You’d Better Watch Out
To help celebrate the Christmas spirit, we’re taking a look back at a classic Christmas story told in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man #112. This Christmas tale has it all: Santa Claus, Spider-Man, a new version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and armed robbery. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t very Christmassy. Stay tuned though. There’s a happy ending.
Our story begins on Christmas Eve, where a “last minute shopper” steals the perfect Christmas gift and makes his escape from the store. The thief makes his getaway through a back alley while proclaiming: “Macy’s always has such a great selection.” (Surely, Macy’s appreciated the free advertisement this issue provided.) Unfortunately for this thieving Scrooge, Spider-Man happened to be in the neighborhood.
After finding himself trapped in the web of Spider-Man, thief Joe Krolik pleads for the wall-crawler to let him go, cooking up a sob story about how he stole the present for his dying mother, whose clavicle is “inoperable.” Spider-Man scoffs at the notion before leaving the scene as the female robbery victim and a police officer arrive.
Joe tells the woman the same sob story, and she falls for it, deciding not to press charges. While thanking the young lady for her kindness, the crook takes his leave. She wishes him a Merry Christmas and then realizes he just stole her watch, as the police officer grins in amusement of her naivety.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker heads to the lobby of the Daily Bugle looking for work. He runs into Joy Mercado, who kisses him underneath some mistletoe. Joy tells Peter that she can’t stay and chat as she’s working on a story about the string of recent night-time robberies.
Feeling that he isn’t needed anywhere, Peter calls his Aunt May, who is distracted when a stove pot begins to boil over. Mistaking her distraction for disinterest, Peter says goodbye and hangs up.
He then reaches out to Robbie Robertson, asking what his holiday plans are. Robbie says his son is coming into town, but before he can invite Peter over for Christmas, he is interrupted. Peter leaves disappointed, pondering whether he should just go back home to his dingy apartment.
Later, at a local mall, a little boy named Jordan is telling a mall Santa what he wants for Christmas. In a show of the times, he asks for an Optimus Prime action figure and Raiders of the Lost Ark videotape. The boy mentions that his mother (whose name is Bambi) and her roommates (Candi and Randi) recently bought a new VCR. “Santa” seems pleased with this information and asks for the boy’s address, which happens to be in the same apartment building as Peter Parker.
(Kids… Never trust a mall Santa.)
Peter continues to strike out on finding anyone to spend Christmas with. Harry Osborne is busy dealing with his evil toddler and Mary Jane Watson is taking a bath. Meanwhile, Felicia Hardy calls Peter but quickly hangs up.
Felicia is still struggling with her feelings for Peter and decides to go out as the Black Cat again, where she stops a couple thieves from robbing a mink coat store. She briefly contemplates keeping the coats, but in keeping with the holiday spirit, instead donates them to two “bag ladies” warming themselves by a trash can.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Peter Parker decides to spend Christmas Eve alone in his apartment with his black suit, which he drapes over a kitchen chair and pours a coke for. (What a sad way to spend Christmas.) Peter falls asleep, unknowing of the robbery about to take place next door. Poor Bambi, Randi, and Candi are being visited by the Bad Santa.This is the best page in the book as we’re treated to a twisted version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” including a great Tom Selleck reference. Bambi wakes up to find Santa stealing all their Christmas presents.
While the deranged Kris Kringle holds Bambi at gun point, Peter’s spider-sense warns him of the danger next door. He quickly puts on his costume and crashes the attempted robbery. Jordan, Candi, and Randi come out of their rooms, and the fake Santa uses the commotion to make his escape to the roof.
Once the imposter makes his way to the roof, he is surprised to find the real Santa Claus waiting for him, and he is not amused. Spider-Man follows in hot pursuit, but when he reaches the roof, the imposter is already gone.
A Merry Christmas
Peter is woken up the next morning by a phone call from Kate Cushing, who tells him the Daily Bugle Santa was found locked in a storage locker. The imposter Santa had taken his place and was giving out presents. When Peter arrives at the Bugle, he asks why the imposter hasn’t been arrested. The police officer on the scene explains that the imposter turned himself in, along with all the stolen loot, and is giving out hand-made toys.
The reformed Santa tells Peter that he has changed and asks if he wants to take a picture. To prove his point, he hands Peter a note from the real Santa which reads “Call your aunt! Merry Christmas.” Peter happily spends Christmas morning with his Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, and her Aunt Anna.