Oct 18, 2014

Go Home Spider-Man, You're Drunk

Drinking isn't totally anathema to super heroes - Wolverine and the Thing have been known to enjoy a cold beer or two, Thor probably drinks mead with every meal, and the Wasp and the She-Hulk are noted Girl Drink Drunks. (Some, of course, need to stay away from alcohol, like recovering alcoholics Iron Man and Captain Marvel.) But what about Spider-Man, the best superhero of all?  On one hand, Marvel may not want their marquee character to be portrayed as a drinker; but on the other hand as an ostensibly hip young person, it would be a little weird for Peter Parker to be a complete teetotaller. Thus, the compromise: he doesn't drink if he can help it, because he's really bad at it.

"Mattingly, I told you to TRIM those sideburns!"

The first mention of this, I believe, was in 1988's Web of Spider-Man #38, by Fabian Nicieza and Alex Saviuk.  Peter's moving out of his crummy old Chelsea apartment and he's throwing a party to celebrate (a party that ends up being attended by both Alice Cooper guitarist Dick Wagner and beer-shilling dog Spuds MacKenzie).  His landlady's husband decides to surreptitiously spike the punch, and Pete downs a couple glasses before heading out to fight the Hobgoblin.  It doesn't go well.

Do not break the seal, man.  That suit doesn't have a fly.

Luckily, it turned out that the Hobgoblin couldn't even beat a drunk Spider-Man, which would prove to be a harbinger of where his career was going.  The whole thing concludes with everyone having learned a valuable lesson.

Now I know - and knowing is half the battle!  SPIIIIIII-DERRRR-MAAAAAAN!

And he never touched booze again, right?  Well, no.  Amazing Spider-Man #51 (2003), by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr., is one of the few occasions we see Peter willingly drinking; having Mary Jane return to him after a long absence is a pretty special occasion, I suppose.  We don't know how much he drank, exactly, but the odds are it wasn't much, given that he's still conscious enough to make a total ass of himself.

Heh heh.  Ballpeen.

Such is Peter's unfamiliarity with booze that, during his aunt's wedding to J. Jonah Jameson Sr., his roommate/nemesis Michele Gonzales was able to ply him with apple-ginger ale, convince him it was champagne, and watch him get psychosomatically hammered.  And, uh, then had sex with him.  But she was for-reals drunk, so it's okay, I guess?

A similar thing happened to me at a wedding once, but the alcohol was real, and also somebody stole my tie.
(Amazing Spider-Man #612, written by Mark Waid, art by Paul Azaceta)

(Do they make apple-ginger ale?  That sounds friggin' delicious.)

It's not just that Peter's experience with alcohol has been limited, and he hasn't built up a tolerance - it's gotta be genetic, given that both Ben Reilly...

(Spectacular Spider-Man #223, written by J.M. DeMatteis, art by John Romita Jr. & Al Milgrom)

...and Kaine...

(Scarlet Spider #12, written by Chris Yost, art by Reilly Brown)

...both of whom are clones of Peter, are total lightweights. Not depicted: that time Spidercide got into the Jackal's liquor cabinet and drank peppermint schnapps until he puked.

It's honestly for the best, given how Peter's other friends have succumbed to substance abuse, be it pills...

(Amazing Spider-Man #97, written by Stan Lee, art by Gil Kane & Frank Giacoia) 

(Spectacular Spider-Man #249, written by J.M. DeMatteis & Mark Bernardo, art by Luke Ross and Dan Green)

...or I'm gonna say paint thinner.

(Amazing Spider-Man #55, written by Stan Lee, art by John Romita Sr. & Mickey Demeo)

No comments:

Post a Comment