Spider-Man in the Horror Universe: SWORD OF THE SHE-DEVIL

6 May

Every Friday I will be posting here an excerpt from my book, the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia.  These excerpts will be entries from the book featuring some of my favorite series, often series you might not expect to find in a book about horror crossovers.

MARVEL TEAM-UP # 79 “SWORD OF THE SHE-DEVIL” (MARVEL COMICS)

Release Date: March 1979 (Contemporary Setting)

Series: Spider-Man; Red Sonja

Horror Crosses: Doctor Strange

Non-Horror Crosses: Superman; Ms. Marvel; Conan the Barbarian

The Story: Kulan Gath possesses a security guard at a museum and draws the attention of Spider-Man. Mary Jane Watson also finds herself possessed, but by the heroic Red Sonja.

Notes: Carol Danvers is mentioned, but not her alter ego Ms. Marvel. Based on the various crosses with Marvel heroes in this guide, we can determine that many of the Marvel heroes must have had counterparts in the Horror Universe. If this is the case, I still doubt that superheroes were as publically known as in the MU. Like with the alien invasions and zombie outbreaks, I’m sure the general public is in denial about vigilantes with super-powers. The super-hero phenomenon must have come in waves. The first started in the late 1930s and died down after World War II. The second would have occurred from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s. Since then, heroes would have still operated, but with less and less frequency. Red Sonja is a spin-off character from Conan the Barbarian, and Kulan Gath was a Conan foe. Doctor Strange is also mentioned in this story. Clark Kent also arrives to cover the story. Of course, this is a fun cameo of the type that DC and Marvel liked to do regarding their friendly competition. But from an in-story point of view, a few questions arise. Why didn’t Superman get involved? Why was he in New York? Shouldn’t he be old? Clark often got sent out of Metropolis on assignment. So that question is easy to answer. He might have been there for another story and stumbled upon this one. As for a young Clark Kent, several crosses in this guide demonstrate that the golden age version of Superman existed in the Horror Universe. And there are crosses with the modern age (post-Crisis) version. And of course this is a silver age era story. To explain the longevity and multiple versions, I have to look towards what DC would refer to as “imaginary stories” or “Elseworlds”. In the 1970s, DC had a series of “Super Sons” stories, in which Superman and Batman had sons. Clark Kent Junior would later become the next Superman. In another series, “Superman 2020”, Superman also had a son who became the next Superman. And finally, DC One Million followed the same premise. Based on those three story series, I can theorize that the same case exists in the Horror Universe. Additionally, the Earth-2 stories and John Byrne’s Generations saga demonstrate the continued life of an aging Superman, which I can utilize. Pulling all that together, I believe that the golden age Superman follows pretty closely to the original stories. But then he retired, only occasionally going back into action. So in this story, he chooses to let the young heroes handle things. Besides which, being out of Metropolis, having Superman and Clark both both seen there would risk his secret identity, something even more important to him now that he’s married and a father. Plus Superman has a weakness against magic, something that in the Horror Universe couldn’t have been easy for him. The later appearances of a modern age version of Superman are likely to be Clark Kent Junior.

For more Spider-Man crossovers, click here.

For more Superman crossovers, click here.

And you can purchase the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia by clicking here.

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