like him. What's wrong with people? Also, Hulk? Only 3%? Are you kidding me? He could beat all of them, except maybe Thor, or Superman, or Iron Man...but it still stinks he finished so low. Hulk rules. Yay, Spidey, though. Can we watch Spectacular Spiderman ?"
With any luck, we'll still be having these types of conversations after he hits Weblos.