Marvel Team-Up #74 (October 1978)
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciller: Bob Hall
Inker/Colorist: Marie Severin
So this past weekend, NBC aired a 3 1/2 hour special celebrating the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live. The show did a great job of showcasing the highlights of so many great comedians, past and present. Old sketches were revisited, casts from different eras were reunited, and the Kingpin of Comedy, Lorne Michaels, was celebrated for the impact on pop culture that SNL has had over four decades.
But one moment got overlooked – the time that Stan Lee hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978. You remember that classic episode, right? Rick Jones was the musical guest. Garrett Morris dressed up as Thor, and Laraine Newman donned a Ms. Marvel costume. Sitting in the balcony was Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker and his date, Mary Jane Watson. (And if you look closely in that balcony, you will also find a cameo by Waldorf & Statler, who are taking a break from The Muppet Show.) All of this was detailed in Marvel Team-Up #74, my pick for Throwback Thursday this week.
As the comic begins, a package containing a mystical ring is delivered to John Belushi by mistake. Belushi tries on the ring, but then finds it impossible to remove before the show can start. Trying to track down the missing ring is the Silver Samurai, the long-time foe of Daredevil and the X-Men, who crashes the show looking for the ring. Peter Parker slips away so that Spider-Man can swing into action. As you can imagine, there is a lot of madcap hilarity when the web-swinger teams up with “Not Ready for Prime-Time Players” – Dan Aykroyd, Belushi, Jane Curtin, Michaels, Morris, Bill Murray, Newman, and Gilda Radner. The Silver Samurai finally recovers the ring from Belushi, and teleports away, leaving Stan Lee to wonder why the live show was nothing like the rehearsals.
This story was written by Chris Claremont, who had a 30+ issue run with Marvel Team-Up in the 1970s. Bob Hall and Marie Severin do a decent job, given all of the celebrity likenesses that appeared in nearly every panel. This is not the greatest issue by any means, but it’s a fun issue to have in your collection, especially if you are a fan of pop culture.
Because of these likenesses that were licensed for just this one issue, Marvel Team-Up #74 has never been reprinted. You will need to dive into a back-issue bin to track it down. For those readers in the Kansas City market, I would point you downtown to Clint’s Comics. Located at 3941 Main Street, Clint’s has one of the greatest back-issue selections in the midwest, as well as new comic books, trade paperbacks, toys, t-shirts, and more. Whether tracking down a copy of Marvel Team-Up #74 or some other prized book from your past, Clint’s is a great place to start your back-issue treasure hunt!