Classic Comics Cavalcade: A Near-Meeting Of Two Legends In ‘Giant-Size Spider-Man’ #1

by Tony Thornley

The mid-1970s was a golden age for team-up comics. Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One were going strong for Marvel, while Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents were in the full swing of things for the Distinguished Competition. So going into the second month of ‘22, we’re going to spend a few weeks looking at those series featuring a pair of heroes, starting in January with a story that’s more one and a half starring characters than a pair…

Don’t let the name fool you. Giant-Size Spider-Man was actually a quarterly supplemental series to Marvel Team-Up. Each issue was triple sized and featured some of Marvel’s biggest B-list characters. The intent was one a quarter, Spidey would take a break, head into this huge story, while the Human Torch would pinch hit on MTU. Double the profits, while readers get a titanic team-up in each title.

Len Wein, Ross Andru, Don Heck, Glynnis Oliver, and John Constanza launched the series by “teaming” Spider-Man with Dracula. Naturally, it’s not really a team-up, as there’s very little the two could team up over. Regardless it’s a fun story about two worlds colliding- Spidey’s superheroics, and Dracula’s horror-filled plans for world domination.

This collision comes at the hand of a scientist. While Peter needs to recruit her to administer an experimental vaccine to save Aunt May, Dracula is determined to kill her to stop her from foiling his plans in the future. The problem is she’s on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic, and she’s a recluse, so neither know who she is. Hell, for most of the story neither even know she’s a she.

Editor Roy Thomas does say in a letter at the end of the issue, the two title characters never meet because vampires might be just TOO fantastic for Spider-Man. Even with that editorial mandate, Wein makes the issue a fun cat and mouse game between them. They don’t even know the other exists, but they keep running afoul of each other. Andru and Heck are able to balance the heroics and horror just right for a team-up story like this.

It’s a classic from the ’70s that’s well worth picking up, especially for a classic Spidey fan.

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